Come in, Stephenville, Texas.
People of Stephenville: What you thought you saw in your skies last week was not, repeat: NOT what you think you saw. Your own armed forces have assured you that what you saw was an earth-based flying vessel designed to move human cargo and not, repeat: NOT a flying saucer, UFO or inter-galaxy police patrol of any kind. Please accept their story as the truth.
The fact that at the time of the "sighting," your NASA Messenger probe was making Earth’s first visual recordings of the dark side of the solar system’s first planet, Mercury, has absolutely nothing to do with an imagined spacecraft supposedly being seen above NASA’s home state, a state known to be plagued by swamp gas and methane clouds caused by cattle.
I can assure you, the public was in no danger. You may continue to live your little lives. That is all.
This is not a chromatic lens aberration. I saw this sunbeam, or what I think was a sunbeam, in the late afternoon. Quite interesting and strange.
Maybe it’s a UFO breaking the speed of light? Or a starship’s warp signature for fellow Trekkie fans? Probably neither.
I think that this looks like a bunch of very large presents around the base of a very weird Christmas tree. Maybe, in a way, it is.
The story: We were under the eastbound side of the west seattle bridge, by that foundry/forge because the lure of glowing ingots of raw steel was enough to risk hypothermia. After a while, Toby says, wow, look this direction, and there’s this great stymetrical array of lights and containers with a backdrop of the city and the needle. It’s kind of a weird view and hard to place, but we’re looking northeast across Elliott bay and harbor island. This is 9 frames covering +/- 4 EV, so the low is 1/8th, the 0 is 2 seconds and +4 is at 30 seconds. Shot with the manual focus 180mm ED (from 1974!) at f/8, hdr pre-merge in lightroom (adjust wb, minimal sharpening, minimal NR (use radius below .8 with high masking for hdr pre-proc), defringe, de-CA. 16-bit AdobeRGB tifs->Photomatix with detail enhancer, open in photoshop. They are shining this damn green-tinted light on the space needle these days and it bugs me, so made that look more like the eye sees it, adjusted the overall tonal levels/contrast so the background lights didn’t get lost, didn’t really need to sharpen or denoise but I did it anyway. Looked dark when I saw it in the daytime because I processed it at night, bumped the lows in lightroom and there ya have it. The foreground lights look like they were done in Maya…it’s the haze I guess, and the symetry, that does it.
Editor’s note: This is an archive image from 2003, part of our "Think Pink" gallery, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month: www.flickr.com/photos/28634332@N05/sets/72157625045060125/
This view of Earth’s horizon as the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean was taken by an Expedition 7 crewmember onboard the International Space Station (ISS). Anvil tops of thunderclouds are also visible.