Atmospheric Effects and Camera Aberrations Can Yield Strange Pictures of Celestial Objects

Question:  I have recently made 2 videos on youtube.  One being about meteors, 2 suns and a possible UFO and the other about Jupiter and its moons.  Can you explain what is happening on both of them because they are pretty strange.  The last picture i took of Jupiter has a large reddish planet revolving around it and im very interested as to what it is.  — Sam

Answer:  The unusual images of the Sun and Jupiter you have posted on youtube have some likely explanations.  For the Sun video, which shows a bright spot located at the same height but off to the side of the Sun, is likely caused by an atmospheric effect called a “sun dog”.  The wikipedia page on this subject is pretty informative if you want to check it out.  As for your video of Jupiter, apparently taken with a camera in a smart phone, it appears that the quality of the video is limited by the quality of the camera.  Cameras in phones are not high quality, so can produce aberrations in images such as the video you posted.  Also, the Jupiter video in particular does not appear to be well focused, which can produce all sorts of unusual optical phenomena.

Jeff Mangum

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