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"Trumpets in the sky"

Written by Paul Sutter on Monday, 28 November 2016. Posted in From The Desk of...The Chief Scientist

A couple weeks ago Laurie Miller shot me another quick email with a burning question. There's a YouTube video making the rounds purporting to show a large circular cloud formation above Jerusalem accompanied by a deep, continuous trumpet-like sound. Laurie's question: according to online articles, NASA says it's a natural thing, so what's going on?

I (painfully) read a bunch of the articles describing the video, and one amusingly ended with the rhetorical question "Is this caused by God or ET?" Well, let me toss in two more possibilities: nature, and a computer.

Regarding nature, none of the NASA quotes were attributed to a human being with a name. Just "a source at NASA", or "a NASA associate". A couple articles just quote "NASA", as if it were an entity capable of thought and commentary. Anyway, nature does make funny sounds sometimes, but I don't think that's the culprit here.

I'd also like to point out that we live in a age where almost every person on the planet carries with them a high-definition camera, and judging by Facebook and Twitter, enjoy sharing every single picture taken with those cameras. Jerusalem hosts around 800,000 such people, and this one dude was the only one to capture this strange event?

Did I mention that the dude who posted the video is a digital effects artist, whose YouTube channel features many other blends of the real and the virtual?

About the Author

Paul Sutter

Paul Sutter

Paul Sutter is COSI's Chief Scientist. He is an astrophysicist and offers a wealth of knowledge about our universe. In addition to his COSI position, Paul Sutter is a Cosmological Researcher and Community Outreach Coordinator at The Ohio State University's Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics (CCAPP).