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UFO or something else?

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It's 5.50 am now in Dhaka, Bangladesh. I just saw a moving star around 5 am. It was a starry sky and that star was moving in a straight line. It was very fast, faster than regular planes (though I didn't hear any sound) and disappeared in the Eastern sky. It was a little brighter and a little closer than the other stars. Can anyone tell, what was it?


According to this (https://spotthestation.nasa.gov/sightings/view.cfm?country=Bangladesh®ion=None&city=Dhaka#.WcATdWdSz0o) the ISS was around at that time of morning. The sunrise was 5:45, so it could have been illuminated by the sun before it rose.


The O-Files: Here are five UFO or alien sightings reported in Ohio

From Roswell, New Mexico, to Circleville, Ohio, UFOs and aliens have been part of American myth and legend for some 75 years.

The U.S. government last year released three videos of UFO sightings by Navy pilots &mdash one from 2004 and two from 2015. Later this month, a Pentagon task force is expected to deliver a report to Congress on what government officials now call "unexplained aerial phenomena."

The report may suggest the possibility of Chinese or Russian spycraft, or it could confirm thousands of conspiracy theorists' suspicions: Humans may not be alone in this galaxy. Or not.

The Buckeye State has had its fair share of UFO sightings and close encounters. Here are five of the most popular in Ohio lore:

1. Portage County, 1966

On April 17, 1966, two Portage County Sheriff's deputies stopped to investigate an abandoned car about 5 a.m. near Ravenna, Ohio, about 144 miles northeast of Columbus.

According to a report from The Beaver County Times in western Pennsylvania, the two deputies saw a UFO come up from behind some trees and chased the flying saucer from Ohio across the state line into Pennsylvania during an 86-mile chase that at times reached 100 mph.

At one point, a dispatcher instructed the two deputies to shoot the object, but a sergeant countermanded that, saying it could be a government weather balloon, the story said.

One of the Portage County deputies, Dale Spaur, told reporters then that the object was roughly 40 feet wide and 20 feet tall by his estimation.

"Somebody had control over it," he said. "It wasn't just floating around. It can maneuver."

The deputies gave up the pursuit in Conway, Beaver County, Pennsylvania, home of a massive rail yard. The UFO hovered then sped off into the night, but hundreds of people reported seeing the saucer and hearing its steady hum.

"We were close, closer than I ever want to be again," Spaur said.

2. Tarlton, 2006 or 2007

Two women driving back from Columbus in 2006 or 2007 were near Tarlton, a village on the border of Fairfield and Pickaway counties, when they spotted what is described in the account as an "entity sitting inside of a silver truck."

The database on the Roundtown UFO Society (RUFOS) website compares the sighting to the 1985 Alien flick "Cocoon," calling whatever the pair saw white and of slight body stature, "almost glowing."

The pair gave their first-hand account of the night in a recorded RUFOS meeting in March 2018. For years after the incident, they said, they never talked about the encounter.

The two women said the person or thing in the truck was glowing brightly.

"My headlights are shining on the vehicle because we're looking straight at it," one of the women said in the recording. "There's nothing in the actual cab of the truck . as we became parallel with the truck this is where we had different experiences. I felt like something was turning my head, making me turn and as I turned in the opposite direction there was this . it glowed like white power, that's the only way I can describe it."

"There are no eyeballs," the second woman told RUFOS members. "Very thin, hairless, bald and so thin . no definition of (nose and mouth). But it was glowing."

3. Pickaway County, 1958

Dispatch reporter Holly Zachariah documented RUFOS director Pete Hartinger's close encounter that he said took place on Feb. 27, 1958, when he was 17 and on his way to the Pickaway County Fairgrounds. Hartinger told The Dispatch about the incident last year following the U.S. government's acknowledgment and reports. Hartinger said he saw a saucer-shaped object floating over the local feed mill near Circleville before drifting out of sight.

Then something else returned.

"A totally different object came back. It was a reddish-orange object, a circle just like the setting sun. It stopped and hovered in midair &mldr and the top half folded down onto itself," said Hartinger, who is now in his 80s.

