Strange lights have been spotted near the Russian peninsula of Kamchatka (image by Dutch pilot JPC van Heijst). The sighting was made by pilots flying from Hong Kong to Alaska. The glow came about 20 minutes after a vertical lightning bolt was seen. The strange lights were spotted south of the Russian peninsula Kamchatka during the flight of a Boeing 747-8 from Hong Kong to Anchorage, Alaska.
* Strange lights have been spotted near the Russian peninsula of Kamchatka
* The sighting was made by pilots flying from Hong Kong to Alaska
* The glow came about 20 minutes after a vertical lightning bolt was seen
* Dutch pilot van Heijst ruled out squid-fishing-boats as the origin
* He said the cause may have been an underwater volcano
* An investigation took place to find out what happened
The pilot and co-pilot of a Boeing 747-8 flying from Hong Kong to Anchorage, Alaska, were passing near the Russian peninsula of Kamchatka when they observed a fiery reddish glow over the Pacific. With no other planes in the area at the time to confirm the sighting, they took pictures of and reported to Air Traffic Control, then completed the flight to Anchorage .. what was it?
On August 24, 2014, Dutch pilot and photographer JPC van Heijst was five hours into the ten hour flight when he spotted a single intense bolt of light shoot vertically into the air. There were no other flashes or storms in the area or on their radar. Twenty minutes later, he saw the red glow. Having heard reports of earthquakes in California, Chile and Iceland, he checked for quakes or volcanic activity on the route but saw no alerts. Despite that, van Heijst later wrote on pbase.com that he suspected it was an underwater volcano.
“The closer we got, the more intense the glow became, illuminating the clouds and sky below us in a scary orange glow, in a part of the world where there was supposed to be nothing but water. The only cause of this red glow that we could think of, was the explosion of a huge volcano just underneath the surface of the ocean, about 30 minutes before we overflew that exact position…
Last night over the Pacific Ocean, somewhere South of the Russian peninsula Kamchatka I experienced the creepiest thing so far in my flying career.
After about 5 hours in flight we left Japan long time behind us and were cruising at a comfortable 34.000ft with about 4,5 hours to go towards Alaska.
We heard via the radio about earthquakes in Iceland, Chile and San Francisco, and since there were a few volcanos on our route that might or might not be going off during our flight, we double checked with dispatch if there was any new activity on our route after we departed from Hongkong.
Then, very far in the distance ahead of us, just over the horizon an intense lightflash shot up from the ground. It looked like a lightning bolt, but way more intense and directed vertically up in the air. I have never seen anything like this, and there were no flashes before or after this single explosion of light.
Since there were no thunderstorms on our route or weather-radar, we kept a close lookout for possible storms that might be hiding from our radar and might cause some problems later on.
I decided to try and take some pictures of the night sky and the strange green glow that was all over the Northern Hemisphere. I think it was sort of a Northern Lights but it was much more dispersed, never seen anything like this before either. About 20 minutes later in flight I noticed a deep red/orange glow appearing ahead of us, and this was a bit strange since there was supposed to be nothing but endless ocean below us for hundreds of miles around us. A distant city or group of typical Asian squid-fishing-boats would not make sense in this area, apart from the fact that the lights we saw were much larger in size and glowed red/orange, instead of the normal yellow and white that cities or ships would produce.
The closer we got, the more intense the glow became, illuminating the clouds and sky below us in a scary orange glow. In a part of the world where there was supposed to be nothing but water.
The only cause of this red glow that we could think of, was the explosion of a huge volcano just underneath the surface of the ocean, about 30 minutes before we overflew that exact position.
Since the nearest possible airport was at least 2 hours flying away, and the idea of flying into a highly dangerous and invisible ash-plume in the middle of the night over the vast Pacific Ocean we felt not exactly happy. Fortunately we did not encounter anything like this, but together with the very creepy unexplainable deep red/orange glow from the ocean’s surface, we felt everything but comfortable. There was also no other traffic near our position or on the same routing to confirm anything of what we saw or confirm any type of ash clouds encountered.
We reported our observations to Air Traffic Control and an investigation into what happened in this remote region of the ocean is now started.
Two photos included, hardly edited except for watermark and resize. Note that photos are taken with extremely high ISO (sensor sensitivity) so quality might be a bit poor. Also an overview of our route + marking of the location is included.
Now I’m just hoping that if a new island has been formed there, at least it can be named after me as the official discoverer. 🙂
That would be pretty cool!
