# What phenomenon causes "lunar waves"? [closed]

In multiple video clips of the moon but also one of Jupiter, some kind of waves can be observed. Is this just the effect of the object moving behind layers of different refractive indexes (similar to what we observe at sunset) or is there a wave propagating through the atmosphere?

There is an answer on Quora, but I would love to see a more detailed answer, why we can see exactly these two rather sharp lines moving.

– uhoh
Apr 18, 2019 at 1:05
• @uhoh aren't you conflating two distinct issues? Yes, the first video is a compilation by "crrow" who is an astrologer (boo, hiss), but are you saying that every one of his 10 videos is a fake, and the other unrelated video is also a fake? Or are you just reacting (negatively) to the messenger rather than the message? If you are certain all the videos are faked, please explain what brings you to that conclusion... Apr 18, 2019 at 2:15
• To me atmospheric distorsion seems the most likely cause, so I would love to see a model explaining it, either via theoretical physics or with a sketch. I am just curious which conditions could lead to such a clear "line". Or get another explanation for the phenomenon, if there are clues for that. Apr 18, 2019 at 10:41
• – uhoh
Apr 20, 2019 at 0:19
• @uhoh This is pretty much how science works as long as you are open to admit it when your theory fails. A scientist observes something and tries to build a model that describes it and similar effects in general. And for that you have to choose a starting point from which you start checking all possible explanations. Apr 20, 2019 at 8:26

Video astronomy requires much more equipment than traditional eyepiece viewing. It helps to understand what is going on between the camera lens and the video screen.

Most important is the conversion of the cameras analog signal to the computer digital format. This is usually done with a frame grabber and its associated drivers. The cameras typically have 700 ish lines of resolution which are usually translated into 640 by 480 digital signal. The camera analog signal is 60 cycle interlaced. The computer display frequency is whatever the PC is set to. I'll let the Math people tell us how the drivers fit all those numbers together and make a nice picture. I think the answer is PI or at least within a decimal place or two. The numbers get rounded and every once in a while the computer screen hiccups. National Enquirer sort of news.

The frame grabbers come in a wide range of cost and reliability. There's no rhyme or reason to their reliability. They depend on the computers operating system which is not identical on every computer. The frame grabber and driver will work well on one PC but not another similarly equipped PC.

Typically the astro video cameras two output connectors, a coax and an S-Video. The person making the video could have proven the "Waves" were and artifact of the PC by simply connecting one of the cameras outputs to an analog video screen, a television with a composite input for example and the other output to the computers frame grabber. Provided the camera and analog video are functioning properly he could have shown us a rock steady image on the analog screen and the waves on the Computer screen. With a little skill he could have shown us an alien or two surfing on the waves.

Smoke, mirrors and snake oil. Suckers are said to be born at the rate of one per minute. I have a feeling the con artist birth rate is up there as well.

It is a bit of a shame, Video or near live viewing as many of us call it, is gaining in popularity. Having someone use what is not unusual for a Video astronomer to see just for a bit of sensationalism serves no useful purpose.

Another point to edit in. The uTube is a video of a video. The image we see is taken by a second video cameras pointed at a video image being displayed on a computer screen. Crunch the computer screen frequency and resolution with the frequency and resolution of the second camera. You end up with images of airplane propellers that appear to stand still or move very slowly. I wonder how much adverting revenue that sort of video would bring into uTube.

The guy's a wack job. It's atmospheric turbulence that just happens to have a long regular structure in one direction. Heck, he might even be deliberately blowing a fan across his telescope to create those patterns. Ignore him.

• The comments on that video are hilarious. Or sad - depending on how you consider the whole thing. Sep 11, 2018 at 18:03
• -1 Debunking pseudo science looses credibility with wrong sentences like "...he might even be deliberately blowing a fan across his telescope to create those patterns. " That would not do this.
– uhoh
Mar 19, 2019 at 11:33
• "...blowing a fan across his telescope..." can not "...create those patterns..." That's wrong in several ways.
– uhoh
Mar 19, 2019 at 14:12
• Anything immediately in front of the telescope will be completely out of focus. Patterns in the video are relatively sharp which means if they were to be real they would be caused by things hundreds of meters beyond the end of the telescope. Refraction patterns shown if they were to be real result from optical path differences larger than you could make with a fan. A fan pushes air around, but in free space it does not have a significant impact on density and therefore index of refraction.
– uhoh
Mar 19, 2019 at 14:47
• It's clearly not a sonic boom, or else it would be 200 km away or something like that. It's some other kind of change in air density. Maybe thermal. Maybe wind-like. But I have a lot of trouble imagining some way that would make such a neat and regular wavefront via mechanisms other than a shock wave. Convection tends to be messy and turbulent. Maybe some kind of shear between layers of air at different temperatures? It would help to know the Moon's elevation at the moment of observation. Mar 19, 2019 at 23:17

Thus far there has been no solid explanation.

However, the person who discovered it, YouTube user Crrow777 has a video which explain his observations, and handily debunk Carl Witthoft's explanation of it being atmospheric turbulence.

The most obvious of which being that the distortion does not extent beyond the boundary presented by the structure of the moon in the image, even while the camera is moving around.

• Please. This is crackpottery. Not even worth debunking. Mar 19, 2019 at 5:46
• the person who discovered it, YouTube user Crrow777 The movies are shot by other people.
– user1569
Apr 18, 2019 at 7:41
• Be nice to see these wave vids paired to detailed atmospheric pressure, frontal systems and jet stream movements at the time they were taken. wpc.ncep.noaa.gov/sfc/lrgnamsfcwbg.gif Airlines likely have a good detailed jet stream mapping somewhere. Apr 18, 2019 at 17:53