Re: Albany - New York sighting

Message posted by gary on October 30, 2002 at 12:04:25 PST:

You can't judge the size of the missile relative to the wing of the plane without knowing the distance to each object. [You can block the moon with your hand, but the moon is substantially bigger. ;-)]

I looked at my notes from last night, and here is my analysis. Putting the frame where the just the missile is present, the fin on the left measure 143x31 pixels and the fin on the right measures 125x25 pixels. That is, that would be the size of the window to contain the fin. The body measure 437x159 pixels, but most of the window does not fall on the body. The corner to corner distance of that window is 465 pixels, which you could use for the relative length of the body to the fin span. The fin to body ratio is then about .28 if you use the total width of the fin (really two fins) to the body length. Doing the same for the sidewinder, you get .22 based on FAS data, though I may not be interpretting the FAS data correctly, i.e. is it the fin "span (as in 2 fins), of the length of one fin.

Going back to the photo with the plane tail and missile in the same shot, you can tell that the sun was to the photographer's left and in front of him based on the shadow on the plane tail. That means on the vertical fins of the missile will be highlighted, but the rest just illuminated by ambient light. I'm pretty sure it has 4 fins, but one is in the plane of the shadow of the missile body. Howerver, I can be wrong about that.

If the missile fins are the same size (and looking at the FAS info some missile have smaller fins in front), you can estimate that the missile is approaching the photographer (ok videographer) somewhat since the front fin is larger than the one in the back. I suspect the missile is closer to the photographer than the plane based on how little of the missile is lit (i.e. it is backlit).

In Reply to: Re: Albany - New York sighting posted by Joerg (Webmaster) on October 30, 2002 at 8:45:52 PST:


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