Need ID: Strings over Clouds on Satellite Pictures


Senior Member
A user on reddit came up with a satellite picture taken on Nov 9 over the nimitz strike group training area.

It shows some pixelated lines above the clouds, that arguably look like compression artifacts.

However, I zoomed out and tried to find other lines like these but couldnt.

So I figured maybe, if these are real objects then they should reappear somewhere when I change the hours or even days.

I then went to the next day and followed the wind direction and found them again in the south pacific ocean, supposedly moving with the wind.

If these are compression artifacts, then it might just be a funny coincidence with the wind direction and that i couldnt see them over / within / under other clouds, land or sea.

What is this? Could this have caused the radar tracks Kevin Day (the radar operator in the Nimitz incident) witnessed on his radar?

Photographs are from:,-148.7,3.9z/date=2004-11-10,am/layers=daily

- A) zoomed in on Nov 9
- B) zoomed out on Nov 9

- C) zoomed in on Nov 10
- D) zoomed out on Nov 10 (I marked the "lines" yellow)

PS: Open the pictures to see what I mean


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Can you clarify what I am looking for in the yellow circle in pic D?
its the group of "strings".
i marked them yellow because otherwise they can easily be missed.

the picture with the black C) is the yellow part magnified.

its an overview to show how they have moved within 24 hours

heres another one, even more zoomed out.

note: the huge black and white stripes on top are because of to the stiched together satellite picture tiles


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i was gonna try to track that specific satellite as it orbited, but when you zoom in the date changes and i'm all confused.

anyway, it seems to be moving (the satellite-with-dirty-lens ...i'm calling it) to the left, maybe you can track the days. the sections move a bit to the right as i guess satellites are on an angle.

:) does that make sense? anyway i tracked it 3 days until i realized "zoom earth keeps changing the dates ...TLDR, i think its a dirty lens.

You need one of the satellite guys on here to look up what satellites were used in 2004. then they can track the dirt and verify or deny if it's just a dirty lens. You need orbit speed to track the dirt efficiently.
Thanks... I can't see them in that picture, perhaps I need a bigger screen.
the link in the op zooms into them. that apparently is his link not the reddit images link.

"strings" is an odd word, but i'm not sure what else to call them..more like small tree needles

i guess it could be something with those color sensors in the camera too.... they are too spread out to easily see a pattern from one day to the next (and they need to be over cloud to see them). i'll look more closely later for a pattern that might indicate burnt out pixel type stuff.

but they never cross this photo seam, so its something satellite specific.


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