Slamming the astronomers-should-see-UFOs myth

By Phil Plait | July 21, 2009 8:09 am

In my first book, Bad Astronomy, I have a chapter about UFOs in it. I have the usual sort of debunking in it, but I made a point I had not seen anywhere else at that time: why don’t astronomers see relatively more UFOs than laypeople?

Think about it. Astronomers, both amateur and professional, are constantly viewing the sky. There are tens of thousands of amateurs out observing all the time: a large sample population, and far larger in observing man-hours than the regular population. If UFOs are so common, then why do we not see an unusually large number of reports from astronomers?

My assertion is that this is because the vast majority of UFO reports from people are misidentified objects like Venus, the Moon, satellites, balloons, and so on. These are things every amateur astronomer has seen countless times, and knows are not alien spaceships bent on probing the backsides of rural citizens. While this does not mean every single observed object is something more mundane, it does mean that the huge numbers quoted by UFOlogists are most certainly wrong.

When I published the book, I got lots of criticism from the UFO culture who, predictably, couldn’t parse my very simple logic. I got some amusement from it, I’ll admit, since trying to reason with some people is clearly a losing game.

Why bring all this up now? Because amateur astronomer Tim Printy has published an article about this in his online magazine Skeptical UFO Newsletter lite (SUNlite) — you can download the issue directly here (PDF). He does an excellent job rebutting the usual silly claims of the UFO crowd when they froth and rail about my statement. He picks their arguments apart point-by-point, showing just why my claims are accurate and theirs are not. It’s a good read… and I’m not saying that because he supports me. I’m saying that because he’s right.

Regular readers may remember Tim’s excellent debunking of the Phoenix Lights as well, which I wrote about on the tenth anniversary of that particular silliness. I think I’ll keep my eye on him. Another skeptical astronomer is most welcome!

Comments (368)

  1. Darth Curt

    Well, isn’t it obvious that astronomers just aren’t that observant. ;)

  2. Brett

    I have heard this argument before, and I always answered it by reminding* people that the most important property of a UFO is that it is “unidentified.” People who know more about the sky are better able to identify what they are seeing.

    * As time has passed (and ironically, as UFO hysteria has waned, so that the term is much less in the news), many people seem to have forgotten what “UFO” stands for and think it’s a synonym for “alien spacecraft.”

  3. Mark

    “There are tens of thousands of amateurs out observing all the time: a large sample population, and far larger in observing man-hours than the regular population.”

    As much as I would like this to be true I don’t think the math would add up. Assuming 1,000,000 astronomers spend 8 hours looking at the sky (that is a more than generous estimate) that would be 8 million man hours. Now lets assume that 1 billion non-astronomers people spend 1 second looking at the sky (I’m thinking we can count on less than 1/6th of the earth’s population to look towards the sky for at least one second)…. that’s over 16 million man hours.

    As a skeptic I don’t think aliens are zooming around in our skies, however if one crazy day an actual alien space craft were to be zooming around stealing cows the odds are quite likely that the general population will be the ones to see it first.

    Of course with 1 billion non trained people glancing at the sky’s there are a lot of chances for things to be misunderstood.

  4. Other than the fact that the SUNlite’s pages are dark blue with white text (wigs out my eyes), I think its a very interesting read. I especially liked his analysis of the Stephenville Lights and the Belgum 1990 radar incidents.

    As an amateur astronomer for at least 20 years, I have only once seen something temporarily unidentified in the sky. What looked like a hovering fire in the sky turned out to be a cloud reflection of a chemical plant flare tower miles away.

    But, I’ll keep looking.

    8)

  5. Rift

    I would quibble (and this goes along with what Brett said) amateur astronomers do see UFOs, and generally quite a few. (I stopped count at around 2 dozen) But we generally have a good idea of what it probably was and “alien spaceship” is at the bottom of the list. “Unidentified” means just that. I’ve seen things that were probably military aircraft, odd shaped space junk veering when burning up in the atmosphere, sattelites that don’t seem to track right and probably just a trick of the light, bellies of geese glowing from city lights (my favorite, and I identified a flock of those once), etc, etc, etc. I’m also a birder and when I don’t see a bird well enough before it flies off I go through the same check list of what it ‘might’ have been. I don’t positively identify it, but I have a list of things it might have been in my head, with rare species (and alien spaceship) at the bottom of the list.
    Sure it could be an alien spacecraft, but I’ve seen enough things (Venus, space junk, aircraft, said glowing geese and yes weather ballons) to know it is probably more mundane. We do see UFOs, just don’t automatically jump to the ‘alien spacecraft’ conclusion and say “Oh it probably was piece of space junk burning up” and go on with our lives.

  6. Steven

    What if say 2 people saw a craft from only 100 feet away ! are you gonna explain that away as Venus? swamp gas? ball lightning? Let me tell you this Mister Writer whoever you are! Disk shaped craft are traversing our sky’s with unbelievable technology that some of us have witnessed with our own eyes , and also there are Astronauts and others who are coming forward with the TRUTH!! don’t be left behind as you seem to be, time for you to wake up to whats really going on…We are only a tiny speck in the BIG PICTURE!!!

  7. Amanda

    I distinctly remember being in elementary school and listening to one of my classmates go on and on about how UFOs were real and how they were aliens blah, blah, blah. I pulled an eraser out of my pocket and threw it through his line of vision. “Do you know what that was?” I asked. “Um… no,” he replied. I went on to explain that just because YOU can’t identify something doesn’t mean nobody knows what it is, or that it’s all that interesting.

    I was always really interested in the supernatural, and always really disappointed to discover it was all bogus or that there was no real evidence. I even got kicked out of Sunday school for asking too many questions.

  8. Rob Jase

    While I’m not a professional astronomer I was an active amateur for a couple of decades (until my kids broke my telescope anyway) and I saw plenty of ufos.

    Of course, I didn’t say I saw alien spacecraft – I saw things I couldn’t identify for certain.

    High altitude weather balloons? Birds reflecting light coming from below? Really badly piloted planes that couldn’t keep a straight course?

    Probably, but I didn’t & still don’t know for certain – no way to check then or now.

    By the way, birds reflecting light to become ‘ufos’ is a wild sight, I used to watch that regularly while I waited for the bus back in high school, amazing how a gull can turn into a metallic appearing glob of light under the right circumstances.

    I did have one clear sighting of something once which was pretty damn freaky, I suspect it was a hoax being played by someone but even so its a ufo to me because I couldn’t identify it. But I’m still sure it wasn’t from Alpha Centuri.

  9. @Greg, #5: I agree, the web page makes the eyes do funny things. Highlight the text with your mouse, that helps. Or download the PDF Phil linked to, it’s normal black on white.

  10. David D.

    A little off topic, but apparently Whoopi Goldberg is a Moon hoax believer. I saw a clip of her absolutely insane comments on The View.

  11. Hoonser

    Yeah well what about all those retired Air Force officers who come out and say that UFO’s are real huh? How can you refute that?

  12. ethanol

    UFO’s don’t appear to astronomers because they know to avoid them. Tricky aliens that they are, they only appear to people who are half-awake.

  13. AliCali

    I saw firsthand how people can be fooled. I hosted a going away part at my house a few months ago and I had my 8″ telescope set up outside. As some friends and I were looking at the sky, straight up through some trees, we saw a VERY bright light (approx -1 magnitude). For about 10-20 seconds, it was moving one direction, and then quickly another direction. I remember the UFO stories about strange lights that changed directions, and this matched those pretty well.

    We speculated on what it was. A satellite? No, those don’t change direction, and only the ISS is bright enough, and it’s too late in the evening (also, I check heavens-above.com for times). It CAN’T be an alien craft, right?

    As we watched it, it slowed down and stopped changing direction. Maybe it’s going slow enough so I can get my telescope on it. What could it be? The four or five people with me said it was still moving, but very slowly.

    I put my telescope on it, and it looks like a star. Wait…find the Big Dipper…Arc to ARCTURUS! We’re looking at Arcturus! I tell them it’s just a star, but they’re convinced it’s still moving. I told them it’s not and to keep looking, and they finally see that it’s sitting still.

    So why was it moving in the first place? I think we were looking through the tops of some trees, and the trees swayed back and forth a little, which in the darkness made it appear that the star was moving back and forth (changing direction quite suddenly).

    That taught me quite a bit. I’ve been a backyard naked-eye observer for almost 20 years, so I know the bright stars and constellations pretty well, and it still fooled me. It took me a bit of time before I expanded my view to realize what I was really seeing. Imagine if I didn’t know the stars. I might be convinced I’m seeing some alien phenomenon.

  14. Jeremy

    @Mark

    Uh, your math proves Phil’s point. You just calculated that astronomers should account for 1/3 of all UFO sitings in the world. That is, by your estimations, those 1,000,000 astronomers should all be seeing VASTLY more UFOs than anyone else.

  15. I wonder what percentage of Hoax Believers are also UFO believers. Which would be funny because obviously we can’t do it but the aliens can.

    That book written by someone and scribbled on by other someones ended up going for AU$781. Did you get that much as an advance for writing it Phil? ;-)

  16. @Jeremy
    astronomers should all be seeing VASTLY more UFOs than anyone else
    They do. They’re part of the conspiracy. If 400,000 people can keep the moon hoax secret a million astronomers should have no problem keeping the UFO thing under wraps. They kept the alien black spot on Jupiter secret for what may have been hours.

  17. Kevin

    As Douglas Adams wrote, they are “SEP’s” (someone else’s problems). So of course astronomers won’t see them. :)

    But seriously(?), something is only unidentified until it is not. Like several people have already stated, you see things and may not know what they are at the time, but soon you find out.

    One thing I recall seeing years ago was three points of light flying over. We were at our observatory, and this was seen by more than one person. We had no idea what it was – but also we didn’t think “flying saucers” either. I went home later, posted my observations to a few usenet groups, and soon found out it was a NOSS triplet. So the “UFO” we saw was only that way for a short time.

    I think UFO believers are like the moon hoax believers – we’ll never be able to convince them.

  18. killjoy

    I found this webpage because I search the internet for UFO stories every morning.

    THANK YOU for being a voice of reason, a light inthe darkness of the UFO mumbo jumbo voodoo keep it up!.
    Maybe its too late for rational observation to save UFOism.
    UFOism is the New Religion after all , Roswell the new Mythology.
    In a hundred years UFO churches will be common place.

  19. dhtroy

    You guys and your crazy rational thinking.

  20. Jeff

    my students , thousands, have reported strange lights to me and expect me to tell them what it is. I go through the usual suspects, Venus and Jupiter, ask what time, what part of sky.

    I too am extremely skeptical of eyewitness reports .

    The only way to settle this issue, get a crashed saucer and have the world’s scientists examine it. Until then, they are unidentified.

    But really, how likely is it that aliens are visiting earth? Look at how many other places they go could if (a) “they” exist at all (b) “they” could travel to another star. Humans can’t travel to other stars, why should aliens?

    Look carefully at Stan Friedman’s scientific study of UFO , Flying Saucers and science. Is it really science? I contend it is more statistical social science, based, again, on reports. But where is the spacecraft? How can a 60 year old report of strange metal by Jesse Marcel be studied? They always contend that the military has alien parts secured away, but we can’t be sure of this.

    I think a case could be made that “astrobiology” or “SETI” is a science.

    I don’t think a case could be made that UFOology is a real science, so it’s pseudoscience.

  21. Levi Larrington

    Good Christ! Your arrogance is deafening!

  22. Bahdum (aka, Richard)

    It’s simple: UFO != alien spacecraft.

    By the same token: Ufology != science

    Also: ufologist != rational thinker.

    Lastly: alien spacecraft = science fiction

    I’m wondering, when will alien spacecraft start looking like crescents with a glowing red window?

    (Also, I think maybe “alien spacecraft” should be replaced with a sexy acronym. “Extraterrestrial SpaceCraft : ESC”? Makes it a better statement on reason and logic from the ufology crowd, don’t you think?)

  23. John

    Phil, the maths in that argument is way, way out.

    Mark’s guess is better.

    If you take into account that fact that non-astronomers usually stop to glance at huge swathes of the sky, whilst astronomers are very often looking at a fraction of a percent, astronomers account for a tiny tiny fraction of the entire human sweep of the sky.

    Simply put, if something’s flying about up there and is visible to the naked eye, the chances are that a few thousand people will see it and none of them will be an astronomer.

    That astronomers are better at identifying objects becomes somewhat irrelevant, as is the fact that the most exciting thing a UFO ever turns out to be is a classified technology such as a stealth plane.

  24. Ad Hominid

    Forgive the OT, but MY GALILEOSCOPE GOT HERE TODAY! Haven’t put it together yet but it looks great, especially for the price.

  25. Mark said,

    As a skeptic I don’t think aliens are zooming around in our skies, however if one crazy day an actual alien space craft were to be zooming around stealing cows the odds are quite likely that the general population will be the ones to see it first.”

    Don’t forget, amateur astronomers are part of the general population, too. So, if an actual alien space craft were to visit on any given day, and seen by thousands of people, the astronomers would be there too.

    Most people I know can go days or weeks without looking up at the sky. Most are too busy with work/family/life in general to spend 5 minutes minutes looking up, much less an hour or two. I personally have known people (adults) who did not physically step outside their house for a week at a time.

    So, as long as we’re speculating, I would say that if the average person spends 5 minutes a month looking at the night sky, and the average weekend astronomer may spend 3 hours a month, and the astronomy professor at your local university may spend a hundred hours a month, who is more likely to see an actual alien space craft?

    8)

  26. John

    And why don’t meteorologists report UFO’s? They spend much their time watching the sky.
    Could it be that like astronomers they know what they are looking at also?

  27. John said,

    “If you take into account that fact that non-astronomers usually stop to glance at huge swathes of the sky, whilst astronomers are very often looking at a fraction of a percent, astronomers account for a tiny tiny fraction of the entire human sweep of the sky.”

    Like I just said in my previous post, amateur astronomers are people too, so you cannot disclude them from the rest of the population. I will say that on any given day, I probably look up at the entire sky 100 times more often than an average person. However, that’s not just because I like astronomy. I am interested in the weather, because I spend a lot of time outdoors training (running, biking and swimming.)

    And just because I have a telescope, that does not mean the only way I look at the night sky is thru an eyepiece.

    8)

  28. Matt

    What an insult to the many educated, respected, and influential people who have been brave enough to come forward and disclose what they know and have seen, like astronauts Edgar Mitchel, Gordon Cooper, Sen. Barry Goldwater (a retired Air Force brigadier general and pilot) and former presidents such as Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. Just to mention a few uneducated, delusional loonies. I suggest that you do some serious research before your next “journalistic expose.”

  29. John

    @Greg,

    It’s impossible to go outside without seeing a large angle of sky and immediately noticing anything unusual in it. Even in built up areas.

    Most of the time I’m walking to work, nothing in about 10-15% of the sky could happen without my noticing. That’s for about 1/2 hour a day plus all the other times I happen to be outside.

