Mid-Atlantic "Racetrack" UFO Cockpit Video [Starlink Again]

Ravi

Senior Member.
So the 4 dot pattern lights are not it, right? I think that is inside cockpit reflections.
What else do they see? Very hard to see in the vid.

But as usual, over at reddit many think it is conclusively not Starlink.
 

flarkey

Senior Member.
Staff member
A few things I think I heard in the video....

0m03s This is a recording we're past 48N 40W

1m05s Aircraft registration N61MN , and at 2m15 he says he's in position 46.38N 35.16W

5m50s Voice saying "it's just to the right of star Arcturus".

Edit: corrected the position of N61MN
 
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flarkey

Senior Member.
Staff member
So the 4 dot pattern lights are not it, right? I think that is inside cockpit reflections.
What else do they see? Very hard to see in the vid.
Correct, what they see is a 'star' or multiple 'stars' moving around in the distance close to the horizon
But as usual, over at reddit many think it is conclusively not Starlink.
Yep. Mostly because the pilots say it is doing things that Starlink wouldn't do.
 

Ravi

Senior Member.
Yep. Mostly because the pilots say it is doing things that Starlink wouldn't do.

If only a very well made video with a proper aperture and quality is used by the pilots, so that we can conclude things. But all they use is iphones.
 

flarkey

Senior Member.
Staff member
We can hear the pilot of N61MN on the audio of the video. The last date that I can confirm that aircraft N61MN flew across the Atlantic is 16 November 2022. Accurate tracking stops over the mid Atlantic at around 0400z. But the coordinates of the estimated track match the position and altitude at 0525z as reported in the Audio. (46.38N 35.16W)

1669894779093.png

1669894968876.png

So is it safe to say that the video was recorded at 05.25z on 16 November 2022 ...?
 
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flarkey

Senior Member.
Staff member
There's three A320 type aircraft over the Atlantic, at the time of the video ie 0525z on 16 November - but only one is in the region of "past 48N 40W" , and that is Air Transat TS728 from Montreal to London.

1669905745740.png

Note that the screenshot below from Flight Radar 24 says it departed "2h.52 ago", which fits with the elapsed time indicator that I showed in the post above. (For reference TSC244 is at 2h45m, but hasn't reached 40W yet, and TSC110 is at 3h22m.) Additionally we can see that the plane is at 33,000 ft, as noted previously.

1669911555533.png

Clock and Elapsed Time Indicator:

1670064994567.png

And if they are reporting "past 48N 40W" then they were probably on Trans-Atlantic eastbound track WHISKEY, for 16 Nov = 320th day of the year ( Search for TMI=320 on https://blackswan.ch/?page_id=73)

1669897117863.png
 

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flarkey

Senior Member.
Staff member
@flarkey , does that mean it can be also Starlink sats popping up in front of them?
Haven't got to that bit yet. :p Need to work out an accurate position for the 0525z time.

Edit: I'll go with an estimate of 48.2N 38.9W at 05.25Z On 16 November. Lets see what in-the-sky.org brings up.....

1669898856626.png
 
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flarkey

Senior Member.
Staff member
Are there any earlier crossings that could be a match?
Its possible, but I haven't found any. However - I think the fact that we've found a plane of the right type (A321) with the right elapsed (2hr26m) time in the right location ("past 48N 40W") at the same time as N61MN is nearby is enough of a correlation to be confident that this is the plane that the video was recorded from.
 

flarkey

Senior Member.
Staff member
@Ravi -

Assuming that the aircraft is the right one... The aircraft would have been in transatlantic track WHISKEY which is a bearing of 078 degrees, which is practically ENE.

1669899636707.png

Taking the aircraft's estimated position, and the time that is seen in the video, we can check for Starlink visbility. The website in-the-sky.org shows that there were indeed Starlink satellites in the sky, near the horizon, with the Sun directly below them at the time the video was recorded.

