Is It a UFO?

The mind’s eye likes to categorize images based on reference, circumstance and familiarity. Be it dark or daylight skies, we thrive on recognizable predictability. From contrails to crescent moon, ominous storm clouds to constellation Orion, familiar skyscapes fit like comfortable slippers. By virtue of our nature, everything we see is processed according to common knowledge. So what happens when perception defies instinctive categorization? When “I’ve never seen a cloud like that” or “that can’t possibly be an airplane” muddies reflexive comprehension? Void of immediate explanation some ask themselves, is it a UFO?

Ponder this image. How does your mind’s eye categorize eerie concentric circles punctuated with a tilted ascending beam of blue light? Extraterrestrial origin or definable illusion? In December 2009 a failed Russian ballistic missile test created this illusion in skies over Norway. Rings of light stem from spiraling trajectory following third stage missile failure.

Image: Spiral

Russia admits missile caused UFO lights (nbcnews.com)

How about this –

Gallery_Iridium_f.jpg (290×200)

UFO? No, it’s a Iridium flare. “Iridium” flare terminology stems from a constellation of communications satellites first launched in 1997 by Iridium Communications. Satellites generally appear as slow moving “stars” to the untrained eye. The original 66 Iridium satellites have been phased out, replaced by second generation SpaceX low orbit installations. That said, for the past 20 years momentary bright flashes occurred up to four times a day when reflective antenna caught sunlight.

Understanding Iridium Flares (thoughtco.com)

And this –

See the source image

Lenticular cloud over Mount Fuji.

Lenticular cloud forms above mountains when stable moist air rises, meets cold air which forces it to settle in oscillating rings. A phenomenon associated with storm fronts.

UFOs In The Clouds — Lenticular Clouds, That Is — Fire Our Imaginations Of Alien Visitors | HuffPost Canada (huffingtonpost.ca)

From weather balloons, drones, funky clouds, upper atmosphere ice crystals bending light, low orbit satellites to bright magnitude planet Venus, the mind’s eye demands explanation. Is it a UFO? Probably not. 99.9% of the time there’s a perfectly logical explanation.

3 thoughts on “Is It a UFO?

  1. I really appreciate this post. But then it might have something to do with the fact that I don’t believe in Unidentified Flying Objects. Certainly there are visual oddities in the sky from time to time, but to immediately think “UFO!!” is, IMO, a rush to judgment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s