A strange siting over Warwick Castle actually DOES have an explanation that does not signal anything occult or supernatural.
Weather experts are baffled by the appearance of a black ring in the sky above Leamington Spa on Friday evening.
Schoolgirl Georgina Heap was playing tennis with her mother Jo Heap when she saw the mysterious black ring in the sky near Warwick Castle.
The ring remained in the sky for around three minutes before disappearing completely.
It supposedly hung there “floating like a cloud”. There were no fires recorded and meteorologists said it wasn’t a weather event. Bees? Birds? Unlikely. A true mysterious natural phenomenon.
It’s really neat-looking and, as is guaranteed, is sparking claims of witchcraft and end times.
The explanation is not out of reach, however. While this sighting may be one in a million to the viewers, it’s happened plenty of times before. They are known as vortex rings and are often remnants of explosions:
In most instances, the rings are formed by air mixed with smoke or steam that is forced out of a (relatively) small circular or cylindrical opening (this can be a chimney, the barrel of a canon, or a vent in a volcano crater). Because of the drag of the surface of the opening, the air expelled from the centre will move faster than the air exiting the opening near the edge. The air from the sides is sucked in, and a circular motion is created. In this way, a doughnut-shaped vortex is formed, just like a smoke ring that is blown from a smoker’s lips. The ring-shape is maintained due to the rotational motion of the air flowing in the vortex ring.
As noted in this excellent piece, this Leamington Spa ring behaves in the way that others have behaved, travelling “at a constant speed, maintaining the same horizontal or vertical position until they break up.” See more examples at that site too.
Here is one that occurred from an explosion last year in Florida. It looks remarkably identical.
I’m amazed Nick Pope, the UFO expert didn’t mention this as an explanation. In fact, NO source seemed to mention this yet I found it in short order recalling that such smoke rings had been seen before. That’s the amazing part – that people can’t google.
You can even launch your own smoke rings. Maybe that’s what this event was.
Tip: @skep_challenged on Twitter
UPDATE: We have the source of the smoke.
A Warwick Castle spokesman said they had been testing “fire effects” to go with the daily firing of the Trebuchet Fireball – a giant catapult.
“We’ve seen a number of different effects, including the vortex images that have been reported,” the spokesman said. “As yet we don’t know what causes the phenomenon but it’s certainly a spooky spectacle.”
And everything is wrapped up…