Fort McMurray (Alberta) Mystery

Fort McMurray (Alberta) Mystery

Fort McMurray (Alberta) Mystery

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
Oct. 23 2007 1:13 PM

Fort McMurray (Alberta) Mystery

Update: As usual, I love my commenters. It's a navigational aid for pilots! Read the comments for info. Cool.

Speaking of Fort McMurray...

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

Advertisement

When I was flying in to the airport there, just a few kilometers east of the runway, less than a minute before we touched down, I saw a Really Weird Thing. At first I thought it was a radio/radar dish, which wouldn't be surprising for something near an airport. But as we approached, and my angle to it changed, I saw it more clearly. I found it using Google Maps, so here's a blurry image:

Here is a zoom:

Advertisement

It almost looked like artwork, but it appears to be functional. I remember the outside part looking hexagonal, but here it looks like a square with the corners truncated. That part was transparent and probably plastic or glass. It had a pattern etched into it, almost like a solar panel pattern (when the Sun caught it it glittered like water). It was pretty big, maybe 20 meters across.

On top of that panel was a circle made up of many dozen smaller bluish spheres or domes. In the image the ring looks solid, and that may be due to the lower resolution. Inside that circle was a tall, skinny pyramid, like the Transamerica building in San Francisco. It looks like a square in the picture, but check out the shadow pointing north: it's triangular.

The whole schmear sits at the eastern end of a dirt roadway which connects to a main road. I didn't realize how big it was until we passed the road a few seconds later and I saw how big cars and trucks looked. I wish I had had my camera handy!

Here it is in context; it's marked with the green arrow on right, and the airport is on the left:

Advertisement

I did some searching but came up empty; I asked a few people while I was there but no one knew anything about it!

So: anyone have any clue what this thing is? Art? A SETI broadcast antenna? A sooper sekrit gummint eavesdropping device?

Maybe I should ask Natasha Henstridge.