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.

Aurora, Texas 1897


I love a good UFO conspiracy – not so much for the conspiracy as the legend and folklore surrounding it. Area 51 and Roswell, New Mexico fuel UFO speculation and government cover-up to the point of hysteria. I’ll admit; depending on your frame of mind or the conviction of believers – it does pose some questions.

Pondering UFO abductions, sightings or crashes is tricky business. It’s one thing to say you don’t believe we’re alone in the universe, another to state you buy into specific cover ups. I don’t believe we could possibly be alone, that said I find it difficult to digest many UFO theories being bantered about. Cautiously forging ahead – ponder Aurora, Texas in 1897.

On April 19, 1897 the Dallas Morning News reported an incident on April 17 in Aurora, Texas. A “cigar shaped” flying object hit a windmill and  crash landed on the property of Judge J.S. Proctor. Witnesses claim a single occupant perished; the body mangled and described as “not of this world”. A Mr T.J. Weems – U.S. signal officer on duty in the area – reported to conveniently be an expert on astronomy – declared Mars to be mystery ships’ home planet. Further evidence; papers found on deceased Martian contained script in undefinable hieroglyphics. A “Christian burial” scheduled the following day.

The incident was never mentioned in press again. Local legends tell of the mysterious metal craft partially buried with the “alien”, the rest tossed down Judge Proctor’s well. In 1945 the property was purchased by Brawley Oates who developed a acute case of arthritis after trying to clear debris out of the old well. Oates later sealed the well with a concrete slab and built a shed on top of it. The Texas Historical Commission erected a marker outside Aurora’s cemetery detailing the “legend”.

UFO enthusiasts, historians, and idle gawkers ponder events at Aurora with interest ranging from curiosity to conspiracy. Naturally no evidence exists – the legend lives on. Never mind original reports of a slow moving cigar shaped craft – think Zeppelins since they were the only aircraft of reference. Take folded papers containing Martian hieroglyphs with a grain of salt – obviously alien travellers carried note pads when crossing galaxies.

Hard as I ponder, I can’t think of one good reason why we need “proof” of alien visits. We can’t cope with our own nonsense let alone deal with ramifications of other worldly beings. Religion would bend it into utter nonsense, business would find ways to turn it into a cash cow and fear would make survivalist wing nuts look like the next best thing.

I’m perfectly happy in my belief we’re not alone – and equally convinced we couldn’t process the truth.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aurora,_Texas_UFO_Incident

Saucer Talk


On June 24, 1947 pilot Kenneth Arnold was in the air near Mt. Rainier Washington. Suddenly 9 “highly reflective” objects, moving in tight formation at super sonic speeds appeared; trying to make sense of it, Arnold changed his heading and angle of his aircraft – this was an era before jet aircraft – Arnold could think of no explanation. Without warning the objects simply disappeared, as if into thin air. Arnold stated they moved like saucers skipping across water. Newspapers across the country misquoted Arnold – “they looked like saucers skipping across water”. The term “flying saucer” was born. A few months later Roswell New Mexico became a household name – to this day the most controversial “alien cover-up” in history.

It doesn’t take much of a ponder for me to state – I don’t think for one second we’re alone in the universe. That said, and to the disappointment of friends who jokingly refer to me as a card carrying member of the “tin foil hat” club – there are some simple laws of physics needing a little reflection.

First law of physics to consider is that of “inertia”. Isaac Newton said “an object at rest or in motion tends to stay at rest or in motion unless acted on by an outside source”. To put this in perspective; for a fighter pilot travelling near the speed of sound to suddenly stop or make a 90 degree turn – 300 G’s of force would be the resulting death sentence as his internal organs were turned to jelly. Currently the most force a human being can survive – in a pressure suit – before blacking out is 10 G’s.

In the 1950’s the Avrocar designed aircraft mimicked wingless craft described by people reporting UFO’s. The conclusion being – wingless aircraft lacked stability, had poor aero-dynamics, and were not capable of reaching high speeds in earth’s atmosphere.

http://www.airspacemag.com/military-aviation/flying_saucer.html

Almost all reports of UFO sightings claim the aircraft were completely silent. So what happened to the sonic boom? Sonic booms are the result of pressure differences between the front and end of an aircraft as it pushes through the atmosphere. The craft literally push a wave as they travel, resulting in what we’ve come to know as sonic booms. On a basic level we are able to effect “noise cancelling” by broadcasting the negative sound of what we want to cancel – this technology is used in “noise cancelling” headphones – no technology exists to cancel “shock waves”. Many reports claim the craft simply disappeared – this would require “light bending” technology; in essence an electromagnetic charge forcing light to “bend” around an object instead of that light being reflected or refracted.

Lastly, as technology changes, so do descriptions of UFO sightings. Once upon a time every last UFO was saucer shaped – today more and more witnesses describe a craft with wings, similar to “Stealth” fighters. UFO “sightings” appear to keep pace with technology.

Any attempt on my part to fathom what lies beyond the Milky Way are met with mind boggling possibilities – our universe vast beyond tangible points of reference – my gut saying we’re not alone, it simply isn’t possible. My head reminding me of our known laws of physics; laws allowing me to draw one single conclusion – if ET shows up on our doorstep; inertia cancelling, gravity defying, sound cloaking invisibility technology in hand – I hope they have a great sense of humour when I put on my tin foil hat.

Image – www,oom2.com