    You can’t base estimates purely on the amount of time people spend conciously and purposefully watching the sky – I don’t think I’ve done that for a few weeks….

  30. Kevin

    I just remembered something funny that happened a few years ago, and is right up this post’s alley.

    A local television station (which I chastised last night for pronouncing Roger Chaffee’s name wrong) used to have a weekly live interview spot on their 5.00 news. It would be something of local interest.

    Well, one afternoon they had someone from MUFON on, talking about all the UFO sightings near Lake Michigan. They took calls, so I said “what the heck” and called in.

    They had the usual “I saw it!” and “I lost an hour of time!” wackadoodles, and then I was up…

    (Oh yeah… they didn’t censor or ask what question you were intending)

    … so when I was “live on the air” I said “regarding all these UFO reports” and then I basically said what Phil did in his post. I said “I’ve been an astronomer for most of my life. I have friends who are astronomers. We have an intimate knowledge of the night sky, because we observe it. And none of us has seen anything we couldn’t identify.”

    Well, the lady from MUFON went ballistic on the air, ranting about cover ups and such. The interviewer from the station got a scared look, and you could see her motioning the “cut” sign. The station went to commercial, and when they came back, the news was back on. A friend of mine who worked there said the MUFON person just was completely off her rocker for a long time, and still mad when she left the station.

    It’s fun to mess with people. :)

    (I”ve got another great UFO story, perhaps I’ll share later)

  31. John Swindle

    The commenters here show tremendous restraint. So far nobody has fed the trolls. You are truly an admirable bunch.

  32. Blake

    An asteroid crashed in to Jupiter a few days ago and not one single astronomer saw it coming… and besides, astronomers are usually looking at a tiny little piece of the sky really far away. If a UFO did pass in their line of vision it would dissappear too quickly to see it. UFOs are seen when by people who stand outside with a naked eye scanning the whole of the sky… astronomers don’t do this.

  33. Jeremy

    @Shane

    We ARE a diabolical lot, aren’t we? :)

  34. Jardmonkey

    A little bit related- has there ever been any consensus on what the Apollo 11 crew saw and Buzz Aldrin described as a UFO during the coast to the moon (where they didn’t want to alarm capcom and instead asked about the location of the S-IVB stage)?

  35. Steve

    12. Hoonser Says: “Yeah well what about all those retired Air Force officers who come out and say that UFO’s are real huh? How can you refute that?”

    Typically, they don’t even try to refute the most credible accounts. They simply aren’t addressed at all.

    I had a fascinating face-to-face discussion with a retired NASA engineer who was deeply involved in the Apollo missions. When I asked him whether he had reason to believe in ET life, he did not flinch from answering in the affirmative. He explained to me that the majority of persons he worked with at that agency considered the ET presence factual, not theoretical, and an “open secret” among his peers at NASA. He described the subject as one which was discussed often, although, at his level, not in an official context.

    The frightened blowhards here & elsewhere concoct a host of rationalizations and weak logic to keep them anchored in snug little comfort zones, but the consensus they once enjoyed – along with all the ridicule and derision they heap on those who aren’t buying their dogma – continues to crumble as more people LOOK UP, do their own investigations and start thinking for themselves.

    Most of you are quite pathetic. Don’t kid yourselves. Those here who pride themselves for their scientific minds would have been the first ones in line to draw straws for the opportunity to burn Giordana Bruno at the stake. In a contest between a heretical truth or a consensus-based myth, it is *you* pointy-headed twerps who are opting for the myth. Heresy just doesn’t yield the kind of social advantage you’re looking for.

    Keep on laughin’, fools.

  36. John said,

    “It’s impossible to go outside without seeing a large angle of sky and immediately noticing anything unusual in it. Even in built up areas.”

    I totally agree. Phil’s point is that astronomers look at the sky a great deal more than most folk, and they ALSO are familiar with more of what’s up there.

    My point is that astronomers see the sky just as much as everyone else: while walking or driving to work, while jogging, while riding horses or mowing the yard, etc. That is in ADDITION to daytime or nighttime observing. So, statistically speaking, an astronomer looks at the sky a great deal more than an average person.

    And you (same John?) have a valid point about meteorologists. They probably look at the sky more than most people. And yet, for some reason, they don’t report many UFO’s either.

    8)

  37. Chet Twarog

    Seems no one has thought it: if there were actual ET’s, why haven’t any matched orbits with the ISS, the Salyuts, or the Skylab? How about the many spacecraft: Cassini around Saturn; Messenger; MERs; DAWN; Deep Impact; Hayabusa; LRO; Venus Express, etc?
    Unfortunately, seems like we are the only spacefarers in this section of the Milky Way!

  38. Rift

    I vehemently disagree that amateur astronomers focus on one small part of the sky (“a fraction of a percent”???) , we survey vast tracts if not the whole sky constantly. You’ve never been out with a group of amateur astronomers if you think they focus on a tiny part of the sky… Most amateurs don’t even use ‘scopes most of the time but binoculars or even the mark 1 eyeball, just for that reason…

  39. One of the reasons astronomers don’t see UFO’s is because they appear during the day but don’t believe me just ask the Russian Navy-
    http://www.russiatoday.com/Top_News/2009-07-21/Russian_Navy_UFO_records_say_aliens_love_oceans.html

  40. Arthur C Clarke once said. “I don’t believe in UFO’s because I’ve seen so many of them.”
    Same thing with Astronomers. First time I saw Mercury there is no way I would believe it was a planet. It jumped over the horizon and back down so quick I was left wondering WTF. And I was purposely staring at that spot waiting for it.
    People who have seen a lot of strange things in the sky- like Mercury actually try and figure out what it is.

  41. Dave in Minneapolis

    Has it occurred to anyone that astronomers are too busy looking at one tiny patch of the sky to bother to notice something zipping across it? I don’t think astronomers spend too much time naked-eye stargazing when they have all those cool toys at their disposal. I’ve stargazed fifty nights a year for the last ten years and I’ve only seen UFOs once. Not much of a batting average.

    Also, why doesn’t set up some kind of night-vision camera network, wire it up to the internet, and have it record? This would settle the issue once and for all, and they could use this network to triangulate meteorite impacts.

  42. Blondin

    Oh, come on! It’s obvious all you guy are in on the conspiracy!

  43. adam
  44. Frank Mondana

    As an amateur Astronomer, I have seen just about every type and variety of UFO.
    Of course they all turn out to be planes, glare, lightning and such.

    I might have discovered a “new” type. A few months ago I saw a very bright light that “hovered” in one spot then moved in an “impossible” manner for any type of human craft.

    It took me a few minutes but it came to me. I was looking at a police chopper. The craft had it’s spotlight on (in my direction) which blocked view of the other running lights. I was following it with binoculars while walking down a slight hill. The chopper was moving slowly towards me, then banked off to my right while staying at the same altitude. I was still moving downhill and to the “left” of the chopper.

    All put together it gave the illusion that it was a single point of light that took off 90 degrees and came back.

    Next time I see this (or similar) my video camera will be a-whirrin’ so I can send this into some Koo-koo site. They will, of course, blow me off. But it might be fun for a chuckle.

  45. Hello? Roswell? It is ALL a conspiracy!
    /tongueincheek

  46. Morgan

    My only problem with Astronomers commenting on the UFO issue is that they are only trained to understand the night sky. Yes, I am sure they had a few biology classes and chemistry and physics but don’t you think an air force pilot, a rocket scientist, astrophysicist are far more credible at identifying what is and what is not a identified object in the sky, What about the physical evidence of Dr. Leir’s and MUFON’s field work on suspected landing sights. There is much more out there on this subject than just lights in the sky. Astronomers need to go back to their star maps and light shows and leave the skepticism and investigative work to the scientists when it comes to UFOs. Point and case why astronomers are crazy ———–> http://www.astronomygal.com/

  47. TC

    Debunker is the opposite of UFO believer. Are unidentified objects seen?? Yes. Are they aliens?? Got me, they are unidentified. Until they are identified, we don’t know. Misidentified objects are the majority of UFO sightings in my opinion. At the same time, we have numerous reports by credible people( like military, police, pilots, radar operators, even presidents) that are in a word, anomalous. Can’t we at least admit that or is that against the secret debunker code??

    Do astronomers see strange, unidentified objects?? Uhhh, yes. Sometimes they become identified, sometimes they don’t. Do you think there is a bit of a stigma for astronomers that would report such objects?? Probably.

    As far as credible astronomers and UFO’s go, two words : Clyde Tombaugh.

    It should at least be acceptable for serious celestial observers to report their findings, however strange they might be. But there seems to be a public deterrent in doing so because of the “little green men” label.

  48. Frank Mondana

    Rift,
    We do only study (“focus on”) tiny portions of the sky. Scanning around and briefly checking out certain targets is not “studying” that portion, merely a tiny part of that tiny part.

    Even professional scopes that do cover the entire sky are just sucking in data. It then takes decades for scientists to study that data.

    About a year ago, I went over my logs. Even accounting for targets that I stopped at briefly, I have “focused on” app. 25 percent of the sky. My logs include all Messier, 90% of NGC’s of 7th mag or higher, 800 variables, most nebulae (planetary, dark, and other) within 100000 LY, well over 10,000 individual stars, and some 4500 objects that don’t fit neatly into catalogs or are linked to other lesser known cats.

    If my math is good, I have studied, in depth, around 11% of the sky.

    Next time you are out during a full moon, try to imagine just how many moons it would take to cover the entire sky. It will surprise you just how “big” the sky is. Because we are more familiar with the sky than most, we tend to underestimate just how big our shy really is.

    I’m not calling you stupid in any way shape or form. It’s just that a few years ago I thought about this topic as I felt the same way as you do and was very surprised by the results.

  49. sophia8

    Another group who see lots of the night sky are truckers. Think about it – they spend their working lives driving all over the country in all weather conditions, often at night (gotta get those consumer goodies to the shops before they open!); OK, they concentrate on the road a lot of the time, but they’re alert to anything unusual in their eyeline, and driving hours rules mean theyspend a fair amount of time parked up with nothing much to do except take a stroll and look around. So, although they may not know the names of any of the objects they see, they’re quite familiar with what’s normally in the night sky – stars, planets, aircraft lights and so on.
    My husband is a retired trucker. Once, when he took me along on a nightime drive, I woke up from a doze and saw this bright red light up in the sky right in front of us. “What the **** is THAT?” I wanted to know. “That?” he replied, “That’s the flare-off from the ICI chemical works – never seen it before?”

    Yeah, I can confirm that truckers are in the conspiracy also!

  50. @salottimc

    I remember seeing weird objects a lot when I first got into astronomy. Now I can safely say each one was a satellite. I did see something triangle shaped that I couldn’t identify using my Starry Night software, but I assume it was probably a spy, or other unlisted, satellite.

  51. The only time I’ve ever seen anything that made me think “Alien Spacecraft” is when I saw the F-117 Nighthawk prototype land at Moffet NAS for the first time.

  52. Never get in a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent. :p

  53. Chris

    I have seen a “UFO”. When I tell people that they think UFO=Alien space craft. No, I meant I saw an Unidentified Flying Object. It didn’t look or act like any aircraft I had ever seen or heard of but that’s doesn’t mean there wasn’t a rational explanation for it. I’ve stopped telling people about because I am tired of explaining that UFO does NOT equal alien space craft.

  54. Matt said,

    “What an insult to the many educated, respected, and influential people who have been brave enough to come forward and disclose what they know and have seen, like astronauts Edgar Mitchel, Gordon Cooper, Sen. Barry Goldwater (a retired Air Force brigadier general and pilot) and former presidents such as Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. Just to mention a few uneducated, delusional loonies. I suggest that you do some serious research before your next “journalistic expose.””

    Ok, #1, NONE of those people you mentioned have a single piece of verifiable evidence to support the hypothesis that UFO’s = Alien Spaceships, or even Alien Life. That’s an argument from authority, and it is a logical fallacy to think that because of their position they don’t have to provide evidence.

    #2, Nobody but you called anyone delusional. You’ve made the mistake of assuming Phil or the rest of us have not already done the research and found NO EVIDENCE.

    #3, if you have evidence of Alien Life or Alien Spacecraft, please present it.

    8)

  55. Neal R.

    What a weird post and a bunch of weird comments too. A lot of laughing at all those delusional believers and scoffing at their absurdly unscientific method – which is a very unscientific and emotionalist stance. Not at all what I’d expect from a “science” site. I always thought Discover was a bit fluffy, but I’m disappointed to see that the self-described astronomers here also getting carried away on their own fluffy-headed “us vs. them” crusade. Weird.

  56. I think a lot of you are missing the point of Mark’s insight here. The point is that you have to take into account Bayes’ theorem when doing your calculations: http://yudkowsky.net/rational/bayes. Assume that 0.1% of the population are astronomers (amateur or professional) and on average spend 1,000x as much time looking at the sky as the rest of the population. Assuming that UFOs are distributed evenly in time and space, you would expect that any one astronomer is 1000x more likely to see a UFO than a random person is. However, because they only make up 1 in 1000 people, you would expect that 99% of people who see UFOs would still be non-astronomers. Astronomers are over-represented in the final population of “people who have seen UFOs” relative to their representation in the wider community, but if they are not significantly represented in the wider population then they might still not be significantly represented in the sub-population.

  57. Blake said,

    “An asteroid crashed in to Jupiter a few days ago and not one single astronomer saw it coming… and besides, astronomers are usually looking at a tiny little piece of the sky really far away. If a UFO did pass in their line of vision it would dissappear too quickly to see it. UFOs are seen when by people who stand outside with a naked eye scanning the whole of the sky… astronomers don’t do this.”

    And not one single NON-astronomer saw it coming either.

    As Rift pointed out, if you think astronomers only look thru a telescope, you have never been to a star party. I often stargaze with nothing but a lounge chair and my camera… and probably a flask, for keeping warm, of course. ;)

    8)

  58. Karen

    I don’t have time to read through all this stuff, but…

    In today’s scientific climate, where skeptic=close-minded, vehement debunker and where scientists are not allowed to publically admit any belief in anything metaphysical or paranormal whatsoever, wouldn’t an astronomer admitting he or she had seen a UFO be committing professional suicide? Ergo, if they do happen to see something weird, they’re not going to mention it. Or they’re going to dismiss it because of their own close-mindedness.

    Do I believe all of the stuff coming out of ufology these days? No. But I have to believe in a universe (or probably more properly, multiverse) so vast that we cannot possibly be the only intelligent life out there. To believe THAT feels like unspeakable arrogance to me. Then again, given the spew I’ve seen coming from the scientific community these days, maybe that’s not far from the truth. Modern science and medicine are exceedingly arrogant about anything not commonly accepted by the establishment.

    So I guess I’m glad I went with the rocket scientist degree and not astronomy. As an engineer, I can stay open to possibilities not yet discovered instead of being a slave to convention.