The occurrence has stuck with Hartinger his entire life and led him to found RUFOS.


What can we expect from the government’s official UFO report?

I have no idea what the report will say, but I doubt they have any evidence where a UAP (Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon, previously called a UFO) is clearly resolved. For starters, have you ever noticed that UAP images and videos are usually out of focus?

In the recent videos that are now getting a lot of attention called FLIR1, Gimbal, Triangle, and GoFast, for instance, let’s consider the triangular UFO. In the video you can also see other objects that are triangles. Are these sister UFOs? No. What this means is that the camera was out of focus and the camera pupil (shutter) was triangular. One person has measured the positions of the faint triangles (and one bright one) and shown that they are at the positions of the stars near the constellation Taurus and the planet Jupiter. Also, this UFO blinks in the same way a commercial aircraft does. It was taken off the coast of Los Angeles where there are lots of air traffic. It is an out-of-focus video taken with an infrared camera.

This is one example of an explanation that fits the data. Now, why did the Navy not provide this explanation? They should have asked an astronomer before releasing the video because they could have quickly shown that this an out of focus image.


Is The Truth About UFOs Out There?

Over the past several years, U.S. Navy pilots have reported several instances of ”unexplained aerial phenomena” while in flight. They’ve recorded videos that show shapes that appear to move in unusual ways, zooming and turning in ways beyond the capabilities of our own aircraft. After several members of Congress requested an explanation for the videos, the government put together a report on the phenomena.

The report, however, doesn’t definitively answer the question of what the observations show. While it does say that the observations aren’t of secret U.S. technology, it has no conclusions on whether the reports show foreign technology, camera artifacts, or something else—like alien technology.

Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the SETI Institute, spends his time searching for signs of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. He says that while he does believe intelligent alien life exists—and may even be discovered within the next 20 years or so—he does not think the sightings included in the government report indicate alien visitors. He shares his reasons for skepticism with host Sophie Bushwick, as well as talks about people’s desire to believe in extraterrestrials.


Texas A&M astronomer weighs in on upcoming UFO report

CLOSE

Texas A&M University astronomer Nick Suntzeff has been involved with space research for 30 years and spent 20 years in Chile, where he helped co-discover dark matter. Below, he offers his thoughts about UFOs and whether or not we are alone in the universe.

CLOSE

The New York Times and CNN reported a government report on "UFOs" does not provide evidence of aliens, but also doesn't rule the possibility out. USA TODAY

Q: What can we expect from the government’s official UFO report?

A: I have no idea what the report will say, but I doubt they have any evidence where a UAP (Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon, previously called a UFO) is clearly resolved. For starters, have you ever noticed that UAP images and videos are usually out of focus?

In the recent videos that are now getting a lot of attention called FLIR1, Gimbal, Triangle, and GoFast, for instance, let’s consider the triangular UFO. In the video you can also see other objects that are triangles. Are these sister UFOs? No. What this means is that the camera was out of focus and the camera pupil (shutter) was triangular. One person has measured the positions of the faint triangles (and one bright one) and shown that they are at the positions of the stars near the constellation Taurus and the planet Jupiter. Also, this UFO blinks in the same way a commercial aircraft does. It was taken off the coast of Los Angeles where there are lots of air traffic. It is an out-of-focus video taken with an infrared camera.

UFOs, or unidentified flying objects, have stirred our imagination for generations. Sightings of these alleged interstellar visitors to Earth have been chronicled throughout history. However, the mania for UFOs shifted into hyperdrive in 1947, when flying saucer enthusiasts believed the remains of an otherworldly spacecraft, and even the corpse of an alien, were discovered in Roswell, New Mexico. (Photo: ursatii / Getty Images)

This is one example of an explanation that fits the data. Now, why did the Navy not provide this explanation? They should have asked an astronomer before releasing the video because they could have quickly shown that this an out of focus image.

Q: So does that mean the UFOs are not real?

A: Well, you can often debunk one story, but you will then get another story and someone will say, “okay, but explain this one.”

