Friday, August 29, 2014

Mysterious Orange/Red Glow Seen Under Pacific Ocean

Mysterious Orange/Red Glow Seen Under Pacific Ocean
August 24, 2014
Posted by Stephen Cook on August 29, 2014 

Copyright JPC van Heist
Copyright JPC van Heist

Stephen: This is an actual pilot, JPC van Heist, nicknamed Flying Dutchman’s, original story and photography of his experience while flying over the Pacific Ocean this week. His story is also being picked up by some mainstream news outlets (see separate link at end). Whatever this is, it’s both magnificent and beautiful. Thanks to Joe for the mainstream tip.

By Flying Dutchman, August 24, 2014 -

Last night over the Pacific Ocean, somewhere South of the Russian peninsula, Kamchatka, I experienced the creepiest thing so far in my flying career.

After about 5 hours in flight, we left Japan long time behind us and were cruising at a comfortable 34.000ft with about 4,5 hours to go towards Alaska.

We heard via the radio about earthquakes in Iceland, Chile and San Francisco, and since there were a few volcanoes on our route, that might or might not be going off during our flight, we double checked with dispatch if there was any new activity on our route after we departed from Hong Kong.

The location of the strange glow. Copyright JPC van Heist

Then, very far in the distance ahead of us, just over the horizon an intense lightflash shot up from the ground.

It looked like a lightning bolt, but way more intense and directed vertically up in the air. I have never seen anything like this, and there were no flashes before or after this single explosion of light.

Since there were no thunderstorms on our route or weather-radar, we kept a close lookout for possible storms that might be hiding from our radar and might cause some problems later on.
I decided to try and take some pictures of the night sky and the strange green glow that was all over the Northern Hemisphere.

I think it was sort of a Northern Lights but it was much more dispersed, never seen anything like this before either.

About 20 minutes later in (the) flight, I noticed a deep red/orange glow appearing ahead of us, and this was a bit strange since there was supposed to be nothing but endless ocean below us for hundreds of miles around us.

A distant city or group of typical Asian squid-fishing-boats would not make sense in this area, apart from the fact that the lights we saw were much larger in size and glowed red/orange, instead of the normal yellow and white that cities or ships would produce.

The closer we got, the more intense the glow became, illuminating the clouds and sky below us in a scary orange glow. In a part of the world where there was supposed to be nothing but water.

The only cause of this red glow that we could think of, was the explosion of a huge volcano just underneath the surface of the ocean, about 30 minutes before we overflew that exact position.
Since the nearest possible airport was at least 2 hours flying away, and the idea of flying into a highly dangerous and invisible ash-plume in the middle of the night over the vast Pacific Ocean we felt not exactly happy.

Fortunately we did not encounter anything like this, but together with the very creepy unexplainable deep red/orange glow from the ocean’s surface, we felt everything but comfortable.
There was also no other traffic near our position or on the same routing to confirm anything of what we saw or confirm any type of ash clouds encountered.

We reported our observations to Air Traffic Control and an investigation into what happened in this remote region of the ocean is now started.

Two photos included, hardly edited except for watermark and resize.

(Stephen: As JPC van Heist has copyrighted all his images, I suggest you head to the link at the end to see them all. Here’s the main one above enlarged)

Copyright JPC van Heist

Note that photos are taken with extremely high ISO (sensor sensitivity) so quality might be a bit poor. Also an overview of our route + marking of the location is included.

Now I’m just hoping that if a new island has been formed there, at least it can be named after me as the official discoverer. :)

That would be pretty cool!

UPDATE: Added 4 new photos and Google-Earth map with underwater geography
One of the photos shows our landing lights illuminating the sky ahead since we were afraid we might be encountering an ash cloud.

We entered a thin layer of clouds 5 minutes after passing the red glow, but no ash was detected or encountered.

Head to this link to view all the photos of this phenomenon taken by JPC van Heist:

Here’s how one mainstream media outlet reported the story.

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