Houstonians reported mysterious lights in the sky last week on the r/Texas Reddit page, and people are still trying to figure things out.
One Redditor, who posed the question under the title “strange pulsing sliver in sky” phrased the appearance of the light as “almost like there is a rip in the sky and I’m seeing light pulse through.”
Another user posted photos in the comments taken in Texas City appearing to show the exact phenomenon described.
Several people wrote in the comments the light probably resulted from ice crystals refracting the light of a flare on the ground from the Shell oil refinery in Deer Park, just north of Texas City.
One user points to the brightness on the horizon in the picture shown above, and claims the bright spot is from one of those fires.
Separate posts appear to confirm the theory:
Another Redditor posted a similar thread, saying they saw “giant flames in the sky,” while other users quickly pointed out the unidentified light came as a result of the cold weather or light from refinery flares.
The same thing appeared at the Bridge City, Texas in 2016, with people describing a “column” of light occasionally pulsing.
If the light is in fact reflected from refinery flares on the ground, atmospheric disturbance could account for the pulsing, according to one commenter.
When refineries produce excess hydrocarbon gas they cannot use or recycle; so, instead they burn it.
The fires from those burns can be seen from a long distances, and likely could be the cause of what people saw late last week and in December.
In the past, cold temperatures, like the ones recently plaguing the Houston area, led to excess flaring due to pipes freezing at refineries, such as the one in Baytown, according to Reuters.
Could just be another flare up of UFO fever.