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Mysterious Dancing Lights In Afghanistan
NPR ^ | July 30, 2013 1:28 PM | Robert Krulwich

Posted on 07/31/2013 5:19:23 AM PDT by Pan_Yan

This isn't a painting. It's not from a movie. It's not a strange astronomical event. This is real — what you can see when certain helicopters in Afghanistan touch down on sandy ground, raising dust, causing mysterious arcs of light to loop and dance through the air.

This doesn't always happen. "The halos usually disappear as the rotors change pitch," wrote war photographer Michael Yon. "On some nights, on this very same landing zone, no halos form." How come?

(Excerpt) Read more at npr.org ...


TOPICS: Arts/Photography; Military/Veterans; Science
KEYWORDS: afghanistan; helicopters; photography

It's worth it to go to the website and see all the photos.

1 posted on 07/31/2013 5:19:23 AM PDT by Pan_Yan
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To: Pan_Yan
Just some bored Warrant Officers playing with sparklers attached to the rotors of their Hueys ... nothing to see here ... move along ...


2 posted on 07/31/2013 5:22:35 AM PDT by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true)
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To: Pan_Yan

Looks like St. Elmo’s Fire on the rotor tips. I have seen it many times on turboprop aircraft.


3 posted on 07/31/2013 5:24:23 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: Pan_Yan

Static electricity.


4 posted on 07/31/2013 5:25:10 AM PDT by PilotDave (No, really, you just can't make this stuff up!!!)
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To: Pan_Yan

On the CH-53D we had formation lights near the tips of the rotor blades. They made night formation flying a little less “hairy”.

Or, this may be static dissipation.

Anyone know if the Chinook has static wicks? On the fuselage or blades?


5 posted on 07/31/2013 5:26:48 AM PDT by BwanaNdege ("To learn who rules over you simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize"- Voltaire)
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To: PilotDave
Likely from the sand particles rubbing against the blades.

But then I'm no expert....I did stay at the Holiday Inn. (couldn't resist)

6 posted on 07/31/2013 5:35:13 AM PDT by lula (Shine the light of truth Lord, confound the deceiver I pray...AMEN!)
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To: Pan_Yan

a guy on FOX yesterday explained it as fine sand particles engaging the metal edge of the rotors


7 posted on 07/31/2013 5:40:18 AM PDT by Archytekt
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To: lula

It’s aliens, dude!

Sand particles! You empiricists are all the same...


8 posted on 07/31/2013 6:14:40 AM PDT by antidisestablishment (Mahound delenda est)
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To: knarf

That’s a Chinook.


9 posted on 07/31/2013 6:23:28 AM PDT by Conspiracy Guy (To stay calm during these tumultuous times, I take Damitol. Ask your Doctor if it's right for you.)
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To: Pan_Yan

Obviously static electrical discharge.


10 posted on 07/31/2013 6:24:08 AM PDT by Bloody Sam Roberts (So Obama "inherited" a mess? Firemen "inherit" messes too. Ever see one put gasoline on it?)
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To: knarf

We used to tape chem lights to the blade tips on Hueys & OH-58s. Actually helped to maintain separation during night ops.

Kinda like those battery powered “hubba hubba” lights kids used to put on bicycle wheels.


11 posted on 07/31/2013 6:31:16 AM PDT by elcid1970 ("The Second Amendment is more important than Islam.")
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To: Pan_Yan

If anyone has a sandblasting cabinet handy, with glass bead in it, like I do. Put a piece of titanium in it, and blast it with the cabinet light off.


12 posted on 07/31/2013 6:32:41 AM PDT by ZX12R (Never forget the heroes of Benghazi, who were abandoned to their deaths by Obama)
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To: Pan_Yan; Texas Fossil; All

To see the REAL dancin’ lights, y’all come to Marfa, TEXAS!

Hear?


13 posted on 07/31/2013 6:50:18 AM PDT by Graewoulf (Traitor John Roberts' Commune-Style Obama'care' violates U.S. Constitution AND Anti-Trust Law.)
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To: ZX12R

I do have a sandblasting cabinet but it’s just not as cool as a helicopter.


14 posted on 07/31/2013 6:54:07 AM PDT by Pan_Yan (I believe in God. All else is dubious.)
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To: Conspiracy Guy
See?

You guys know ALL that stuff.

15 posted on 07/31/2013 6:57:00 AM PDT by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true)
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To: Pan_Yan

It looks even better when you’re wearing night vision googles. FOX left the impression yesterday that this only occurs in Afghanistan. The first time I saw this was in the dust of Texas. I thought the Blackhawk refueling next to me was on fire.


