On the 5th January, YouTube user, “Brintonsdad” (BD) uploaded a video clip of a squad of Marines on patrol in Iraq who capture on video something that at the present time are unable to explain.
The information that was posted to accompany the video was as follows:
“On the night of January 2nd 2008 a group of Marines on patrol in Iraq have a close encounter of the first kind with...?”
UFOs sighted by Marines in Iraq
BD is genuinely as intrigued by the footage as everyone else seems to be and says that personally he's leaning towards some sort of meteorological phenomenon although at the moment he has no idea what that may be!! BD has even contacted a meteorologist and the general consensus seems to be that they are a phenomenon know as, “Light Pillars”.
Multiple Light Pillars Created From Artificial Lighting
BD says that the footage was posted to him over the internet by his Nephew who is a squad leader currently serving in Iraq and details are sketchy as he was (and still is) on active assignment. BD thinks that the footage is most likely captured in the Eastern part of the country.
A light pillar is a visual phenomenon created by the reflection of light from ice crystals, if the light is from the sun then it's commonly known as a sun/solar pillar. This phenomenon is similar to, “Sundogs” which reveal that the clouds are hosting horizontal plate crystals, the plates drift slowly downwards like a falling leaf with their large faces almost exactly horizontal, causing the visual effect. In light pillars those crystals with plate or column shapes provide an excellent surface from which the light may reflect toward the viewer's eyes. They can also occur at night but under these circumstances they require a bright source of light which can sometimes be provided by powerful terrestrial sources (such as street/security lamps) or more commonly by the moon.
Screen Capture From Marine UFO Video
The light pillar theory is certainly a possibility and one I feel shouldn't be ruled out, especially as January is noted as being one of the coldest months in Iraq with the temperature often dropping below freezing which would certainly facilitate the forming of the ice crystals in the clouds, allowing for the formation of light pillars, and of course the lights certainly are in the clouds.
A lot of the YouTube user comments mention spotlights, I feel that spotlights can be safely ruled out for many reasons, the main two being I'm sure the Marines would be aware of them if it were the case and of course why on earth would there be spotlights in Iraq at all?
Natural Light Pillar
The glow you can see at the bottom of the screen (in the original video) is a small town and is apparently unrelated to the light sources in the sky (unless of course it's the source of the light which is hitting the ice crystals in the sky and causing the effect) unfortunately due to the night vision it can't be determined if the light sources are the same colour as if they were then that would obviously lean towards the, "Light pillar" theory being correct.
Light Pillar Created From Artificial Light
EDIT TO ADD - Not long after posting this I received a comment by an Italian Blogger called, “RL”. (See comments at bottom of page). RL provided a link to quite an extensive website (CAELESTIA – Latin, "Affairs of the heavens”) documenting many unidentified aerial phenomena and attempts to explain them in more prosaic terms. While undoubtedly there will be some UFOs/UAPs that will still resist any kind of explanation I personally feel that we MUST consider all known earthly possibilities before any kind of opinion can be formed.
While I hasten to add that of course, “Light pillars” present a possible explanation rather than a definite one I'd like to thank RL for the link and I include it here as I found it very informative.
“The present study is a first attempt to bring together sightings from different parts of the world. In the process of unearthing this material, it was found that the ignorance surrounding the phenomenon persists to this day. Because of this, reports of light pillars have sparked unwarranted speculation, not only from ufologists and conspirationalists (who are inclined to attribute the sightings to extraterrestrial spaceships or secret military tests), but also among astronomers and meteorologists (who sometimes mistake them for auroral pillars, a specific type of aurora that shows as vertical streaks of light). A situation that is hard to understand, especially in the light of the findings published by the early amateur astronomers cited above.”