Re: new subscriber with a question

From: Jim Nix (
Date: Mon Nov 19 2001 - 18:08:31 EST

  • Next message: Kevin Fetter: "video with a satellite"

        Something to consider.  Our main observing site is north of Memphis TN, USA.  Memphis is the hub of
    Federal Express and Northwest airlines, therefore we often observe numerous aircraft while observing
    satellites.  Also, there is a military airfield several miles from our location.  Some interesting phenomenon
    are apparent with aircraft.  They often use  headlights, single lights on smaller aircraft and when viewed
    from a distance the two headlights on the larger aircraft may appear as one bright light.  While on a
    descending approach to the area they appear stationary for up to several minutes, then veer away and seem to
    disappear.  At a distance red and green running lights are not as visible as the headlights and often a strobe
    light is on the other side of the aircraft from the observer and not visible.  Often we think we are looking
    at a bright star which then disappears or turns and running lights may become apparent.  Also an approaching
    aircraft appearing as a point source light that tracks up in elevation, like a satellite, appears to become
    stationary for a minute or so then track on again.  We believe that what has happened is that the aircraft was
    climbing or just approaching level then dropped its nose to descend a bit giving the illusion that is was
    stationary for a minute or two, then raised its nose and continued to climb or approach straight and level.
    Often in a radar controlled environment, such as this, ground controllers will direct aircraft in strange
    flight paths with altitude corrections in their attempt to line them up in evenly spaced approach vectors to
    the airfield.  As a small aircraft pilot I also note that many small aircraft with one forward headlight may
    also fit this pattern of phenomenon.  On approaches to Houston Hobby airport in the seventies and eighties I
    was often directed by ground controllers to make radical course and altitude changes when approaching the
    airfield landing pattern in order to avoid larger aircraft.  Merely something to consider.  These phenomenon
    are not as apparent at higher relative elevations, but are possible.
    Frits Westra wrote:
    > On 19th November 2001, wrote:
    >   >> I do not object to the explanations given, but when there are very few
    >   >> reference points (high up in the sky), it is possible to imagine that
    >   >> a moving object halts.
    > Hello all,
    > Could anybody point me to sources where this kind of perceptional
    > phenomena are explained?
    > Thank you for the info.
    > Cheers,
    > Frits
    > -------------------------------------------------------------
    >  Frits Westra -- pe2atc -- -- 52.22N 06.38E
    > -------------------------------------------------------------
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