Photograph taken some minutes after the event with a higher
quality camera. Although the "donuts have spread out their regular spacing and
the distance between them can still be seen. The object travelled from right to
left. The original webcam picture is shown below.
February 2005: BBC Web site update feature on our pictures
On Sunday July 14th. 2002 in the late afternoon
residents of Horsted Keynes were amazed to hear an odd boom (described as a
skyquake ) over the village.
The horstedkeynes.com webcam recorded a "con trail" which looked like the now
famous "donuts on a rope" trail that has been associated with the
Aurora Spy Plane project. The enhanced original picture is shown below.
This aircraft trail is thought to be caused by a new
aeroplane which is powered by an engine design called a "pulse jet" which was
last used to power the V1 doodlebug flying bomb. This used to fly over the
village during the last Summer of the Second World War. Then they were heading
for London having been launched in occupied France. The new pulse jet appeared
to be following the great circle route to the USA from Europe. It is rumoured
that the new aircraft code named "Aurora", had been testing in Europe recently,
perhaps being used to spy on Saddam Hussein in preparation for a new Gulf war
where it can fly at supersonic speeds on the edge of space.
Same picture with increased contrast and the bursts of power
The "donuts on a rope" aircraft trail is so called
because it looks like a series of letter O's with a narrow trail in between
rather like a necklace across the sky. The new jet uses its fuel in a very
different way to today's aircraft, these are built for a continuous smooth
exhaust whereas the new jet puts out bursts of power about 50 or 60 times a
second. This makes it sound rather like a rattly old car without a silencer as
the bursts of power propel the aircraft to tremendous speed approaching 7000
(seven thousand) miles an hour!
No doubt we will never know the truth but the
photograph above (which was taken a few minutes after the aircraft passed) still
shows clearly the separate "bursts" of power. The original picture from this
sites' web camera is shown below. To make the trail clearer the contrast of the
picture has been enhanced but not altered in any other way. Please note our web
cam operates at the relatively low resolution of 640 by 480 pixels, perhaps
somebody very clever could count the number of pixels between the bursts below
and work out the objects speed!