  59. Enki-][

    This implies that you think that UFOs (in the context of alien space craft, not in the context of literally unidentified flying objects) are related in some way to space travel. The so-called extraterrestrial hypothesis is the most popular but least supportable hypothesis in terms of the origin of what people now term extraterrestrials. Cf. Jaques Valee for info on this stuff, but I find it amusing that so many people entertain the ET hypothesis while the others (aside from the pseudo-skeptical ‘it’s all a fraud/They are all crazy’) get more or less no media attention :-)

  60. I just wanted to say that Amanda, #8, your stunt with the eraser has provided me with enough evidence to postulate that you rock.

  61. Steve said,

    “I had a fascinating face-to-face discussion with a retired NASA engineer who was deeply involved in the Apollo missions.”

    Sure you did. What does “deeply involved,” mean? Did he work in Mission Control, or did he clean the toilets? We’re not going to take your word for it, and you shouldn’t take his word for it. Show some real physical evidence, or even memos, documents, emails from anyone inside NASA that backs up your claim, and then we’ll talk.

    8)

  62. Oh, and one note on what I said earlier – this effect is only present when you ask “what percentage of people who believe they have UFOs are astronomers?” If you ask the question “is the percentage of astronomers who believe they have seen UFOs higher than the percentage of non-astronomers who believe they have seen UFOs?” then you don’t need to take into account Bayes’ theorem. In my earlier example, the probability that any single astronomer would see a UFO was 1000x higher than the probability that any single person in the general population would. As such, the percentage of astronomers who see UFOs should be markedly higher than the percentage of random people who see UFOs.

    Perhaps this is the source of the confusion I am seeing, with Mark thinking that Phil is proposing that astronomers should make up a larger percentage of people who believe they have seen UFOs and Greg thinking that Phil is proposing that a larger percentage of astronomers should have seen UFOs.

  63. George B

    Several responses:

    Although I’ve never seen anything that has made me believe in alien spacecraft – and I’ve looked – I also have not seen very much that couldn’t be quickly explained away. The strangest lights in the sky I’d ever seen turned out to be from a blimp where an entire section of the craft was made of flashing lights – so as to scroll messages / advertisements. Well, I was seeing it through tree branches – so the message scrolling by was obscured. My initial impression was one of awe and excitement. Then I got to a spot where I could see it clear and I could hear it’s motors and realized what it was. My guess is that many people see something new to them, and that initial adrenaline rush takes over and their rational mind never gets another chance.

    Also, Mark’s math isn’t correct. If a billion people looked at the sky for a second, that’s only on the order of 277,777 man hours. (His calculations were for a billion people looking at the sky for a whole minute).

    Although my guess is that mainly amateur astronomers are the ones outside looking at the whole sky (in addition to looking through scopes at small patches of sky) because most professional astronomers are indoors using radio telescopes nowadays (with a few exceptions).

  64. @salottimc

    I think the best proof for alien life would be history. How can ancient cultures know things about space that we just confirmed within the past 20 years (mainly other solar systems). There are multiple instances of this. Each of these cultures have stories about beings who came from the stars and taught them the information (ex. Dogon Tribe, Africa).

    It could also mean that we had technology, similar to what we have now, thousands of years ago. Perhaps what caused the last ice age made humans start over again. There is actually evidence to support a global pre-iceage civilization.

  65. Lonny Eachus

    Stephen: “Let me tell you this Mister Writer whoever you are! Disk shaped craft are traversing our sky’s…”

    Mister Writer is Phil Plait. (And you know, Stephen has a point here… there is no attribution anywhere on these pages.)

    As for the rest… those disk-shaped craft are traversing our sky’s WHAT?

  66. CyberScott

    17 Shane, you are almost correct. I will have to report you to the MIB for coming this close however, sorry. Actually the so called “Black Spot” on Jupiter is an impact event caused by a NASA rocket carrying all the moon hoax evidence! Now it will never be found. They could have used the alien saucers from Area 51 but they were undergoing their 20,000 light year maintenance check up.

    People are ‘trained’ by the media to think anything they see in the sky that they cannot identify is a “Alien UFO.” It is much cooler to believe that than it is to believe they just saw Venus or an Iridium flare. Speaking of Venus, I have seen Venus on the horizon a number times but one time traveling back from some relatives I spotted Venus from the small hill I was on very near the horizon, which at the time was another small hill and it was SPECTACULAR. I have nver seen it like this before. It was like its own little light house beaming right at me, red, green, blue almost like a color wheel. Something was just right with atmosphere and my location. It was way beyond the normal shifting color twinkling pattern when it is near the horizon.

    I could see where people ready to believe in whatever they want to believe in would jump to any conclusion they desired after seeing this rather than actually enjoying the unusal very pretty light show Venus was putting on at that spot on that night.

  67. Nice collection of strawmen, Karen.
    Better be careful with fire.

  68. JT

    Karen: I congratulate you on not also accusing astronomers of being an association of wife-beaters. That must have been very difficult for you.

    So, given the evil closed-minded puppy-kicking professional astronomer conspiracy to prevent its members from reporting anything unusual, how exactly does that prevent amateur astronomers (or meteorologists or truckers, as mentioned earlier) from making such reports? Does the blood-sucking baby-eating astronomer cabal threaten to torture them with slight mockery?

  69. RichieB

    I’m amazed at these so called “rational thinkers”. They refuse to consider the possibility of alien
    craft in our vicinity yet they (well, most of them) flock to there neighborhood church every Sunday and listen so seriously to some priest/pastor (or some other designation) spout the same superstitious drivel that they have been listening for the last 2,000 years. Where is the “rational evidence” that religion has some bases in fact! These rational thinkers never question their own beliefs and in years past were willing to burn people at the stake for even suggesting that some evidence of a god should be required before forking over their monthly tithe. Yet here they are ridiculing anyone who believes he/she has seen a UFO. Would they also ridicule someone who has seen the Virgin Mary? No, they’d line up by the thousands hoping for a chance to experience the virgin themselves.

  70. Steve

    *sigh*
    UFO == “Unidentified Flying Object”. That’s it. If someone sees something that they know for sure is an alien spacecraft, they didn’t see an UFO; they saw an identified alien spacecraft.

    Astronomers do see UFOs all the time. They tend to be able to identify those objects soon (as something other than “alien spacecrafts”, usually), so the objects are no longer UFOs after a while. It’s an UFO only if your final answer to “what the heck was that?” is “beats me”.

    Phil, you’re using “UFO” to mean “alien spacecraft”, and that generates most of the confusion. Any time you see something on the sky that you’re not 100% sure of what it is (maybe a weather baloon or a sattelite), it’s by definition an “UFO” unless you identify it. See that any possible or imagined “alien” origin has nothing to do with the definition of an UFO.

  71. It’s a point which is sometimes made by UFO debunkers but is there really any evidence astronomers see fewer UFOs than others. However even if that were true, there could be a variety of reasons for this. A reluctance to report sightings for fear of damaging professional credibility, or it could simply be astronomers tend to spend a lot of time looking through telescopes which by their very nature only show a very small portion of the sky so don’t necessarily study the entire sky any more than anyone else. The other thing is if one makes the basic assumption alien spacecraft don’t exist, then it would also follow there are no trained observers of alien space craft. So how do we know Astronomers aren’t misidentifying whole fleets of alien space ships as space debris or satellites? We don’t. However we do know a closed mind represents a belief system far more than an open mind, we also know a mind clouded with presumption isn’t the most reliable way of ascertaining the truth. Which I dare say is why they are called Amateur Astronomers.

  72. Matt L

    Your reasoning is ignorant, plain and simple. If you ever want to get your head together, and actually learn the true facts of the best studies that have ever been done, and stop feeling so smug and self-important as you come acrosss, read a guy who actually does hard research… Stanton Friedman… probably 1 of only a few humans worth listening to and reading on the subject.

    He’s not an absolute close-minded, uneducated, moron like Bill Nye is on the subject of UFOs. I’m so sick of wise-cracking “skeptics” who love being vague on a subject they haven’t researched hard enough. “Special Report 13″, anyone? The facts are staggering.

    Oh, and regarding “Why don’t astronomers see relatively more UFOs than laypeople?”…
    First off, they use telescopes that focus on far away objects and do not FOCUS THEIR LENSES on moving objects in the Earth’s atmosphere. Try following a plane with a typical telescope sometime, it is pretty damn hard in the daytime, not to even mention trying to follow high elevation craft in a night sky.

    Have you ever seen telescopic photographs of the debris astronauts left on the moon, either? Have we ever seen such things from Mars? Of course not! They are far too far away for even our orbiting telescopes to zoom in on them. We also don’t have telescopic pics of individual rocks that are bigger than most U.S. houses on the moon. Telescopes don’t have the resolution for small and dark space objects.

    Your “astronauts should see more” argument is absurd!

    As Stanton Friedman describes the skeptic’s mantra, “Don’t bother me with the facts, my mind is made up.” That is the mindset of most skeptics.

    There are incredibly well researched articles on the subject at:
    http://www.stantonfriedman.com

    Read about how absurd the “skeptics” are in choosing their “facts” and making their, typically, uneducated statements on the subject of UFOs.

    Article, “Debunkers At It Again” (by Stanton T. Friedman):
    http://www.v-j-enterprises.com/sf-mufon-020309.html

    Read the book, “Flying Saucers and Science” (by Stanton T. Friedman):
    http://www.v-j-enterprises.com/sf-flying-saucers-science.html

  73. Matt L

    Furthermore, I’d like to remind people who think that their “Why don’t astronomers see relatively more UFOs than laypeople?” argument is intelligent or something to be proud of, that:

    1 – Their argument completely ignores any technological advancements such as layering craft with materials that change color or blend into the surrounding colors in whatever area of sky a craft might be flying in.

    2 – That star systems that are billions of years older than us may have already achieved advancements that the United States military is working on now, such as virtual invisibility as I just mentioned or some other invisibilty technology that we may ourselves develop.

    Remember that astronomers have found Earth-like planet systems around other stars that are literally more than a billion years older than our sun… think of what we have accomplished in the last 100 years in technology.

    Imagine where our technology will be in another 100 years, or 1000 years, or 1 million years, not to even mention 1 billion years.

    Some known Earth-like planets have had those billion years more of development available to any life forms that may have developed… maybe no life developed, but it sure as hell could have.

    If you don’t believe that we are alone in all of space, you cannot believe that SOME UFOs aren’t extraterrestrial.

    Spare me with the “cannot parse my simple logic” garbage.

  74. Shalom Einstoss

    Probably this is so just because, like pilots, they are not motivated to tell something that would expose them to ridicule. Another question Mr Plaite:what are those objects seen in the SOHO pictures here http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/2662787.stm at this ‘distorted’ site called British Broadcast Corporation. And this is just an example. It could goes on…
    PS. Yes, SOHO isn’t an astronomer, just a satellite telescope.
    PS2 There are plenty of examples of mainstream ‘science’ becoming, after sometime, ridicule itself.

  75. Roger Ownby

    Hey, Ad Hominid #25, you really got your scope? That’s great! I’ve been scooting home home every day lately to check the mail and haven’t seen mine yet. Thank FSM for NetFlix, otherwise i’d just be standing on the curb with a handfull of bills and the wife’s Lane Bryant catalogs…

  76. John R.

    First, as many here have already mentioned…U in the UFO stands for unidentified (not Alien). Many people simply cannot identify regular mundane things or tricks of the light and rare natural phenomenon (like swamp gas / ball lightning, etc.). I am certain that these account for 95-99% of all reported sightings. However, there are also numerous cases from quite reputable sources (trained observers – military, pilots, scientists, police, air traffic controllers and yes even astronomers), backed up by radar and scientific data which simply cannon be explained to this day.

    I think there is difference between being a healthy skeptic and being a closed minded refuter. I think it’s a little dangerous to not be open to even a tiny, highly remote possibility that at least one of the reported sighting could potentially be …..*gasp*…… extraterrestrial. Thinking that earth is the only planet with intelligent life is at the very least naive and at worst idiotic. Given the age of our planet is relatively young in terms of the universe it is also not unfathomable that a much older civilization could exist and posses technology which does not seem possible to us.

    Are there Aliens circling Earth on a regular basis or visited before…..well, I highly doubt it. Could they possibly be…..well yes I think it is a small possibility. When science closes its eyes on a possible factor due to a stigma or fear of ridicule, it’s treading dangerous waters of aligning itself with the likes of the church (which burned their predecessors at the stake for thinking that earth revolved around the sun).

  77. I'd rather be fishin'

    33. Blake Says:
    An asteroid crashed in to Jupiter a few days ago and not one single astronomer saw it coming… and besides, astronomers are usually looking at a tiny little piece of the sky really far away. If a UFO did pass in their line of vision it would dissappear too quickly to see it. UFOs are seen when by people who stand outside with a naked eye scanning the whole of the sky

    Astronomers say an asteroid hit Jupiter; yah, right! That’s part of the conspiracy! It was a UFO destroyed by an orbital defense station set up by the UN world government to keep the alien technology under their control and out of the hands of the people.

    Hey, this conspiracy theory invention is fun. No wonder so many people are into it. More fun than collecting stamps.

  78. I was driving home one night recently, and I saw a plane flying in, only its lights visible (the sound obscured by being inside the car). Because of the angle I was on, heading uphill, and the angle the plane was approaching, and with a line of trees giving a false sense of comparison, the plane looked like it was travelling at about ten times the normal speed a jet can fly.

    Because I knew it was a plane (it was a “cigar shaped craft” with coloured blinking lights) I was only taken by the illusion of rapid speed. But if I was more inclined towards being so “open-minded” that I had no common sense filter, I can see how someone, in a delirious state of hoping and wishing, might jump to a different, more extra-terrestrial, conclusion.

    Just goes to show you.

  79. Katia

    RichieB: are you high? Do you have any evidence whatsoever to support a connection between alien spacecraft debunkery and Christianity, or even general religiosity?

    Amanda: I dare say they’re called “amateur” because that’s precisely what they are. Unpaid.

  80. zaardvark

    @Mark, post #4

    As has been pointed out, his calculation is wrong (should be ~278,000 hours), but it also misses the point that amateur astronomers look ALL OVER the sky, while someone looking up for 1 second only sees a tiny circle. Factor that in, and there’s no contest.

  81. Nigel

    @ Amanda (#8) I think I was that kid. 8-B

    @ Widgett Walls (#61) I have verified your postulated theorem. You, sir, are correct.

  82. Davros

    I was sitting at the train station this morning and saw what looked like a bright light that moved across the sky the went behind a cloud and vanished

    to a UFO person a real sighting

    to me Interesting unknown so when i got to work checked Heavens above and it was my first Iridium Flare sighting

    i wonder how many UFO’s are Iridium Flare’s

  83. Mathematically, it is highly likely that there is life out there. But just because they may be out there, does not mean they have been here. One does not automatically lead to the other.

  84. Twitter.com/TheDarkCover

    @ Davros, post 79:
    To a UFO person it is a possible sighting. Don’t think that alien UFO believers take every claim as real. That is totally incorrect. Of course some people believe anything, but that goes for many facets of life. You cannot compare a joke like Bob Lazar with a credible source like Stanton Friedman. There is no doubt a ton of idiots go around making statements for alien UFOs, but just as many idiots go around discounting alien UFOs. Both sides need to know the facts and be well read on the subject from CREDIBLE sources who’ve done real research.

