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What is this "ball" on Google Earth?

Juha-Matti Laurio [PersonRank 10]

Tuesday, July 5, 2011
7 years ago5,540 views

Source (in Finnish):
iltasanomat.fi/kotimaa/outo-pa ...

and screenshot here

is12.snstatic.fi/kuvat/earth1/ ...

Juha-Matti Laurio [PersonRank 10]

7 years ago #

Trying again...


is12.snstatic.fi/kuvat/earth1/ ...

changelee123 [PersonRank 1]

7 years ago #

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Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

7 years ago #

The "ball" might be a smoky fire, with a strong wind blowing the plume of smoke downstream.

David Mulder [PersonRank 10]

7 years ago #

You think it has nothing to do with the plane thing below it? (or above it)

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

7 years ago #

[put at-character here]David, I think you are right. The "ball and plume" seems to be parallel to the plane and its condensation trail, just horizontally displaced.

I bet it's an artifact of the imaging process. Perhaps a reflection of the plane and its contrail in the camera optics (the plane does seem unusually white in this image), or perhaps an effect of the way pixels are shifted out of the camera image sensor (sometimes a bright image does leave an "after-image"), or perhaps even the way that different aerial photos are combined into one large composite image.

Here's the Google Maps link (with black top-bar goodness), which shows that the ball's trail fades away at the same distance as the plane's trail:

maps.google.fi/maps?q=Peuram%C ...

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