Connect with us

Bizzare & Odd

Mysterious Dancing Lights In Afghanistan

by Robert Krulwich

This isn’t a painting. It’s not from a movie. It’s not a strange astronomical event. This is real — what you can see when certain helicopters in Afghanistan touch down on sandy ground, raising dust, causing mysterious arcs of light to loop and dance through the air.

Rotor sparks 2

This doesn’t always happen. “The halos usually disappear as the rotors change pitch,” wrote war photographer Michael Yon. “On some nights, on this very same landing zone, no halos form.” How come?

Rotor sparks 3

Almost certainly the helicopter’s blades have a role. The light seems to follow their path.

Rotor sparks 4

The dust clearly matters. Michael heard from a pilot, who thought the loops are “static electricity created by friction.” The helicopter’s blades, the pilot said, are covered with a protective sheath of titanium and nickel. The air is filled with floating dust. Maybe when these different minerals slam into each other, the electrostatic charges become excessive and they spark.

Rotor Sparks 5

Maybe, Michael thought, but whatever causes this, it ought to have a name. And because he could, because most of these are his pictures, he decided to dub these lights “The Kopp-Etchells Effect.” That’s the name he put on his blog post in 2009 when he first posted these shots. Curiously, (and to me, very happily), the name is beginning to catch on. There’s now a Wikipedia reference to it. Some science bloggers call it that, so who, I wondered, are Kopp and Etchells? Are they physicists?

They aren’t. Or weren’t. They are, both of them, soldiers.

Benjamin Kopp

Benjamin Kopp

Corporal Benjamin Kopp was shot in 2009 during a battle in Afghanistan and died of his wounds just over a week later. He was 21. He’d had already served for three tours and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Because he had put himself down as an organ donor, his heart was quickly transplanted into a 57-year-old Illinois woman named Judy Meikle, who told The Washington Post, “How can you have a better heart? I have the heart of a 21-year-old Army Ranger war hero beating in me.” Other organs went to other recipients.

Joseph Etchells

Joseph Etchells

Joseph Etchells was also a corporal, but in a different army. He was a fusilier in a British regiment, also assigned to Helmand Province. He was 22 and died the same week as Benjamin Kopp. This was also his third tour of duty, and he was killed by a roadside bomb.

Photographer Michael Yon attended his battlefield funeral, a small affair where fellow soldiers removed the colorful feathers they wear in their caps and tossed them onto the Helmand River, “the same waters where ‘Etch’ used to swim after missions.” At the ceremony, Michael was told that Cpl. Etchells had wanted to be cremated, “then loaded into a firework and launched over the park where he used to play as a kid.” As nutty as it sounds, his friends say that was his choice. I checked the Manchester papers. There was a funeral. Thousands gathered at the church, so many they had to set up speakers for those who couldn’t fit in. But there were no “fireworks” …

… which may be one reason to be smiling all these four years later. Because, thanks to Michael Yon’s labeling all his pictures and postings with their names, Kopp and Etchells may now get a second round as dancing bits of air.

This connection is, I know, entirely arbitrary. Neither man was a pilot. They certainly weren’t scientists. For all we know, they may never have seen the loops of light that carry their names. This is, simply, a gesture, a salute, from a civilian photographer who wanted to honor the memories of two men he never knew, who died in Afghanistan, as he wrote, “Ben on the 18th, Joe on the 19th of July in the year 2009,” whose names he found, “listed consecutively in a roster,” whose fates, he decided, were “already linked up,” so why not? Why not attach them to a lighting effect that was getting public attention? At the very least, it keeps their names on our lips, even for totally bogus reasons. “Knowing combat soldiers,” he writes, “it’s easy to imagine them laughing away at the idea.”

Rotor sparks 6

Do I care that this salute is spun out of air? No, I don’t. The air doesn’t care. Nature doesn’t need names. We, sometimes, do. And for a young guy who wanted his ashes launched over his old neighborhood park and for a guy whose heart still beats on in the chest of a Illinois woman, I think the salute more than fits.


Bloggers and TV reporters may have adopted the “Kopp-Etchell,” but will the scientists follow? We will have to see. Helicopter pilots who know this effect used to call it “St. Elmo’s Fire.” Physicists sometimes call it the “piezoelectric effect” which describes how crystals (think Afghani sand), if hit by a hard blade, can produces high concentrations of electrostatic fields that “discharge,” or spark.

Just recently, physics blogger Kyle Hill weighed in with his own theory, that it’s not sand, but itty bits of helicopter blade dust that are igniting, kind of like a car “dragging a sparkling muffler along the road.”

Whatever causes those loops of light, some science journal will have to use the name, and I’m not sure that’s happened yet. Maybe because we haven’t fully explained what’s going on. But if and when we do, I’d hope the scientists who figure it out stand down and let the soldiers have the honor.

