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Re: What Was UFO Sighting In Sri Lanka?

From: Martin Shough <parcellular.nul>
Date: Sun, 25 Mar 2012 15:48:46 +0100
Archived: Sun, 25 Mar 2012 12:08:13 -0400
Subject: Re: What Was UFO Sighting In Sri Lanka?

>From: Steve Sawyer <stevesaw.nul>
>To: <post.nul>
>Date: Fri, 23 Mar 2012 22:04:41 -0700
>Subject: Re: What Was UFO Sighting In Sri Lanka?

>>From: UFO UpDates - Toronto <post.nul>
>>To: - UFO UpDates Subscribers -
>>Date: Monday, March 19, 2012 3:59 AM
>>Subject: UFO UpDate: What Was UFO Sighting In Sri Lanka?

>>Source: BBCNews


>>3 March 2011

>>What Was UFO Sighting In Sri Lanka?


>This incident in Sri Lanka took place on March 24th, 2004.

>I'd just like to pose a few questions and comments:

>An RAF employee, on vacation in Sri Lanka, hears what he thinks
>is a sudden clap of thunder. Dr. Clarke goes on to also say the
>guy thought he might have seen an atomic bomb going off, or a
>nuclear airburst. Note two things: there appears to be a white
>dot or small circle in the middle of the oval lighted cloud, if
>that's what it was, slightly off-center to the right. What is
>that? It isn't the sun, as this is a blown-up photo, and the sun
>would've appeared larger in the blow-up.

Hello Steve

I believe it's a blemish on the print.

>And what about the second, small bright white dot or streaky
>smear in front of the dark frontal cloudbank Something else?

Another blemish on the print.


>Also, note that if this was a lenticular cloud, why aren't any
>of the relatively nearby clouds or the edge of the frontal
>cloudbank also glowing in either pinkish or yellowish color,
>along their fringes, but which are instead illuminated by
>whitish light, as opposed to the same colors of light within the
>oval spot, which is primarily pinkish, mixed with a yellowish
>color? Even the fringes of the oval, if this was a lenticular
>cloud, backlit by the sun, should also have been either pink or
>yellow in color, like the primary body of the oval shape in the
>sky, I would venture.

The main reason is the different cloud physics behind the
formation of the lenticular, which is a wave cloud - see below.
If you look at the cloud visible behind/above the foreground
clouds in the bottom left quadrant of the first photo you will
see that it is also pink-tinged. This may be another less
well-defined patch of wave cloud in the same layer of stable air.


>Perhaps the sun is somehow "lensing" through only the lenticular
>translucent shape to create the colors only in the body of the
>oval "cloud," but if so, how does that so selectively happen?

This is called irisation or irridescence. Another name for it is
coronal diffraction. It happens when sunlight is scattered
through the cloud from behind. Usually it is visible only in the
thin edges of clouds. In this case the entire cloud is thin. And
the reason it is thin is because it is newly condensed - this is
related to the fact that it is a wave cloud, in which droplets
are continually condensing at the front of the wave and
evaporating at the back so it is perpetually "young". And the
fact that it is thin and newly condensed means that the droplet
(and/or ice crystal) size is very uniform - i.e., there has been
no time for collisions and growth of random sizes by
accumulation. And it is the uniformity of droplet size
throughout the cloud that causes the symmetrical coronal colour
banding, enhanced in this case by what looks like the typical
"stack of plates" form of lenticular structure, giving two
similar layers of cloud which overlap.

More chaotic mature clouds will have larger droplets/crystals
and much greater optical thickness permitting less light to be
transmitted and diffracted. They will tend to have only small
haphazard regions of droplet uniformity in their thin edges and
so give only random patches of fainter coronal colour, or none
at all.

That, in short, is why the other clouds in the photo are

Compare this photo:



>I guess what I'm trying to suggest here is that, it would be
>useful to have the RAF employee's original report and testimony
>as to what he both heard (clap of thunder, bomb blast) and saw
>(thought it might be a nuclear airburst), in addition to more
>than just the one photo (original and blown-up), to see if on
>the other photos there are any indications of a rapidly
>expanding seeminly self-illuminated "cloud" or other kind of
>unusual atmospheric phenomenon rather than just simply assume it
>was either a "lenticular cloud" or "ice- crystal" cloud, as Dr.
>Clarke conversely posited.

There are two prints, and both are shown at Dave Clarke's site.
I think you are assuming one image is an enlarged detail of the
other. This is incorrect as you will see if you study them

Therefore if there are any indications of rapid expansion they
will be on the photos you already have. There is no photographic
evidence of this in the two photos that I can see. The time
interval between shots is not even stated, and the angular
comparison is compromised by the use of different and
undescribed lenses or zoom lens settings. The surrounding
cloudscape is very similar but has changed somewhat, furrher
complicating matters. Neither is it at all clear which of the
photos was taken first. But if the one labelled #1/ DEFE
24/2036/1 is indeed #1 then it would tend to imply that the
cloud is if anything slightly smaller in the second photo. The
witness does not state that he actually observed rapid expansion
either - this is, rather, implied in his belief that it was some
type of airburst.

>And, considering the apparent conjunction of the very _loud_ and
>sudden sound the RAF witness reported, perhaps there's more to
>this incident that just simply a prosaic, "cloud-like" or
>nebulously ambiguous explanation.


The "clap of thunder" could have been thunder. There is really
nothing "nebulously ambiguous" about the identification of this
as an attractive and interesting but entirely prosaic blob of
altocumulus lenticularis.

>Does anyone on the UK-UFO mail list, like Dr. Clarke, Joe McG.,
>or John Rimmer/John Harney have more info or something to say
>further about the nature of this particular incident which
>occurred in March of 2004? If so, I'd really like to know and
>would appre- ciate additional input in response to my comments
>and questions here. Does anyone have copies of any of the other
>photos they could link to here?

There are no other photos besides the two already widely
published. I hope this answers some of your questions.

Martin Shough

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