In one video, a pilot said the UFO resembled a large Tic Tac mint and that it was defying the laws of physics over the ocean and moving fast. The problem here is that we don’t know how far away it was. If it was high above the ocean, then the apparent motion is likely due to the airplane and not the object.

This is called parallax. You can often find answers like this, and so on.

So I am not optimistic that we will be shown extraordinary evidence where there is no natural explanation for what is seen.

Q: So you are saying that you can rule out most UFO sightings as something else and not a UFO?

A: There are often simple, but boring answers. For example, the most common UFO is the planet Venus. Once I got a phone call from an excited person who was telling me they can see a UFO right now. It is moving back and forth, and sometimes it suddenly comes closer and then moves away. I asked them if they could still see it. Yes! So I drove down to the parking lot and there was a group of people bunched together pointing up to the sky. I went over there and asked them to show me where it is. I look up there, and it is Venus. I tell then it is Venus. I look at it and it is not moving. It was twinkling a bit but otherwise, nothing unusual. As we looked, they admitted it was not moving, but I was assured that it was before I got there.

Q: Many people are convinced that these UFOs are visitors from another planet, that they have been monitoring the Earth for decades and they are real. If true, it would be perhaps the biggest story of all time. Is it possible?

A: I can’t rule out we have visitors from other planets. But we need clear evidence. We need a clear photo for instance. So far, we do not have such evidence.

Note that many reports say that the UFO object was a certain size and moving at a certain speed. Now, if you don’t know what the object is, you can’t know how far away it is, or how big it is. Anyone who says they know the size (unless it landed and left a mark) is, well, not understanding simple optics. So once again, we need clearer proof. I have seen lots of weird things in the sky – very weird things – but I can always explain them.

As for intelligent life – in a way it is a strange question. As the great physicist Enrico Fermi was claimed to have said, “Well, where are they?” That is, if there is intelligent life, why don’t we see it with our telescopes, or see evidence here on Earth of visitations? Astronomers are always looking for life elsewhere in the universe.

Congress-sanctioned UFO report to be released in June 2021. (Photo: U.S. NAVY)

Q: Any shred of truth to the long-held rumors that the government has been hiding pieces of crashed UFOs and perhaps even bodies?

A: If they do, this is the best kept secret ever. Our government is not great at keeping secrets, and this one would be a doozy. No, I don’t believe there is any physical evidence. I don’t think intelligent civilizations could travel the thousands of light years to the earth, and then crash their spacecraft. If they can travel that distance, I seriously doubt they would be this careless.

Q: It seems like the scientific community has always been more than a little reluctant to talk about UFOs. Why is that?

A: We are not reluctant to talk about it. There are a number of astronomers actively looking for signs of intelligent life out there. It is a real field in astronomy. The problem is that one cannot get government funding to study UFOs. So those astronomers look to the private sector to do the studies. A very close friend of mine, now retired, built his own observatory and is searching for intelligent signals. He got this funded by some rich person in Silicon Valley. If there were sources of steady funding, I am sure a lot of young astronomers would take a job searching for intelligent life.

Q: Any other thoughts you may have about UFOs?

A: . This is thought experiment. We are not too far –maybe 100 years or so – from building mini-satellites, accelerating them up to 10% the speed of light using lasers, and sending them off to nearby stars. We could make billions of them – after all, we have made billions of cell phones so far. With laser acceleration and light-weight satellites (10 grams or so), we could launch these to billions of stars. The satellite could have a radio transmitter beeping the first 10 Fibonacci numbers (numbers used to create a mathematical sequence) showing it must be artificial.

If I can imagine this future technology which is not far from what we have today, the question is, why is there no satellite from another civilization that has passed this way, and beeped at us?

The only fact we are certain of is that so far -- and we are looking hard -- it is silent out there.