1669899231337.png

1669899346174.png

So its pretty safe to say that the lights that were seen are probably Starlink satellites.

Its noticeable that the star Arcturus is below the horizon (at the green crosshairs) in this screen shot, but it would have been above the horizon when viewed from an altitude of 40,000 ft, and was commented upon in the video at 5m50s with one pilot saying on the radio that the light is " just to the right of star Arcturus" - this fits with this analysis.

Here's a 3d graphic showing where the flaring satellites are located - over central Europe, thats about 3200km away.

1669901816229.png
 
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Ravi

Senior Member.
@flarkey, nice!

The problem with Starlink, it seems, is that there are so many of them, and basically all going at the same rate/speed. Thus it is very likely to show up in an identical way to many pilots. Correct?
 

flarkey

Senior Member.
Staff member
@flarkey, nice!

The problem with Starlink, it seems, is that there are so many of them, and basically all going at the same rate/speed. Thus it is very likely to show up in an identical way to many pilots. Correct?
Yes, as they are so far away they will appear very similar to aircraft that are close by each other.
 

yoshy

Member
So the 4 dot pattern lights are not it, right? I think that is inside cockpit reflections.
What else do they see? Very hard to see in the vid.

But as usual, over at reddit many think it is conclusively not Starlink.

Skip to 4:30. You can see the lights pretty well then
 

flarkey

Senior Member.
Staff member
Tried to sync up the video with Stellarium. (I'm new to this video making thing!)

You can (just about) see that the movement of the lights synchronise with the video. This is difficult as there are no static features in the background, and the camera is zooming in and out. The historic TLE file is attached if anybody else wants to try the same.

Edit - i tried this with some simple annotations.... (sorry about the watermark!)

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5K32l9eQlyk&feature=youtu.be&ab_channel=Flarkey


 

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Mendel

Senior Member.
@flarkey, nice!

The problem with Starlink, it seems, is that there are so many of them, and basically all going at the same rate/speed. Thus it is very likely to show up in an identical way to many pilots. Correct?
the problem with Starlink is that people have learned what a starlink train in orbit-raise looks like, so when they hear the word they don't identify it with the on-station flare sequence causing the "racetrack" sightings, and object to the analysis.
 

JMartJr

Senior Member
the problem with Starlink is that people have learned what a starlink train in orbit-raise looks like, so when they hear the word they don't identify it with the on-station flare sequence causing the "racetrack" sightings, and object to the analysis.
Sure, but the trains used to generate a lot of "mysterious UFO" claims, until people got used to them. (Presumably there are still people seeing one for the first time and being amazed, but I for one am seeing fewer reports, and more people eager to explain what was seen.)

Now that it has been determined that this new visual display is becoming more common and has been identified so definitively here and elsewhere, I suspect the same thing will happen again.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Sure, but the trains used to generate a lot of "mysterious UFO" claims, until people got used to them. (Presumably there are still people seeing one for the first time and being amazed, but I for one am seeing fewer reports, and more people eager to explain what was seen.)

Now that it has been determined that this new visual display is becoming more common and has been identified so definitively here and elsewhere, I suspect the same thing will happen again.
I don't think it will be quite as easy as with the trains. Those were really obvious and recognizable phenomena, bright and visible from the ground. The deployed Starlink flares are dim, best seen from a plane, and somewhat ambiguous.
 

JMartJr

Senior Member
I don't think it will be quite as easy as with the trains. Those were really obvious and recognizable phenomena, bright and visible from the ground. The deployed Starlink flares are dim, best seen from a plane, and somewhat ambiguous.
On the other hand, they are seen largely by pilots, a smaller group in communication with one another, so hopefully the information will spread in that community.

But we'll see how it plays out -- the last few years have certainly dealt a blow to my thinking that I can accurately forecast what people will believe or disbelieve, and what they'll do about it!:oops:
 

Ravi

Senior Member.
On the other hand, they are seen largely by pilots, a smaller group in communication with one another, so hopefully the information will spread in that community.

