Night sky long exposure light trail

Could it possibly be a small commercial drone being used to search for a missing person or animal using infrared looking for a heat signature? More and more police departments and other government organizations are using these. It looks high though, but very difficult to determine height at night, especially if there is no sound.
 
Could it possibly be a small commercial drone being used to search for a missing person or animal using infrared looking for a heat signature? More and more police departments and other government organizations are using these. It looks high though, but very difficult to determine height at night, especially if there is no sound.
Cornwall is kinda ..rural. maybe a resident drone. No gov agency is gonna care about a missing animal and missing person would be a copter (not much happens in CT so a missing person would get a real proper response)
 
Could it possibly be a small commercial drone being used to search for a missing person or animal using infrared looking for a heat signature? More and more police departments and other government organizations are using these. It looks high though, but very difficult to determine height at night, especially if there is no sound.
UAV would make some sense, particularly prop if the movements are truly depicted accurately (loop).
 
Do you have any other photos from this night that you could share?
Wondering if any similar exposures from before or after this one might provide some additional context.
The context photos are here. For those of you wondering, 24s is pretty much the max exposure for 16mm with minimal star trails. I added in a car photo for some light reference as well as before and after. Any added streaking/blur at the edges is caused by the wideness of the lens.
The last photo is from a few miles further south and has a good October meteor light reference. It's an art photo so only the jpg is provided.

Edit: None of the raw files will load (I did try one at a time). I'll try again tomorrow. Here's jpgs for now.AX4A2068.JPG
 

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After and meteor.

Edit: jpg loading
 

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If it helps, this is the complete EXIF
Depth Of Field : inf (3.64 m - inf)
Content from External Source
I'm happy that we're considering close-by objects instead of assuming some sort of starcraft. This bit of EXIF data helps explain why: because objects as close as 12 ft. would still be in as perfect focus as the stars are.
 
I have an alternative to the problematic flying insects in low temperature scenario:
Drifting cattail seeds.

https://www.nature.org/content/dam/tnc/nature/en/documents/UT_WingsWater_WetlandProducers_Jan19.pdf
Cattails reproduce by seed but more extensively, rhizome. In fact,
an entire acre of cattails may consist of only a few individual plants (see adaptations).
They flower from May through July, but the tiny flowers have no petals. They’re
packed into dense, cylindrical spikes; the narrow upper one contains the maile parts,
the wider lower one, the female parts. In the spring, the entire spike will appear until
the male spike falls away after it’s pollen is shed. In early fall, the brown flower head
enlarges (giving it that “hot dog on a stick” look), then pops open to let wind, water and
gravity spread it’s fluffy seed.

cattails
71dr5HowuKL.jpg

cattail seeds


Camera position
Map.png

There's a pond nearby.

Screenshot of that pond from the road. Are these cattails? I think they are. The pods are still immature in this August, 2016 Google Maps frame... I think.
cattails.png


But in this cattail seed scenario, we're still presented with the light source problem. What's the light source? The nearby road is lined with utility poles. But no street lights.
 
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Ah, wait a minute... Car headlights, of course.

Looking south on Cornwall Bridge Road toward Y-intersection with Dunbar Road. The camera was in this field to our right.

Road.png


Farther north on Cornwall Bridge Road. Cars are headed slightly uphill. The headlights are positioned... maybe... to shine on stuff just above the camera, but not into the lens.
North 2.png

The streak is just the right color temperature for LED or xenon headlights. Not the right color temp for a red filtered flashlight. Headlights, especially high beams, would be bright enough to illuminate an insect or seed pod.
2023-11-15_09-41-48 (1).jpg

I briefly mused upon the possibility the streak could be a lens flare or sensor reflection of headlights, but the shape of the track rules that out.
 
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It seems possible that that the OP red headlamp is bright enough to illuminate spider silk, or a spider itself for the brief period required for the tracks.

I think I did this wrong, but here’s a quote and the link appears to be embedded between the EX tags.