Texas A&M University astronomer Nick Suntzeff has been involved with space research for 30 years and spent 20 years in Chile, where he helped co-discover dark matter. (Photo: Contributed photo)

By Keith Randall, Texas A&M University Division of Marketing & Communications


UFO or something else? - Astronomy

The largest group of freshwater lakes in the world, the Great Lakes are definitely fascinating. They formed 14,000 years ago from the retreat of ice sheets, contain 84 percent of the surface freshwater of North America and are really important from the geological, hydrological, ecological and historical point of view.(object appears on the Great Lakes)

However, apart from scientific considerations, the Great Lakes are also the center of some legends, many of which remain unexplained. In addition, it considered the “Triangle of Bermuda” of the North of the United States. In this enigmatic place there have been disappearances of ships. People and planes since 1891, when a schooner named Thomas Hume and his crew vanished. But the most recent mystery occurred on the night of June 23, 1950. When Flight 2501 of Northwest Orient Airlines vanished without a trace with the 55 passengers and three crew members on Lake Michigan. But now a video could show that in the Great Lakes there is much more than just water.(object appears on the Great Lakes)

A father and son were driving near Toledo, Ohio, along the shore of Lake Erie, last Christmas. When they saw a huge object floating above the surface . They stopped and the father decided to record it on video. At first it looks like a cloud, but if you look more closely you can see how the object is symmetrical. Showing a shape similar to a classic “flying saucer” or a cigar type UFO. The color is the same throughout the object and its edges look pretty well defined.(object appears on the Great Lakes)

But another detail to take into account that it reflected in the surface of the lake. The UFO is floating well above the surface , about 6 meters. And there seems to be a glitter or some kind of alteration in the water or in the lower ice. The surprising video has posted on YouTube by the Thirdphaseofmoon channel. Which states that it is evidence that it is an osni, unidentified underwater object. As we have said in MEP, the Osnis share common elements with UFOs, although these usually appear in the water or in and out.

Occasionally, sightings of submerged objects have been attributed to existing oceanic phenomena, such as the Bermuda Triangle, which could demonstrate the existence of extraterrestrial bases in the depths of the oceans or lakes. It is well known that the Osnis go through the water without creating alterations. In addition, objects are sometimes sighted on top of a waterspout. And how could it be otherwise, there are many who have wanted to give their opinion on the mysterious object in the video. The most skeptical say that it may be a submarine, but it is clear that whatever it is on the water. This has led some to suggest supernatural theories.

As we have previously told, the Great Lakes have a history of UFO sightings and unexplained phenomena. Also, no body of water has had as many shipwrecks as the Great Lakes. Then, the mysterious object could perhaps be a true ghost ship.(object appears on the Great Lakes)

One of the sightings of ghost ships in the Great Lakes is the Le Griffon, which disappeared on Lake Michigan in 1679. It is said to have been cursed, and since then it has been seen chasing and colliding with other boats near the port of Michigan, just to disappear before the impact. Its shipwreck remains a mystery. Another ghost ship is the Bannockburn, a Canadian freighter that disappeared in 1902 on Lake Superior. He still sails the lake, usually between Port Arthur, Michigan and Soo Locks, between Lake Superior and Huron. Other ghostly fleet ships include WH Gilcher (Lake Michigan), Western Reserve (Lake Superior), Erie Board of Trade (Lake Huron) and The Hudson (Lake Michigan).

So, is it clear evidence of the existence of ufo in the Great Lakes? Is there an undersea extraterrestrial base? Maybe a ghost ship? It’s up to you.


Time for scientists to identify the unidentified in Pentagon's UFO report

The Pentagon just delivered a report to Congress stating that some Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) are potentially real objects but their nature is unknown. The report is one of two sources of fresh scientific evidence that we are likely not the only intelligent species in the cosmos.

The Pentagon report states, “a majority of UAP were registered across multiple sensors, to include radar, infrared, electro-optical, weapon seekers, and visual observation.” UAP could be human-made, natural atmospheric phenomena or extraterrestrial in origin. All possibilities imply something new and interesting that we did not know before.

The study of UAP should now shift from the talking points of national security administrators and politicians to the arena of science where it will be studied by scientists rather than government or military personnel that were not trained as scientists and that did not have access to the best scientific instrumentation for collecting the data. The report avoids any scientific discussion of the possibility that the unexplained phenomena are extraterrestrial in origin, since this goes beyond the charter assigned to the government’s task force.

