3 Lights passing a Commerical Jet - August 23rd 2021 9:27pm Thurrock England

DangerousDac

New Member
Hey, this is a video I shot last year with my Sony A7S camera. I'd just got it and was eager to test out its low light capabilities and was following a plane I saw in the sky. About 30 seconds in 3 lights come in from the opposite direction and then fly across the sky at a higher speed than what the passenger jet did. The 3 lights form a triangle, and seem to keep this shape throughout whilst "turning" and "undulating". I have 2 videos to share, both the same content but one has been denoised and has boosted contrast to help show the lights as they are extremely faint even at ISO 400,000ish. The lights appear about 10 seconds in.

Original video: Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Is46EzffsAc


Noise Reduced/Contrast Boost video: Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SHtez0FBoo
 

Creamy Pasta

New Member
Looks like a classic NOSS trio. As a satellite spotter, I've seen these a number of times. NOSS are often too dim without binoculars but occasionally they brighten with the Sun->Sat->Obs angles are just right.

http://www.satobs.org/noss.html

One of the interesting sights in the night sky are the Naval Ocean Surveillance System (NOSS) satellite formations, each having two or three satellites in close proximity to one another. Normally these satellites are relatively dim to the unaided eye, but on occasion they brighten sufficiently to be easily seen in a dark sky.
 
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Ann K

Senior Member.
Here's a sample taken by another satellite enthusiast

I don't think any of your satellite photos resemble the shape-changing triangle of lights seen in the original post. Satellites don't go twisting around each other rapidly in that fashion.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Hey, this is a video I shot last year with my Sony A7S camera. I'd just got it and was eager to test out its low light capabilities and was following a plane I saw in the sky. About 30 seconds in 3 lights come in from the opposite direction and then fly across the sky at a higher speed than what the passenger jet did. The 3 lights form a triangle, and seem to keep this shape throughout whilst "turning" and "undulating". I have 2 videos to share, both the same content but one has been denoised and has boosted contrast to help show the lights as they are extremely faint even at ISO 400,000ish. The lights appear about 10 seconds in.
Possibly some white birds, much closer to the camera than the plane. The low light performance is impressive - you can see most the plane. So why not three birds?
 

Duke

Active Member
Possibly some white birds, much closer to the camera than the plane. The low light performance is impressive - you can see most the plane. So why not three birds?
How clear would the a/c image have been without its navigation lights?
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
How clear would the a/c image have been without its navigation lights?
2022-11-02_18-02-35.jpg

Hard to say, but it seems quite a bit brighter than usual. The objects are similar in brightness to the tail.

The birds (if birds) still have to be lit by something, and the main options are:
  1. Moonlight. We need the date and time of the video.
  2. Ground lights, like from a motorway, or industrial estate. We'd need the location and direction
 

Duke

Active Member
2022-11-02_18-02-35.jpg

Hard to say, but it seems quite a bit brighter than usual. The objects are similar in brightness to the tail.

The birds (if birds) still have to be lit by something, and the main options are:
  1. Moonlight. We need the date and time of the video.
  2. Ground lights, like from a motorway, or industrial estate. We'd need the location and direction
I've seen sea birds like gulls, terns, and even white pelicans fly at night because ground light reflected off their undersides. Immediately after watching the OP's video, I looked up where Thurrock was located. It's 25-30 miles east of London, on the Thames and near the coast. Closest airport is probably London City.

400px-Thurrock_UK_locator_map.svg.png
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thurrock
 

DangerousDac

New Member
2022-11-02_18-02-35.jpg

Hard to say, but it seems quite a bit brighter than usual. The objects are similar in brightness to the tail.

The birds (if birds) still have to be lit by something, and the main options are:
  1. Moonlight. We need the date and time of the video.
  2. Ground lights, like from a motorway, or industrial estate. We'd need the location and direction
Grays Thurrock, Sorry I don't want to post my exact location but I think this is a fair estimate and I'm facing due South.
The reason I doubt Satellites is because these would be flying in a retrograde orbit, and to my knowledge only a handful of satellites operate this way.
There is Tilbury Docks directly in this area which emmit a lot of light, but then I do find it strange how the 3 points maintain an equal spacing between each other even throughout the undulations it goes through. I will say though, in all the subsequent uses of this camera I've not spotted anything similar, and if it is birds like you would expect is the likely explanation I would have expected to film something like this again.
 

DangerousDac

New Member
Here's a sample taken by another satellite enthusiast

Like I said in my other post though, if these were satellites they'd be flying East to West, which is a rare orbital path is it not requiring a high energy launch which 99% of Satellites don't bother with? And how they move around each other is very un-satellite like to.
 

DangerousDac

New Member
This is a link to the original file as YouTube seemingly compresses a lot of the data. Source: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1GcVy-uVrdXRfOXI_HUVNfjww98nmqG1D/view?usp=share_link
Please watch the whole thing closely and see how the 3 points, IF it acted as a solid triangle, seemingly undulate around a common point. I personally haven't seen birds outpace one another in a straight line. I've filmed birds with my phone at least, and their flight paths are far more circular around a common area and not crossing the sky. Now, do all birds do this? Certainly not, and Birds are the most likely explanation I've come too but still don't fit the box perfectly to my liking.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Its in the post title - August 23rd 2021, 9:27pm.
Oops. Well assuming that's BST, then UTC is 8:272022-11-02_22-37-01.jpg
So you'd have a fairly full moon rising the the East. Not the brightest, but would illuminate the birds from the left if you are looking South.
 

