The UFO Files
False UFO Sightings
Contrails Mistaken for UFOs or Missiles
November 10, 2009
If only photographers had faster reflexes.... On Saturday, Nov. 7th, around 5 p.m. Pacific time, a brilliant fireball raced4 across the sky of California's San Francisco Bay, where tens of thousands of people saw it. So far, however, not a single photo of the fireball has emerged. The meteor disappeared into the sunset before anyone could raise his or her camera. When shutters finally started clicking, all that remained was a trail of debris:
"Pepper Dela Cruz took this picture outside the Miramar Restaurant in Half Moon Bay on the San Francisco Peninsula just as the sun was setting," says Doug Moore, who submitted the photo on Pepper's behalf. "It shows debris from the fireball, which lasted for several minutes before dissipating."
The origin of the fireball is still uncertain. Meteor expert Peter Jenniskens of NASA's Ames Research Center believes it was "a small, random asteroid that crashed into our atmosphere. The remains [of the space rock] probably landed in the Pacific Ocean," he says.
More fireballs are in the offing. Earth is passing through a stream of debris from Comet 2P/Encke, and this is causing the annual Taurid meteor shower, which peaks between now and Nov. 12th. The shower only produces about 5 meteors per hour, but what the display lacks in number, it makes up for in dazzle. Taurids tend to be fireballs, slow and very bright. The best time to look is during the hours around midnight when the constellation Taurus is high overhead: sky map.
Note: Based on the time of day and other factors, Jenniskens says "the Bay Area fireball was probably not a Taurid."
SOURCE: Space Weather November 10, 2009
November 10, 2010
The Pentagon has said an aircraft, not a missile, was the probable cause of a condensation trail off the coast of California on Monday.
A CBS News helicopter captured what looked like a missile's vapour trail about 35 miles (56km) offshore.
The Pentagon made its announcement after examining video of the plume and its missile launch detection systems.
"There is no evidence to suggest it was anything other than an aeroplane," said Pentagon spokesman Col David Lapan.
The vapour trail, which some said appeared to be coming from a missile moving vertically into the sky, was filmed by the news helicopter near Los Angeles, in southern California.
The footage sparked wide media interest on Tuesday after the Pentagon said it was unable to explain the source of the vapour.
Some physicists said earlier on Tuesday they believed the trail had been left by an aircraft, and that on a clear day vapour can appear to rise vertically as the result of an optical illusion.
Under normal circumstances, the launch of a US missile would require several different authorisations and notifications.
Pentagon officials canvassed the US government, examined Federal Aviation Administration radar tracks and analysed their own missile launch detection systems before saying they were satisfied with the explanation that the plume was created by an aircraft.
Several planes but no rockets were detected by radar systems on Monday, Col Lapan said.
SOURCE: BBC NEWS
December 31, 2009
deepens with video of ‘launch’ off O.C.
Ah, the mystery deepens.
For two days, readers have been debating the content of a series of images that appear to show a rocket launch — or a jet contrail, or something else — that appeared in the skies off Orange County on New Year’s Eve.
I’ve now received a video of the event, submitted by Blaine Rieger, who says in an emailed received today (Saturday): “I am 16 years old and a sophomore at Santa Margarita Catholic High School. I live in Ladera Ranch. I was filming at Doheney Beach and noticed an unusual trail in the air that appeared to be a rocket launch.” (Stick with it; the video changes radically at the 10 second mark.)
We still don’t know what we’re looking that. Vandenberg Air Force Base didn’t have any publicly scheduled launches on Thursday. And the Navy typically does not have missile shoots offshore during the last week of December.
All of which raises the question: Exactly what did these people photograph? Before you decide, read the comments attached to the emails. (I’m being careful here because I can’t prove that the emails came from five different people, although it’s likely. There were a lot of people outside last night to watch/photograph the ‘blue moon’ at sunset. And the images were taken from different vantage points, including one that clearly shows Crystal Cove.) Then check an archive image I added today (down at the very bottom). It’s from Steve Smestad, who photographed a contrail from Huntington Beach.
The image at the top arrived just after 2 p.m. Friday from an email account labeled Loretta Rieger. The emailer said, “My son did a time lapse of what appears to be a rocket launch yesterday while at (Doheny). We noticed the article in the Register regarding this story.” The son, Blaine, later sent the video.
The photo below, at the left, was sent from an account labeled Michele Neumeister, who emailed to say, “I live in San Clemente, above the high school. It looked like it was from a ship behind Catalina.”
The photo below, at the right, arrived this afternoon from an address labeled Marilyn Buhler, who reports: “I took this picture from Capistrano Beach looking towards Catalina on New Years Eve. Do you happen to know what event (looks like a missile) this was?”
A fourth image came from on Thursday from an address labeled Joy Clevenger (who appears to live in Laguna Beach), and one came in this afternoon from an account labeled Tess Myers. That was the Crystal Cove shot. It resembles the images from the other emailers.
SOURCE: Orange County Register
January 27, 2010
fly over their community Monday night. (Courtesy: Darlene Stewart)
puzzles N.L. residents
Residents in Harbour Mille, a tiny community on Newfoundland's south coast, want to know what they saw in the sky Monday night. Darlene Stewart said she was outside taking pictures of the sunset when she saw something fly overhead. She snapped a picture of the object in an attempt to zoom in on it to see what it was.
"Even with the camera, I couldn't make it out until I put it on the computer," she told CBC News. "I knew then it wasn't an airplane. It was something different." Stewart's picture shows a blurry image of what appears to be some kind of missile-like object emitting either flames or heavy smoke.
Emmy Pardy also saw the object. "It appeared to come out of the ocean," she told CBC News. "It was like it was in the middle of the bay." An RCMP officer was in the community Tuesday to investigate the reports.
Pardy said she'd like to know what the object was. "It's kind of scary because you don't know if something is being set off out in the bay, [or] if someone is doing experiments," she said. The residents plan to be outdoors again Tuesday evening to see if there is a similar sight in the sky.
Key West Florida on New Years Eve
December 31, 2008
Friday, Sept. 20, 2002
An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile on an experimental flight lit up the Las Vegas Valley's western sky Thursday night. Concerned Las Vegas residents lit up the Metro Police switchboard with calls of a strange light in the sky as a white cone-shaped cloud formed over the Spring Mountains. The contrail zig-zagged over the horizon and mixed with the fading light to create an eerie glow.
The spectacle was seen throughout California and even as far as Phoenix. The three-stage, solid-fuel missile is part of the Air Force's Force Development Evaluation Program. The Air Force termed the missile mission a success.
The missile blasted out of an underground silo at Vandenberg Air Force Base north of Santa Barbara, Calif., about 7:30 p.m., an Air Force statement said. The Minuteman's two unarmed re-entry vehicles flew about 4,200 miles in 30 minutes, hitting pre-determined targets at the Kwajalein Missile Range in the western chain of the Marshall Islands, an Air Force statement said.
The mission was directed by the 576th Flight Test Squadron at Vandenberg and the 341st Space Wing from Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana. The Force Development Evaluation Program is designed to test missile launching systems, making missiles more accurate and reliable. Two Minuteman III missiles were launched successfully earlier this year from Vandenberg, one on June 7 and the other on July 17 during similar missions.
SOURCE: Las Vegas Sun
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