Rectangle In The Sky Over North London

EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
Staff member
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
12,452
Likes
14,005
Points
309
Location
Out of Bounds
#31
how could a spotlight/searchlight or other illumination from an aircraft produce the moving rectilinear effect observed ...
One possibility - described by eburacum in post #22 above - is that the visible rectangle was only a portion of a broader light (beam; whatever) truncated by the cloud / haze mass that reflected or perhaps refracted it.

Another possibility is that the rectangle was more distant than the aircraft and represented a bright light or illumination from within the moving aircraft whose external projection was bounded into rectangular form by a window (or open side door on a helicopter) on the far (unseen) side of the aircraft.
 

EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
Staff member
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
12,452
Likes
14,005
Points
309
Location
Out of Bounds
#32
... could the aircraft have been carrying something, illuminated for safety/manoeuvring ?
It's conceivable ... I mentioned the notion of a rectangular object being transported beneath a heavy copter / sky crane in an earlier post.
 

henry

still speeding
Joined
Oct 23, 2005
Messages
3,702
Likes
890
Points
0
#33
i guess its the regularity of the shape in original description which is hard to "square" against a spotlight projected onto cloud, but could be the case under certain conditions ...
 

EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
Staff member
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
12,452
Likes
14,005
Points
309
Location
Out of Bounds
#34
i guess its the regularity of the shape in original description which is hard to "square" against a spotlight projected onto cloud, but could be the case under certain conditions ...
Yep ... The clearly discriminable rectangular shape is a pesky constraint on the range of reasonable hypotheses.
 

Victory

Ephemeral Spectre
Joined
Jan 15, 2017
Messages
285
Likes
487
Points
64
Location
London
#35
Thanks again for your ideas.

What has to be noted is that the rectangle faded rapidly, but the flashing light (and aircraft) continued moving from West to East, without it causing a rectangle.

So if a light or lights did cause the rectangle, they were a different light or lights from the flashing light.

I do accept that the precise straight edges of the rectangle, could have been my mind "filling in" or "straightening" an illuminated area of sky which was not precise in shape.

But it is vital to note that the rectangle contained an area of sky which had both cloud and no (visible) cloud.
 

EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
Staff member
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
12,452
Likes
14,005
Points
309
Location
Out of Bounds
#36
... What has to be noted is that the rectangle faded rapidly, but the flashing light (and aircraft) continued moving from West to East, without it causing a rectangle.
So if a light or lights did cause the rectangle, they were a different light or lights from the flashing light. ...
A-HA!!

This new bit of information allows me to rule out a number of possibilities and concentrate on a smaller set - some of which seemed more probable but maybe not ...

In brainstorming on possibilities, I found it easy to come up with scenarios that explained things if only the two lights were coincidentally related rather than linked by the same cause (e.g., both being the result of effects from a single moving aircraft).

Thanks!
 

Ermintruder

Delineated by a professional cryptozoologist
Joined
Jul 13, 2013
Messages
5,243
Likes
6,873
Points
284
#37
I found it easy to come up with scenarios that explained things if only the two lights were coincidentally related rather than linked by the same cause
By this, do you mean an adduced 'box constellation' effect, potentially via the perspective aggregation of co-axial layers (as opposed to any actual coplanar formation or singular source)?

(If so, I've a not-so-crazy theory as to how this type of effect might (conceivably) be more perceptable nowadays....and yes, @EnolaGaia....could this be some kind sky symmetry, aeroplanes in plain planes of view, in the sense of "shelved in the stack"....altitudinally-seperated via transponding radar, d-GPS co-vectored, and therefore seen pseudogrouped from below (in semi-parallax) as an amalgam? Their headings and speeds could be almost-identical.....thus they could form a visual 'aeroconjunction')
 
Last edited:

EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
Staff member
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
12,452
Likes
14,005
Points
309
Location
Out of Bounds
#38
By this, do you mean an adduced 'box constellation' effect, potentially via the perspective aggregation of co-axial layers (as opposed to any actual coplanar formation or singular source)?
Assuming I"m parsing your question correctly - yes.


(If so, I've a not-so-crazy theory as to how this type of effect might (conceivably) be more perceptable nowadays....and yes, @EnolaGaia....could this be some kind sky symmetry, aeroplanes in plain planes of view, in the sense of "shelved in the stack"....altitudinally-seperated via transponding radar, d-GPS co-vectored, and therefore seen pseudogrouped from below (in semi-parallax) as an amalgam? Their headings and speeds could be almost-identical.....thus they could form a visual 'aeroconjunction')
As far as a pair of light / optical effects coincident enough to insinuate a common source - yes.

