Flying Rods; fact or fiction?

We’ve just had a US tv show aired on these ‘flying rods’, with numerous examples of live footage. I’ve tried looking in snopes but there is nothing there, unless they’re called something else?
Anybody know anything of depth regarding these strange thingys?

The Straight Dope Mailbag: What’s up with “rods,” the mysterious insects that can be seen only on video?

Snopes may be lacking info, but the Straight Dope has already assembled several debunking sites:

What are these mysterious Rods flying about? June 12, 2002

Straight Dope Staff Report: What’s up with “rods,” the mysterious insects that can be seen only on video? September 18, 2000

(There are probably other threads on the subject. Check the Comments on Staff Reports Forum as well as GQ around Fall, 2000.)

Thank You - feel much better now!

I recently saw a new show promoting these “Flying Rods” (12/11/02).
It was showing the usual weird footage of an elongated object with some sort of spiral type of wing motion. The claim was that the footage was taken at 1-10,000 shutter speed. 10,000 frames per second! That sounds extremely fast for an insect to flap its wings. The still frame showed (if it were an insect) that there were three separate Oscillations per frame. Wouldn’t that mean that the insect would be flying at 30,000 beats per second? That’s hard to believe, if the shutter speed claim is to be believed!

Everyone knows that we could never have gone to the moon because the astronauts would have been killed by flying rods or contrails.

buzzz_kill, I think the explanation for those pictures is that the person who claimed a 1/10000 second exposure time didn’t understand what he was talking about. I’ll look for that again…

It takes some fairly exotic equipment to reach 10,000 fps.
More here.
I doubt that 10,000 fps can be achieved for a long enough period of time to have any possibility of capturing one of these elusive “flying rods”. At that frame rate you also need incredibly bright illumination. Did they mention that at all, or shall we just assume that they used a few thousand russian surplus nukes to light up the scene whilst they waited for UFO’s ?

It is not impossible to reach 1/10000shutter speed, but shutter speed does not relate to frames per second! A fast lens on a bright day with the f wide open would give you a fast shutter speed- but it would still only be normal movie frames per second, i.e. 18,24, etc.


Actually, if you set up two mirrors facing each other so that there is a tunnel of sorts, at least visually, I’ve heard that you can see the rods at around the 7th image or so.

My brother tried it, and he swears by it. I’ve avoided doing it, because a- I don’t want to look stupid and b- I’m a big chicken when it comes to fiddling around with Mirrors.

I agree with Tristan. I read in a book once, that you can get sucked into the space-time continuum thingy by looking into facing mirrors. I also read, in another book, that you can summon extra-terrestrial monsters by setting up facing mirrors.

I’ve also read, in yet another book that there are words like fiction and gullible.

I just tried that “tunnel of facing mirrors” thingy, and they all fell over and broke! And this is Friday the Thirteenth! :eek:

I’m doomed!

It wouldn’t be the first misreported shutter speed, even though a 1/10000 setting isn’t uncommon for consumer video cameras. But CCD image sensors don’t have a real shutter, the exposure time is controlled electronically.

A Charge Coupled Device chip works like an area of bucket chains. The charges created by the light that carry the image information are shifted through the chip to read the image. The chip still gets exposed while the image is pushed around. The better ones (most nowadays?) push one exposed frame as fast as possible into a dedicated light-proof area first, to read it out undisturbed.

So apart from the already debunked frame-rate motion artifacts, there would be line-pushing-rate artifacts that are more likely to show up at fast exposure times. If it wasn’t just a comb effect created by the image being assembled from two interlaced half-frames.

There doesn’t appear to be much definitive information on these creatures, but they apparently exist is some form or the other. Try typing in ‘mysteriousrods’ on the www and you will be saturated with quite a few sites debating the credibility/existence of these things. I have an infrared video of one which appears to be investigating one of my cylindrical corn feeders. It seems unlikely that my camera recorded this event erroneously; however, I’m sure someone out there has a logical explanation to dispute the image on this video. In either event, there appears to be one of those ‘rods’ taking time out in his/her busy routine to be captured by my camera.

Hey, I started that urban myth :slight_smile:

I’m closing this zombie down.

Feel free to start a new thread if you like.

General Questions Moderator