astronomy

Phil Plait, from Blogs.discovermagazine.com, posted an article today explaining why Astronomers, the people who spend their days looking up at the stars, don’t ever report seeing UFOs. Although it’s a good question, I found the answer to be insulting and narrow-minded. Yes, yes I know that there are those people who can confuse the Moon or an airplane for an alien spacecraft, but what about those of us who have seen strange lights being chased off by incoming jets?

When I was a kid in the 80s, we lived in Orange County (Garden Grove, CA). One evening, as my siblings and I were helping our mother unload groceries from the car, my sister yelled “What’s that?” and pointed up. I kid you not; we all stood there watching this upright triangle object with a multicolor light emanating from it, float through the horizon. A few seconds later, two military jets appeared (from the south?) and the triangular object quickly changed course and took a very fast acceleration upwards into the clouds. And just like that, it vanished. We stood there watching the jets, slowly climb up in altitude. Nowhere near the speed in which the object did. The truth of the matter is that astronomers spend their time looking at fixated objects thousands of miles away. We (earthly citizens) occasionally glance upwards and can only see a few miles up. If there are other lifeforms visiting us, they would be observing closely to the Earth’s surface. Way out of the sight of an astronomer’s telescope.

Contrary to what Mr. Plait’s article states, there have been plenty of reports given to MUFON from amateur and professional astronomers. Checking the MUFON database, there are several listed. One that stands out occurred last October. MUFON case # 20,023. This occurred in Oklahoma.

On the evening of 10-17-09 myself and four other club members were at our astronomy clubs’ observatory (35.8308 96.14518) for a clear night of observing. With many years of experience in observing under our belts we were needless to say quite qualified to identify most anything that we would see. Between approximately 6:40 – 7:00 P.M.

One of the members noticed something off in the west and queried as to what it may happen to be. First and foremost it was bright, more or less as bright as Jupiter, yet setting about ten to twelve degrees above the horizon, due west. At our first sighting most of us thought that it was nothing more than an airliner reflecting sunlight from the setting sun but that determination was tossed aside shortly there after. If it had been what we first thought it was it would’ve lost it’s size and brightness fairly quick as it shifted positions in relation to the sun while in flight. But, it continued to maintain its position, did not move in any direction – vertically, horizontally.

If by some chance it were a celestial body it would follow a gradual celestial track that all of us would have noticed in a few minutes. Again, it didn’t move, remained in one position, which eliminated the possibility of it being a celestial body that none of us were unlikely familiar with. That alone became puzzling since the obvious – Venus, Mercury – are now tracking in the morning eastern sky, not the evening western sky. With that we continued to watch it as one of the guys used his 10×50 binoculars to get a better view. What was seen initially brought to mind that it may perhaps be a high altitude research balloon but the more we watched it and as it maintained its position that thought was tossed quickly also. From the beginning it remained in one position, never moved. Balloons, of any type, will not remain in one specific position be they weather balloons, high altitude research balloons or otherwise.
But as we watched it more closely it was very surprising as to the manner in which it morphed into various shapes and sizes. Its brightness would vary some but that was easily seen as being caused by the low-lying clouds on the horizon. As we commonly call it – it was “sitting in the soup”. When they would move in front of it the objects brightness would dim some. Otherwise it would maintain its brightness. That was easily seen via binocular observations. The longer we watched it the more curious we all became and with that growing curiosity we quickly set two telescopes onto it. Two different sized telescopes were used, one, Celestron 11” Schimdt-Cassegrain telescope and a smaller Orion 4.5” dobsonian telescope. Between the two we could pull it in for a much closer look in a very inquisitive effort to determine just what it actually was. Charts and web sites were checked also to make sure we weren’t simply forgetting perhaps one event that may explain what we were now seeing. Nothing could be found. The Celestron was using a 40mm eyepiece for a much wider field of view whereas the smaller Orion had a 15mm eyepiece to pull it in much closer. Through the Orion one could easily see what appeared right off as a bell shape.