As far as this pair of effects both being causally connected to different aircraft - it's conceivable, but I don't think so.

I'm increasingly fond of the notion the phantom rectangle was caused from the ground below, not from up in the air.
 

Ermintruder

Delineated by a professional cryptozoologist
Joined
Jul 13, 2013
Messages
5,243
Likes
6,873
Points
284
#39
I'm increasingly fond of the notion the phantom rectangle was caused from the ground
Interesting....
<thinks>
  • Still/windless conditions (if there were such a context): a bank uplift of a blanket of dense mist, say from a field, and cookie-cut by hedgerows?
  • A reflective surface (eg an undisturbed body of water) projecting upwards onto a windshear-sliced pearlescent cloud?
  • Converged light-beams from angled car headlamps or cityscape, again upon an undercut sliced 'project-o-cloud'?
 

Victory

Ephemeral Spectre
Joined
Jan 15, 2017
Messages
285
Likes
487
Points
64
Location
London
#40
@EnolaGaia

Yes it is key that the flashing light flashed once whilst the rectangle had already faded. Then the light passed out of my view because it went over my block of flats.

@Ermintruder

The rectangle was really large ...500 hundred metres long is my best guess.
It was moving West to East, it was not static in position.

If the mist uplifted from below and was such a shape as a result of hedgerows, then such hedgerows must exist.
But they do not in my area.
But could a building have caused the same effect?

There is no body of water near me large enough, at least that is my thinking.
The nearest one of any note is an irregular shape, at least half a mile to the East of the rectangle when it was at it's nearest point to me, before it faded.

I saw no light beams from below or above, no beams at all connected to the rectangle.
 

EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
Staff member
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
12,452
Likes
14,005
Points
309
Location
Out of Bounds
#41
First - as I mentioned earlier, there's a chance the rectangle was a direct projection of strong light solely from the far side of an aircraft carrying the flashing light onto a more distant band or layer of cloud / haze. Having made that reminder ...

A directly-projected or reflected bright light source on the ground might have resulted in a rectangularly-framed shape on such cloud / haze in the sky.

If it had been an open (un-framed or non-bounded) direct projection or upward reflection of a light source on the ground, the light source was moving west-to-east (as you observed the apparent motion). In this scenario, one problem becomes the well-defined rectangular shape. If it had been a reflection off something on the ground, my #1 guess would be a large window or similar reflective surface.

If it had been a direct projection or reflection of a light source through a gap or aperture (e.g., a gap between two buildings) the light source could have been moving east-to-west. This version helps explain how the projected light resulted in a bounded rectangular shape.

If it had been a reflection off a single static window / surface on the ground, it could have been caused by a bright light source traveling east-to-west.

The beam causing the shape above need not have been visible at all.

If this sort of thing occurred, the dramatic observed / apparent size of the rectangular shape could have been much larger than the light / reflection source on the ground, because even un-lensed beams progressively expand in size over distance.
 

henry

still speeding
Joined
Oct 23, 2005
Messages
3,702
Likes
890
Points
0
#42
could the projection have remained orthogonal if source on the ground
 

XBergMann

Fear not, I mean no harm to your planet
Joined
Jul 22, 2009
Messages
322
Likes
522
Points
109
#43
I am glad it was a rectangle not a cube, otherwise you might have been assimilated
 

eburacum

Papo-furado
Joined
Aug 26, 2005
Messages
3,216
Likes
1,160
Points
169
#44
What has to be noted is that the rectangle faded rapidly, but the flashing light (and aircraft) continued moving from West to East, without it causing a rectangle.
So if a light or lights did cause the rectangle, they were a different light or lights from the flashing light.
The fact that the rectangle did not flash indicates that the flashing light did not cause the rectangle.
The fading of the rectangle could have been caused by the end of the thin band of cloud ( which was not itself visible, except when illuminated). REC1.png
 

EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
Staff member
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
12,452
Likes
14,005
Points
309
Location
Out of Bounds
#45
could the projection have remained orthogonal if source on the ground
It would depend on all the angles involved (e.g., light source to sky; aperture / gap angle to light source; observer position relative to everything else). If the rectilinear shape stayed strictly rectangular it would tend to suggest a reflection off a rectangular surface / object rather than the aperture / gap bounded version. However, the fact it was a relatively fleeting display keeps both possibilities in play.
 

henry

still speeding
Joined
Oct 23, 2005
Messages
3,702
Likes
890
Points
0
#46
The fact that the rectangle did not flash indicates that the flashing light did not cause the rectangle.
The fading of the rectangle could have been caused by the end of the thin band of cloud ( which was not itself visible, except when illuminated). View attachment 19141
looks good, the rectangular "screen" area was described as 500m across, and also as aligned with the fuselage ?
 

EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
Staff member
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
12,452
Likes
14,005
Points
309
Location
Out of Bounds
#47
looks good, the rectangular "screen" area was described as 500m across, and also as aligned with the fuselage ?
The possible aircraft itself wasn't visible. The most that can be said is that the rectangle aligned with the path of the flashing light.
 

henry

still speeding
Joined
Oct 23, 2005
Messages
3,702
Likes
890
Points
0
#48
dunno man, im not quite buying it, a 500m x 400m perfect rectangle of vivid nightime sky, including areas of no cloud, doesnt sound like a spotlight to me, on the plane or on the ground, unless, can those dimensions be wildly out ?
 

eburacum

Papo-furado
Joined
Aug 26, 2005
Messages
3,216
Likes
1,160
Points
169
#49
The dimensions could be considerably out, if it were a small plane or helicopter.
 

eburacum

Papo-furado
Joined
Aug 26, 2005
Messages
3,216
Likes
1,160
Points
169
#51
I would be happier if I knew what type of plane was involved. If it were a large military transport, like a Hercules or a Galaxy, then the larger rectangle would be within feasible limits.
 

EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
Staff member
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
12,452
Likes
14,005
Points
309
Location
Out of Bounds
#52
dunno man, im not quite buying it, a 500m x 400m perfect rectangle of vivid nightime sky, including areas of no cloud, doesnt sound like a spotlight to me, on the plane or on the ground, unless, can those dimensions be wildly out ?
There was no frame of reference for the rectangle's size except whatever one projects onto the possible interpretation(s) of the incident.

I presume Victory's size estimate was based on the impression the rectangular shape was associated with the known Heathrow flight corridor at some distance. If the rectangular shape was actually associated with a nearer aerial craft or an optical effect / illusion it may not have been as large as the originally assumed context would suggest.
 

Victory

Ephemeral Spectre
Joined
Jan 15, 2017
Messages
285
Likes
487
Points
64
Location
London
#53
@eburacum

That is an amazing graphic...how did you make it?

@henry @EnolaGaia

As regards the size of the rectangle...and it will have to be a guess...it was much larger than in eburacum's otherwise excellent graphic.

I guess at 500m long by 350 metres wide....but at an estimated altitude of 2000 metres....I think the cloud in the sky that night would have been Cumulus.

That is my guess based on how far the sides of the rectangle appeared to me to cover in relation to the ground below...so it could be the rectangle was larger...perhaps with even 1500 metres long sides?

A reflection off a window is introguing, but where would this window have been?
And how does this explain the fading....the rectangle definitely faded away over 05-0.75 of a second, rather than suddenly vanished.

P.S. Whilst I see aircraft "stacking" in queue to land at Heathrow..(West to East) to the East of my fats every evening, the flight paths are also non-civilian.
Two helicopters just passed from East to West over my flats at 00:20 hours.
If there is anyone else on here from North West London they must have heard them, they had flashing red lights and were loud!
 
Last edited:

henry

still speeding
Joined
Oct 23, 2005
Messages
3,702
Likes
890
Points
0
#55
I guess at 500m long by 350 metres wide....but at an estimated altitude of 2000 metres....I think the cloud in the sky that night would have been Cumulus.
in terms of the visual effect, from the outset you said it didnt appear to be the result of a spotlight, but was clearer or cleaner than surrounding clouds ... wondering if youve seen this effect before, in the same or other contexts ... and whether you ruled out spotlight illumination because of perceived scale of the effect, or simply due to the nature of what you saw
 

Victory

Ephemeral Spectre
Joined
Jan 15, 2017
Messages
285
Likes
487
Points
64
Location
London
#56
@henry

I have never seen this effect before or since.
I ruled out ground based spotlights - because of the scale of the rectangle, and it's perfect straight sides, the absence of visible beams, and the way it faded over 0.5-0.75 seconds.
I think that if a spotlight is turned off, then the image it produces vanishes rather than fades.
 
Top