But we'll see how it plays out -- the last few years have certainly dealt a blow to my thinking that I can accurately forecast what people will believe or disbelieve, and what they'll do about it!:oops:
But, pilots also frequent reddit and no, they are not super human, nor are they all seriously looking for truth. I predict this "race tack ufo" stuff will be going on for quite a while.
 

FatPhil

Senior Member.
But, pilots also frequent reddit and no, they are not super human, nor are they all seriously looking for truth. I predict this "race tack ufo" stuff will be going on for quite a while.

Is there a magazine that pilots read a lot - maybe Mick could write a short article about the phenomenon for it? Reach out to them, and cut off the problem of bogus reports in the bud.
 

flarkey

Senior Member.
Staff member

FatPhil

Senior Member.

Ann K

Senior Member.
@Mick West and @flarkey are featured in The Debrief, in an extensive article about the phenomena.

On October 19, The Debrief reported on several of the recent incidents, first investigated by researcher and television personality Ben Hansen, who posted several videos online provided to him by pilots who filmed the objects. (Got this article through a link in CFI's Morning Heresy.)

Soon afterward, a plausible solution was put forward on the popular Metabunk website by one of its users, “Flarkey,” who demonstrated that most of the objects appearing in the videos were consistent with the position and movement of Starlink satellites at the time of the sightings. In a subsequent video that appeared on his YouTube channel, Metabunk creator Mick West detailed the process originally used by Flarkey to resolve several of the pilot sightings.

----

"Pilots are human,” West said in the video, “and while they are great at flying planes, they are not always good at identifying things they have never seen before. But really, who is?”
Content from External Source
https://thedebrief.org/recent-pilot-uap-sightings-point-to-aviation-safety-challenges-experts-say/
 
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FatPhil

Senior Member.
This thread is getting some traction on PPrune, which is a Pilot's Message Board. Hopefully that will create some awareness amongst airline pilots ...

https://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/649920-light-show-between-40-30-west.html

Is "Initially, I put it down to the SpaceX starlink cubesats moving in varying orbits and catching the reflecting sun. But, as another pilot pointed out, they were not moving in a fixed orbital path…" traction? That sounds more like the opposite, that's stubbornness, a reaction against your various proofs.

They only flare briefly, I'm wondering how he can conclude anything about their orbital, or otherwise, path from such a small and non-triangulated data sample. Top tip - if you can't ascertain the distance to the object, you certainly can't conclude what path it's on. Unless you're an "expert" with lots of "experience", apparently. Maybe he could look at photos of newly discovered asteroids, and tell us whether they're on earth-collision paths as a public service, it would be a shame to waste his preternatural skills.
 

Easy Muffin

Senior Member
The most important factor for seeing the flares seems to be your position relative to the sun.
Come to think of it I suppose that to someone who's looking at all of this from the outside these satellite matchings might even appear like a cheap way of discrediting every sighting as bunk: Starlink sats seemingly everywhere -> point at random sats that happened to cross that part of the sky -> use them as an excuse to explain the sighting away, maybe not realing that a) it's a bit more involved than that and b) those sats are still nowhere near ubiquitous enough for this kind of thing.
The lighting geometry could be a more compelling way, after all the flares only happen in very specific circumstances with the sun along the same line of sight and at a particular elevation below the horizon.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Come to think of it I suppose that to someone who's looking at all of this from the outside these satellite matchings might even appear like a cheap way of discrediting every sighting as bunk: Starlink sats seemingly everywhere -> point at random sats that happened to cross that part of the sky -> use them as an excuse to explain the sighting away
the strongest counter is this:
the flares only happen in very specific circumstances with the sun along the same line of sight
1) this is fairly easy to approximately verify by lay people (using a 24-hour clock face to approximate the sun direction)
2) random UFO sightings could appear in any direction
3) Starlink flares only ever appear in direction of the invisible sun
2) and 3) mean that most "real" UFO sightings shouldn't be "dismissible" as Starlink
 
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Itsme

Active Member
Starlink flares only ever appear in direction of the invisible sun
Isn't that true for any remote object that depends on solar reflection to be visible from a distance?
The pilots report sudden changes in direction and circular motions, which is why they reconsidered their initial thought that these were (starlink) sattelites.
 

flarkey

Senior Member.
Staff member
Isn't that true for any remote object that depends on solar reflection to be visible from a distance?
The pilots report sudden changes in direction and circular motions, which is why they reconsidered their initial thought that these were (starlink) sattelites.