The second recent piece of evidence we are likely not alone: The interstellar object discovered in 2017, `Oumuamua, was inferred to have a flat shape and was pushed away from the Sun as if it were a light sail. This “pancake” was tumbling every eight hours and originated from the rare state of the Local Standard of Rest — which averages over the motions of all the stars in the vicinity of the Sun.

UAP are likely a mixed bag. Many unidentified objects from eyewitness testimonies may have mundane explanations, but we need better evidence to be sure. An extraterrestrial piece of equipment could potentially be guided by advanced artificial intelligence — namely an autonomous system which adapts to its environment through machine learning but follows the blueprint crafted by an intelligent species beyond Earth. Even if one of the unidentified objects is extraterrestrial — might there be any possible link to `Oumuamua?

The inferred abundance of `Oumuamua-like objects is unreasonably large if this population had no purpose. With Amaya Moro-Martin and Ed Turner, I wrote a paper in 2009 forecasting the number of interstellar rocks based on what is known about the solar system and assuming that these rocks were ejected from similar planetary systems around other stars.

The population of objects required to explain the discovery of `Oumuamua exceeds the expected number of interstellar rocks per unit volume by orders of magnitude. There should be a quadrillion of `Oumuamua-like objects within the solar system at any given time, if they are distributed on random trajectories with equal probability of moving in all directions. But the number is reasonable if `Oumuamua was an artificial object on a targeted mission towards the Sun, aimed to collect data from the habitable region near Earth.

In particular, one would wonder whether `Oumuamua might have been retrieving data from probes that were already sprinkled on Earth at an earlier time. In such a case, `Oumuamua’s thin flat shape could have been that of a receiver. Hence, `Oumuamua was pushed by sunlight not for the purpose of propulsion but as a byproduct of its thin flat shape.

A similar push by reflection of sunlight without a cometary tail were the traits of an artificial rocket booster which was identified in 2020 by the same Pan STARRS telescope that discovered `Oumuamua. This artificial object named 2020 SO was not designed to be a solar sail but just had thin walls with a large surface to mass ratio for a different purpose.

At this time, the possibility that any UAP are extraterrestrial is highly speculative. Rather than wonder or speculate about possible scenarios, we should collect better scientific data and clarify the nature of UAP. This can be done by deploying state-of-the-art cameras on wide-field telescopes that monitor the sky. The sky is not classified only government-owned sensors are. By searching for unusual phenomena in similar geographical locations from where the UAP reports came, scientists could clear up the mystery in a transparent analysis of open data. The huge data set could be analyzed by an advanced computer system which will keep record only of its interesting transient features.

Now is the time for more scientific projects aimed at clearing up the nature of UAP — and should be open-minded to the possibility that science may one day reveal a reality that was previously considered as fiction.

Avi Loeb is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was the longest-serving chair in the history of the astronomy department at Harvard University (2011-2020). He serves as the founding director of Harvard's Black Hole Initiative, the director of the Institute for Theory and Computation at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and chairs and the advisory board for the Breakthrough Starshot project. Loeb is the former chair of the Board on Physics and Astronomy of the National Academies and a former member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology at the White House. He is the bestselling author of “Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth,” recently published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.


The truth is in the data

If UAP truly are mysterious and unidentified (there's at least one reason to doubt this key adjective truly applies more on that later) in the eyes of the military, I would argue that the intelligence establishment is the wrong institution to solve the mystery.

While agencies like the CIA, the National Reconnaissance Office and the National Security Agency, especially when taken together with the rest of the intelligence establishment, are often perceived as all-seeing, all-hearing and all-knowing, they are also necessarily opaque, secretive and obviously protective of all the intelligence they gather.

Free the UAP

And when it comes to solving what is essentially a scientific mystery like unidentified aerial phenomena, open collaboration based on transparency and the free flow of data and observations is what we really need.