    @ GuanoLad, post #76:

    We don’t want to see anything that isn’t really there. We don’t get any thrills from false beliefs. We just want straight reporting and straight facts from governments. We want the press to do its job without hiding so much of what it knows.

    We want “skeptics” to actually read the major case studies. We want “skeptics” to read what brilliant incredibly-well-researched men like Stanton Friedman write. He bases his conclusions on facts and logic… unfortunately, most skeptics seem to be too self-loving to believe that they don’t know everything already or that huge secrets can easily be hidden for long periods of time.

    If facts or a true story does get out, it is super easy to flood the press with good-looking lies that are crafted to discredit the truth that actually got out. This is the skillset of the CIA is it not? Do not stacks of documents easily available at theblackvault.com clearly expose ways in which the government lies?

    Do real research!

  85. ND

    Karen: “So I guess I’m glad I went with the rocket scientist degree and not astronomy. As an engineer, I can stay open to possibilities not yet discovered instead of being a slave to convention.”

    Good lord! What is it with you engineers! Are all engineers UFO=ET nuts?

    Ok I’m generalizing way too much. But still, at least an engineer has some sort of scientific education.

    As for life out there, yeah there is most likely at least one other intelligent civilizations out there. No evidence yet but that’s something easy to believe in given what we know so far about life and the universe. That does not in any way lend credence to the idea that they’ve been visiting Earth chasing humans through forests waving anal probes. Why is this so hard to get through to people?

    ps. to anyone who thinks they’ve been abducted by aliens and had the anal probe treatment, that was probably your uncle.

  86. UFO’s are alien spacecraft and have been visiting the Earth for thousands of years. There is no doubt of their existance by anyone having done even 10 minutes of checking on the internet. The 1561 mass sighting over Nuremburg Germany proves this beyond a doubt. Nothing mankind had made could travel the skies in controlled flight. Not to mentions there were dozens of such craft SHOOTING at each other. In this same mass sighting at least two craft crashed and burned as was observed by hundreds if not thousands of people. That being so, delusions, hallucinations, never ever include crashed spacecraft that burn uncontrollably for hours.

    There have been millions of sightings and tens of thousands of reports by trained military pilots who have encountered alien spacecraft. These are professionals with much higher abilities and responsibilities than almost anybody. They are reporting the truth in sppite of the fact that they may be ridiculed. Flight 1628 Japan Air Lines is another example of proof beyond debate of alien craft operating in the Earth’s atmosphere. The event occured in November 1986. Everyone saw it onboard, the stories were consistant and the RADAR records verified it. The senior pilot lost his job but was later reinstated when the authorities admitted that, yes, there was an alien craft in his way- actually 3 of them. The same incident was repeated in the spring of 1987 with a USAF C-130 that verified the same alien craft were present- flying 40 feet from his windscreen.

    Do the research and find the facts. The Apollo missions were constantly followed by alien craft and everyone involved knows it. The astronauts who have had the guts to come forward are the real heroes. Pretending this is a farce makes the rest cowards and patsies.

    Sorry to say that but let’s just everyone accept it and demand the truth from our misguided, 1940′s Cold War approach that has stuck around like the mother of all hangovers. They are here- dozens of civilizations, and it’s more than obvious. What are they up to and what “deals” have they made with the government- especially back in the day a la 1940′s paranoia racked America?

  87. José

    @Matt L
    If you don’t believe that we are alone in all of space, you cannot believe that SOME UFOs aren’t extraterrestrial.

    Well, I don’t, and I don’t. Here’s the biggest hole in your logic. Just because technology has advanced so far in the past 100 years, doesn’t mean that in the future we’ll be able to do things that defy the known laws of physics. I won’t say it’s not possible, but to say that it’s likely is fanciful speculation.

  88. Twitter.com/TheDarkCover

    @ND, post #82:
    You say there is “No evidence yet”? Tell us all about the research, reading of major studies, and reading of Blue Book Special Report 13, that you’ve done. Tell us about the hard research you’ve done in the National Archives. Tell us all about how you’ve labored over the 5000+ physical trace cases by Don Phillips and found nothing of interest. Tell us all why other governments have stated that the deepest kept secret in the United States is that of alien life. Tell us all why the U.S. has a black budget bigger than California’s epic state debt.

    Why is it so hard for skeptics to do research? So many official documents are online in theBlackvault.com. Even the U.S. courts have transcripts on file… have you not seen the governments lengthy, almost completely whited out, argument to a judge that says why they can’t tell the judge anything about UFOs/alien technology?

    Are all of the “sightings” alien UFOs? No. Are most? Pprobably not! Are any? You’d be a fool to say no.

  89. Twitter.com/TheDarkCover

    @José, post #83:
    Technological advancement has not stopped in the last 1000 years, we had no planes a little over 100 years ago, now our crafts have left the solar system. 100 years ago people had the telegraph now we have the iPhone.

    There are no signs of technology slowing down, not any. Technology will slow down if and when we finally blow ourselves up, not before.

    Read Stanton Friedman’s “UFO and Science”.

  90. Shalom Einstoss

    By the way, the Russian navy has declassified its records of encounters with unidentified objects technologically surpassing anything humanity ever built, reports Svobodnaya Pressa news website. http://www.russiatoday.com/Top_News/2009-07-21/Russian_Navy_UFO_records_say_aliens_love_oceans.html Are the russian navy a bunch of nuts also ?

  91. Rikko Ferreira

    Are all astronomers dumb or they are all skeptics…quauquauauqau

    Astronomers do not see more airplanes than average people the reason is that astronomers normally put their eyes in outer space and ufos are over our roofs.
    After men like Edgar Mitchel and Gordon Cooper affirmed that we have being visited all that sort of negation from obscure people sounds ridicule.

  92. Not to respond to any particular troll, but they keep accusing us of being rude, dismissive, closed minded, unintelligent, ignorant, holier than thou and we all have the wrong career/hobby. They appeal to wishful thinking, appeal to authority and the appeal to I’m smarter than you because I believe and anyway I have a friend of a friend who saw one once and he is a [insert any job that isn't one we have].

    The funny thing is they all seem so angry.

    We only ask for evidence.

  93. Cindy

    A wise man (Douglas Adams) once wrote:

    “Space,” it says, “is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly hugely mindboggingly big it is. I mean you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist, but that’s just peanuts to space.”

  94. JMM

    I used to live 30 miles in the country in S. TX and ran 6 miles every ight with no lights. After 5 or 6 years and not seeing anything like a UFO has led me to believe they are likely not existent.

  95. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9runNgtTb0

    Above is your proof & evidence.

    Period!

    Why is it that so many people believe NASA when their own astronauts admit aliens are constantly in the picture?

    Astronauts don’t make things up or misuse words when talking about space travel, and in particular their paper thin walled craft being approached by something that is not from a U.S. aerospace manufacturer or any other Earth based factory.

    Folks just get over the whole thing and accept we are with company. And as far as laws of physics until barely a hundred years ago we had no clue as a species of the existance of the elctromagnetic spectrum. The alien craft obviously manipulate energy and space so that they can move at fantastic accelerations and manuever unencumbered by gravity or inertia. All the reports confirm this thousands and thousands of times.

    Pilots report these events- not you, not me- not any regular person. They are trained to be be alert and perceptive. They are telling the truth and there is no debate about it. ET is here – are here- in dozens of reprensentations – based on the dozens of distinct spacecraft configurations. It’s not debatable when the facts are understood.

    The question is this: what is our government up to and how can we force them to disclose the truth?

  96. @JMM
    So potentially you have been kidnapped and had your memory wiped by aliens hundreds of times?

  97. jem

    Thsi is somethign i often think about. Im a fairly keen back yard astronomer, have been since i was a kid, and whenever i am outside at night even walking to the car, i always look up for at least minute or two.
    But I have NEVER seen anything ufo-like.

    Seen various aircraft and bright stars planets, sats and iridium flares etc that i sometimes think, “hmm if i didnt know what i was looking at, perhaps i could think it was something freaky.”

  98. PH

    Phil, you’re a very important person to be representing ‘science’ v ‘irrationality’ in a public forum like this, and I appreciate what you’re trying to accomplish.

    I’m also a person who’s an amateur astronomer, an aviation enthusiast, a follower of space activities…and I have seen several things which are extremely odd and which are not easily fitted into any catch-all category such as you skeptical folk seem to imagine can accommodate all of the literally millions of sightings.

    I’m not a fool; I don’t claim to know what I’ve observed in these cases. Occam would seem to urge natural/human artifice in almost every event, and I’m comfortable with that. But I also have to say that this is not a necessary and sufficient proof of the nature of ANY of these things. There is a tiny residual possibility that at least something which I have personally observed may have been extraterrestrial (or wild physics, or…?). I can’t POSSIBLY know for certain. I’m at least that well-grounded in science.

    So, what is your excuse for contemptuously blowing off all the millions of observations that have poured in over decades? How do you KNOW that ALL of these are the trivial confabulations of ignorance or fervid imaginations? It strikes me that you are following a very unscientific path here; letting rationalization and a priori argumentation stand in the place of actual investigation. Why in the HELL is that? Are you a scientist or not? You aren’t obliged to “believe” any of this data, but before you blow it off the way you do, why don’t you turn your skeptical faculties on your OWN motives and experience and see if what you’re doing doesn’t bear a taint of fundamentalism.

    …with all due respect, of course.

  99. @RichieB #70

    Most rational thinkers and skeptics are atheist, so your point is not only misdirected, but it swings back around like a boomerang and hits you in the back of your hypocritical skull.

    @MattL #74

    Defending invisible UFOs because you speculate that they have cloaking technology seems illogical. Are you saying that they only use the cloaking technology for amateur astronomers, and then turn it off for Jed and Nancy driving toward their trailer park in Salt Lick, KY?

    You’ve created an unfalsifiable premise. Look, I can create one too. The reason that you believe in aliens is because your mind is being controlled by a microscopic demigod who rides bacteria like they were horses and feeds on mitochondria. See how easy that was, and it didn’t require any logic.

  100. David

    Think of all the eyes looking at the sky in the past 5000 years (they didn’t have the internet to look at). With all that sky watching time human history should be littered with art and literature describing alien spacecraft sightings.

    However…

    Where are the ancient caves drawings of flying saucers?
    Why did Confucius never say anything about Yoda?
    Where are the Greek statues of Marvin the Martian?
    Why bother with stories of dragons in the sky when ET is flying around on his bike?
    What is the Mayan glyph for “Take me to your leader!”
    Where is the Shakespearean version of Star Trek?

    After thinking about this the only possible conclusion one can come to is that the aliens started to visit us more frequently because we ourselves began to fly. They clearly want to maintain their monopoly on interstellar travel and invisibility machines.

  101. KC

    “So why was it moving in the first place? I think we were looking through the tops of some trees, and the trees swayed back and forth a little, which in the darkness made it appear that the star was moving back and forth (changing direction quite suddenly).”

    Look up the autokinetic effect — I think you’ll find it illuminating!

    It all comes down to the evidence. If Stanton Freidman et al are so full of the TRUTH. Let it shine!! All you need do is expose all us closed minded astronomers to an abundance of evidence and we would be forced to concede. That’s all there is to it.

  102. @PH
    millions of observations
    And not one with any verifiable evidence. Why is that?
    As the old cliche says, the plural of anecdote is not data.

  103. Matt L.

    @Ticktock #100:
    I’m not saying any such thing. I think astronomers use telescopes and I think telescopes are a horrible tool for viewing small fast moving objects. I also have no data to say that tons of astronomers haven’t seen UFOs (American or otherwise) in space through their scopes. Again, absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence for absence.

    I think that cloaking as you say is a possibilty, certainly not something we can prove exists to the point of actual invisibilty. I think if it does exist that having that ability does not mean that it would be always in use. Maybe if 3 or 4 ships are together they can’t use it so as to not crash into one of other. I’m not sure and I certainly can’t say it exists with aliens, because I cannot prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that alien life exists. I think that there is certainly enough evidence to get a conviction, so to speak.

    I am not trying to imply that invisibility is possible now here on Earth. It is clear that such attempts are being made to disguise military craft as much as possible. How close are we, I am not sure. Will we one day in the next 100 years get invisibilty? I wouldn’t bet much against it.

    As to breaking the laws of physics, I am not educated enough on the depths of the subject to speak as a man like Stanton Friedman can on the subject. I have never seen a UFO. Stanton Friedman says he’s never seen one either, which is honest and interesting. I also don’t spend anytime looking up, and here in LA it is too bright and hazy anyway.
    :)

  104. Mike Wagner

    The iridium flare I saw a week and a half ago was a mag -7. I can just imagine what the neighbors out here in the boonies must think when they see these lights suddenly blossom and then vanish.
    At least nobody’s come knocking on the door to offer us salvation since I saw it. But then one of the first things I heard when I arrived for the summer was how my mom literally chased some evangelists off the property.
    I’m so proud of her. :)

  105. Mike Wagner

    Oh, and as I’ve postulated as an argument to other flying saucer nuts:
    Why would a species with technology vastly superior to ours even send big ships full of crew members when they could send smalls devices, nanotech even, here to observe and record.
    And as for the anal probings… people need to learn to only drink from sealed containers around other people they don’t completely trust.

  106. Greg in Austin

    40. phil the fish Says:

    “One of the reasons astronomers don’t see UFO’s is because they appear during the day but don’t believe me just ask the Russian Navy-”

    That and its really hard to see the night sky while under water. ;)

    Seriously though, I didn’t see any link in that article to actual physical evidence of underwater UFO’s. Are you saying that if you read it on the internet, it MUST be true?

    8)

  107. Matt L.

    @Shane post #103:
    I don’t think that criticism is fair, because average people have no way to grab what is in the sky. There are tons of videos (some definitely that are fake, admittedly), astronauts who say alien UFOs are real, military from many other countries who say they are real, former Presidents, NASA audio saying UFOs are in sight, etc. the list goes on and on.

    Have average people gone into space or shot craft down to drag into the open air for all to see? No. That is something we have no ability to do. Has it been demonstrated that governments have lied about the subject (and many others)? Yes.

  108. Greg in Austin

    42. Dave in Minneapolis Says:

    “Has it occurred to anyone that astronomers are too busy looking at one tiny patch of the sky to bother to notice something zipping across it? I don’t think astronomers spend too much time naked-eye stargazing when they have all those cool toys at their disposal.”

    Let me ask you this: How do YOU find the Orion Nebula, or the Pleades, or comet Holmes with binoculars? Do you think astronomers walk out into their back yard with their eyes closed, point their scope to the exact point in the sky and THEN open their eyes? On a typical night that I go out, I may “observe” Jupiter for 10, maybe 15 minutes, but I could be out there for hours scanning the night sky with my naked eyes, looking for something interesting to observe.

