Monday, October 13, 2008

Night Lights

We had a spectacular sunset last night, as these two photos attest. The sky was full of long-lasting colorful displays. Just after the sunset, with darkness settling in, we noticed a spot of light in the northern sky, just above where these clouds were. There were a few stars out, but this spot of light was flashing. As we watched, we noticed that the flashing lights were red and green. Ok, this is pretty curious already, but then we realized that it wasn't moving. What on earth was it? Not an airplane certainly, and Don said satellites don't have red and green blinking lights. I could see it a little better through the binoculars, enough to see that the lights really were red and green. We got out the telescope but were unable to find it. It has proven to be a real challenge to try to find particular things in the sky at night. It's just too black and there are no landmarks to help guide you. It stayed in that same position a long time, maybe 30 minutes or so, then suddenly, the spot of light dropped to the horizon and disappeared. A short time later, I noticed the spot of light about 45 degrees to the west, just above the trees on the hill nearby. The lights were still blinking red and green. It stayed there in that position for a few minutes, and then, it was gone.

I couldn't help but look around the sky to see if it would reappear, and that's when I observed the next odd sight. On the horizon to the west were two bright white lights separated by some distance, ships, perhaps? And then I noticed another less bright light, actually two, close together, moving between the brighter lights in a westerly direction and then passing the bright light on the left. Fishing boats way off in the distance? Don guessed that they might be 20 miles out. Were they Coast Guard ships on patrol? It seemed especially odd that there were so many ship lights out there on the horizon. We've never seen that before and certainly not that close together. The two brightest lights did not change position or appear to be moving at all and were still there when we went to bed. Curious night lights.

1 comment:

  1. hmm...I shall speak to the captain. I know ships use red and green lights on their port and starbard sides as a way to indicate various things like which way they are heading (when it is night and can't tell by just looking) Very odd indeed! Order us up some great sunsets and we'll see you in a few days!