I dont think this is necessarily true. This is only true for satellites where the reflective surface is tangential to the curvature of the earth, as is the case with the Starlink chassis.

https://www.metabunk.org/attachments/1665433732947-png.55216

Conversely, Iridium flares reflected their 'flare' off panels that were angled to the satellite orientation, which meant that they had a much more complex geometry when producing their flares. They could be 'behind' the observer on a vector away from the sun.

1670235537453.png
http://dkami.umcs.pl/how-to-calculate-flares-from-satellites/

edits: clarification
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
Isn't that true for any remote object that depends on solar reflection to be visible from a distance?
Non-flaring satellites you see in the sky are visible via diffuse reflection, which is non-directional; they stop being visible once they enter Earth's shadow.

Satellite flares are caused by specular reflection. If you've ever used a mirror, or a small polished surface such as a wristwatch, to project the sun as a bright spot on some shadowy wall or ceiling, you know that the area that is hit by such a specular reflection can be quite small; the flare won't be visible outside that area. Visibility of a satellite flare depends entirely on the angle of the "mirror"-surface on the satellite.
The pilots report sudden changes in direction and circular motions, which is why they reconsidered their initial thought that these were (starlink) sattelites.
Review of the available video evidence strongly suggests that these reports are caused by optical illusions, created by the unusual repeating nature of the starlink flares.

For example, if you see a lighthouse beam sweep left-to-right in a repeating way, you rightfully conclude that the sweep is circular, and you simply can't see the back arc as it is sweeping in the other direction. But Starlink sweeping left-to-right in a repeating way is caused by several identical satellites moving through the observer's flare spot in turn. This looks similar to the lighthouse sweep, so a witness may assume (and remember!) a circular motion with unseen direction reversal. This fits in with what we know about how witnesses construct and retain memories.

In a starlink train, which is a set of satellites moving from a lower launch orbit to their higher station, you see all of the satellites at the same time, which does not cause this optical illusion. "Not starlink" sometimes simply means "not a starlink train", but the starlink flares look quite different.
 
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Itsme

Active Member
For example, if you see a lighthouse beam sweep left-to-right in a repeating way, you rightfully conclude that the sweep is circular, and you simply can't see the back arc as it is sweeping in the other direction. But Starlink sweeping left-to-right in a repeating way is caused by several identical satellites moving through the observer's flare spot in turn. This looks similar to the lighthouse sweep, so a witness may assume (and remember!) a circular motion with unseen direction reversal. This fits in with what we know about how witnesses construct and retain memories.
On top of that, the starlink satellites are in orbits going in different directions. This creates an additional illusion of "swirling", nicely illustrated from 2:30 in the video below. If you look at the horizon in this video, you see the "swirling" illusion clearly.

 

flarkey

Senior Member.
Staff member
Here's the full video sync'd with Stellarium only using the time seen on the aircraft's clock. (Some chaps on Reddit had thought I'd synchronised the videos with satellite movement that looked like the movement in the video.)

The movement of the objects matches the Starlink satellites exactly.

Skip to 4m45s for the interesting bit...

Source: https://youtu.be/kmp0AwndWNw
 
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Ravi

Senior Member.
@flarkey

The match is (specially at 4:45) fantastic.
Good job man.

Shows pretty well the "random" directions in which the sats seem to move. I can imagine (as a pilot) you are more used to satellites or planes just moving in a horizontal plane.
 
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