    8)

  109. Eric

    Why don’t you report on the fact that 3,000 commercial and military pilot reports of UFOs have been investigated by narcap.org? And these are only the pilots that are alarmed enough by the danger posed by the UFO in proximity to their aircraft that they’ve gone on record. Many of these reports are backed up by ATC transcripts (to prove the pilots communicated with ATC regarding these objects), and radar data. Many of these reports involve the UFO interfering with the electronics of the aircraft, or involve the pilots taking evasive action to avoid hitting these objects.

  110. I'd rather be fishin'

    Other than all the science that have been mentioned, one problem I have with the UFOs-are-real people is just what makes this planet so special? If even 1/2 of all the sightings are alien visitors, this planet must be the galactic equivalent of all the tourist spots on
    Earth: London, Rome, Venice, Paris, NYC… Somehow I don’t quite see us as being that interesting to highly advanced species. There can’t be THAT many alien anthropologists and sociologists out there in need of a PhD topic?

  111. Greg in Austin

    47. Morgan Says:

    “My only problem with Astronomers commenting on the UFO issue is that they are only trained to understand the night sky. Yes, I am sure they had a few biology classes and chemistry and physics but don’t you think an air force pilot, a rocket scientist, astrophysicist are far more credible at identifying what is and what is not a identified object in the sky,”

    Ignoring the fact that amateur astronomers could ALSO be any of those people, how many air force pilots, rocket scientists and astrophysicists have actual physical evidence that aliens exist and have traveled to our planet? In other words, it doesn’t matter what your profession is. You could be a pimply faced teenager working at Wal-mart, and if you have EVIDENCE then scientists will believe you.

    8)

  112. Greg in Austin

    47. Morgan Says:

    “What about the physical evidence of Dr. Leir’s and MUFON’s field work on suspected landing sights. “

    Are you talking about the long-debunked “landing sights” that turned out to be rabbit holes, or is this some new example of anecdotal evidence suggested as fact? MUFON is not exactly a bastion of credibility.

    8)

  113. Eric

    I’d rather be fishing said, “one problem I have with the UFOs-are-real people is just what makes this planet so special?” The detonation of dozens of nuclear weapons.

  114. Eric

    Greg in Austin said, “if you have EVIDENCE then scientists will believe you.” NO, according to the debunker (which you are), the evidence must be verified in a reproducible experiment in order for the phenomenon to be real. This is the impossible situation you promote which, for example, make supernova non-existent in your world view.

  115. Greg in Austin

    56. Neal R. Says:

    “What a weird post and a bunch of weird comments too. A lot of laughing at all those delusional believers and scoffing at their absurdly unscientific method – which is a very unscientific and emotionalist stance. “

    Again, someone using the word “delusional” where no body else has used it. Totally weird.

    Not at all what I’d expect from a “science” site. I always thought Discover was a bit fluffy, but I’m disappointed to see that the self-described astronomers here also getting carried away on their own fluffy-headed “us vs. them” crusade. Weird.

    This is Phil’s blog, not Discover’s. And the self-described fluffy-headed astronomers are only asking for evidence to support the hypothesis that UFO’s are in fact Alien Spacecraft. That, and some are understandably frustrated at having to repeat themselves over and over and over again, especially to those who are unwilling, or unable, to think critically and logically. If the UFO=Alien Life believers would learn how science really works, or weren’t so proud to voice their ignorance, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

    8)

  116. @David post #101:
    Are you kidding with your “Where are the ancient cave drawings of flying saucers?”
    http://www.crystalinks.com/ufohistory.html
    Also, you can always walk into the Palazzo Vecchio gallery in Italy and have a look around.

    We want to point out that it is the ridiculous logic of the article on this page that was our reason for posting here. Telescopes are not tools for watching birds, planes, rockets or UFOs (Earthly or otherwise) in active flight. That is why astronomers aren’t seeing them, if they really aren’t – as someone else said there doesn’t appear to be any data or studies to prove astronomers are or aren’t seeing things. We know of no such studies. If someone does, put up the link.

    Bye-the-way, we respect astronomers and their work. We just don’t think that astronomers possibly not seeing craft (again, no data on either side to point to that we know of) is a valid argument toward anything.

  117. I'd rather be fishin'

    112. Eric Says:
    I’d rather be fishing said, “one problem I have with the UFOs-are-real people is just what makes this planet so special?” The detonation of dozens of nuclear weapons.

    Would these be detectable on their home worlds? What’s so special about nuclear weapons to a species capable of interstellar travel?

  118. 73. Matt L Says: “Special Report 13, anyone? The facts are staggering.”

    The facts should cut back on the heavy drinking.

    > Have you ever seen telescopic photographs of the debris astronauts left
    > on the moon, either? Have we ever seen such things from Mars? Of course
    > not! They are far too far away for even our orbiting telescopes to zoom in
    > on them.

    Wow, one of them got this part right for a change!

    > As Stanton Friedman describes the skeptic’s mantra, “Don’t bother me with
    > the facts, my mind is made up.” That is the mindset of most skeptics.”

    I think that’s Stan Freberg…

    > Read the book, “Flying Saucers and Science” (by Stanton T. Friedman)

    No, read the book, “The Saucer Fleet” (by Hagerty and Rogers):
    http://www.arapress.com/saucer.php
    (which readers of this blog get 15% off on by typing “BABR” into the code box at checkout)

    BTW, in all seriousness, let me compliment you on your spelling and punctuation. It was actually quite good.

    - Jack

  119. @Eric
    The detonation of dozens of nuclear weapons.
    Why is that special? Have you been watching the original “The Day The Earth Stood Still”?

  120. Answer to every question posted by a ufo fan:

    Read every other post on ufo’s on Dr. BA’s blog. Your questions have all been asked before, the answers have all been given, repeatedly, and ignored, repeatedly, and still…no evidence has been presented except the same old MUFON, et al reports about bunny hole “landing pad marks” and lights in the sky that are curiously located right where lighthouses stand, or radar reports that demonstrate somebody got a blip they couldn’t identify…[et voilá! it's a spaceship!] and grandstanding profiteers who make money selling DVDs on the latest alien sensation (or 40 year old “sensations,” in the case of Mikey H.).

    Honestly, guys and gals, could you bring something new to the table? Just once? Please?

  121. Nicole

    I believe that some unidentified aerial phenomena are thought forms.

  122. Greg in Austin

    113. Eric Says:

    “Greg in Austin said, “if you have EVIDENCE then scientists will believe you.” NO, according to the debunker (which you are), the evidence must be verified in a reproducible experiment in order for the phenomenon to be real. This is the impossible situation you promote which, for example, make supernova non-existent in your world view.”

    Apparently you and I agree on the definition of evidence. If you present real physical evidence (yes, of course it must be testable and verifiable, by definition) then that evidence will speak for itself, and scientists, skeptics, debunkers, whomever, can accept it. Anecdotes are not evidence. Fuzzy pictures and shaky video are not evidence. Sorry if I was unclear.

    Also, once we can explain the facts based on the evidence, it is no longer a phenomenon. UFO’s=Alien Spacecraft is an imaginary phenomenon until someone provides physical evidence that A) Aliens exist and B) They used spaceships to get here.

    Where did I say supernova do not exist? We have evidence for them. We can see them from here. We can observe them, make measurements, gather data, even make predictions as to what they will look like later. We’ve seen exploding stars suddenly shine in the night sky, and then see the expansion 20 years later. Lookup “supernova 1987a”, one of my favorites. Did you mean to use a different example?

    8)

  123. Greg in Austin

    59. Karen Says:

    “I don’t have time to read through all this stuff, but…”

    In other words, you’re not going to look deeper, in case it forces you to change your opinion?

    “In today’s scientific climate, where skeptic=close-minded, vehement debunker”

    I think your definition of skeptic is incorrect. A skeptic simply asks for evidence. Show me the evidence, and I will accept it. I will change everything I believe if the evidence is strong enough. Can you say the same thing?

    “and where scientists are not allowed to publically admit any belief in anything metaphysical or paranormal whatsoever, wouldn’t an astronomer admitting he or she had seen a UFO be committing professional suicide?”

    We’re not talking about only professional astronomers, but the millions of amateur astronomers. I could call up my local Fox News channel tonight and claim I saw a UFO and it would not jeopardize my job one bit. But we’re not talking about metaphysical or paranormal, we’re talking about valid scientific data. There is no scientific evidence that even indicates that Aliens exist and are flying Alien Spacecraft to scare farmers and pilots. Unless, you have something you’d like to share?

    “Ergo, if they do happen to see something weird, they’re not going to mention it. Or they’re going to dismiss it because of their own close-mindedness.”

    Again, we’re not close-minded. Show me evidence, and I will gladly change my mind.

    “Do I believe all of the stuff coming out of ufology these days? No. But I have to believe in a universe (or probably more properly, multiverse) so vast that we cannot possibly be the only intelligent life out there. To believe THAT feels like unspeakable arrogance to me. Then again, given the spew I’ve seen coming from the scientific community these days, maybe that’s not far from the truth. Modern science and medicine are exceedingly arrogant about anything not commonly accepted by the establishment.”

    Please give an example of “spew” you’ve seem coming from the scientific community. Also, I think your idea of science is backward. Topics are not accepted by the establishment until there is evidence to support it. Its not like scientists attend a great meeting to declare, “Flying Pink Unicorns Do Not Exist, and Don’t Believe Anyone Who Says Otherwise.” Quite the opposite. Scientists say, “Given the lack of substantial physical evidence, it is safe to say that flying pink unicorns do not exist.”

    “So I guess I’m glad I went with the rocket scientist degree and not astronomy. As an engineer, I can stay open to possibilities not yet discovered instead of being a slave to convention.”

    I’d hate to think you’re designing rockets. What if I said I had created a fuel that could launch a 200,000 ton vehicle into orbit using 2 glasses of water and a stick of gum, would you believe me? Or, more likely, would you demand proof of my claim before building the rocket?

    8)

  124. 67. CyberScott Says: “It was like its own little light house beaming right at me, red, green, blue almost like a color wheel. Something was just right with atmosphere and my location. It was way beyond the normal shifting color twinkling pattern when it is near the horizon.”

    Probably some unusual convection cell between you and the horizon. If you get enough air stirred up the refractive indexes, uh, indices can do some impressive things.

    - Jack

  125. Greg in Austin

    65. @salottimc Says:

    “I think the best proof for alien life would be history. How can ancient cultures know things about space that we just confirmed within the past 20 years (mainly other solar systems). There are multiple instances of this. Each of these cultures have stories about beings who came from the stars and taught them the information (ex. Dogon Tribe, Africa).”

    Are you sure that the ancient cultures (like the Dogon Tribe) really knew of extraterrestrials, and that someone else didn’t simply come along much later and misinterpret an ancient language or legends? (Intentionally or unintentionally?)

    “It could also mean that we had technology, similar to what we have now, thousands of years ago. Perhaps what caused the last ice age made humans start over again. There is actually evidence to support a global pre-iceage civilization.”

    I’m not an archeologist, but I think that if computers and the internet existed thousands of years ago, we’d have evidence for it. I still have some 5-1/4″ floppy disks in my garage that will probably last a few million years. Where is your evidence of this “global pre-iceage civilization?”

    8)

  126. OurManFlint

    Google “astronomers and ufos” and you will find examples of amateur and professional astronomers who have seen weird objects in the sky that they could not identify. Were they alien spacecraft? Who knows…

    As a long-time amateur astronomer and astrophotographer, I’ve seen two very brief daylight sightings of objects I could not identify. So, add me to the list. I never saw anything at night that could be called a “classic” ufo sighting, however, despite the number of hours I’ve observed.

    But, after an in-depth study of the subject over the years, I’ve concluded that a residue of cases points to the possibility that some sightings could be advanced flying machines and their origin remains unknown. The subject should be studied more and not dismissed out of hand, IMO. Something is going on and we are never going to get a handle on it by staying in denial. Example:

    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/839564/ufo_observered_by_italian_astronomers/

  127. Greg in Austin

    70. RichieB Says:

    “I’m amazed at these so called “rational thinkers”. They refuse to consider the possibility of alien craft in our vicinity yet they (well, most of them) flock to there neighborhood church every Sunday and listen so seriously to some priest/pastor (or some other designation) spout the same superstitious drivel that they have been listening for the last 2,000 years. “

    You obviously have not read many posts here about science, religion, UFO’s, ghosts, to make a comment like that. I would bet that most of the typical posters to Phil’s blog are agnostic or atheist.

    Where is the “rational evidence” that religion has some bases in fact! These rational thinkers never question their own beliefs and in years past were willing to burn people at the stake for even suggesting that some evidence of a god should be required before forking over their monthly tithe. Yet here they are ridiculing anyone who believes he/she has seen a UFO. Would they also ridicule someone who has seen the Virgin Mary? No, they’d line up by the thousands hoping for a chance to experience the virgin themselves.

    Again, I have to ask, who exactly is ridiculing anyone else here? Is showing someone how or why they are wrong suddenly considered ridicule? Besides, we’re talking about UFOs=Alien Spaceships. If you want to discuss the irrationality of religion, bring it up in one of Phil’s blog posts on religion.

    8)

  128. Greg in Austin

    @kuhnigget,

    You are completely correct. However, it is good to keep one’s wit sharp, and I enjoy the practice. Besides, I kind of miss your in-our-face attitude lately. What’s the deal?

    8)

  129. Greg in Austin

    Last one for tonight…

    122. OurManFlint Says:

    Google “astronomers and ufos” and you will find examples of amateur and professional astronomers who have seen weird objects in the sky that they could not identify. Were they alien spacecraft? Who knows… “

    I know. They were not alien spacecraft. How do I know?
    1) Based on the lack of ANY physical evidence, it is safe to say that Alien Life Does Not Exist. (This may change in the near future if we find previously unknown forms of life on Mars, Europa, Titan or elsewhere in our solar system, but it is still Highly Unlikely that any such life would be able to consciously and purposefully travel here.)
    2) Based on the lack of ANY physical evidence, it is safe to say that Alien Spaceships do not exist (see 1).

    “But, after an in-depth study of the subject over the years, I’ve concluded that a residue of cases points to the possibility that some sightings could be advanced flying machines and their origin remains unknown. The subject should be studied more and not dismissed out of hand, IMO. Something is going on and we are never going to get a handle on it by staying in denial.”

    You seem to be under the false assumption that none of the “residue of cases” have been thoroughly investigated. Again, nobody is dismissing ANYTHING out of hand. Provide a link to a real study. Point out just ONE example of possible extraterrestrial spacecraft that has not been investigated. That should be even easier than providing actual physical evidence of extraterrestrial spacecraft, shouldn’t it?

    8)

  130. Ariane

    @ Eric #113

    3 words: verifiable photographic evidence

  131. OurManFlint

    “You seem to be under the false assumption that none of the “residue of cases” have been thoroughly investigated. ”

    I am under no false assumptions. But I can tell that you are. For one, the ridiculous statement above. I never said that the residue has not been studied. I said it needs to be studied more.

