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Book details
  • Genre:NATURE
  • SubGenre:Sky Observation
  • Language:English
  • Pages:60
  • Format:Paperback
  • Paperback ISBN:9781098371449

In Defense of the Marfa Lights

by James Bunnell

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Overview
In Defense of Marfa Lights These days, Marfa, Texas, is a mecca for art and artists. But Mitchell Flat, a vast stretch of ranch land to the east of Marfa, is a much older mecca, not for art, but for lights. Since the 19th century, reports of "mysterious" or unexplained lights have intrigued people who live in this far west Texas area. Some visitors (and there are many) declare distant, moving lights to be "mysterious," while more skeptical visitors may tell you that what they saw were ranch lights and vehicle headlights. Who is right? What are these lights? A major research effort might give answers. But the "answer" boils down not to a concrete, singular fact, but rather to a choice between two camps. Author James Bunnell is squarely in the camp that rejects the "headlights" theory and pushes for more scientific investigation because he believes the lights are unusual, natural phenomena that have much to tell us about our own Earth. Unlike the headlight theorists, some of whom have never visited Marfa or Mitchell Flat, Bunnell backs up his conclusions about the lights with ten years of firsthand observations, photographs of many mysterious lights from multiple automatic night cameras, and a unique base of his own photographic evidence taken by him, onsite, in real time. He concludes "A VERY SMALL NUMBER of these lights are indeed mysterious natural phenomena." A retired aerospace engineer, Bunnell has no quarrel with light gazers who have come to Mitchell Flat, seen lights, and declared them to be headlights. He understands why: Explainable lights heavily outnumber mysterious lights. A much different matter are those who do not come to Marfa, who question him at length over a series of months and then use, without permission, his copyrighted photographs and data to "prove" that "mysterious lights" do not exist. Those are the people who made this book necessary. This book is a closer look at what they did, and what James Bunnell did. You choose.
Description
These days, Marfa, Texas, is a mecca for art and artists. But Mitchell Flat, a vast stretch of ranch land to the east of Marfa, is a much older mecca, not for art, but for lights. Since the 19th century, reports of "mysterious" or unexplained lights have intrigued people who live in this far west Texas area. Some visitors (and there are many) declare distant, moving lights to be "mysterious," while more skeptical visitors may tell you that what they saw were ranch lights and vehicle headlights. Who is right? What are these lights? The state of Texas created a roadside park for the many curious travelers and locals who stand at night looking, looking. There have been countless magazine articles, newspaper accounts, books, and television programs that raise the question but never quite answer it. A team of scientists, state of the art equipment, and time (years) might do it. But at this point in time, the "answer" boils down not to a concrete, singular fact, but rather to a choice between two camps. Author James Bunnell is squarely in the camp that rejects the "headlights" theory and pushes for more scientific investigation because he believes the lights are rare but unusual, natural phenomena that have much to tell us about our own Earth. Unlike the headlight theorists, some of whom have never visited Marfa or Mitchell Flat, Bunnell backs up his conclusions about the lights with ten years of firsthand observations, photographs of many hundreds of lights from multiple automatic night cameras, and a unique base of his own photographic evidence taken by him, onsite, in real time. He concludes, "A VERY SMALL NUMBER of these lights are indeed mysterious natural phenomena." A retired aerospace engineer, Bunnell has no quarrel with light gazers who have come to Mitchell Flat, seen lights, and declared them to be headlights. He understands why: Explainable lights heavily outnumber mysterious lights. A much different matter are those who do not come to Marfa, who question him at length over a series of months and then use, without permission, his copyrighted photographs and data to "prove" that "mysterious lights" do not exist. Those are the people who made this book necessary. This book is a closer look at what they did, and what James Bunnell did. You choose.
About the author
James Bunnell is a retired aero-systems engineer. He was born and raised in far West Texas, shuttling between homes in Marfa and the "Tex-Mex" border town of Presidio. He graduated from New Mexico State University with a degree in mechanical/aero engineering, and earned did graduate work in aviation systems (U. of Tennessee) and psychology (Georgia State U.). Bunnell retired in 2000 from BAE Systems as director of mission planning projects for military (Strategic Command) programs. His career path also included aircraft hydraulics testing (LTV); value engineering (Lockheed); Apollo launch support team and aircraft mission planning systems manager (McDonnell Douglas); and program manager of solid rocket motor testing (Arnold Research Center: commended for study of propellant detonations). Much of his work over these years has involved managing software projects and providing information and support to end users. In retirement he has made multiple presentations on the Apollo program; he was a member of the launch team for the Saturn 5 third rocket stage for all manned Apollo launches (1968-1973; achievement award for Apollo 11 moon landing launch). Mysterious lights in Mitchell Flat, east of Marfa, have intrigued Bunnell since his early childhood days in Marfa. His need to understand these lights resulted in a 10-year study beginning in 2001.
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