I was thinking about this last week while reporting on the discovery of the most energetic gamma ray burst ever observed. GRBs are thought to be among the most powerful explosions in the universe, brought on by the collapse of a star. What's relevant here to the UAP discussion is the response to the initial detection of this super GRB. After it was detected by NASA satellites, an automatic notification went out to a network of observatories, and some were able to almost immediately begin gathering their own data.

The result of this open, instantaneous collaborative process was heaps of data that scientists were able to analyze, potentially leading to a new understanding of GRBs.

The "gimbal" footage of a UAP

But when it comes to UAP, we have only grainy footage from radar and other cockpit instruments and maybe some other corroborating accounts from within the US Navy. This data has leaked out in dribs and drabs over years, long after the incidents took place. It's like trying to solve a murder that isn't even reported until years later, when the crime scene and the trail of clues have gone ice cold.

"It's impossible to say without access to the raw data and the people who claimed to see these things," Jonathan McDowell, a Harvard astrophysicist and humanity's unofficial archivist of all space launches, told me via email. "My position is that unidentified is not the same as unidentifiable, there's just not enough useful info to make an analysis."

McDowell says the lack of data makes him skeptical the now widely covered videos show any technology at all, alien or otherwise, "as opposed to birds, insects with the distance wildly mis-estimated, the planet Venus with the distance wildly wrong in the other direction, or sensor malfunctions for those not seen directly by a pilot's eyes."

There are, however, plenty who see something of interest in the videos without having to squint too hard, including a number of former intelligence heads, Sen. Harry Reid and former President Barack Obama, who have said the mystery is legit.

"We can't explain how they move, their trajectory," Obama said on the Late Late Show with James Corden. "They did not have an easily explainable pattern. And so I think that people still take seriously, trying to investigate [UAP] and figure out what that is."

Abraham Loeb, a controversial astronomer and author , has made waves in his quest to convince the world that the weird object called Oumuamua that cruised by Earth in 2017 was actually an alien spacecraft. He's made no such pronouncement about UAP, but he says it's notable these military sightings were detected by multiple instruments, including radar and infrared and optical cameras.

"It is possible, and likely, that most of the past reports on UFOs from the general public can be explained by human-made or natural phenomena or as illusions, but we need to pay special attention to the small number of reports where the evidence is strong and undisputable."

But Loeb agrees with McDowell that the key is to collect more evidence. Much more evidence.

"It would be prudent to progress forward with our finest instruments, rather than examine past reports," Loeb says. "Instead of declassifying documents that reflect decades-old technologies used by witnesses with no scientific expertise, it would be far better to deploy state-of-the-art recording devices, such as cameras installed on wide-field telescopes or audio sensors, at the sites where the reports came from, and search for unusual signals."

Loeb would like to see some sort of scientific initiative that attempts to reproduce old reports of UFOs and UAPs in order to unravel their mysteries. He also says he'd be happy to lead such an inquiry and report back to Congress.

"This could take the form of a federally designated committee or a privately funded expedition. Its most important purpose would be to inject scientific rigor and credibility into the discussion."


UFO or something else? - Astronomy

I'm wondering: are aliens real? I have watched shows about UFO's and aliens but I just see pitures of UFO's and stories I'm wondering if anyone has seen a spacecraft while in space or flying a plane.

Aliens are not real. At least, people who claim that they have seen aliens never have any good proof to back up their claims. You should never believe something unless it can be proven, and a lot of times people who say that they saw a UFO or an alien are either trying to get attention, or saw or experienced something that they don't understand.

Also, UFO stands for Unidentified Flying Object. So, if I had never seen a football, and one came sailing through the sky toward me, I could call it a UFO. But I would not claim that it came from outer space. People do see UFOs (and some are seen from airplanes, like you asked) but they are often just an airplane, or a balloon, or something else that is natural or man-made. No UFOs that I have heard of have been seen by astronauts in space.

The most important thing when talking about aliens and UFOs is to be skeptical. The astronomer Carl Sagan came up with something called the "Baloney Detection Kit", which is a way to think about things to tell if you should believe them, or if you should say "that's a bunch of baloney!". Check out this website.

