Mysterious Black Cloud Spotted off Old Town Beach

Birdwatcher spots a weird sight off the shore of Southampton Village.

A dense black cloud with no obvious source was seen over the Atlantic Ocean Thursday, and the birdwatcher who spotted it is seeking answers.

Southampton resident David Sagman said he saw the cloud in the distance during a routine birdwatching expedition Thursday, while standing at the end of Old Town Road in Southampton and overlooking the ocean.

"It seemed to be moving very slowly westward and northward with very subtle shape change," Sagman said. "No fishing boats were observed nearby."

The cloud was several miles offshore, he said, and he got the best photos he could, using an 800mm digiscope — a telescope for taking photos — on a tripod.

"I wondered if it could be composed of thousands of birds but other thoughts are welcome," Sagman said.

Can you identify what the black cloud is composed of? Have you ever seen anything like it? Leave a comment below.

Jerry Can January 06, 2013 at 12:18 AM
A fire aboard a submarine that had to surface...or dust on the lens.
Eastend50 January 06, 2013 at 12:41 AM
I saw the same thing over the ocean a year or so back. What I suspect it is, is exhaust trails from 3 separate rocket motors. Due to the curvature of the earth, the "cloud" looks like it is on the horizion, when in reality it's many, many miles out and high off the surface of the ocean. Probably military in origin.
Eric January 06, 2013 at 12:41 AM
PetrolMan January 06, 2013 at 02:17 AM
That is a the report and smoke from a HAARP weather manipulation pod which will work in tandem with chemtrails to cause whatever weather calamity is next on the horizon. Look up HAARP weather manipulation and don't say I never gave you anything.
Shinnecock Hills January 06, 2013 at 12:58 PM
Looking at the 2 photos, it clearly changes shape. This is really intriguing!
Chris Gaynor January 06, 2013 at 02:18 PM
That's an offshore Dragger with dirty injectors starting a tow. Probably the FV Patriot, with his 3508 ramping up to 1800 rpm. The boat won't be seen due to the curvature of the earth.
allen tiska January 06, 2013 at 03:25 PM
That's a large ship just over the horizon, distorted by the atmosphere. If you looked from the hills of Noyack you'd see it more clearly.
Philip A Keith January 06, 2013 at 03:33 PM
Most likely a large ocean going merchant or military vessel "blowing stacks;" i.e., pumping too much oil into the burners. This can be done by accident or sometimes on purpose to calibrate the boilers (or produce a smokescreen for some reason, like a naval exercise). Sorry, conspiracy theorists...
Tom Mulrooney January 06, 2013 at 04:19 PM
It was probably a ship of some sort. What happens is at the horizon an object seems to be seperated from the horizon line giving the impression of it being skyward. The water being choppy and moving aids in the illusion. If you were to go to the Shinnecock Canal and with a standard binocular look east you will see land that appears to be floating over the water.
Algebra January 06, 2013 at 05:40 PM
"curvature of the earth?" pffft, like the world is round or something?
muskrat January 06, 2013 at 05:50 PM
Anyone can see it's the sails of a pirate ship. The Black Pearl most likely.
Karin Strong January 06, 2013 at 06:26 PM
It is a mirage of a ship just over the edge of our horizon. It is an image that is caught by the air layer over the ocean and reflected off the top of that air layer, like a mirror. Think mirages in the desert when a thirsty person will see water when it is really a dark area in the ground that he can't see yet.
highhatsize January 06, 2013 at 06:31 PM
It's the dark cloud of depression and despair departing our shores now that the Republicans have been defeated.
Mary McPartland January 06, 2013 at 06:57 PM
Awesome, Karin!
Bruno Schreck January 06, 2013 at 08:56 PM
Obviously the original poster is someone who doesn't often look to sea with powerful optics. It's a "mirage" of a fishing boat or small ship. You can see this any time of the year, when there is a gradation of temperature near the surface. One of my favorite morning activities is breakfast at EH Main Beach, where I can see this (when conditions are right) through my trusty 10x50 Nikon binoculars.
stovepipe40 January 06, 2013 at 10:40 PM
Yes, I believe this is a certain type of mirage called the "Fata Morgana" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fata_Morgana_%28mirage%29
Fastrudy Lehr January 07, 2013 at 11:44 AM
exactly, a mirage from beyond the horizon.
Allen Seltzer January 07, 2013 at 02:31 PM
What I believe your images show is the smoke rising from the stacks of a distant ship. Owing to the Earth's curvature, a ship approaching the horizon appears to "sink" below the horizon. The distance of the sea or true horizon is dependent on your height. If you are six feet tall, your eyes are about five and one half feet above the beach. Your horizon is about three miles away. If the ship is much farther than that distance, you will not be able to see it. However, because the smoke rises considerably higher than the ship is tall, the smoke appears to be coming from the horizon. In your images, there appear to be three distinct dark clouds, perhaps smoke for each of ship's three stacks. That's my two cents. Hope it helps.
Oliver Peterson January 07, 2013 at 02:37 PM
Cool pics and post!
Tom Mulrooney January 07, 2013 at 03:45 PM
get a life, respect others as you would want them to respect you.
Fastrudy Lehr January 07, 2013 at 11:18 PM
Hello, Mr. Seltzer, I hope you are well. I have seen many ships off Southampton and the smoke emanating from them never goes very high (visually) because of wind and their forward motion. I still prefer the loomed image of a ship just beyond the horizon. If any mariner could determine if a ship was at that place and time, as well as the wind velocity, it would help solve this problem.
Bangfish January 10, 2013 at 09:17 AM
Oh' sorry It was me, i just had a touch of gas,
oonald January 10, 2013 at 11:13 PM
Is it bigger than a bread box? Sorry had to say it
Daniella Ruiz January 11, 2013 at 09:55 PM
january 2013 (January 3) 7-night New York to Sothampton (M302) $1,820-1,970-3,040-4,200-5,400. cunard queen mary schedule http://www.queenmarycruises.net/queen-mary-2-schedule/


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something