UPDATE: Added 4 new photos and google-earth map with underwater geography
One of the photos shows our landing lights illuminating the sky ahead since we were afraid we might be encountering an ashcloud. We entered a thin layer of clouds 5 minutes after passing the red glow, but no ash was detected or encountered.
UPDATE (Aug 31st):
I’ve created a little list with all the different scenarios and theories that have been suggested and that are being researched at this moment.
To improve readability of this page, I’ve included the list in the comments below.
UPDATE (Oct 23rd)
3 weeks after the sighting (September 19th), I flew Hongkong-Anchorage again and I’ve included one of the NOTAMS for that flight, and a copy of the navigation chart that we used that day.
The NOTAM was issued by the Russian authorities stating a Military Rocket test. The area is put on the chart and the red line is the route we flew on August 24th. As you can see, the route/sighting is pretty close to Russian Navy test waters
UPDATE (Nov 2nd)
Received very interesting emails and information from Russian Kamchatka based scientists from the ‘Distant school of Cosmic Meteo Tectonics‘; that have investigated my sighting too.
They suspect this might have something to do with so called ‘earthquake lights’ because of a strong electromagnetic interaction between the earths core and atmosphere.
“Similar phenomenon you’ve recently observed was being detected in winter 2002-03 in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. There were carried out field research by our collective on day-by-day basis near Petropavlovsk. There was nothing abnormal to expect. But one day, on Friday, anomalous increasing of amplitude of the subterranean electric signals (in 5-10 times) was observed. When sun went down (~18:00 local time) and it became dark, the sky was reddish with shades of green. The phenomenon resembled with aurora, but Petropavlovsk is in latitude 53° North. The tops of hometown volcanoes were burning with red. Townsfolk began to call to emergency service, officials. Town was full of rumors in the same manner as your post. Thanks to the unique SE-technique we knew what was happened.
I’d like to point your attention that the brightest line of radiation of hydrogen atom (H-alpha -Нα) is a blood-red spectral line with a wavelength of 656.28 nanometers. The less bright line of radiation of hydrogen atom is H-beta, which has a cyan (blue-green) spectral line with a wavelength of 486 nanometers.
Here I’ve attached SE-signals measured at station no.2-IMFSET-Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy ~380 km from the observed phenomena. Abrupt step-down was detected on 2014/08/23 11:55UT and back on 2014/08/25 06:37UT.
Let me note that many decades military and civilian pilots have reported other spectacular phenomena seeing ephemeral flashes above storms, though these were mostly discounted by the atmosphere science community. The different kinds of flashes are called with fanciful names like sprites, elves, jets, trolls, gnomes, pixies and fairies. The first scientific documentation of brilliant mysterious glows (flashes) occurring between troposphere-ionosphere was captured on videotape on the night of July 06, in 1989 by Dr. J.Winckler. Who knows, maybe, your photos will play important role in future researching.”
The strange lights (shown at the pink dot) were spotted south of the Russian peninsula Kamchatka during a flight from Hong Kong to Anchorage, Alaska (flight path in blue)
EXPLORING POSSIBILLITIES (by bookofresearch)
Submarine (underwater) Volcano
Also read and watch the creation of a new island by a submarine volcano:
Tongan volcano, new island created by underwater eruption (17 Jan 2015)
The Kurile chain belongs to the system of islands arcs that borders the continents of Asia on the East ; it extends from the South of Kamchatka to the islands of Hokkaido (Japan) separating the marginal Sea of Okhotsk from the Pacific Ocean. The islands of the Kuril Arc are divided into two chains, the Lesser Kurtils and the Greater Kurils. The non-volcanic Lesser Kuril chain extends North-eastward of Kokkaido for 1054 km and then becomes the submarine Vitiaz Ridge ; its islands are composed of volcanic and sedimentary rocks of upper Cretaceous age. The Greater Kuril chain is volcanic and extends for 1150 km ; its basement is composed of tertiary volcanic-sedimentary rocks. According to details of the topography and petrochemistry, it is possible to separate a main volcanic zone, with most of the islands and sub-aerial volcanoes, from a western zone, with seven small islands and most of the submarine volcanoes. In the Kuriles there are at least 85 separate Quaternary volcanoes and volcanic groups, of which sixty have erupted during the Holocene and thirty- seven since the eighteenth century. There are more than 100 undersea volcanoes, but few submarine eruptions are known..
Studies show that in the Kurile islands arc slight eruptions occur approximately once every 5 years; moderately small eruptions once every 11 years, middle-sized eruptions once every 22 years. Intense eruptions once every 33 years, and a cataclysmic event once every century. No caldera-forming eruptions have been noted during historic time.
