Before I decided to post my encounter with the Marfa lights I did a search on the forum to see if they had been discussed...they had, briefly. Here's the tale of our sighting.
First, Marfa is a small town in west Texas. The Texas Dept. of Trans. has erected a viewing pull-out on the highway about 9 miles east of town. CalamityJaimie and I had attended a star party at McDonald Observatory the night before (Cool!!!..got to look through a dozen 'scopes, listen to a couple of lectures...), stayed overnight in Alpine and decided to try our luck at the viewing station.
We arrived just before sunset (mid-December) on very cold and somewhat windy day. Temps were in the mid-40's, wind about 15mph. We could see the head and tail lights of vehicles on the highway that runs from Presidio to Marfa to the west. To the south and southeast of the viewing platforms there is nothing but empty terrain, running to the mountains to the south, many miles away. Just before total darkness we spotted a white light almost directly south..came from nowhere. We watched with binoculars for many minutes..no movement of the light.
But...after about 5 minutes a light zoomed off to the left (southeast) at a what seemed a very high speed, the original white light remained. In the fading light there was no way to get a real sense of that speed. The moving light seemed to "dance" up and down at quite a distance away from the original.
The first white light started moving westward, turned to a pinkish color (not a fault of the binoculars as they are a high-end fully-coated optical system), split into three separate lights that continued moving. The three lights recombined to a single white, split again into three, recombined into one white and finally "winked" out.
We watched the other two original lights for a bit, they exhibited no further movement and with the cold and wind turning us into statues...we left.
If you read any of the many web hits you'll find that the lights were first noted in 1888 by cow herders and have been seen ever since. That rules out the thought that the lights from the Presidio-Marfa highway are somehow reflecting/bending, whatever and creating the illusion.
The area where the lights appear is called "Cienaga", which I think means swamp or lowland in Spanish. Many believe the lights might be swamp gas...
But the night we saw the lights it was fairly windy..which would probably rule that out.
I'm a skeptic, always have been. I also realize that the eyes can be fooled, especially seeing "lights" at night.
Whaddya think? Real? If so, what? Is this woo-woo land?
The more I learn the dumber I feel.