On the other hand, just because there is no good evidence that aliens are visiting us, that doesn't mean that we are alone in the universe. The problem is, if anyone out there is alive, they are an awfully long way away. Space is huge! Here's an example: if you shrank the earth down to be one inch across, the sun would be about 985 feet away, and the nearest star would be about 50,000 miles away. And that's just the nearest star! There are billions of stars out there that are millions of times farther away.

So, there could be other living things out there in the universe, but it's too far away for any of them to travel to visit us. Some scientists use radio antennas to listen to far away stars to see if someone out there is sending us radio signals. This is called the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or SETI.

To finish, I'll leave you with a quote from Carl Sagan, who was very interested in SETI:

"If it is just us [in the universe] it seems like an awful waste of space."

This page was last updated by Jake Turner on January 28, 2019.

About the Author

Ryan Anderson

Ryan is a research fellow at USGS in Flagstaff, AZ and is a member of the Curiosity ChemCam team. He also loves explaining all aspects of astronomy. Check out his blog!


Calm Down, Everyone: The ‘UFOs’ Aren’t Aliens

Image from the Pentagon’s “Gimbal” video. (ABC News/Screengrab via YouTube)

P olitical figures ranging from Barack Obama to Tucker Carlson all seem to think UFOs may pose a serious threat to national security, but likely explanations for recent UFO sightings are far less out-of-this-world.

A remarkable number of news outlets are running stories about the expected release of the Pentagon’s Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force report to the Senate next month. A recent 60 Minutes piece claimed UFOs were spotted in restricted U.S. airspace “every day for at least a couple years.”

When asked about UFOs on CBS’s The Late Late Show on Monday, former president Barack Obama admitted he had looked into the subject while in office. “We can’t explain how [UFOs] move, their trajectory,” he claimed. “They did not have an easily explainable pattern.” Democrats are modestly more likely than Republicans to believe in UFOs, but belief in them is a bipartisan phenomenon.

More in UFOs

U.S. Government Releases Inconclusive Report on Unidentified Object Sightings, Doesn’t Rule Out Aliens

Pentagon Consultant Briefed Senators on Discovery of ‘Off-World Vehicles Not Made on This Earth’

UFOs Don’t Cancel Out Christianity

The Conventional Wisdom on UFOs Is Shifting

Harry Reid Claims U.S. Government Covered Up UFO Evidence for Years

The UFOs Might Be Aliens — or Something Else We Can’t Explain

UFO or Foe?

Fox News host Tucker Carlson aired similar concerns. “The Pentagon admits it doesn’t know what in the world this is. That’s all you need to know,” he told viewers. He cited examples of UFO sightings by the Navy and opined, “From a national-security perspective, [UFOs are] a very big problem.” (Disclosure: I regularly wrote articles about UFOs and the potential for extraterrestrial life when I worked for Carlson as a science reporter at The Daily Caller.)

What much of the recent news coverage fails to mention is that “Unidentified Flying Object” does not mean either “alien spacecraft” or even “extremely advanced drone.” And the videos disclosed so far all have obvious potential terrestrial explanations.

The renewed interest in UFOs is primarily driven by three grainy, black-and-white, infrared videos. The Navy confirmed that the videos — titled “GoFast,” “FLIR,” and “Gimbal” — captured UFO encounters by jets from the aircraft carriers USS Nimitz and USS Theodore Roosevelt.

Carlson’s coverage of the “GoFast” video expressly claims it shows “technologies that are far beyond our current understanding of aerodynamics” and reveals “things that are maneuvering in ways that no aircraft that we are currently aware of have the capability to.” He adds that the UFOs “have no flight surfaces, no wing or anything approaching a wing . . . and no propulsion, so infrared doesn’t pick up any jet trail or rocket exhaust.”