The same was viewed in the other also. But as mentioned before it morphed into what was clearly seen and could be interpreted as the same basic outline of the Shuttle that anyone would see as it flies over. Again, the same basic shape as to what you would see looking up at the bottom of it. That distinctive shape was easily recognized. At the rear of it you could see what looked like bluish green waves that would both come and go from the main rear line of the object. Nowhere else was this color and wave seen, just at the rear. The objects color was a combination of the just mentioned bluish green at the rear to a lighter orange yellow up through the main body and then into red orange, much more intense, than any of the other colors at the top or perhaps, from appearance at that time, leading edge. None of us had ever seen a color distribution of this sort before. Especially on either the Shuttle or any other normal day-to-day satellites. From our position/location it appeared to be hovering over either Bristow, Ok or possibly even Oklahoma City. There was no attempt by any of us then to determine its specific distance or altitude from us. The same applies to its actual size. Visually, it appeared very similar to the size of Jupiter. Other than that comparison we honestly don’t know either its distance or specific altitude. It remained in the same position for approximately 40 minutes and never moved. Close to 8 P.M. we started to notice what appeared to be a ring of lights that was rotating around the bottom portion.

The lights were seen in the same location that the bluish green colored waves were at. Several of us noticed this while looking at it through the telescopes. Needless to say this was surprising to us all. This carried on for one to two minutes and then suddenly the object started to move. The movement was slow at the beginning but increased very rapidly. I had my eye glued to the 40mm eyepiece when this began and once it started I could not move. Within two seconds it had totally disappeared from open visual sight but I still had a lock on it in the eyepiece. Fast, very fast it moved from dead center in the eyepiece field of view upwards and at the same time was getting smaller and smaller as it flew away. Two or three seconds later it was totally gone from view in either of the telescopes. The speed that it moved was without question way beyond anything that we have knowledge of or is publicly known to be in our military. At the rate it flew away would make a SR-71 Blackbird look very old and slow. Could it have possibly been a new experimental aircraft? Possibly yes but if so what was something such as that doing in Oklahoma? Most generally new experimental, top-secret aircraft of that type are being tested at either Edwards AFB or Area 51, not Oklahoma. In a nutshell, we will never know.
It was unidentifiable, it was in the air and flew away and it most certainly was an object of some unknown kind/type. From this alone it could be justifiably categorized as a UFO.

Full source: Blogs.discovermagazine.com

I have, from time to time, made a point that astronomers rarely if ever report UFOs. If UFOs really were buzzing us as much as the media and UFO proponents would have us believe, then astronomers would overwhelmingly report the majority of them: we spend far more time outside looking up than pretty much any other group of people.

So why don’t we see all these alien spacecraft? I think this is because we almost always understand what we’re seeing in the sky, so we know not to mistake Venus, the Moon, a satellite, or other mundane things for flying saucers.

While UFO believers love to make hay of this — showing me the extremely rare time when an astronomer has reported a UFO, thus proving my point, or falsely saying astronomers spend too much time at the eyepiece to note the broader sky (which is ridiculous) — the fact is, astronomers are familiar with the sky, so we know what’s going on.

Well, almost always know. John Woolley of the Greater Edmonton Skeptics Society has an amusing story of the time he and some other astronomers saw something they couldn’t immediately explain… and make sure you read Part 2.

And y’know, his story sounds pretty familiar

So remember, despite the claims of the UFO crowd and the media that love to play this stuff up, seeing isn’t believing. Understanding is!

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Based in Brooklyn, NY, I write about all things creepy and strange. My book based on the real haunting of Doris Bither (The Entity 1982 movie) will be released soon. Got a question? Drop me a line.

Latest posts by Xavier Ortega (see all)

  • I am absolutely elated to see this topic finally being discussed in such an open-mined and rational manner. Add Michio Kaku to the growing list of mainstream scientists who are rethinking this issue. Last week on MSNBC, Kaku declared that UFO’s are real, and he specifically addressed the “they can’t get here from there” issue. As it turns out, GEE, they CAN. hmmm. Individuals like Shermer, Shostack, Nickel, MaGaha, etc., are now on the fringe. Their undying devotion to that same old “they can’t exist because they don’t” line of reasoning has become completely untenable-and unsupportable. Now these guys are finding themselves on the fringe of mainstream science because they just don’t use good critical thinking. It almost makes you wonder what their real agenda is. Friends and defenders of science? Please.