    “Point out just ONE example of possible extraterrestrial spacecraft that has not been investigated.”

    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/839564/ufo_observered_by_italian_astronomers/

    And before I forget, here’s 48 pages worth of UFO sightings by astronomers for those who might think that kind of thing never happens:

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/16805639/A-List-of-UFO-Sightings-by-Astronomers

  132. sophia8

    @salottimc: The “Dogons knew about Sirius B” stuff has been debunked a couple of decades ago, by both astronomers and anthropologists. The Skeptics’ Dictionary has a good article on it (with links and references so you don’t have to take their word for it).

  133. Lawrence

    Again, not dismissing the possibility out of hand, but if an alien species really had (or is) visiting us – I can think of only two scenarios (given what would be fantastically advanced technology, probably millions of years ahead of our own).

    1) They would never leave a single trace or a single sighting – their ships would be completely invisible to any form of detection – so we would never know.

    2) They are so far advanced that they don’t consider us any type of threat or care if we see them – so they’d be making slow fly-bys over major cities, like NY, Moscow, or Paris.

    I don’t really think that these fleeting glimpses of things could be much of anything, other than just regular “Unidentified Flying Objects” – things that the people at the time cannot identify, but are probably very mundane and regular objects in the sky.

  134. markogts

    I’m a skeptic, and can tell you: the night I casually spotted a NOSS triplet, man, I felt really excited! This was an alien UFO, what else could it be? I had *the proof*! It turned out differently.

    PS stop saying amateur astronomers only peep through narrow-field scopes. I enjoy naked eye and binocular astronomy: a summer night, a comfortable deckchair and the list of satellite passes, that’s all I need sometimes :-)

  135. LaurieBraith

    My own favourite “sighting” was made by a New Zealand TV crew armed with a VERY long telephoto lens. They spotted Jupiter near the horizon. The image zapped across the screen due to unrestrained camera shake. They of course attributed the apparent movement to an actual high velocity of the “UFO”.
    A good still image showed the familiar face of Jupiter.
    The (remaindered) book was entitled “Let’s just hope they’re friendly”.

  136. MarkW

    I used to be a UFO true-believer. But then (and I’m sorry if this sounds like an ad hominem) I grew up.

    As time goes on, more and more of the flagship cases are shown to be misidentifications, misperceptions, even outright hoaxes. There are very few serious UFO scholars (and yes, such a thing exists, over here in the UK) who give the extra-terrestrial hypothesis any credence these days.

    Sure, a lot of people don’t understand the things going on in the skies; some people have constructed a pseudo-religion around this lack of understanding. And like any other religion, they have their prophets, their holy books, and their sites of pilgrimage. I happen to think that this creation of a new mythology is the one truly interesting phenomenon concerning the “UFO mystery”.

  137. lovelee

    I really love to read the skeptic comments. I was one of them once, all pompous and real. All changed when I saw, with six other skeptics, what apparently does not exist. Oh well … so much for being objectively skeptical. We too, now sit in silent contemplation of the utterly inexplicable and the audacity of our previously held self important opinions.

  138. Why are all the alien spacecraft proponents so unpleasant? They seem (with only a few exceptions) to be pathologically incapable of defending their position without making nasty personal attacks. Why is this?

  139. Thoth

    I have seen enough things in the sky to know that debunkers either A) Lying B) Ignorant C) Working for the government or D) Afraid of the truth.
    Which of these are you?
    It doesn’t matter what you think they are. They are there and as we all know, if it were a court case they would be found guilty, guilty of existing anyway. Do you tell all of these credible witnesses that they are lying to their face? Or just from the comfort of your office?
    I know that Stanton Friedman is a LOT smarter than most people and he has made the observation that people with higher IQs are are much more likely to believe in UFOs.
    But that is OK, for some people seeing Venus zipping around in the heavens making right angled turns is perfectly normal!

  140. Tasslehoff

    Ok so I am no astronomer.But i do spend a fair amount of time looking up.
    I have no more then a public education.But I have the Iternet.So if i want to know something like was that light Venus or Mars I can usually find out.

    My point is that people see things.People video tape things.Sure they’re not all real most are misunderstood and that all most people need to say there is nothing to it and call it a day.Its kind sad to think that if one day in the future when are earth is all used up
    Thats it for us I mean we cant go anywhere to think that might mean something can get to us right?

    And we all know that cant happen the distance is to great.And if we cant come up with a way nothing can.

    So I guess we can sit here safe and snug on are little rock
    Secure in the Knowledge, that were alone now and always

    As for me i think ill stick to my Illusion That were not alone.will mine and some others that live in trailers.

  141. Thoth

    Awaiting moderation… HA!
    I guess any voice of reason here will not be tolerated, sorry I wasted your time.

  142. RH

    I used to be a UFO non-believer until I “grew up”. Why stick to astronomers? There are thousands of witnesses from trained pilots to policeman to the military chasing UFOs. Why assume UFOs are “aliens” if sightings go back thousands of years? Why assume that there’s no psychological component to UFO sightings. To paraphrase Terrence McKenna, UFO sightings all have one thing in common. It makes the witness who wishes to report the sighting look like a fool and trying to peel away the layers of understanding, like an onion, only brings tears to your eyes. I suggest that Mr. Bad Astronomy is preaching to all those who never saw a UFO and wish to remain asleep in their little prisons of consciousness waiting for that ever present predator of time tapping at their shoulders to swallow them up into oblivion.

  143. Doug

    What worries me is that with the large number of people doing amateur astronomy you might find a few nutso enough to be UFO adhearents. In any group you are bound to find wackos at the 1-2 % level. Luckily, it appears all or most have enough rationality or just plain curiousity to actually investigate what they see.

    I think Arthur C. Clarke once found a beautiful silvery flying saucer hovering in the daytime somewhere. Almost made a Believer out of him. But he investigated. He found water vapor from a smokestack-like thing causing a hot-air cold-air interface like a mirage hovering in the sky. Drat. Perfectly good mystery spoiled by investigation.

  144. Mike E

    Something to remember:
    A “hard line skeptic” is no more objective than a “true believer”. Both are defending a “personal position”. Real scientists should be very interested in new discoveries and not just automatically dismiss something because it does not fit a current accepted framework.

    Yes there are a lot of tabloid headlines that give this subject bad press, but that is no reason to ignore reputable literature on unidentified craft that have been witnessed by very credible people: Police, Military and Commercial Airline pilots to name a few. I’ve seen too many skeptics who make no effort to familiarize themselves on the subject shoot it down with uninformed statements.

    I might suggest reading J. Allen Hynek’s “The UFO Experience: A Scientific Inquiry ” He was a skeptical scientist until he realized there was way too much evidence to ignore this subject.
    What’s wrong with saying: “We don’t know! Some of these sightings can not be explained and we really should look into it instead of explaining it away.”

    So – Skeptics don’t have the answer. Believers don’t have the answer. We simply can not say for sure what some of these sightings are. Let’s keep the subject open for now to permit new discovery.

    Mike

  145. Mike E said,

    “What’s wrong with saying: “We don’t know! Some of these sightings can not be explained and we really should look into it instead of explaining it away.”

    So – Skeptics don’t have the answer. Believers don’t have the answer. We simply can not say for sure what some of these sightings are. Let’s keep the subject open for now to permit new discovery.”

    Where has any person here made the statement that any of these sightings should not be investigated? Phil himself said at the beginning, “While this does not mean every single observed object is something more mundane, it does mean that the huge numbers quoted by UFOlogists are most certainly wrong.”

    In fact, I say as a skeptic, KEEP INVESTIGATING. How else do you expect to find evidence of Aliens if we don’t look for it? So far, there has been zero evidence that Aliens exist and are flying Alien spacecraft, but I never said to stop looking.

    8)

  146. @Doug, Post #144.
    “Drat. Perfectly good mystery spoiled by investigation.”

    Are you alleging “investigation” hasn’t been done at a level surpassing most doctoral thesis?

    Again, to pickup on what some others have said here, Stanton Friedman’s book, “Top Secret Majic” is as well researched as a book could ever be on a subject.

    Anyone (skeptic or believer) who hasn’t read TOP SECRET MAJIC, really shouldn’t even speak on the subject of proof of alien visitation.

    We would like to know what studies or books the skeptics on this page have read. No insults intended, but it seems so many skeptics don’t know TOP SECRET MAJIC, Special Report 13, or most of the other major studies. That being said, a lot of believers are not nearly well read enough on the subject to intelligently speak on it, either.

    We are just as much against believers going around making wild claims.
    We are against “jokes” like Bob Lazar.
    We are actually starting to be against Steven Greer, because he continues making free energy claims without any details about the technology he acts like he knows a ton about.

    We also want as many facts as possible to believe in alien visitation. At this point, we believe there is enough testimony and evidence to cross the border into belief in alien life/visitation, but our belief is not blind. We don’t ignore quality skepticism when we hear or read it, and we don’t believe every statement made by believers… far from it, in fact.

  147. Greg in Austin

    132. OurManFlint Says:

    “I am under no false assumptions. But I can tell that you are. For one, the ridiculous statement above. I never said that the residue has not been studied. I said it needs to be studied more.”

    Who’s stopping you from investigating it? Who’s stopping anyone? Please, feel free. Do some real actual research yourself and come back with your results. If you find actual evidence of Alien life or Alien spacecraft, that would be great! If you do not, will you change your mind?

    Your link: …ufo_observered_by_italian_astronomers

    Yea, that’s been determined to be a balloon (possibly a weather balloon) in our own atmosphere. It only looks like its orbiting the Moon, but its an illusion of perspective. Check out the photos of the Space Station passing in front of the moon for an example of perspective.

    http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap090206.html

    8)

  148. @ Greg in Austin:

    You are completely correct. However, it is good to keep one’s wit sharp, and I enjoy the practice. Besides, I kind of miss your in-our-face attitude lately. What’s the deal?

    Sorry, Ivan sent me back over to the old Texas March Madness column. I got so disgusted with the behavior of “Chuck” I took a break for a while.

    While I agree, it’s good to stay sharp, every now and then you have to ask, why bother? As you’ve said before, someone with an open mind, presented with evidence, would gladly change their position. But these nuts don’t have open minds, and when forced to admit they have no evidence, refuse to even consider changing their opinion.

    Besides, Dr. BA has been slapping me around some for getting too snarky.

  149. Thoth @ 140:

    I have seen enough things in the sky to know that debunkers either A) Lying B) Ignorant C) Working for the government or D) Afraid of the truth.
    Which of these are you?

    Re: A) Several amateur astronomers on here have noted their observations of UFOs. However in most cases they either figured out what the object really was or just eventually said “I don’t know”. Unidentified != aliens.
    Re: B) One could also claim ingnorance for those on the opposite side. Claiming any unexplained flying phenomenon is an alien spacecraft, when so many have been debunked as mundane objects, calls their awareness of other possible explanations into question.
    Re: C) So the military people, astronauts, etc. that have claimed to have seen UFOs don’t work for the government?
    Re: D) Skeptics are not afraid of the truth, they just want the truth. Anecdotal recollection is a far cry from evidence.
    It doesn’t matter what you think they are. They are there and as we all know, if it were a court case they would be found guilty, guilty of existing anyway.
    Perhaps in a civil court where the amount of evidence needed is far less. However, everyone involved in a sighting would have to have the same story and if another more viable explanation was given the case would be dismissed.

    Do you tell all of these credible witnesses that they are lying to their face? Or just from the comfort of your office?

    There are some who lie, but for the most part it’s those who keeping willingly bringing up the long debunked “sightings”. Even they may not be intentionally lieing. Otherwise the skeptical stance is that the observer can be fooled. Many have claimed to witness unexplained phenomena, but no credible evidence has been brought forth that is greater than anecdotal.

    I know that Stanton Friedman is a LOT smarter than most people and he has made the observation that people with higher IQs are are much more likely to believe in UFOs.

    Argument from authority (or intelligence) is not a valid argument. Also correlation != causation. Believing something exists does not mean it does, no matter how intelligent the believer may be.

    But that is OK, for some people seeing Venus zipping around in the heavens making right angled turns is perfectly normal!

    Acutally it is. Read AliCali’s comment from ealier, for a simple explanation for how the oberserver can be fooled.

    Thoth @ 142:

    Awaiting moderation… HA!
    I guess any voice of reason here will not be tolerated, sorry I wasted your time.

    Epic fail. As “unidentified” != “alien”, “moderation” != “will not be published”. Many blogs hold comments in moderation to prevent SPAM.

  150. Greg in Austin

    117. twitter.com/thedarkcover Says:

    “@David post #101:
    Are you kidding with your “Where are the ancient cave drawings of flying saucers?””

    Your link to ufohistory.html is full of neat little pictures and drawings. Seems plausible. However, I could just as easily find even more pictures and drawings of fairies, unicorns, leprechauns, demons and the like from hundreds to a thousand years ago. Does that mean that leprechauns really exist? Oh, and claiming that an object in the background of a painting of Jesus or Noah’s Ark must be an alien spaceship is a double fail. The artists of those paintings were not alive at the time of either of those events, if those events actually took place.

    “We want to point out that it is the ridiculous logic of the article on this page that was our reason for posting here. Telescopes are not tools for watching birds, planes, rockets or UFOs (Earthly or otherwise) in active flight.

    I guess reading comprehension is not your strong point. As myself and about 6 others have posted, astronomers spend a great deal of time (I would say a majority) looking at the sky without a telescope.

    “Bye-the-way, we respect astronomers and their work. We just don’t think that astronomers possibly not seeing craft (again, no data on either side to point to that we know of) is a valid argument toward anything.”

    Of course, you are entitled to your opinion. I don’t think that belief without evidence is a valid argument either.

    8)

  151. I just can’t understand how a person can go from “I can’t explain it” to “It must be an alien craft” without any actual evidence that it is, in fact, alien. Mere incredulity is not enough to warrant such a definitive claim.

  152. Robert Powell

    The point that astronomers do not see UFOs is untrue and there is no documented information that I have seen to support that claim. How about some actual numbers on astronomers that have seen objects in the sky that they could not identify. Do you have any? Well, here is one that comes from the Air Force’s Project Blue Book.

    Report #8, December 31, 1952

    “A professional astronomer, under contract with ATIC as a consultant to Blue Book, reported that after conferring with 44 astronomers, ‘five had made sightings of one sort or another.’ This is a higher percentage than the population at large.”

    Additionally, you might be interested to know that Dr. Clyde Tombaugh who discovered Pluto also had a sighting of a UFO. Lincoln LaPaz, a famous astronomer and meteor specialist from the Univ. of New Mexico, had two UFO sightings.

    90% of people who see a UFO, will not report it, according to Dr. Roy Craig one of the authors of the Condon Report which was commissioned by the U.S. Air Force. A lot of derision goes with the reporting of a UFO and it would be logical to assume that someone with an important position such as an astronomer, is even less likely than the general public to report it. After all, an astronomer would simply be reporting that he saw something in the sky that he could not identify. There is no incentive for an astronomer to do so. But to argue that is why UFOs are not worthy of investigation is nonsense and is not worth of any scientist who claims to be open minded.