The video shows a small object apparently moving low across the water. However, the UFO was almost certainly a seabird or balloon distorted by parallax. Parallax is an effect that makes an object close to an observer, but filmed against a more distant background, seem to speed up as the camera moves. Data from the Navy camera clearly indicates the unidentified object had a wingspan of about four to seven feet in diameter, roughly the wingspan of a Canadian Goose, and flew at an altitude of 8,000 feet, well below the 29,000 feet maximum altitude of the bird. Alternatively, the Department of Defense description of the object expressly mentions a balloon (perhaps a weather balloon) as a possible explanation in the paperwork that accompanied the release of the video.


Pentagon UFO report: Anticipation is high for impending release of US government information on 'unidentified aerial phenomena'

Researchers and enthusiasts gathered at a UFO Mega Conference to dissect the latest mysterious goings-on in the skies above.

Monday 21 June 2021 19:08, UK

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On the second floor of the Aquarius Casino Resort, two of Nevada's quirkier attractions are on offer.

Turn left and you can pledge until death do you part in the wedding chapel, turn right and you are deep in wonders of the annual UFO Mega Conference.

For 30 years, researchers and enthusiasts have gathered to digest and dissect the latest mysterious goings-on in the skies above.

For most of that time, they did so in the knowledge that they were regarded as conspiracy theorists or, as one attendee put it, "people in tin-foil hats".

But this year's conference took place in Laughlin in Nevada with the US gripped by its government's public acknowledgement that there is something out there and that they have no idea what it is.

Well, not that they're telling us anyway.

Among those who have been saying this all along - and often attract widespread mockery for it - this is a moment of deep satisfaction.

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Not that they think we are getting the whole truth.

Curiously, people who believe fervently in alien lifeforms do not believe at all in Washington DC.

'Something's out there': UFO researchers welcome release of Pentagon report

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The Pentagon is due to release a report this week detailing what the US government knows about what it calls "unidentified aerial phenomena".

"I think the push for disclosure has been happening for decades and I think it's gaining momentum," said Katie Griboski.

The UFO researcher has given a talk called "High Strangeness on a Colorado Ranch".

She added: "I don't think the government can hide these secrets anymore and so they're trying to cover their butts a little bit."

Still, all this mainstream acceptance is a dizzying experience.

"About two years ago, if I told someone I was a UFO researcher, they'd give me that funny little look. And now it's on the news almost daily, they're like 'Oh, really?' and they're inquisitive," Ms Griboski said.

"If nothing else, that's a good thing."

Next to the main conference hall at the casino, attendees stand gossip about this new credibility. Stallholders sell books and DVDs about what the government calls "unidentified aerial phenomena" and others offer a variety of ways of being healed. One involves footballs.

There is a joy on the face of Ronny Dawson. He had already described to a rapt audience a "journey from horror to alien contact" in his Texas bedroom. During alien "home invasion" in 2010, he had been paralysed in his bed.

"They pulled my consciousness out of my sleeping body, apologised for disturbing my rest, and said they needed to have a conversation," he said.

Mr Dawson said his visitors wanted to know how to open a channel of communication with humans. "I said: 'Fly a big ship around the earth until everybody on earth has seen it.'"

He says the US government is reacting to the inevitable. "I think the reason they're doing it is because the ETs are tired of waiting and they've given us a deadline: 'Either you tell them, or we will.'"

Throughout the week-long conference, attendees were treated to movie premieres, previously-unseen footage and speeches from writers, experts and self-proclaimed "contactees. delving deep into what has been until now a sprawling sub-culture".

There was even an evening of live entertainment with a "master of paramentalism" who promised he could guess the colour of your underwear.

Few of those we spoke to had great faith in the likelihood of full transparency from the Pentagon.

The reason? "I think there would be mass panic," said Tracey Myles. "I think people can't handle the truth. I think they're very closed-minded."

Pollyanna Infante, who describes herself as a "hybrid" who has regular telepathic communication with alien lifeforms, believes we have nothing to fear from them. In fact, she says, their message is a call to action.

"Essentially they want us to stop destroying our earth and they're not going to let us destroy it."

And, armed with the experience of his own encounter a decade ago, Ronny Dawson is realistic about what comes next.

"I think it's a time bomb. It won't matter down the road a few years. Some people are not going to believe it until it's walking down the street and they're still going to scratch their heads.