Published: 4:32 PM 1/28/2014
Orlando, Florida - 01-24-14
While staying at the Orlando World Center Marriott Resort in Orlando I stepped onto the back porch to make a panoramic photo of the sunrise.
While taking a series of 3 photos I noticed a curving brighter line in the clouds. I assumed it was part of a contrail and paid no further attention until it came time to process the 3 photos into a panorama a day or two later.
After loading the 3 digital Olympus RAW file images into my computer and into Photoshop the bright curve caught my attention again.
When I blew the image up to 1:1 pixel view I was astounded to see that my "contrail" was actually a sharply defined disc resting in the clouds about 15-20 degrees above the horizon.
The disc was tilted toward me, the top partially obscured by the clouds, but the bright edge of the disc very clearly visible.
The image was taken with an Olympus OM-D E-M5 using an Olympus 14-150mm lens at 14mm. The E-M5 is a micro 4/3 camera and the short side of the image at 14mm covers approx 45 degrees.
By laying a grid over the image I was able to determine that the diameter of the disc was covering approximately 2 degrees. Guesstimating that the object might be as much as 5-10 miles away I concluded that the size of the disc might be about 850-1700 feet.
The image of the disc appears on two of the three overlapping images I made for the panorama. There are only a few seconds elapsed between the two images and the disc shows no apparent motion.
I am attaching the jpeg image of the pano I created along with a 1:1 pixel crop of the area showing the disc which is located at the lower left of the pano.
The RAW files of the original are available on request. Note that the timestamps in the EXIF data are 1 hour ahead of actual time as I forgot to adjust the camera for end of daylight savings in the fall.