Michael Yon says some structures and identifiable bits of landscape were retouched to disguise their geographic location, for security purposes. The loops of light, however, are quite real and appear as he shot them.

Source

Comments

Bizzare & Odd

What kind of lights appeared in the sky over Hawaii?

Hawaiians saw bright lights in the sky the size of a football field and decided it was Elon Musk’s technique. However, scientists have come to the conclusion that the Starlink satellites have nothing to do with it. The bright lights are already 12 years old, and they revolve around the Earth for completely different reasons.

On the night of October 24, unusual lights appeared in the sky over the Hawaiian Islands, moving eastward. Witnesses of the bright show filmed it and published it on social networks. A group of about ten bright lights the size of a football field moved in the sky after 22:00, Khon2 writes.

People described the group of lights as a massive but transparent flat figure. Some even thought the silhouette was the size of a football field, but the lights did not make any noise.

Many residents were worried about the strange light show and put forward different versions of what was happening.

One of the eyewitnesses, who filmed the lights on camera, said that he was worried when he saw the unusual sight.

I started filming it and when the lights got closer I got worried. I could not understand what it was all about, – says a resident of the island of Molokai Kuyip Kanavalivali.

The lights were visible from the shores of Waikiki to Eva Beach and even on neighboring islands. The brightest show was seen by the inhabitants of the island of Molokai.

We didn’t know what to think. We did not know what it was and where it came from, ” Sheri English said, who also lives in Molokai. – In fact, it was a very eerie feeling.

On social media, people argued about where UFOs came from. Some people thought it was a meteor shower.

Others decided that the lights belong to the satellites of Elon Musk.

However, experts from Mauna Kea observatories have a simpler explanation for the spectacle. In their opinion, it was a rocket booster launched in 2008.

In all likelihood, what people saw last night was the return of the 2008 rocket booster. It was a Chinese rocket that launched a communications satellite for Venezuela, John O’Meara explained, chief scientist at the Keck Observatory.

According to scientists, over the years, the orbit of the launch vehicle collapsed. Astronomers have found a map of the flight path of the object, which was located near the Hawaiian Islands. She also predicted when the rocket booster would re-enter the atmosphere.

We can’t be 100 percent sure because we don’t have a single piece of its wreckage. But the pattern of light we saw in our timeline is aligned with this map. This flight path really makes us believe it was Venesat-1 re-entering the atmosphere,” Mary Beth Leichuck explained, director of strategic communications for the Canadian and Hawaiian Telescope.

It is believed that such phenomena are not uncommon, as similar objects are constantly launched into space. To spot them, you just need to be in the right place at the right time – right along the flight path. But when the rocket booster enters the atmosphere, people will be able to see an even brighter light show.

It will begin to disintegrate, heat up, and become very hot. And when it reaches the extreme temperature, it will become very bright and fall apart, – O’Meara added.

Continue Reading

Bizzare & Odd

The first guests from a parallel world appeared on Earth?

In the vicinity of October 13, 2020, somewhere in the Alps, some people from Bosnia observed a very strange phenomenon, a report of which was posted on her Facebook profile by a certain Malisa Simic.  

The video is in Bosnian, so it is difficult to understand the story in detail, but the general description comes down to the observation by a person in the video of some blurry figures with wings and a height of 3.5 meters. Behind them were some kind of luminous objects and all this made an eerie, frightening sound. 

In the frame appears an adult, who probably has a family and a number of urgent matters related to his provision. That is, he has no time to run around the mountains and make fakes. 

The second interesting point is the simultaneous report of citizen Manuel Navarett, an employee of the USPS (United States Postal Service), who on September 24, 2020, met a hefty red-eyed creature with wings at the O’Hare International Airport in Chicago.

Unfortunately for researchers, YouTube and social networks are now crammed with all sorts of creative degenerates who want to make stupid fakes or want to become famous, or cut down views, so we very rarely watch and analyze videos of this kind. Distinguishing a real report from a clownery is quite difficult and takes a lot of time. Nevertheless, with these figures, everything ‘seems’ to be interesting.

Manuel reported the following: 

On Thursday, September 24, around 11:00 pm, I finished my shift at the USPS sorting center at O’Hare Airport and walked to my car at the far end of the parking lot. Nearby, about 20-25 feet from the car, stood a very tall man in what I thought was a long coat. 

I opened the door and the car automatically turned on the headlights. The light hit this tall man directly, which obviously made him turn and look directly at me. And then I saw that it was not a man, but something tall and red-eyed with wings, which I initially took for a long coat. I was 5 feet 4 inches, but IT was at least a couple of feet taller than me. 

It began to stare at me, making a clicking and low chirping sound. Then it began to approach quickly, and the clatter in his throat turned into a squeal. When I was about ten feet away, the creature spread its wings and took off, flying directly above me. I squatted down in front of the open car door and screamed hysterically ….


