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Something odd, I need an explanation desperately

  1. Dec 21, 2003 #1
    Hello all. I live in Singapore, located somewhere at the equator. Just a few nights ago i spotted something rather strange. I looked up into the sky and to my astonishment, there was this region of clouds that was illuminated orange in colour every once in a while. It's like glowing at a regular rate. All over the sky i could only spot that particular region of the sky glowing on and off...
    Can't be the effect due to atoms in the sky being ionised, like in the case of how auroras are formed, right? I mean, as i have read, auroras can only be formed near the tip of the globe where the magnetic fields are at their strongest.
    Can somebody please enlightment me, this ignorant individual in the field of astronomy/astrophysics, on what i actually witnessed and if possible give a rather simeply explanation along with it?

    Your kindness i thank you.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 21, 2003 #2


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    Well, I see orange clouds on a daily basis at night.. that is because there are glass houses not too far away which turn on their lights at night for the plants to grow.. a possibility?
  4. Dec 21, 2003 #3
    No no...what i saw was this region of orange clouds in the middle of nowhere that illuminate and glow once every few seconds.
    It's like what we'll see when there's lightning nearby just that this time it's lacking of the bolt of flash and also, the colour of the clouds become orange. It's not like what you said about the clouds continually being orange in colour.
    I hope you get what i mean. What i observed is quite different from you described.
  5. Dec 22, 2003 #4
    Well, i hope everything is ok with magnetic field of Earth, so the trick is in something else...
    Remembering the beauty of Singapore, along with its high level of technological development, i think that the light you have observed was a result of a laser-show, that is an oscillating laser beam just was walking around the sky, and in the place it encoutered the cloud it was reflected/refracted (there were no more clouds nearby). You saw the reflecdet beam. Recently i also noticed such thing at night, but it was a cloudy night, and i saw many many red points moving over the sky... that was just a show :) Also it's common to observe something like that during soccer games at night!
    Well, surely, this is only an idea.
    Why should one decline the probability of a tiny tropical storm? :) Also, Monique may be right - as there are many chromed orange skyscrapers in Spore, it could be, say, reflection of the sunshine from these skyscrapers. Oscillations? Well, the morning sun was periodically covered by clouds moving very fast on the horison... By the way, weren't you able to take a picture of that? It'd be interesting to look at, and could clear the situation very much...
  6. Dec 23, 2003 #5


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    I observce a similar effect nearly any night overcast night when the clouds are low. South of the town where I live are some power plants. At night, these plants burn off the layer of carbon and other substances that have accumulated on the inside of there smokestacks throughout the day. This causes the clouds to glow orange and pulsate with a suprisingly regular rythm.

    Are there any factories with smoestacks in the direction you were looking? If not, perhaps there was a housefire or a forest fire.
  7. Dec 23, 2003 #6
    Thanks for the replies guys.

    hemmul, when i saw what i saw i didn't have any phototaking devices or camera with me so, no i do not have a picture of it. Anyway, even if i had taken a picture of it, it won't really be all that useful since the picture cannot capture the illumination+ pulsating nature of the clouds.

    LURCH, i especially like your explanation. Sounds rather plausible the reason you gave. Just one question, what are smokestacks? Another name you give for chimneys? Well, as i have observed, there are quite many factories situation in the direction of the orange clouds and also just around below those clouds.
    Think you can give me a link to further read up about the orange effect thing? I'll appreciate that. Can't really find one myself.

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