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Published on Sep 4, 2012
During the July New Moon period, Me, Elliott McKinley and Jim Tippett were set up for observing and imaging in the upper astronomy field. On July 22, we thought we were seeing a bright aurora as the clouds cleared. We saw vertical rays of orange and white light in the East. We checked the auroral levels on the internet and they were near zero. The rays were not moving but appearing at different altitudes with the passing clouds. The beams of light were from Marcellus Gas Drilling sites. The orange beams are caused by gas flarings, that are among the bightest manmade light source. The white beams are from gas drill construction sites that are using unshielded metal halide light fixtures. In Texas, some gas companies are using shielded lights by "Rig-A-Lite", the AFL and MAR series of industrial light fixtures). But in PA, the state has no restrictions on the use of unshielded light fixtures or flarings by Marcellus Gas Drill operators. Panorama whole sky images from Cherry Springs show increasing sky glow low on the horizon to the North and East. There has been some improvement in the South compared to last year and it may be due to a lot of the drilling companies pulling out of the area until gas prices get higher. My website is at http://garyhonis.com