Firefighters suspect a 14-inch Celestron telescope which had been left outside in the sunlight, sparked a fire that damaged an Arizona home this week.

Rural/Metro fire crews responded at about 6 p.m. Monday to a report of flames coming from the back of a home in Carefree, Scottsdale.

The owner of the house, Dick Wilson, said he and his wife had just finished dinner and were watching television when they smelled something burning.

“We looked at the patio and saw that the ceiling of the patio was on fire,” Wilson said.

Firefighters were able to extinguish the flames, and no one was hurt.

As firefighters looked for the cause, they began to focus on the telescope, which had been sitting on a patio, said Colin Williams, spokesman for Rural/Metro Fire Department.

“We believe it could be a result from the light of the sun refracting against the telescope,” Williams said.

Williams described the situation as similar to sunlight directed through a magnifying glass, which can generate enough heat to burn a flammable material.

Williams said the homeowner had been told by a friend a couple of weeks ago the telescope had been reflecting a “very bright spot on roof of the patio and that could potentially start a fire.”

Wilson said it appeared the fire began in the area where the light was reflecting.

“Initially, I thought it was far-fetched,” Wilson said. “But that is very possible. The sun could have gone down at the right time, hit the face of the reflector, and hit the ceiling of the back patio porch.”

Wilson and his wife were forced out of their home after much of the roof was destroyed by flames, but expect to be back there in a year, Wilson said.

Wilson said he bought the 14-inch Celestron telescope as a new hobby for he and his wife.

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A woman in Switzerland has diad after trying to live on sunlight alone.

It was part of a spiritual journey for the woman, identified in the story with the fake name Anna Good, who was reportedly inspired by a 2010 documentary In the Beginning There Was Light.

The film tells the story of people who follow a concept called breatharianism and they claim to survive without eating or drinking anything for weeks, years or even decades.

Good saw the movie in 2010, the Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger reports. She started on the diet, going so far as to spit out her saliva.

In early 2011, after her children hadn’t heard from Good, they went to her home and found her body.

Police conducted an investigation and on Wednesday, district attorney Thomas Burgi told the newspaper the case was closed because there was no evidence of “foreign influence” in Good’s death.

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Snow globes ignite fire in home

On March 23, 2012, in Accidents & Incidents, by Weird

Snow globes which were left on a window ledge directed sunlight into an intense heat beam that started a couch fire in a Milwaukie home.

The owner said that he left the snow globes on a ledge after Christmas and forgot about them, Clackamas Fire District spokesman Steve McAdoo told reporters.

The globes stayed on the shelf, the angle of the sun changing over the months. Saturday, the globes directed intense heat beams at the back of a couch, he said.

Neighbors heard a smoke alarm and called 9-1-1.

“Thank God because the house would have been gone probably in another half an hour,” said homeowner Ken Gambell.

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A SoCal woman says the energy efficient window installed in a neighbor’s condominium is melting the plastic components on cars parked in her carport.

Heather Patron of Studio City was dealing with a mystery regarding her Toyota Prius.

“The side view mirrors were melting,” she said. “Anything that was plastic on the car was melting.”

Toyota told Patron nothing was wrong with the car.

After having the mirrors replaced, she noticed the mirrors on the car parked next to hers were also melting.

Patron then observed a powerful beam of light that was reflecting off the window of a next door condominium, casting a concentrated beam over her carport.

“I’m positive that this window is what is causing the damage to my car,” she says.

Patron is not alone.

Reports across the US have alleged damage brought on by concentrated sunlight reflected off of energy efficient windows.

The National Association of Home Builders is now conducting a study on the matter. “I just don’t feel like it’s fair,” says Patron.

“I feel like it needs to be known that this is happening. And a lot of people probably have damage out there, that they aren’t aware that it’s the windows that are causing this.”

The Los Angeles City Department of Building and Safety says even if the window is the source of the damage, there are no code violations involved.

The department say it’s not against the law to install a window that reflects sunlight.

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On Dec. 1, a camera onboard NASA’s STEREO spacecraft recorded a wave of electrically charged material shooting out from the sun and blasting Mercury.

Footage of this “coronal mass ejection” (CME), as such events are called, has caught the attention of alien-hunters, who say it has unveiled a giant, “cloaked” spaceship parked near the solar system’s innermost planet.

In the footage, one sees a huge spurt of plasma and other solar ejecta washing over Mercury; peculiarly, the material seems to flare up as it hits another nearby object, too.

“It’s cylindrical on either side and has a shape in the middle. It definitely looks like a ship to me, and very obviously, it’s cloaked,” YouTube-user siniXster said in his video commentary on the footage, which has quickly spread across the Web.

The commentator says there’s “absolutely no explanation” for the nearly Mercury-size mystery object other than that it’s a spaceship.

“What object in space cloaks itself and doesn’t appear until it gets hit by energy from the sun?” siniXster asked.

According to Russ Howard, head scientist of the NRL group, and Nathan Rich, lead ground systems engineer, it is simply an artifact left over from the way raw HI-1 telescope data gets processed.

Rather than a UFO mothership parked near Mercury, the bright spot is “where the planet was on the previous day,” Rich said.

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Robin Corrente, 50, from New York has launched a lawsuit against Swimwear Anywhere, the manufacturer of the Coco Reef bikini because she says her bikini was too hot.

She claims that the underwire in her black swimsuit top heated to the scorching point when she was sunbathing in 32 C weather in August 2008.

The result of the heated underwire was third-degree burns and blistering after about an hour in the sun.

‘After about an hour, I was hurting,’ Corrente said in the court papers.

‘I went up to take a shower and I realised… I had a lot of blisters.’

She claims that she sought medical attention and doctors removed a piece of flesh about the “size of a dime” from her right breast.

A spokesman for the company refused to comment.

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