Thus, we already have, as it were, two similar cases that happened at the same time, albeit on different sides of the Earth. People are watching something and this is – tall entities, with wings and make some frightening sounds.

Similar messages from time to time come from different parts of the world, it is even possible that one of the readers saw something similar himself, he does not need to be convinced that there are some creatures with wings around us. Most likely they have always been, since legends and tales are full of such episodes. But the fact that they began to be observed somehow very clearly and even, it seems, got on camera in the Alps is a little alarming.

We don’t know how to explain what’s happening, because we don’t even know what kind of winged creatures they are. But, according to the general opinion, such creatures exist as if in a parallel dimension and almost never cross the border between the worlds. 

However, if they continue to be observed just as often and clearly, then it seems that the boundaries between our worlds are somehow erased and soon something else will fall here.

Continue Reading

Bizzare & Odd

TOP Rare facts about the first landing on the moon

On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, and the whole world gasped. Since then, we have not stopped gasping and groaning, learning new facts about that flight.

We know a lot about the legendary flight of Apollo 11, but a lot of interesting details have remained behind the scenes of the moon race. How much did the Apollo 11 flight cost, what does moon dust smell like and how dangerous it is, why were the astronauts taught to walk sideways and what nearly exploded after landing? “Popular Mechanics” will tell about these and many other little-known, but damn interesting facts associated with the first manned landing on the moon.

The moon smells like burning

The big question before the NASA team was: what will the surface of the moon be? Will the lander feet touch a hard surface or sink into something soft? The good news was that the surface was actually quite hard, but the real surprise was that the moon had its own scent.

astronaut on the moon
NASA Aldrin after collecting a sample of lunar soil. Pay attention, under his feet is a scoop-landing net with a long handle

When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin returned to the lunar module, the lunar mud entered the cabin and began to smell strong. The astronauts reported that it was the smell of something burnt, like wet ash from a fireplace.

The cost of a flight to the moon flew into a pretty penny

In total, the States spent more than $ 25 billion on the Apollo program. Decent, but in 1960s prices. In terms of today’s money, this is more than $ 150 billion – that’s really decent.

Saturn-5
NASA Saturn 5 booster with Apollo 11 during launch. Millions of dollars burn so brightly

Only Apollo 11 itself cost the Americans 355 million dollars, and another 185 million had to be paid for the Saturn 5 launch vehicle. Further on the little things: the command module “Columbia”, in which Michael Collins remained while Armstrong and Aldrin roamed the moon ($ 55 million), the lunar module “Eagle” ($ 40 million).

The USSR carefully concealed attempts to get to the Moon first

Not only the States were going to demonstrate their dominance by landing people on the moon, the Soviet Union was also preparing for this feat. From 1967 to 1969, the USSR launched a lot of spacecraft – “Cosmos”, “Probes”, “Soyuz” and “Luna”. The most successful of these turned out to be Zond-5, which became the first spacecraft in the world to return photographic film taken from the Moon to Earth.

True, as soon as the American astronauts set foot on its surface first, the Soviets lost interest and reduced their efforts in this direction to a minimum.

At first, our country needed secrecy so that, God forbid, no one would catch up with us. But then, when the States did catch up with us and overtook us, we had to maintain secrecy so that no one knew that we had been beaten.

Astronauts trained, literally walking sideways

How do you prepare to send someone to a place no one has ever been? To do this, NASA created a series of simulators in the 1960s that simulated what astronauts might encounter in reality.

NASA training
NASA: Astronauts Prepared for Lunar Gravity in Exotic Pose

Aldrin practiced collecting samples on artificial moonlit landscapes indoors. Armstrong trained in piloting on a training simulator in Houston. And to simulate walking in the atmosphere with the gravity of the moon, astronauts, dressed in spacesuits, were hung sideways on special cables and forced to walk for hours on the walls of the Langley Research Center.

For 20 years we could not find a photo of Armstrong on the moon

After that flight, it was officially believed that there was not a single photo of Neil Armstrong, taken on the moon while leaving the ship, since he had the camera all the time.

Neil Armstrong on the moon
NASA Here it is, the only snapshot of Neil Armstrong on the Moon that could not be found for 20 years. By the way, later NASA decided to make red stripes on the commander’s spacesuit so that the astronauts could be easily distinguished.

However, in 1987, NASA historians managed to make a discovery: there is still a picture, but it is the only one. Edwin Aldrin took a camera that Armstrong had placed on the open panel of the lunar module’s cargo hold before collecting rock samples and shot a panorama. Part of this panorama was the shot with Armstrong.