When temperatures drop, spiders produce an anti-freeze type chemical called polyhydroxy alcohol. It works similarly to the antifreeze we put in our cars, allowing spiders to survive temperatures as low as -5°F.
Content from External Source
The red lamp might produce enough illumination from a nearby reflection to show up on a camera set up for night photography. Just last week, at 28F, I saw a dozen or more spider silks draped over my gazebo. The little crab spiders (?) were tiny.

The track in the photo could be the ballooning silk, or even the spider itself.

Edit: That didn’t work, so here’s the URL. https://www.413pestfree.com/blog/post/isn-t-it-too-cold-for-there-to-be-spiders-in-springfield#:~:text=When temperatures drop, spiders produce,low as -5°F.
 
What do you think could be this beyond the trees ?


1700138707316.png
I think this streak was caused by lights on a single car on Cornwall Bridge Road or on Dunbar Road. If you look carefully, the apparent dashes are caused by branches. The abrupt start of the streak is easily explained. It marks the moment the shutter opened.

Kropped 2.png

This wouldn't be the same car that illuminated the object in the air above the camera, though. It's not in the right spot.
 
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Depth Of Field : inf (3.64 m - inf)
Content from External Source
I'm happy that we're considering close-by objects instead of assuming some sort of starcraft. This bit of EXIF data helps explain why: because objects as close as 12 ft. would still be in as perfect focus as the stars are.
I’m not familiar with all the EXIF data but this is probably denoting the full range of the lens at all F-stops. At 2.8 this would be a very shallow depth of field, so perfect focus at 12ft would be impossible when the lens is focused near infinity to focus on the stars
 
Are these cattails? I think they are
it's not. its this feather top alot of our grass gets. same difference though, the concept is the same. any type of flora flying through sky.

all types of seedy type fluffs in conn.
1700325167991.png
1700325310588.png

1700325387697.png
 
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Thanks. I'm a desert rat. I've only seen cattails in old Porky Pig cartoons. ...When he's duck hunting.

I think it's still reasonable to think there are seedpods in the air in the autumn in Connecticut. The slightest air current/vortex... whatever... can make them drift about crazily. I have seen cottonwood and dandelion seedpods act just this way.

EDIT: Seedpod is not the correct word. The fluff is a pappus.
 
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I think I've solved the light source problem.

Could be insects if someone can show evidence that there are flying insects at night in Connecticut at that time of year in that temp. Or plant parts - maybe we should consider leaves and pollen as well. Or spider web. Or something else drifting in the air.
 
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What is the light source?
Perhaps a brief flashlight usage?

Or, as said, distant car headlights. They have cropped up in other cases. In Skinwalker and other haunted ranches, they are responsible for mysterious illuminations of hillsides.
 
I think I've solved the light source problem.

Could be insects if someone can show evidence that there are flying insects at night in Connecticut at that time of year in that temp. Or plant parts - maybe we should consider leaves and pollen as well. Or spider web. Or something else drifting in the air.
the only problem with flora is they tumble in flight, and depending on the different angles...would the long exposure trail they leave be that solid like we see in the pic? maybe a small piece of actual fluff would stay lit despite the tumble. ??

leaves in sunlight:
20231118_115740.jpg

cattail nearish cornwall

Screenshot 2023-11-18 115515.png
 
Perhaps a brief flashlight usage?

Or, as said, distant car headlights. They have cropped up in other cases. In Skinwalker and other haunted ranches, they are responsible for mysterious illuminations of hillsides.
Yes, although I can't find anyone mentioning headlights in this thread. (Could this be vanity?)

In my scenario the (two?) streaks in the sky are caused by small but close objects in the air illuminated by the headlights of a car on Cornwall Bridge Road. The headlights are not themselves in the line of sight of the camera.

Can't be a flashlight as the only one at the scene was a red filtered flashlight.

I've several times mentioned my most memorable UFO experience: A moth illuminated of by powerful stadium lights during a night game at Anaheim Stadium. Against the night sky, the brightness was striking.

The brighter streak in this photo isn't as dramatic as that moth was, but headlight illumination would be plenty bright enough to be noticeable in this contrasty situation.
 