  • clearly Plait wouldn’t go for a lot of things he finds weird and that’s a good thing. makes artists and people who give a crap more to do and with an added incentive to hurry the hell up.

  • Scott McMan

    the fact is, astronomers are familiar with the sky, so we know what’s going on.

    What a stupid thing to say. So, since they know what’s in the sky at any particular moment then it could never change. No wonder they never see anything.

    I’m not saying they aren’t good at what they do. In fact I’d estimate that 99.9% of UFO’s can be explained and many by anomalies that the average person doesn’t even consider. However, these guys are being a little too smug.

    Frankly we all know why they were so interested in this alleged object.

  • veteran

    people forget there is a mindset / paradigm / worldview thing going on – which many of the masses “sleep” within – and it occurs funnily enough in positions of authority and science / and judeo/christian paradigms – that things like this do not / cannot exist as they challenge the authority of that paradigm the workaday conformity – business as usual – status quo – a similar reason why – historically – other religions / philosophical systems / political ideologies / and drugs were suppressed by the authorities of the day….

  • veteran

    There is a materialist worldview that seems predominant today – though challenged at present by the GFC – led by some scientists like richard dawkins and other sceptics – there are also mystics – like me – who have there is much more to this world . My belief is that it has been buried by current conditions that began with the industrial revolution – where the materialist god of money came along. As long as it reigns it will be hard for anything else to arise – even though there may be hints of “other things” like this – a turning point – is – approaching – people like us know this is unavoidable – a reversion to an old state – because of resource depletion – the paradigm of materialism will be brought down – things like darwinian competition will no longer seem to be the case – we have explored every planet – and the territory of this planet – the stars being too far away – they will have to come to us….

  • Scott McMan

    Hmm, tell us more about your Mystic point of view veteran.

  • veteran

    materialism exists “by degrees” – ie the degree to which one / or a culture – is “absorbed” by it – do you notice as we become more and more superficial and materialist the views of characters like atheists become more and more vocal…religion becomes more violent (jihad etc) and is more criticised -(catholics at the moment) – is a reflection of our current age (set of conditions) – the parallel is that we are more arrogant in a way – we feel So self sufficient and grand (but What makes me laugh is that it leads ABSOLUTELY nowhere if it ends at death…dawkins doesn’t have much right ? – this is why Anything which is “out of the box” be it ghosts/ufos/strange phenomena is discredited – the reliance on the materialist perspective wants to hold total sway…spirituality is seen as a cop out from the requirement of the working system ( materialist perspective) – focussing on it eclipses the other reality – which i have seen…

  • veteran

    maybe / possibly – parts of – see i have to take care – i have only seen a little ….

  • veteran

    According to the IEA we passed ‘peak oil’ in 2006 ! – so i can say
    we are ‘on our way’…phew !

  • Hucksterfoot

    @Richard Beckwith

    Quote – (Kaku declared that UFO’s are real?)

    – Michio Kaku saying that 5 percent remains unexplained, means he is declaring that UFO’s are real?
    He is saying they are unexplained.
    He does say that some things are hard to dismiss. This is a far cry from the claim – they are real.

    Quote – (“they can’t get here from there” issue. As it turns out, GEE, they CAN?)

    – Michio Kaku did not say, they can. This is just a hypothesis that they might have the technology to do so (A big what if). If he had said “they can” then he is no longer following the scientific method.

    Quote – (they can’t exist because they don’t)

    You can also say, You can’t prove something doesn’t exist,
    (Most Skeptics agree with this) but sometimes evidence keeps piling up against certain beliefs making them more unlikely.
    Most Scientists say “show me the evidence.” Verifiable, replicable, unambiguous data/evidence. :]

    Always be ready to reject or correct whatever you hold true should you discover evidence against it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pw13F7ahjY&feature=player_embedded#!