Dr. Dan Caton, Professor and Director of Observatories, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, Appalachian State University (Boone, NC) installed and operates the camera as part of an on-going research project. Dr. Caton also installed and operates another research camera (BML Cam2) located at the southern end of Linville Gorge. The images from both cameras are compiled into nightly videos and posted on YouTube---just search "Brown Mountain Lights Camera 1" (or Camera 2) for the individual nightly videos. Both cameras are modified digital meteor-hunting cameras.
To date, numerous lights have been recorded by Cam1, including: town/city/rural lights in the valleys beyond Brown Mountain, fireworks, communication tower lights, airplanes and helicopters, highway-vehicle lights, off-highway-vehicle lights, stadium lights, back-country user lights, and brush/forest fires. Natural lights captured by the camera include stars, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Mercury, the Moon, meteors, lightning and fireflies. Disappointingly, Cam1 has yet to record any support for mysterious or unknown lights in the Brown Mountain area.
BML Cam1 recorded 300 hours of nocturnal observation time on 29 seperate nights during November 2014, resulting in 33,666 individual 30-second time-exposure images. This brings the totals over the past 22 months since start up in Feb 2013 to 3,654 hours of nocturnal observation time on 410 seperate nights resulting in 397,374 individual time-exposure images. Each of these images has been examined in detail by members of our research team.
No abnormal, unusual or unexpected nocturnal lights were recorded by BML Cam1 during November 2014. However, the usual distant city/town/rural lights, airplane lights, and light from the bright planets Jupiter and Mercury were visible this month. Possible Leonid meteors were visible on Nov 7 & 9; while Moon rises on Nov 17, 18 & 19 produced promined lens flares and over-saturated Moon lights. Rainy/foggy weather obscured views a few nights, especially the last week of the month. Reflections of Hwy 181 vehicle lights on the east side of Ripshin Ridge were ocassionally visible. Smoke stack plumes & clouds in the valley s. of Lenoir were also visible a few nights.
The following images are selected to show some significant features visible during November 2014. Note that the camera position does not change during this sequence of images. Blurry or out-of-focus distant lights are caused by movemnt of the lights as well as rising heat currents that distort the incoming light waves during the time exposures.
The planet Mercury rose just before the Sun.
A meteor caught in the sky above Lenoir.
Bright Moonlight illuminates Brown Mountain.
The bright airplane just took off from the Statesville airport
and is heading toward the camera with its landing light on.
Vertical smear lines are often produced below bright lights---probably due
to image transition errors within the camera itself.
Prominent lens flares probably coming from a bright light just to the left of the field of view
but pointed directly toward the camera.
Rise of the crescent Moon above the eastern horizon at 99.5 azimuth.
Diffraction & over-saturation of the light is due to features within the camera itself.
Compare the position of the Moonrise here with the one on Nov 20.
Lens flare from the bright light of the off-center position of the Moon.
Rise of the crescent Moon on Nov 20 at 104.0 azimuth
Just one day after the Nov 19 Moonrise image.
Note how far south along the horizon the Moonrise has moved
(change in azimuth: 4.5 degrees) in only 24 hours!