Buzz Aldrin received communion on the moon

When Eagle landed on the moon on July 20, 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin had to wait a bit before embarking on their first moonwalk. Aldrin, as an elder in the Presbyterian Church, made good use of his time and did things that no other person has ever done. He took part in the first religious sacrament ever performed on the moon – the rite of Christian communion. Armstrong declined to participate.

Aldrin had originally hoped for a live radio broadcast, but at the last moment NASA dropped the idea. All because of a lawsuit initiated by the militant atheist Madaline Murray O’Hare: she filed a lawsuit against the agency in connection with the fact that the crew of Apollo 8 on Christmas Eve 1968 in lunar orbit on the air read the first chapter of Genesis.

Scientists were terribly afraid of space microbes

Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins found themselves stuck in a biological defense quarantine upon arrival. Since humans had never been to the moon before, NASA scientists couldn’t be sure that some deadly space plague hadn’t come along with the astronauts.

Apollo 11 crew
NASA Upon arrival on Earth, the Apollo 11 crew communicated with the world only through the glass of the special van. Even with President Nixon.

As soon as their capsule splashed down in the Pacific on July 24, 1969, the trio were sent into a mobile quarantine van, which was taken to NASA’s Lunar Reception Laboratory in Houston, where the team remained until August 10, 1969.

Film cassettes and sample containers were less fortunate. The films were sterilized in an autoclave for several hours, after which they were sent to the darkroom. There, one of the photo technicians accidentally took the cassette with his bare hands (just the one that the astronauts dropped on the moon) and was taken out in the moon dust. He had to take a five minute disinfectant shower.

Lunar Reception Laboratory
NASA This is the building of the Lunar Reception Laboratory, where the crew spent 18 days of quarantine

The sample containers were double sterilized: first with ultraviolet light, then with peracetic acid. Then they were rinsed with sterile water and dried with nitrogen. The opening of the containers was delayed due to unstable pressure in the vacuum zone.

They suspected a small leak in one of the gloves that could be used to manipulate the samples. Less than a week later, the gloves were torn. Most of the lunar samples were exposed to the earth’s atmosphere, and two of the technicians had to be quarantined. Then four more technicians were quarantined. In total, more than two dozen people have been quarantined.

President Nixon prepared in advance for mission failure

As Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin jump across the moon’s surface, Richard Nixon’s anxiety peaked. After all, if something goes wrong, he will have to make excuses to ordinary Americans for billions of wasted tax dollars.

Employees of the 37th President of the United States prepared a statement that he was supposed to read in case the worst happened. Even the NASA staff chaplain was on a low start. Watching the Apollo 11 adventures live, the President could only hope he didn’t have to read that statement. As we know, it was never necessary to read it. The mission failure speech was only made public 30 years later.

Astronauts did not land where planned

When Lunar Module Eagle, with Armstrong and Aldrin aboard, undocked from Command Module Columbia, in which Collins remained, the residual pressure inside the tunnel connecting the two spaceships was not sufficiently relieved. So “Eagle” received a small, but still an additional impetus.

Nine minutes before landing, Armstrong realized that the Eagle would fly past the planned landing site. According to astronauts’ estimates, they should have missed by about five kilometers (in fact, they missed by six).

Lunar module "Eagle"
NASA Lunar module “Eagle” after undocking from the command module “Columbia”

But the search for a new safe landing site is not so bad. Due to the overload, the Eagle’s onboard computer distracted astronauts with constant emergency signals, and radio communications with the Mission Control Center were patchy. Fortunately, since the on-board system alarm was intermittent, the MCC considered the risk of overload low and gave the go-ahead to land.

When the Eagle had only 30 seconds of fuel left, Armstrong gently guided the lunar module towards the makeshift landing pad: “Houston, says Tranquility Base. The Eagle sat down. “

The lunar module nearly exploded

As adrenaline dropped and the astronauts completed their tasks, another problem was brewing. Although the Eagle’s landing engine had already been turned off, the sensors recorded an increase in pressure in its fuel line. This could mean only one thing: an ice plug formed in the system, and the accumulated fuel vapors were heated from the unit that had not yet cooled down.

At NASA, the situation was considered critical, and if the increase in pressure is not eliminated, the Eagle could explode. However, before the instructions for venting the fuel system were given to Armstrong and Aldrin, the ice plug melted, the pressure returned to normal, and the problem went away on its own.

The danger of moon dust

Created billions of years ago by meteorite impacts, the Moon lacks processes that could give debris and tiny soil particles smoother shapes. The astronauts have discovered that abrasive dust is much more than a nuisance.

Buzz Aldrin's Trail on the Moon
NASA Aldrin’s boot imprint, which literally inherited in the history of astronautics.

In later missions after Apollo 11, with longer exits to the lunar surface, there were reports that dust particles penetrated the interior of the lunar module, covered the visors of helmets, and caused zippers to wedge. The moon dust penetrated even through the layers of the protective suit material.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

DO NOT MISS

Trending