International Kuril Island Project (IKIP)
Volcanoes of the Kurile Kamchatka Island Arc
Volcanoes of Central-Kuriles
Unnamed Submarine Volcano Kuril Islands, North of Urup
Unnamed Submarine Volcano Kuril Islands, Central Kuriles | No Activity
Bubbled Lava from the Floor of the Sea of Othotsk
Sea level pressure and anomalies 2014 | July-Aug 2014
Bizarre Earthquake Lights Explained
“Common forms of earthquake lights include bluish flames that appear to come out of the ground at ankle height; orbs of light called ball lightning that float in the air for tens of seconds or even minutes; and quick flashes of bright light that resemble regular lightning strikes, except they come out of the ground instead of the sky and can stretch up to 650 feet (200 meters)”
An aurora is a natural light display in the sky (from the Latin word aurora, “sunrise” or the Roman goddess of dawn), predominantly seen in the high latitude (Arctic and Antarctic) regions. Auroras are caused by charged particles, mainly electrons and protons, entering the atmosphere from above causing ionisation and excitation of atmospheric constituents, and consequent optical emissions. Incident protons can also produce emissions as hydrogen atoms after gaining an electron from the atmosphere. Most auroras occur in a band known as the auroral zone which is typically 3° to 6° wide in latitude and between 10° and 20° from the geomagnetic poles at all local times (or longitudes), most clearly seen at night against a dark sky. A region displaying an aurora at any given time is known as the auroral oval, a band which is displaced towards the nightside of the Earth. The day-to-day positions of the auroral ovals are posted on the internet. A geomagnetic storm causes the auroral ovals (north and south) to expand, and bring the aurora to lower latitudes. Early evidence for a geomagnetic connection comes from the statistics of auroral observations. Elias Loomis (1860) and later in more detail Hermann Fritz (1881) and S. Tromholt (1882) established that the aurora appeared mainly in the “auroral zone”, a ring-shaped region with a radius of approximately 2500 km around the Earth’s magnetic pole. It was hardly ever seen near the geographic pole, which is about 2000 km away from the magnetic pole. The instantaneous distribution of auroras (“auroral oval”) is slightly different, being centered about 3–5 degrees nightward of the magnetic pole, so that auroral arcs reach furthest toward the equator when the magnetic pole in question is in between the observer and the Sun. The aurora can be seen best at this time, which is called magnetic midnight.
Sprites are large-scale electrical discharges that occur high above thunderstorm clouds, or cumulonimbus, giving rise to a quite varied range of visual shapes flickering in the night sky. They are triggered by the discharges of positive lightning between an underlying thundercloud and the ground. Sprites appear as luminous reddish-orange flashes. They often occur in clusters within the altitude range 50–90 km (31–56 mi) above the Earth‘s surface. Sporadic visual reports of sprites go back at least to 1886, but they were first photographed on July 6, 1989 by scientists from the University of Minnesota and have subsequently been captured in video recordings many thousands of times. Sprites are sometimes inaccurately called upper-atmospheric lightning. However, sprites are cold plasma phenomena that lack the hot channel temperatures of tropospheric lightning, so they are more akin to fluorescent tube discharges than to lightning discharges.
A photo of a ‘blue jet’, or sprite, was photographed above Australia a few days later: Spectacular and rarely-seen blue jet lightning captured on camera (Aug 26 2014)
Image: A sprite as seen from ISS:
From faculty Albany
Stanford Sprite Research
University of Alaska, Fairbanks – Sprite research home page
Red Sprites and Blue Jets – an older page maintained by UAF
NASA’s sprite page: Los Alamos National Laboratory – computer models of sprites
APOD Image of the day: November 12, 1995:
Blue Jet Lightning
Explanation: Recently two new types of lightning have been verified: red sprites and blue jets. These atmospheric discharges occur very high in the Earth‘s atmosphere – much higher than the familiar form of lightning. Blue jets appear blue in color and go from the tops of clouds to a height of about 50 kilometers. Because blue jets typically last almost a full second, one can easily see the jet rise from the clouds with a fast video camera. Blue jets appear as narrow cones and travel about 100 kilometers per second. The existence of blue jets has been suggested previously, but only in 1994 were aircraft flown above massive thunderstorms with the high speed video equipment necessary to verify these spectacular events. The above black & white picture shows several blue jets rising from a thunderstorm simultaneously. Part of the aircraft is visible in silhouette on the right. Scientists are unsure of the cause and nature of blue jets.
|Video info & Examples|
A waterspout is an intense columnar vortex (usually appearing as a funnel-shaped cloud) that occurs over a body of water. They are connected to a towering cumuliform cloud or a cumulonimbus cloud In the common form, it is a non-supercelltornado over water.
