What’s this weird thing in the desert near Tonopah, Nevada?

Jun 07 2013 - 31 Comments

Every now and then, we receive interesting heads-up about things (reports, images, docs, etc) that might be loosely (or not) related to the standard topics we discuss at The Aviationist.

The following images may be among those weird things. They were taken by a passenger on a commercial flight, near Tonopah, Nevada towards the end of last year.

Since Tonopah was the base used to test the F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter jet and is not far from Nellis Air Force Base, anything that pops up over there it’s at least intriguing (even if most probably not related to any “Black Project”).

Light energy collector or what?

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  • Dave

    google concentrated solar farms

  • Bob
  • ed

    That would be the Ivanpah solar power project. Not near Tonapah, south of Vegas near state line.

  • devon

    it’s a heliostat farm… a bunch of mirrors that track the suns position & shine it onto a tower which takes the heat of the sun rays to boil water driving steam turbines. these have sprung up everywhere the sun shines a lot, a great power source.

  • Scafidi

    Could simply be sunlight reflecting off irrigated/flooded farm fields with center-pivot irrigation, which are all over the western US. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Center_pivot_irrigation

    • tadziopies

      DEFINITELY not! I’ll admit this was my initial thoughts, but the big clue that it isn’t this is the sqaure shape of the boundary. Centre-pivot irrigation always have circular boundaries. And then the next clue is the high -reflections. Plants wouldn’t give that.

  • Probably the Crescent Dunes project under construction. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crescent_Dunes_Solar_Energy_Project

  • tadziopies

    A quick bit of image aalysis/interpretation of just the first image reveals all: look at the central point of the circle. You’ll see a tower. Notice how some of the surface of the circular patterns appear very reflective? That’s becuase they all are – they’re mirrors.
    This is a large circular solar array arranged in a circle to continuously focus light to a point on the central tower – a Solar Power Tower (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_power_tower)
    The visible (dark) gaps can be for two reasons: sections are still under construction and awaiting their mirrors or where there are mirrors they’re being viewed at such an angle as to be offering no reflection and thereby by appear relatively dark.

  • dr helm

    Nothing to see here except one of the best conceived commercial solar power projects in the USA: http://www.solarreserve.com/what-we-do/csp-projects/crescent-dunes/

  • mandarlimaye
  • FoilHatWearer

    UFO landing beacon!!! No, I’m sure it’s a solar energy project. Good posts here explaining that!