    Robert Powell
    Director of Research
    MUFON

  153. Ray

    @ twitter.com/thedarkcover

    “Anyone (skeptic or believer) who hasn’t read TOP SECRET MAJIC, really shouldn’t even speak on the subject of proof of alien visitation.”

    The MJ-12 papers were forgeries. Using them as evidence isn’t adding to your credibility.

  154. Greg in Austin

    138. lovelee Says:

    “I really love to read the skeptic comments. I was one of them once, all pompous and real. All changed when I saw, with six other skeptics, what apparently does not exist. Oh well … so much for being objectively skeptical. We too, now sit in silent contemplation of the utterly inexplicable and the audacity of our previously held self important opinions.”

    Of course you understand that anecdotes are not data, and that if you actually had real physical evidence, we would love to see it. What did you see? What do you have that proves what you saw was Alien? If you have evidence, please present it. We, as skeptics, are simply begging for evidence. Its not based on an opinion, it is based on real physical facts.

    8)

  155. Charles J. Slavis, Jr.

    Venus put on a great show one night. I was driving home and a bright light in the sky zoomed rapidly towards me then retreated till it faded out. I stopped the car and got out to watch. Unseen clouds in the night sky parted making Venus grow large very quick then obscured the planet till it shrank and faded to nothing. That UFO was really moving, faster than any aircraft. I also have memories of being in a crib in my room as alien shadows loomed over the crib. They didn’t speak because they didn’t want to awaken me. Then my parents left the room without so much as a good night kiss.

  156. Charles J. Slavis, Jr.

    But I am sure that way out there, is life more intelligent than me.

  157. m4dc

    But Mr. Plait, we’re not living in the 1500s. As I understand it, astronomers mostly utilize more sophisticated-data gathering equipment that is not based on real-time visual perspectives. So technically they rarely “look at the skies”.

  158. Greg in Austin

    140. Thoth Says:

    I have seen enough things in the sky to know that debunkers either A) Lying B) Ignorant C) Working for the government or D) Afraid of the truth.
    Which of these are you?

    A) I am not lying. B) I am ignorant of all kinds of things. (everyone on the planet is ignorant of something, including you. C) I do not work for the government. D) I don’t know what “truth” you speak of is.

    It doesn’t matter what you think they are. They are there and as we all know, if it were a court case they would be found guilty, guilty of existing anyway. Do you tell all of these credible witnesses that they are lying to their face? Or just from the comfort of your office?

    As we’ve said before, eyewitness testimony has been thoroughly tested thousands of times, and is scientifically unreliable. That’s why the scientific process aims to eliminate human error. This is not about a court case where you just have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. Not to mention, there has NEVER been a court case where a person has been found guilty with ZERO evidence. I would tell every one of these “credible witnesses” that humans are very poor at making detailed observations, especially at times of stress. It has been scientifically tested, verified, and retested over and over again. Ever heard of tunnel vision?

    I know that Stanton Friedman is a LOT smarter than most people and he has made the observation that people with higher IQs are are much more likely to believe in UFOs.
    But that is OK, for some people seeing Venus zipping around in the heavens making right angled turns is perfectly normal!”

    I don’t care if your IQ is 20 or 200. If you don’t have physical evidence to support your claim, your claim is not scientifically valid. I don’t know who Stanton Friedman is, but if Phil Plait or Stephen Hawking said the moon was made of green cheese, I would say they’d better have evidence to support such a claim.

    8)

  159. Charles J. Slavis, Jr.

    As a child I watched a UFO movie then went out to play at night. I was running down the drive way when I realized that I was being watched by something above me in the sky. I flattened myself against the house in fear as I looked at a large white disk hovering above me. Once I realized that the moon was full it wasn’t nearly as exciting.

  160. @ Robert Powell:

    A lot of derision goes with the reporting of a UFO and it would be logical to assume that someone with an important position such as an astronomer, is even less likely than the general public to report it.

    There might be derision, only if “UFO” automatically equates to “alien spaceship.” That is one crux of this issue. As others here have repeatedly observed, seeing something you cannot immediately identify in the sky — whether you are an astronomer or a truck driver — does not equal evidence of alien spacecraft flitting about.

    Trouble is, organizations such as MUFON have a stake in the UFOs are Spaceships™ meme. And while I have actually seen some individual MUFON people do some fine rational investigation (the New Jersey “flares” of a few months back comes to mind), by and large your organization is not exactly approaching the subject with the open mind you so frequently urge upon others.

    If MUFON truly wants to be serious about unbiased reporting and research, then I presume you will change the graphics on your website that illustrate the latest “sightings” with icons of classic pop culture little green men and flying saucers? Wouldn’t simple dots or check marks be more appropriate? After all, wouldn’t want to taint the evidence with preconceived notions, would you?

  161. Greg in Austin

    143. RH Says:

    I used to be a UFO non-believer until I “grew up”. Why stick to astronomers? There are thousands of witnesses from trained pilots to policeman to the military chasing UFOs. Why assume UFOs are “aliens” if sightings go back thousands of years?

    As we’ve said over and over again:
    * Eyewitness testimony is unreliable. Proven fact.
    * Pilots and policemen are not trained specifically to identify types of Alien spacecraft, mostly because evidence of Alien spacecraft cannot be found.
    * If you look at the real history of UFO=Alien Spacefraft, this never existed until the late 1950′s, starting with the United States and USSR space programs.

    “Why assume that there’s no psychological component to UFO sightings. To paraphrase Terrence McKenna, UFO sightings all have one thing in common. It makes the witness who wishes to report the sighting look like a fool and trying to peel away the layers of understanding, like an onion, only brings tears to your eyes. I suggest that Mr. Bad Astronomy is preaching to all those who never saw a UFO and wish to remain asleep in their little prisons of consciousness waiting for that ever present predator of time tapping at their shoulders to swallow them up into oblivion.”

    Reading comprehension is not your strong suit either. What the Bad Astronomer and the rest of the skeptics have been asking over and over and over again is to SHOW THE EVIDENCE. That does not mean we’re calling anyone names, or ignoring facts, or sticking firmly to some personal beliefs. It is simply a matter of evidence.

    8)

  162. Greg in Austin

    158. m4dc Says:

    “But Mr. Plait, we’re not living in the 1500s. As I understand it, astronomers mostly utilize more sophisticated-data gathering equipment that is not based on real-time visual perspectives. So technically they rarely “look at the skies”.”

    Are you being funny? Am I repeating myself? Astronomers, especially Amateur Astronomers, spend most of their time looking at the sky with their own eyes.

    8)

  163. Charles J. Slavis, Jr.

    On eye witnesses. I have seen myself in jail in a magazine. I was never there. But , apparently I have a look a like. Also there is a film of basketball players in black and white. You are asked to count the number of times the white dressed players pass the ball. While you are doing that a guy in a black gorilla outfit walks to center stage, stops and waves at the camera and exits on the other side. Very few people notice the gorilla because they are watching the white guys passing the ball and ignoring the guys and gorilla in black. Never believe your eyes.

  164. m4dc

    163. Greg in Austin Says:

    “Are you being funny? Am I repeating myself? Astronomers, especially Amateur Astronomers, spend most of their time looking at the sky with their own eyes.”

    If you say so, Galileo

  165. Astronomers see UFO’s all the time. I recently wen’t to the Houston Observatory and they said they have seen UFO’s so your blog is not correct. Just because you write a blog telling people which group of people see’s what doesn’t make it factual. There is plenty of evidence that proof the existence of extraterrestrials. Pilots see them all the time and they would have a better feel for whats in the air than anybody.

  166. Leander

    After you’ve stated unmistakeably that astronomers don’t report UFOs*, I see that now you’re softening up your argument to the question “why don’t astronomers see relatively more UFOs than laypeople?”. While your argument in its previous incarnation demonstrated utter ignorance of the topic you so authoritatively spoke about (which makes it twice-embarrassing), now you’re just demonstrating…confusion, if I have to put a tag on it.

    You’re all sloppy about your terms, to begin with – “why don’t astronomers see relatively more UFOs than laypeople?” and “then why do we not see an unusually large number of reports from astronomers?” are a perfect example. You’re not distinguishing between sightings and reports. But you should. That there’s less reports from astronomers is obvious – they might have, percentage-wise, just as many or more sightings than non-astronomers, but they’re only gonna report the ones they cannot identify as likely to be natural phenomena, the true UFOs (as in unexplained, not as in alien spacecraft). (If I remember correctly, you yourself for example mentioned somewhere you were fooled by things that later turned out to have a mundane explanation. Did you ever report them as a UFO ? Probably not.) It’s fallacious to claim that they report relatively less UFOs than non-astronomers, because…

    If we relate the number of reports by astronomers to the small number of reports by non-astronomers that eventually are checked by experts (like say, astronomers) and turn out to be true UFOs – I’m sure there’s not gonna be much of a discrepancy there. That’s your confusion – instead of comparing the small number of reports by astronomers, that largely contain unexplained cases, to the overall number of reports by non-astronomers, you should compare them to the number of cases reported by non-astronomers that turn out to be unexplained after being checked by experts.

    All you’re actually saying here at the end of the day is that non-astronomers are not as good as astronomers at identifying themselves possible mundane, natural phenomena as the cause of their sightings. And that’s supposed to be an argument against…what, actually ? Are you honestly behind this crippled argument of your post, or are you attempting to avoid admitting that your initial argument simply was an ignorant (astronomers-don’t-see-UFOs-)myth ? Do yourself a favour, drop the topic or educate yourself on it.

    *(here)

  167. Eric

    Our Man Flint — Stop supplying these debunkers with evidence. It gives them nightmares, and makes them realize the idiotic position they’ve been holding all these years is invalid, and when a person comes to this realization, they feel worthless. Please stop making these debunkers feel worthless.

  168. Eric

    Commercial and military pilots have reported at least 3,000 UFO incidents, and some of these UFOs interfere so seriously with the plane’s control systems that the pilot temporarily loses control of the plane, or has to take evasive action to avoid a collision. But please believe the debunkers, UFOs are nothing more than swamp gas. You are a fool to think otherwise. http://narcap.org

  169. @ Eric:

    Oh, yeah, Our Man Flint, stop supplying those evil debunkers with evidence that has already — and repeatedly — been shown to not be a spacecraft piloted by aliens.

    Nothing like the ability to read to make one feel less worthless.

  170. 164. Charles J. Slavis, Jr. Says: “…there is a film of basketball players in black and white. You are asked to count the number of times the white dressed players pass the ball. While you are doing that a guy in a black gorilla outfit walks to center stage, stops and waves at the camera and exits on the other side. Very few people notice the gorilla because they are watching the white guys passing the ball and ignoring the guys and gorilla in black.”

    This may not work as well now that you’ve given away the surprise, but here’s the link:

    http://viscog.beckman.illinois.edu/flashmovie/15.php

    - Jack

  171. Greg in Austin -

    Nice set of debunks with, I must admit, a huge amount of patience having to say the same things over and over. Maybe this will help. The next time someone says skeptic=close minded, point them here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T69TOuqaqXI

    - Jack

  172. Eric

    Phil, where is your proof for the following invalid assertion you make: “Astronomers, both amateur and professional, are constantly viewing the sky. There are tens of thousands of amateurs out observing all the time:”

    What do you mean astronomers are “constantly” viewing the sky, and that amateurs are “out observing all the time”. The statement you made is clearly false. There are no human beings that constantly observe the sky, and do nothing else in their life other than observe the sky. There are no human beings, amateur astronomers or otherwise who “all the time” observe the sky. Why did you produce a debunking piece that is based on two statements that are absolutely and provably false?

  173. Eric

    Phil, why have there been over 3,000 commercial and military pilots reports of UFOs compiled by NARCAP, where the UFOs have the ability to interfere with the plane’s control systems enough that the pilots temporarily lose control of the plane, or otherwise take evasive action to avoid a collision with the UFO?

  174. @ Eric:

    why have there been over 3,000 commercial and military pilots reports of UFOs compiled by NARCAP, where the UFOs have the ability to interfere with the plane’s control systems enough that the pilots temporarily lose control of the plane, or otherwise take evasive action to avoid a collision with the UFO?

    Would you mind please, providing the documentation for such? Or a link to it?

    I think you are exaggerating just a wee bit, as did the last NARCAP fan posting in the previous UFO thread.

    Again, it’s easy to say something, how’s about actually providing the evidence?

  175. Eric

    kuhnigget — Stop acting like a fool. Go to the NARCAP website and read the technical reports yourself. You asked the same question over and over again in the last blog, and you got the same answer over and over, and you chose the route of a fool and ignored the answer.

  176. Ah, yes…NARCAP. Founded by the “perceptual psychologist,” the UFO investigator who hasn’t found anything in 40 years of “investigating,” and the fan of the quantum physics version of perpetual motion machines.

    BTW, Eric, since you don’t seem to be able to read, that NARCAP report you’re hooting about was brought up — yet again — in an earlier thread, with similar claims made about its findings. Too bad Dr. Haines (he of the perceptual psychology background) seemed to make up his own conclusions that were opposite of what his subjects were reporting. Read the report, Eric. It’s available online. If you do, you will find Dr. Haines quoting pilots as observing something, but it is only Dr. Haines himself who claims these objects are intelligently piloted craft. In short, Dr. Haines gathered data, then ignored that same data, substituting instead his own pre-conceived opinions.

    Nice work, if you can get it.

  177. You asked the same question over and over again in the last blog,

    Ah, so it IS the same poster!

    That explains the NARCAP fetish, despite the fact he doesn’t even read the report he is presenting as “evidence.”

    Good, one, “eric.”

  178. Eric

    kuhnigget said, “that NARCAP report you’re hooting about…” Now you are a proven liar. You didn’t read the “report”, because first of all, there are 12 reports on the NARCAP website. By virtue of the fact that you refer to a _single_ report, it can be sufficiently concluded that you did not even bother to hit the website let alone read the reports (plural). You are a proven liar because you claim to have read the “report” (by quoting Haines), but I have proven you lied about that. So you are now both a fool, and a proven liar.

  179. Alex

    Here’s a good video for the skeptics- This was taken by the mexican government and they now officially investigate UFO’s , along with Canada, Russia, and a few other countries. The U.S. has been suspiciously quiet and it should be noted that they used to study UFO’s in the 1960′s and you can find many documents if you search blackvault.com

    Sure – probably a large percentage of UFO sightings reported are false- but this phenomena has been going on for a long time- every other day I see another thing in the news about UFO’s and the government has not said a word about roswell in over 60 years, which is very suspicous

    Anyway check out the Mexican UFO footage taken from a plane

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRvWRrf__XA

    Cheers!

  180. Greg in Austin

    166. 2012 Says:

    Astronomers see UFO’s all the time. I recently wen’t to the Houston Observatory and they said they have seen UFO’s so your blog is not correct.

