An Army parachute jumper is claiming responsibility for the strange lights appearing over El Paso, TX over the weekend.
On the US Army Golden Knights webpage, SGT Rachel Medley says that the Golden Knights "Black" demonstration team was doing a night time "pyro" demonstration*:
Medley was responding to a commenter on the Knight's webpage asking the group about the news story (seen on The Blaze) suggesting the lights could be extra terrestrial. A video of a Golden Knights night time jump on YouTube does show similarities to the El Paso lights:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/v/eaqvrv-8jIY?fs=1&hl=en_US expand=1]
However, Medley has not responded to commenters asking her to explain similar lights over Manhattan, which were seen during the day:
Some are also questioning Medley's explanation:
And still others won't be satisfied until the demonstration is repeated:
Over on the blog, a reader photo shows similar lights occurring at dawn, suggesting the glimmers may not have been from a night time Army parachute demonstration.
The official explanation for the Manhattan lights is an errant clump of balloons released by children in Virginia. Not surprisingly, that hasn't satisfied UFO speculators.
On a different part of the Golden Knights website, SGT Medley offers a thorough explanation of the night jumps and specifically the El Paso jump:
This about the flares:
Question: How do you pull of the whole “hovering and reverse trajectory thing?”
Answer: “Hovering and reverse trajectory” is a really fancy way of saying that we opened our parachutes, slowing from 120 mph to about 12 mph in a matter of seconds, then started steering our parachutes around in preparation to land. Because the change in speed is so sudden and dramatic, it can appear to spectators on the ground that the jumpers are hovering. Nope, they are simply gliding gently to the ground under their black and gold canopies. One fan asked if we had “jet packs,” and the answer is NO…we wish! Our parachutes have a forward speed of 22 miles per hour, and with the pyro sparks burning under the canopy, it appears that we are going pretty fast.
And this about the El Paso jump:
Question: (specifically about the El Paso jump Friday) Why were there three flares when the parachutes opened, then a fourth became visible after they were hovering?
Answer: During freefall, not all of the jumpers in the formation ignite their pyro sticks. One of the jumpers, SFC Arlyn Slade, waited until he was under canopy to ignite his flares because he was performing canopy relative work with his CRW partner, SSG Todd Beckel. As soon as their canopies were together, SFC Slade ignited his pyro, creating the fourth flare.
Another message from Medley, who says she is "the Soldier in charge of the pyrotechnic equipment for the Black Demonstration Team, who performed the night jump over El Paso, TX on Friday night":