Location of Sighting: About 7 Miles North of Mt. Rainier in Washington State
Date of Sighting: June 1, 2016
Time of Sighting: 2:34 AM PDT
Description: Reviewing a photos from a night time lapse (within 24 hours of above observation) about 7 miles north of Rainier, looking south), something appears on one photo and am not sure what it is/was.
I guess this will send faster than I thought since my image-browser program (Photo Mechanic) automatically converted it to a JPG, so it’s only 1.9 MBs. No big deal. If you want the original RAW image, it’s more like 21 MBs or something (closer to the email-size limit for many programs, after which, a file transfer service maybe could be used).
Photo was taken from 46.959051, -121.680257 (about 7 miles NNE of Mount Rainier) looking SSW at the mountain. This high elevation meadow is at about 5,400 feet elevation or so. Again, the photo was taken at 2:34 AM on June 1st (early morning of Wed morning, June 1st). I used a 13-second exposure, 24 mm lens with the aperture at 1.6.
So the situation was that I hiked up here Tuesday for the sole purpose (mainly) to capture a Milky Way time lapse shot over Rainier. The plan was to be there Tues, Wed, Thur (3 days, 2 nights), but sour weather made me leave Wed night.
(I am using rough times and approximate events just to sketch out what happened without looking up every last minutia of detail to give you an idea, but precise details of earlier shots could be provided though probably not important.)
I started my first best-attempt at the time lapse sometime earlier in the night and drifted off to sleep. I awoke to see the camera still clicking away, showing blurred images in its LCD display (whatever you call it). Bummer. I was caused from dew. I brought the camera and tripod in the tent and wiped the down to remove the moisture from all the hardware. Now, sometime after 2 AM (after my failed-time-lapse-which-became-blurred attempt due to dew), I pondered restarting with, perhaps, the camera and tripod setting just inside the tent to thwart further dew. But I was tired and not committed. Then I remembered a couple of the mountain climbers I had seen and chatted with them at the Rainier permit office on Tue morning. They told me the route they would be taking up and I could see headlamps from climbers making the ascent so I thought should make another effort in case we hook up later (by some off chance, even though I had no name or contact info.) and see if I could make a time lapse of their headlamps crawling up the mountain. However, the camera, on “manual focus”, obviously got moved out of focus a bit as I had earlier dried off the dew. These late night focus attempts require (for me), my reading glasses plus, possibly, a magnifying glass all of which I had, but I was tired and not motivated. So I just risked that it was still in focus. From the image, you can see it is not super crisp as it should be. But it was not terrible. You can get the idea.
The image taken before the one being sent to you was taken about 21 minutes earlier and it was super fogged from dew. Mars and a few stars are visible. There was nothing interesting. It was a terrible shot. That was around 2:13 AM. Then I dried off the lens and started a new time lapse and the shot being sent is the first shot of the next pseudo time lapse effort taking about 57 shots. I kept interrupting and readjusting levelness of camera, etc. and gave up at about 2:56 AM and went to sleep. But it was only the first shot of those 57 shots that had anything.
So, to discuss the weirdness of the shot: You see Mars over Rainier. To the right of Mars, from the right edge of the photo, looks like a blip of light, followed by a short-line trail to a second blip of light, followed by a long straight trail going just past Mars and then doing a sharp 90-degree turn or something to Mars and ending in a blip of light at Mars. (I am just guessing it traveled from right to left, but have no way of knowing since I didn’t see it when it happened. I wasn’t paying attention.)
So that’s weird. Is it well behind the mountain? Maybe. Planes usually have red and white lights that blink at 1-second intervals (for a 13-second shot, would leave 13 red-white-dot patterns across the line). A military jet? Maybe. At 2:34 AM? Maybe. I didn’t hear or pay attention to any noise. Come to think of it, and this might be a very good explanation: The Joint Base Lewis McChord military airfield is around 47.142318, -122.485446 (about 40 miles west of me). And it might be reasonable for them to have something flying around there (without the normal red-white blinking lights at 1-sec. intervals).
Anyway, a curiosity. Sounds like the previous poster was looking straight up (and not due north towards Rainier, or south, or whatever). His/her description is obviously a bit different. There was no red or orange dot in my photos.
Note: The photo was taken with a 13 second exposure. This means that the streak noted in the photo occurred in 13 seconds. The photo was confusing to interpret until the contrast was adjusted. The streaking near the planet Mars gave the object a meteor or comet like appearance. Given the streaking and change in direction I don’t have an identification for this sighting. The witness presents a good argument that the light was not a standard aircraft flashing light. As stated you should see 13 dots if this was the case. The witness is comparing his sighting to a sighting of Reddish Orange dots on May 30, 2016 in Vancouver, Washington.Note to Commenters: If you are reporting a sighting, be sure to include the location (city, state, country), date and time of your sighting. Be detailed in your description. You may also use our report form to report your sighting. Comments will only be published if they are in "good taste" and not inflammatory. Also the name that you list in the comment will be posted. Use abbreviations or aliases if you don't want your name listed.