What made the mark?


Mr Molony has a photograph of Titanic leaving Belfast on the 2nd of April, that shows a mark on the side of the ship. Note that to the right of this mark is another mark. Compare the two marks. Their shape, size, slope and height above the sea are identical. Neither Mr Molony or Steve Raffield noticed this second mark.

Steve Raffield said he inititially thought his mark might be a reflection. He eventually threw out his reflection idea in favour of a fire theory which Mr Malony instantly adopted. Presumably, Mr Raffield would have given a lot of thought to his reflection theory, so let's see what we can make of it.

Because of the combination of the time of day, hence the position of the sun, and the relative position of the ship, it was merely fortuitous that reflections were able to fall onto the side of the ship. At any other time or place it would have been virtually impossible to fall into this alignment.

Because the sun was at a low angle, where its rays struck land rather than water, no light was reflected onto the side of the ship and so it left a dark region. It can be seen that the upper spit of land in the photograph is in line with the mark on the ship. Because the light reflected off the water on both side of the land spit, the mark appears of the ship's side like a silhouette.

In the lower part of the photograph, there is a much larger chunk of land. If we note the gap between the land spit and this larger patch, we see a region of water, like a little bay, on which the sun shines and reflects, somewhat lighter, onto the side of the ship. The right-hand side of this bay is bordered by land that reflects no light and so its shape appears on the ship's side as an area devoid of reflection, and therefore dark.

In the first photograph, the mark can be seen distinctly to the left of the well deck but in the second photograph it is immediately below the well deck. That is no surprise, the ship has moved and so the mark appears in a different location on the ship's side.

When we look at the third photograph, no mark is visible for the simple reason the ship is too far out from shore to receive any excluded areas of reflection or is no longer in alignment.

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