While it is often weaker than most of its land counterparts, stronger versions spawned by mesocyclones do occur. Waterspouts do not suck up water; they are small and weak rotating columns of air over water
While waterspouts form mostly in the tropics and subtropical areas, other areas also report waterspouts, including Europe,New Zealand, the Great Lakes and Antarctica. Although rare, waterspouts have been observed in connection with lake-effect snow precipitation bands.
Also read Extreme Weather Worldwide: Fatal Japan Landslide,Mexico Hail, Genoa Waterspouts, More…. (24 aug 2014)
In parts of the world the Oceans glow like a scene from Avatar,in others it runs red like a sea of blood, what is the cause of this strange phenomenon?
Lingulodinium polyedrum is the name for a motile dinoflagellate, which produces a dinoflagellate cyst called Lingulodinium machaerophorum also known as bioluminescent phytoplankton B. This big changes have a tiny origin, microscopic organisms called bioluminescent phytoplankton, or Lingulodinium polyedrum for the scientifically inclined. These plankton are part of a red tide, which is when the population of phytoplankton like these explodes in a certain location, coloring the water a dull orange-red. Some of the organisms that form red tides are directly toxic to marine wildlife and humans, while others simply produce toxins that accrue in shellfish, making them unsafe to eat. At night, however, the red waters take on a completely different hue. These organisms react to changes in water tension and to acidity by giving off light, so every wave break and paddle causes them to give off light. Surfers who surf a red tide at night leave a trail of shining water, and steps taken in soaked sand leave shimmering imprints. Boats traveling through bioluminescent red tides leave especially impressive light trails. The glowing is caused by a massive red tide, or algae bloom, of bioluminescent phytoplankton called Lingulodinium polyedrum.
The microorganisms emit light in response to stress, such as when a wave crashes into the shore, a surfboard slashes through the surf, or a kayaker’s paddle splashes the water. The result is a wickedly cool glowing ocean.
Example of a fleet of boats and an animation of icebreakers by VIIRS
(ps. not in the same area, just used as an example to show how it looks from space)
The New York City forecast office of the National Weather Service posted this radar loop from dawn, Aug. 22, 2014, on Facebook — almost surely showing a flood of tree swallows rising from Goose Island in the Connecticut River. Here’s the original posting. More on Dot Earth: Observed Planet: A Dawn Torrent of Tree Swallows http://nyti.ms/1AEjeN3
DATA FOR 24 AUGUST 2014
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Number of Components: 3
The Moon on 24 Aug 2014: 2% visible
Weather for Aug 24 2014
Tropical cyclone tracks in August 2014 (non in the area on 24 aug 2014)
“M” FOR MAGNIFICENT: In the vocabulary of space weather, an “M-flare” is a medium-sized explosion. Today’s M5.6-class eruption, however, was magnificent. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the blast:
An explosion in the magnetic canopy of emerging sunspot AR2151 hurled a dense and twised plume of plasma into space. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) recorded a bright coronal mass ejection emerging from the blast site: movie. If this CME were to ht Earth, the likely result would be strong geomagnetic storms. However, because of the sunspot’s location near the sun’s eastern horizon, Earth was not in the line of fire. Nevertheless, the flare did produce some Earth effects. A pulse of extreme UV radiation partially ionized our planet’s upper atmosphere. This “Sudden Ionospheric Disturbance” (SID) altered the normal propagation of VLF (very low frequency) radio transmissions over the the dayside of Earth, an effect recorded at the Polarlightcenter in Lofoten, Norway: data.
Also read: Spaceweather Phenomona
The National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) will feature the Visible–Infrared Imager–Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), a 22-channel imager that will contribute to nearly half of the NPOESS environmental data records. Included on VIIRS will be the Day/Night band (DNB), a visible channel designed to image the Earth and its atmosphere in all conditions ranging from bright solar illumination, to nocturnal lunar illumination, and negligible external illumination. Drawing heritage from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) Operational Linescan System (OLS) instruments orbiting since the late 1960s, the DNB will be used to detect clouds at night, understand patterns of urban development based on the emissions of cities, monitor fires, and image scenes of snow and ice at the surface of the Earth. Thanks to significant engineering improvements, the DNB will produce superior capabilities to the OLS for a number of new applications.
Sunday 24 Aug 2014 (Global Disaster Watch)
To be continued ..