Strange Cloud Over Iran


Oh, my stars and garters!  (Where did that dumb saying come from?)  Take a look at the picture link below from www.spaceweather.com

http://www.spaceweather.com/swpod2007/16jun07/Tafreshi1.jpg

Here is the text (not all embedded links in text will work):

IRANIAN MYSTERY CLOUD: On June 15th, sky watchers around Iran witnessed a strange and luminous cloud in the night sky. “I have never experienced a similar phenomena,” reports veteran astronomer Babak A. Tafreshi of Tehran. Observing alongside two other astronomers, Oshin Zakarian and Pouria Nazemi, he took this picture.

The object started out patchy, shapeless and dim; it quickly brightened and formed a blue-tinted cone with a nose of magnitude -2 or -3,” he says. The cloud raced across the sky “moving about 20 degrees per minute.” More images: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6.

“It was shining blue and moving fast,” agrees Amir Hossein Abolfath, another witness from Tehran, who snapped this picture. “Twenty minutes after I saw it, my friend Asghar Kabiri saw the same cloud 900 km away from Tehran in Sa’adat shahr.”

Mystery solved? The following explanation is probably correct, but uncertain because of the classified nature of yesterday’s rocket launch:

On June 15th at 11:12 am EDT, an Atlas V rocket launched from Cape Canaveral; its payload was a pair of National Reconnaissance Office ocean surveillance satellites. After the satellites were deployed–into the wrong orbit, according to media reports–the rocket’s malfunctioning Centaur upper stage vented excess fuel, producing the Iranian cloud. The dumping of excess fuel is standard practice for Centaur-boosted launches, and this event is probably unrelated to the Centaur’s reported malfunction.

The info above will only be there temporarily.

I wonder if this is a BlueBeam Project trial or is what the text at Space Weather suggests.  Whatever its source, it is a trigger of sorts first and foremost  Thanks, Space Weather!  You receive such marvelous pictures from around the world and beyond.

[ “Oh, my stars and garters” explanation:  http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-sta5.htm ]

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