DangerousDac

New Member
Oops. Well assuming that's BST, then UTC is 8:272022-11-02_22-37-01.jpg
So you'd have a fairly full moon rising the the East. Not the brightest, but would illuminate the birds from the left if you are looking South.
The East is very obscured from this point I'm filming at, I think the likliest source of illumination is the dock lights from Tilbury docks which are in the exact direction I'm filming in. The speed of these birds though would be seemingly impressive, as zoomed in with a 300mm lens they're crossing the sky faster than the plane does. And again, the "birds" seemingly cross each other in a straight line moving back and forth in position - that's not a behaviour I've seen birds do.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.

flarkey 1y
I've look at this again in detail and the 3 objects are changing position relative to each other as time goes by. I've taken a few screen shots and linked them to the time code. The image is below.
the three lights changing relative position
This makes it highly unlikely (practically impossible) that these are satellite.
If I was to make a guess as to what these are I'd say three birds flying in formation. My next guess would be three alien spaceships.

pt59HpC.png
Content from External Source


A year ago, we had a case of another triangle, filmed in infrared, that looked like it was ducks, see https://www.metabunk.org/threads/triangle-object-filmed-uap-or-cameraglitch.12057/post-259157
The Thurrock footage not being IR, the question of illumination comes up, but I feel at this point it'd be hard to rule that explanation out.
 

DangerousDac

New Member

flarkey 1y
I've look at this again in detail and the 3 objects are changing position relative to each other as time goes by. I've taken a few screen shots and linked them to the time code. The image is below.
the three lights changing relative position
This makes it highly unlikely (practically impossible) that these are satellite.
If I was to make a guess as to what these are I'd say three birds flying in formation. My next guess would be three alien spaceships.

pt59HpC.png
Content from External Source


A year ago, we had a case of another triangle, filmed in infrared, that looked like it was ducks, see https://www.metabunk.org/threads/triangle-object-filmed-uap-or-cameraglitch.12057/post-259157
The Thurrock footage not being IR, the question of illumination comes up, but I feel at this point it'd be hard to rule that explanation out.
Hi flarkey, thanks for linking the old thread.

If someone can show me 3 birds flying in a stacked formation that actively move back and forth amongst each other I'd hold my hand up and say "yes these are birds" but a cursory google search for Birds flying in formation just gives far greater numbers flying in much looser V shapes which is a behaviour I have seen often. And once again, IF Birds I'd expect to record something like this again and in the year since I have not.
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
If someone can show me 3 birds flying in a stacked formation that actively move back and forth amongst each other I'd hold my hand up and say "yes these are birds"
can you show me a formation of 3 aircraft switching positions like that, outside of an aerobatic display?

I'd expect formations controlled by intelligent entities to be rigid, and animal formations to look as alive as this one.
 

Duke

Active Member
Hi flarkey, thanks for linking the old thread.

If someone can show me 3 birds flying in a stacked formation that actively move back and forth amongst each other I'd hold my hand up and say "yes these are birds" but a cursory google search for Birds flying in formation just gives far greater numbers flying in much looser V shapes which is a behaviour I have seen often. And once again, IF Birds I'd expect to record something like this again and in the year since I have not.
I've watched seagulls do just that, soaring over the water looking for food. They hunt individually, but crisscross each other at differing altitudes.
 

Inti

Senior Member.
Hi flarkey, thanks for linking the old thread.

If someone can show me 3 birds flying in a stacked formation that actively move back and forth amongst each other I'd hold my hand up and say "yes these are birds" but a cursory google search for Birds flying in formation just gives far greater numbers flying in much looser V shapes which is a behaviour I have seen often. And once again, IF Birds I'd expect to record something like this again and in the year since I have not.
I've lived for long periods in areas like this for many years; I went to school in Grays, where this video was filmed, and now live on northeast Kent just across the Thames Estuary, where I often walk and take photos on coastal marshes.

Larger birds that could show up like this are very common there, both seabirds and waders.

I wouldn't find it at all surprising to see small (or larger) groups of birds flying together and changing formation like this. The birds to the rear benefit from the slipstream of the leading bird, which is likely to tire after a time and fall back, while another takes the lead. That is why large skeins often take a V shaped formation.

When we combine that with a parallax effect between birds that may be at slightly different heights, there isn't anything imprabable about the paths seen.
 

JMartJr

Senior Member
Birds seem likely, but are balloons also in the running? Especially if you get a trio of them with the strings tied together, making for a maximum spacing that keeps them in formation, but allows them to move around each other within limts as the wind hustles them along.

Like birds, they could be illuminated by ground lights or the moon, but also note that led helium balloons exist, and are sometimes released intentionally...
il_300x300.1678688541_95ca.jpg
 

FatPhil

Senior Member.
Hi flarkey, thanks for linking the old thread.

If someone can show me 3 birds flying in a stacked formation that actively move back and forth amongst each other I'd hold my hand up and say "yes these are birds" but a cursory google search for Birds flying in formation just gives far greater numbers flying in much looser V shapes which is a behaviour I have seen often. And once again, IF Birds I'd expect to record something like this again and in the year since I have not.

I only saw the rear two swap positions, but our view of them was clearly foreshortened. Therefore one might be a bit higher, the other a bit lower, one a bit in front, the other a bit lagging, and it really wouldn't take much of a change in those parameters for them to appear to swap positions when squashed onto our image plane.
 
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