Case File Status: Solved, Lens Flares

Background

The witness submitted the following case to The Black Vault / TBV Investigations on 06/08/2019. The case was assigned to TBV Investigator Jim Kerr for investigation and analysis. Date, Time, and Location of Sighting: 12/29/2017 AT 8:00 PM. Cooroy, Queensland, Australia.

Witness Testimony

I’ve attached four photos (in sequential order) taken at a friend’s place one night.

The object was about three feet in front of me, moving slowly upward and away, and I’ve attached these particular photos because they were relatively clear. I literally have over a thousand photos of anomalies which neither Mary Rodwell nor Nancy Talbott can offer an answer for. I’d be happy to send you some if you’d like to see them. I personally would love an explanation! It drives me a bit mad knowing I clearly have evidence of something yet have absolutely no idea what it/they/them might be.

The Evidence

The witness submitted 4-photos. They are numbered 1-4.

Weather: Historical source from wunderground.com

Note: this historical weather information for 12/29/2017 at 8:00 pm was from Sunshine Beach Queensland Australia, which is located approx 15 miles from the town of Cooroy.

Temperature 77 deg, Dew Point 69 deg, Humidity 77%, Wind 9 mph from the north, Pressure 29.93 in, Precipitation 0.0 in, Condition partly cloudy.

Astronomical Historical Data from Stellarium

Searching the archives of Stellarium (a planetarium software that shows exactly what you see when you look up at night and day time sky), I was able to view precisely what celestial objects were visible to the witness from their location.

On 12/29/2017, at 8:00 pm, the moon was the brightest object in the sky. The moon was 10.6 days old and was 81.2% illuminated. This lunar information will be important for the analysis and conclusions of this investigation.

Stellarium view from Brisbane Australia 12/29/2017 at 8:00 pm.

Stellarium view from Brisbane Australia 12/29/2017 at 8:00 pm.

Stellarium view from Brisbane Australia, 12/29/2017, at 8:00 pm. The moon was 10.6 days old and was 81.2% illuminated. This lunar information will be important for the analysis and conclusions of this investigation.

Analysis

I have over 40 years of experience as an amateur astronomer, photographer, astrophotographer, and videographer. I have experience in taking nighttime photography when the moon is bright, causing issues with lens flares.

In all four photos the witness submitted, the 81.2% illuminated moon can clearly be seen. Around the area of the moon, cloud cover can be seen that corroborates the weather information. All four photos show lens flares caused by the brightness of the moon.

My intent here is not to debunk or criticize the witness’ belief that she captured an anomaly. My intention is to help with nighttime photography. There are techniques, lenses, lens hoods that can eliminate lens flares due to bright objects in the night sky. Below are some helpful links. 

Conclusion

Case File Status: Solved, lens flares caused by a bright moon.

References/Helpful Information

https://www.the-photography-blogger.com/lens-flare-night-long-exposure-photography/

https://photo.stackexchange.com/questions/89104/how-to-avoid-light-flares-in-long-exposure-night-shots

https://photographylife.com/what-is-ghosting-and-flare

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