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This is the approximate line of sight of the camera, btw. But from the road, of course.

https://www.google.com/maps/@41.833...lMl9cLttjYjT6XUw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?entry=ttu

Photo is from Nov 12, 2023 at 11:55pm. [Mod: time was originally given as 10/12]

76.2s exposure.
Location: https://www.google.com/maps/@41.8330889,-73.4296507,15.55z?entry=ttu

Your photo doesn't quite match with the pinned position here:
Map.png

It looks to me as if you were close to the west side of Dunbar Road. Just south of the Y-intersection. What say you?
 
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Yes, that make sense. This is consistent with the headlight illumination scenario.

Btw, in that case this streak would be caused by a car on a more distant road. East Road, most likely.

Kropped.png
 
Photo with car light trail just after OPed photo (angle is a bit more north facing)
Converted to PNG.

Looking more northerly along Dunbar Road (on our left) and Cornwall Bridge Road (on our right).
This streak is caused by a car traveling north. Mostly tail lights.
AX4A2071.png

I think the bright streak was caused by a car traveling south... when it got just about here.
AX4A2071 Arrow.png

Once again, the car was not directly in the line of sight of the camera. The headlights were acting as a spotlight. Shining on something small and close to the camera.

In that brief window of opportunity, a fast flying small bug is looking better than something drifting. Except for the nagging question of place, time, and weather. Don't we have a biologist onboard here at MB?
 
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Well... one bit of info, for what it's worth. There's a list of bugs. But of those, only midges fly.

https://www.pctonline.com/article/winter-insects-are-cool/

Those in the northern part of the country know that winter usually brings a reduction in insects. When freezing temperatures, snow and ice blanket the outside, most of our pests tend to hunker down. They wait for warmer temperatures before coming out to bug us again. Sure, there are indoor overwintering pests like lady beetles, stink bugs, cluster flies and more. But there also are insects that are actually active in winter

MIDGES. There are also several flies, mostly midges, that are active during winter. Like springtails, these insects can emerge in huge numbers that can concern customers. Midges are aquatic in their immature stages so adults are often found near streams, ponds and other freshwater areas. Like mayflies in the spring, there will be massive swarms of these insects as they emerge as adults and quickly look for a mate. The good news is these immense clouds of midges don’t last long. Adults only live a few days. Adult midges also are harmless; they don’t bite or sting, nor do they carry any diseases.
 
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trichoceridae

Trichoceridae, or winter crane flies, of the order Diptera are long, thin, delicate insects superficially similar in appearance to the Tipulidae, Tanyderidae, and Ptychopteridae. The presence of ocelli distinguishes the Trichoceridae from these other families. There are approximately 160 known species. The adults can be found flying in the fall and the spring and some are active even in the winter, hence their common name. They form dancing, loose swarms of mostly males. Adults can also be found resting inside caves and hollow logs. Larvae occur in moist habitats where they feed on decaying organic matter. They are of no economic importance.

Range​

Distributed globally. Most Trichoceridae species are found in non-tropical regions (Holarctic regions). There are 27 species in North America.

Description​

Besides Trichoceridae, there are very few insects that appear in adult form during winter months. They are usually seen in the fall or early spring and can be seen on mild winter days. Adult trichocerids are medium-sized flies that are hard to distinguish in the field.
 

Connecticut
Article:
They emerge in late November to December.
[..] They fly when temperatures are above freezing ..

A native moth called the Bruce spanworm has an identical biology and development to the winter moth. These two species are able to mate and produce offspring.


only iffy bit is it was below freezing in Cornwall that day from 6 pm on.
1700398192033.png
https://www.wunderground.com/history/daily/us/ct/cornwall/KDXR/date/2023-11-12
 
@nmarsollier said:

I think this streak was caused by lights on a single car on Cornwall Bridge Road or on Dunbar Road. If you look carefully, the apparent dashes are caused by branches. The abrupt start of the streak is easily explained. It marks the moment the shutter opened.

This wouldn't be the same car that illuminated the object in the air above the camera, though. It's not in the right spot.

See post #25

https://www.metabunk.org/threads/night-sky-long-exposure-light-trail.13256/#post-305842

1700469582316.png
 
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