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National UFO Reporting Center
Sighting Report
Occurred : 8/21/2004 22:00 (Entered as : 08/21/104 22:00)
Reported: 2/27/2005 12:50:39 AM 00:50
Posted: 5/24/2005
Location: Houston, TX
Shape: Light
Explanation for column or pillar of orange light in Houston skies

>Possible Explanation for the following report:

Occurred : 8/21/2004 22:00 (Entered as : 08/21/2004 22:00) >
Reported: 8/21/2004 8:21:24 PM 20:21 >
Posted: 8/24/2004 >
Location: Houston, TX >
Shape: Light >
Duration:20 minutes >

An orange vertical column of light in the northeast sky >In the north east sky at 45 degrees, a vertical column of orange light hovered in mid >air for at least 20 minutes. Clouds passed between ourselves and the column of light >and it increased and decreased in brightness in a pulsating manner. We thought that >it might be a meteroid or comet however it never moved and then just disappeared. One >other person on the street observed the same event.

((NUFORC Note: We have looked at the photo, and we cannot rule out a high-altitude >contrail. PD))

EXPLANATION: All the many refineries surrounding the area have these enormous "flares" that rise as high as sky scrapers. Unfortunately, the oil refineries like to burn off or "flare" various gases (some very noxious) at night when there is less chance of them being reported for doing so. Many of the flares run steady all day/night long but can increase or decrease in volume of flame emitted. Under certain atmospheric conditions, i.e., low lying clouds on somewhat still and foggy nights, MANY people report seeing orange pillar shaped UFOs. Our local news stations have run these stories several times in the past to try to educate people, especially those who live to the southeast side of the city. The orange flame colored light from the flare is seen to be projected in pillar like fashion vertically and can even look as though it is going up and through the low lying clouds that hang along this coastal region. Many times people will report seeing this some distance away from the refineries.