11

Recently on a YUL-LAX flight (number AC797), I was sitting at one of the right side windows and saw these nine (may be unclear on image) extremely bright points of reflection.

enter image description here

Easier to spot view Here.

 http://i.stack.imgur.com/EQvrf.jpg

I don't have an exact location, but the aircraft was over a vast sandy/rocky terrain so I presume that I was close to Los Angeles/California.

These points remained for an extended amount of time and I am certain that they were not ghosts/reflections off the aircraft's windows.

What did I manage to photograph? A solar farm? A military base? Tesla's famous Gigafactory One?

  • How long before you landed? – MastaBaba Jul 13 '16 at 1:18
  • @MastaBaba An hour and half to two hours? – Hisevout1943 Jul 13 '16 at 1:23
7

This article provides the possibility that it is Ivanpah:

Airplane pilots reported that they were blinded by the intense sunlight reflecting off some of the 340,000 mirrors at the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System on the California-Nevada border.

... He’s not alone. “Daily, during the late morning and early afternoon hours we get complaints from pilots of aircraft flying from the northeast to the southwest about the brightness of this solar farm

A search on ASRS for Ivanpah returns 5 reports, e.g.

The Ivanpah Solar Power Plant glare caused cockpit illumination. The glare makes scanning for traffic impossible over approximately 40 degrees of the horizon which is directly ahead of the aircraft

An alternative solar farm may be the Topaz Solar farm.

It's not clear from your timing or flight path which is the most likely of these two but I suspect a solar farm is the most likely option.

6

Other answers suggesting a solar farm match well with your image.

Based on your estimates of 1.5 to 2 hours before arrival you were probably somewhere between the green lines shown on this image of the flight route.

enter image description here

Wikipedia advises that

Colarado has:

Antonito Southeast 9,712 acres (865 MW - 1,557 MW)

De Tilla Gulch 1,064 acres (135 MW - 243 MW)

Fourmile East 2,882 acres (345 MW - 621 MW)
here

Los Mogotes East 4,734 acres (526 MW - 947 MW)
here

The most likely seem to be

Antonito Southesast Solar here

but depending on how much the flight path varied, all 4 are possibilities.
(Or somewhere else :-) ).

Most of the station names do not correspond to a larger town but are a geographical location that may not show up on most maps. So the following two best guesses based on web searches are hopefully correct but ... .

enter image description here

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