"god ray" (crepuscular ray) sun patches

Isolated sun patches caused by narrow shafts of sunlight piercing broken cloud, sometimes known as "god rays", are one possible explanation of two lights that appear to move relative to one another on or "over" the sea. To explain the brilliance we require specular sun-glitter reflection (some issues connected with this are discussed in Section 6.d.ii below). At the kind of near-horizon distance required in this case the observed lateral translation equates to about 1 mile per degree of arc, so UAP #2 could be modelled as a sun patch moving, relative to UAP#1, about 3 miles E-W in 6 minutes, or a rate of around 30 knots . If UAP #1 is a nearer sun patch moving very little then the rate and direction of #2 are roughly consistent with the winds aloft n1 Our hypothetical specular sun patches are not of course in the geographical locations indicated in Fig.7, Section 3, which assumes parallax displacements of stationary UAPs at 2000ft above the sea. The visual lines of sight do not intersect the sea surface at these local positions, but pass near the horizon..

This hypothesis has several difficulties: The sighting geometry indicates an angular rotation of the #1 LOS itself through about 10°, equivalent to ~50 knots, in the direction opposite to the wind; notwithstanding this, the differential angular rates of motion of #1 and #2 would in any case imply a horizontal wind shear in the order of tens of knots, which is in tension with the requirements of stability and similarity of two sun patches under simultaneous binocular observation for 6 minutes; the persistence of even one such patch of sunlight with a "very sharply defined" and unchanging outline for 12 minutes seems unlikely, and the occurrence of two geometrically similar such patches, a few miles apart on the sea surface, each with an unexplained asymmetrical dark band in the same place, is more unlikely still; witnesses were questioned about the light conditions but saw no sun shafts, despite the haze, and the weather picture (Section 5) does not suggest the type of overcast that would produce extreme and unusual contrasts of light and shade; at the start of the observation UAP#1 was seen not only against the sea but also against the background of the island of Guernsey; at the end of the observation Capt Bowyer estimated that the elevation angle of both UAPs was above the sea horizon, such that they appeared to be near his own altitude, i.e., near the top of the 2000ft haze layer; and finally, specular god-ray patches near the S sea horizon could not explain the phenomenon sighted (at the same apparent altitude) in the vicinity of Alderney by Capt Patterson looking N.

Plausibility (0-5): 1