16 posted on 07/31/2013 7:18:14 AM PDT by FlingWingFlyer (Let's make it our turn in 2014. Vote early and VOTE OFTEN.)
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To: Pan_Yan

17 posted on 07/31/2013 7:32:30 AM PDT by JRios1968 (I'm guttery and trashy, with a hint of lemon. - Laz)
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To: Graewoulf
I have been to Marfa and saw the dancing lights! I didn't expect to see anything at all but the lights were fantastic!
18 posted on 07/31/2013 7:35:50 AM PDT by Ditter
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To: Graewoulf

“To see the REAL dancin’ lights, y’all come to Marfa, TEXAS!”

Pterodactyls?


19 posted on 07/31/2013 7:55:45 AM PDT by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ( Ya can't pick up a turd by the clean end!)
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To: Pan_Yan
I do have a sandblasting cabinet but it’s just not as cool as a helicopter.

touché
20 posted on 07/31/2013 7:57:12 AM PDT by ZX12R (Never forget the heroes of Benghazi, who were abandoned to their deaths by Obama)
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To: Graewoulf

Yep, have been to Marfa


21 posted on 07/31/2013 8:29:51 AM PDT by Texas Fossil (Once a Republic, since then a State in the US, but it is Still Texas where I live.)
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To: Pan_Yan

Go out tonight in the dark and run your lawnmower in a sandy spot. Look through the chute opening, carefully.


22 posted on 07/31/2013 8:59:43 AM PDT by SWAMPSNIPER (The Second Amendment, a Matter of Fact, Not a Matter of Opinion)
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To: SWAMPSNIPER

But lawnmowers aren’t nearly as cool as helicopters.


23 posted on 07/31/2013 9:12:08 AM PDT by Pan_Yan (I believe in God. All else is dubious.)
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To: knarf

We are old people.


24 posted on 07/31/2013 10:30:00 AM PDT by Conspiracy Guy (To stay calm during these tumultuous times, I take Damitol. Ask your Doctor if it's right for you.)
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To: Pan_Yan

Quartz has long been known to have electrostatic properties. What is sand? Powdered quartz. This is is a really cool effect that I’ve not seen before. I’ll need to look for vids.


25 posted on 07/31/2013 11:08:48 AM PDT by zeugma (Be a truechimer, not a falseticker!)
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To: Conspiracy Guy
oldER , CG ... oldER
26 posted on 07/31/2013 12:53:47 PM PDT by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true)
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To: Pan_Yan

27 posted on 07/31/2013 1:38:16 PM PDT by MCH
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To: knarf

I’m oldER than dirt. I’ll be 60 in January.


28 posted on 07/31/2013 4:16:06 PM PDT by Conspiracy Guy (To stay calm during these tumultuous times, I take Damitol. Ask your Doctor if it's right for you.)
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To: Conspiracy Guy

got’cha’ by 5 .. I AM the dirt


29 posted on 07/31/2013 5:17:37 PM PDT by knarf (I say things that are true ... I have no proof ... but they're true)
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To: ArrogantBustard
BINGO.
We have a winner!
30 posted on 07/31/2013 5:21:57 PM PDT by Yosemitest (It's Simple ! Fight, ... or Die !)
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To: knarf

When I was a child dirt had not been developed yet. We only had dust.


31 posted on 07/31/2013 5:23:44 PM PDT by Conspiracy Guy (To stay calm during these tumultuous times, I take Damitol. Ask your Doctor if it's right for you.)
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To: BwanaNdege

Fuselage. Sling load crews also use a grounding rod to dissipate accumulated static electricity prior to hooking the external load. You DO NOT want to be the grounding source as the sling load crew. The charge will knock your d*ck in the dirt.


32 posted on 07/31/2013 5:37:52 PM PDT by TADSLOS (The Event Horizon has come and gone. Buckle up and hang on.)
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To: TADSLOS

Tell me about it!

I once had a cocky HST (Helo Support team) Sgt who declined the static wand (broomstick with about 10ft steel cable taped to it.) I offered him. We were lifting a practice 11,000# concrete block.

“I’ll just slap the hook. That’s all it takes.” he said while standing on top of the block.

Static knocked him off that block.

Another time we were lifting a crashed Cobra out of the swamps near Camp Lejeune. Due to the height of the trees, we had a 70 foot pendant. 30,000# in a high hover, cold January day. One of the Cobra squadron pilots was doing the hookup, standing knee deep in swamp water. He tried to grab the hook.

The static jolt caused his biceps to contract so violently that he whacked his chest hard enough to leave a huge bruise.


33 posted on 07/31/2013 6:04:22 PM PDT by BwanaNdege ("To learn who rules over you simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize"- Voltaire)
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To: BwanaNdege

ouch


34 posted on 07/31/2013 6:06:12 PM PDT by GeronL
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To: BwanaNdege

LOL. Yep, you won’t make that mistake twice.


35 posted on 07/31/2013 6:06:54 PM PDT by TADSLOS (The Event Horizon has come and gone. Buckle up and hang on.)
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