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Digital Subscriptions > Skeptical Inquirer > July August 2019 > Anomaly Hunting with Satellite Images

Anomaly Hunting with Satellite Images

Benjamin Radford is a research fellow at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and author or coauthor of several books, including Investigating Ghosts: The Scientific Search for Spirits.

Q: I’m curious as to what you think these two images could be of. They are screenshots I took from Google Earth and are off the coast of Borneo.

A: We can begin with what they’re least likely to be: something mysterious, such as a sea serpent or top-secret experimental snakelike submarine. It’s difficult to tell without a scale—and we shouldn’t necessarily assume that the two images are of the same type of thing—but a boat or watercraft wake seems likely, especially because of the varied width of the trails. That’s of course a signature of airplane contrails and boat wakes; anything on the surface of a fluid will typically be widest toward its geographical origin and narrower where most recently made.

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