    I’ve never heard of the Houston Observatory. I’ve heard of the George Observatory at Brazos Bend State Park. There’s also the Burke Baker Planetarium, at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. I’ve been to both, but I don’t recall seeing the exhibit on Alien Spaceships. I also don’t see anything about UFO’s or Extraterrestrials on the website for the Houston Museum of Natural Science. So, I would question who you think you talked to, or what you think they said.

    “Just because you write a blog telling people which group of people see’s what doesn’t make it factual. “

    Phil is an astronomer. Many of the people posting here are amateur astronomers. The great thing about astronomy (and science, for that matter), is that you don’t have to believe anything I say. You can put a chair in your backyard, sit back, look up, and observe for yourself. That way, you can come to your own conclusion, and let the facts speak for themselves.

    “There is plenty of evidence that proof the existence of extraterrestrials. Pilots see them all the time and they would have a better feel for whats in the air than anybody.”

    *sigh* Please show ONE piece of evidence that proves the existence of ET’s. How do you know its an Alien and not a Leprechaun? And what on earth makes you think pilots are experts in Alien Life or Alien Spacecraft?

    8)

  181. Greg in Austin

    @Eric,

    Are these the same NARCAP reports that specifically said, “none of the sightings were shown to be anything other than natural, although unusual, atmospheric phenomenon?”

    I have read those reports, and they provide ZERO evidence of Alien Life or Alien Spacecraft. Again, a report of an Unidentified Flying Object (whether it was from a pilot, a farmer, an astronaut, a politician, a hippie, or a president) is not the same thing as real physical evidence. Its like saying Elvis is alive because 3,000 people a year claim they saw him at a Denny’s.

    Keep trying. I am still hoping that someone out there has a piece of Alien DNA, or Alien Technology that can once and for all prove, without a doubt, that Aliens exist. So far, you have failed to provide any such evidence.

    8)

  182. @Eric

    What do you mean astronomers are “constantly” viewing the sky, and that amateurs are “out observing all the time”. The statement you made is clearly false. There are no human beings that constantly observe the sky, and do nothing else in their life other than observe the sky. There are no human beings, amateur astronomers or otherwise who “all the time” observe the sky. Why did you produce a debunking piece that is based on two statements that are absolutely and provably false?

    Wha-what? Holy cow.

  183. Eric, Eric, Eric…

    Didn’t you learn your lesson last time? The NARCAP report you refer to was indeed read, by myself, by Greg in Austin, and several others here. If you’d managed to absorb anything from our responses the last time, that would have been apparent.

    Instead, what is apparent, is that you don’t appear to have read it, or if you have, your reading comprehension level is so low you didn’t comprehend what it said.

    As Greg repeated above, the report you link to contradicts what you are claiming. I suggest you read it again. And please note how Dr. Haines’ conclusion is an interjection of personal opinion that does not follow from data he presents.

    Better yet, skp the NARCAP report. Why not think for yourself, instead? Stop parroting nonsensical conclusions you see on UFOlogy websites, and actually find for yourself the valid evidence that Greg and everyone else here keeps asking for?

    Is it because…said evidence doesn’t exist?

  184. @ Shane:

    Mr. Eric is a very literal sort.

  185. José

    @Twitter.com/TheDarkCover Says
    There are no signs of technology slowing down, not any.

    Well, duh. But that doesn’t mean anything we can imagine will be possible in the future.

  186. José

    @Eric
    Why don’t you report on the fact that 3,000 commercial and military pilot reports of UFOs have been investigated by narcap.org?

    Wait! Everyone knows that pilots are too afraid to report UFOs for fear of being ridiculed. Are you one of those contemptible debunkers?

  187. Charles J. Slavis, Jr.

    There are no aliens. We have a fence along the border to keep them in Mexico.

  188. Robert Powell

    Kuhnigget,

    You spent “zero” portion of your reply debating the crux of my points where I provided evidence that astronomers do see UFOs. Can you provide no evidence to the contrary? Not opinions, not your reasoning, but evidence.

    There is derision because you and others “assume” that anyone who reports a UFO is suggesting it is an alien spaceship. Your assumption that everyone who is a part of MUFON and sees a UFO immediately assumes it is an alien spaceship. That is incorrect and you should not make blanket assumptions such as that. If you want to debate me on the issues of whether astronomers see UFOs, then do so. Don’t worry about what MUFON does or does not do. But first you need to educate yourself on the topic.

  189. @Robert Powell

    Can you provide no evidence to the contrary?

    Absolutely.

    There you go.
    You’re welcome.

  190. @Robert Powell
    Your assumption that everyone who is a part of MUFON and sees a UFO immediately assumes it is an alien spaceship.
    Would I be right in presuming that MUFON is looking for alien spacecraft? Otherwise, why bother? I suppose you could form MWBN (Mutual Weather Balloon Network)?

  191. Alright, how many UFO theories this photo through a telescope of a fireball meteor is going to spawn?

  192. @ Robert Powell:

    You spent “zero” portion of your reply debating the crux of my points where I provided evidence that astronomers do see UFOs. Can you provide no evidence to the contrary? Not opinions, not your reasoning, but evidence.

    But Robert, I don’t doubt the fact that astronomers see UFOs. I’ve seen many. The thing is, except for one case from when I was about 15, they didn’t remain “U” for very long. The one remaining unidentified sighting from my own history was, however, most likely a spy plane. Seeming as how I lived not 20 miles from one of the largest military proving grounds in the Pacific Northwest, that seems a much more logical assumption than…wait for it…alien spacecraft.

    After all, an astronomer would simply be reporting that he saw something in the sky that he could not identify. There is no incentive for an astronomer to do so.

    Professional astronomers report unidentified objects all the time. And there is huge incentive to do so. In fact, I dare say most astronomers would be thrilled to report something nobody else had seen before. That’s what astronomers — especially amateurs — dream of. What they don’t do, and what they would be derided for if they were to report it without evidence, is announce the sighting of an alien spacecraft. Big difference.

    And I’m sorry, but my opinion of MUFON’s biases remains firm. Remove the pop culture big-eyed aliens and cute little flying saucers from your “scientific” website, the one on which you encourage people to report their “objective” sightings, and maybe I’ll think differently of your little group.

  193. In all the years I spent reading absolutely everything from UFO culture, I never saw one myself. That may be in no small part because I lived for so long near an airport and took enough interest in aerospace that I never saw anything especially unfamiliar.

    Here’s a recent whimsical story about Russian Navy UFO records. Marine environments afford all kinds of optical effects, of course, everything from foo fighters to the flying Dutchman, but I don’t know what to say about the underwater humanoid sightings, except that maybe the divers’ air could have been filtered better.

  194. Robert Powell

    Kuhnigget,

    After reading your last posting, I think we are probably more in agreement than disagreement on the UFO phenomenon. As for MUFON, I’m trying to improve things there. Perhaps you would like to join and help me get the alien cuties off the sighting map.

    There are a few books on the UFO topic that you might find interesting. And there are no little aliens running around in these books. Check out the UFO Enigma by Dr. Peter Sturrock, former emeritus director of astrophysics at Stanford Univ, The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects by Edward Ruppelt, former head of Project Blue Book, and The UFO Encyclopedia : The Phenomenon from the Beginning by Jerome Clark. These books will not try to convince you that aliens are running around but they will open your mind to the thought that the UFO phenomenon is worthy of scientific investigation.

  195. pharmakos

    How do you know this is true? Have you done research into who has and hasn’t seen UFO’s? Second, I believe your logic is flawed. Just because someone is a weatherman , doesn’t mean they will see lightning more often. Unless they live in a rainy place. Pretty simple stuff really.

  196. Rift

    @Frank Mondana in #49…

    I stand my my statement that most amateur astronomers scan the ENTIRE sky, as has been echoed by a number of others. It’s been years since i’ve yanked out my scope. Most nights I don’t even bother with the binocs. Just the mark 1 eyeball. Best way to see meteors (and I’d imagine alien spacecraft). 99% of my observation time is sitting in the lawn chair, moving it every few minutes and nursing a cold drink…

    Almost all the other amateur astronomers i know do the same thing. We’ve seen the cool stuff a long time ago (and can see it better in hubble images) so we set and look for meteors and comets, not stare at a tiny little spot of sky for ages.

    And Greg in Austin, you deserve a medal of valor for fighting irrationality. I get steamed just reading the narrow minded people who spout and haven’t even read the whole thread that has explained exactly what they harping about. And the astronauts ‘which have seen things’ has been debunked, gawd, ages ago.

    Sigh

  197. Charon

    Gamma-ray bursts.

    All you alien UFO people? Ever heard of gamma-ray bursts? Very faint (intrinsically bright, but very far away), last for seconds or even less, occur in _random_ places in the sky…

    They were discovered first by military satellites. Obviously, the military then hushed them up and no one knows about them, except a few dedicated people who pore through archives and find grainy photos…

    Wait, no. Actually, in a couple decades, astronomers figured out how to get lots of very good observations in many kinds of light, demonstrated that they were extragalactic, and we now have a plausible model for what they are.

    So all you nutcases who think astronomers ignore/can’t find UFOs because the UFO are too quick, or too rare? You’re morons. You know nothing about how science actually works. My (large research) university has an astrobiology program. It would be the freaking discovery of all time to find extraterrestrial intelligent life, and any astrobiologist would die for such a discovery. And yet, for some reason they’re hushing it all up… yeah…

  198. Rift

    Somebody brought up Clyde Tombaugh (who was born around here and I know his grandson very well).

    So? Do you actually know his stance on UFOs? Basically the same as mine. Intelligent life is out there. And we see unidentified things all the time (including Clyde, including me, including a lot of people as this board has shown).

    BUT jumping to the conclusion that unidentified=space ships is silly. Why are people so afraid to say “gee, dunno what it was, didn’t see it properly, most likely (fill in the blank of much more reasonable explanation).

    We just want hard evidence, and we are getting called nasty names for it. Might aliens be buzzing us? Sure, of course. But I need more evidence too convince me, is that such a bad position to take? And so did Clyde Tombaugh.

    He saw things he couldn’t explain. He thought the ‘might’ be exterrestrial but wasn’t as god for certain as some ufologists have painted him out to be. (Although he did claim he saw an atomic test on Mars which strains his credibility slightly in my opinion with what we know about Mars now as opposed to 1941).

    Using Clyde Tombaugh is an argument from authority anyway. Do I think I saw things he couldn’t identify? Absolutely. So have I. Do I think he or I saw alien spacecraft? Maybe but unlikely. I want more proof. Is that okay???

  199. Greg in Austin

    153. Robert Powell Says:

    “The point that astronomers do not see UFOs is untrue and there is no documented information that I have seen to support that claim. How about some actual numbers on astronomers that have seen objects in the sky that they could not identify. Do you have any? Well, here is one that comes from the Air Force’s Project Blue Book.

    Report #8, December 31, 1952

    Who said astronomers do not see Unidentified objects? The point of Phil’s post is to point out that A) Astronomers spend MORE time observing the sky than your average bear, and B) Astronomers are far less likely to mistake known objects (like the Moon) for flying saucers.

    And yea, you got anything a little more recent than 1952. No offense, but there are a lot more amateur astronomers today than there were 57 years ago.

    “Additionally, you might be interested to know that Dr. Clyde Tombaugh who discovered Pluto also had a sighting of a UFO. Lincoln LaPaz, a famous astronomer and meteor specialist from the Univ. of New Mexico, had two UFO sightings.”

    Appeal to authority is a logical fallacy, and not considered evidence to support the hypothesis that UFOs are Alien Spacecraft. Please try again.

    8)

  200. Undisclosure

    There is an abundance of evidence to establish that UFOs exist, and only a small amount of evidence known to the general public to establish that some might be extraterrestrial.

    To provide hard, physical evidence of an alien craft would be quite a task. Would an alien willingly turn over his space ship to you or I to be studied as physical evidence? Would an alien crash his ship because he swerved to miss a bird or wasn’t watching where he was going? Would his ship malfunction and crash as a result of poor workmanship or faulty components given the technology visiting aliens would necessarily possess? Would you or I be able to step outside with a deer rifle or shotgun and force the ship to land or crash? Were an alien ship to crash, would the powers that be allow the public to view, much less collect souvenirs from it to study and show off? Highly doubtful on all counts. That leaves us with trace evidence (rare), witness testimony, and photos/videos. Witness testimony, as stated above, isn’t usually too reliable unless the witnesses are highly credible and numerous. It’s pretty much a catch-22 situation and it’s doubtful that the existence of aliens and their spacecraft can be proven by the general public any time soon by the accepted required standards.

    However, the book “Witness to Roswell” supplies many military and civilian witnesses to a crashed alien spaceship unless we are to believe all the witnesses collaborated and lied or the authors made the entire book up. Also, Dr. Paul R. Hill, an NACA (before it became NASA) scientist wrote a book called “Unconventional Flying Objects” and witnessed a couple in person and stated that he knew everything that we had in the air at the time and knew that we didn’t have anything like that at the time.

    I believed the subject of UFOs was a myth until a few years ago when two family members spotted one, which got me interested and went on a mission to learn what I could regarding the subject. After a few thousand hours of looking for them with binoculars and camera in hand (mostly during the daylight) and witnessing a handful of them personally I changed my mind. Do I believe what I’ve seen and photographed are alien spacecraft? Not really. I’m sure the government or military is the proud owner of what I’ve seen. But here’s the interesting part to me, at least: the things I’ve seen exhibit some of the same characteristics of UFOs reported back in the 1940s when the jet engine was in its infancy. As a matter of fact, in Charles Fort’s “Book of the Damned” there are a few newspaper articles from the late 1800s describing objects that exhibited some of the same characteristics.

    Did I see iridium flares, airplanes, birds, or balloons? No flares, but plenty of the others. But also some of the commonly reported UFO shapes, performing some of the commonly reported maneuvers. And in the late afternoon I learned it’s possible to see certain planets as well (I’m not an astronomer by any means). Once again, none of this proves aliens are visiting our planet, but if I (and several credible witnesses) have seen unknown aerial vehicles in recent times that have been seen and described before we had perfected the jet engine, it seems reasonable to assume we’ve either had technology for some time that the public hasn’t been aware of, or that aliens have, at some time or the other, visited our planet and like the Roswell witnesses have stated, have left technology behind that we’ve benefited from and copied to some extent.

    Do stars really exist? Pictures and videos are good supporting evidence, but we have little physical evidence of them. We can rely on what astronomers tell us…but you know how unreliable witnesses can be. That leaves us with electronic equipment for supporting evidence, such as how UFOs have been clocked on military radar in our atmosphere moving at speeds faster than the space shuttle.

    While I do believe in stars, I don’t believe in ghosts, Bigfoot, alien abductions, alien implants, alien crop circles, etc. I believe there’s a good possibility aliens have visited earth, though I’m not 100% convinced. And, for the record, it’s probably not all that important in the short run to prove or disprove that aliens exist and have visited earth. It’s interesting to think about, though.

  201. The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects by Edward Ruppelt
    Written in 1956. I dare say the field has moved on from then. Has it? He is the same guy that said that UFOs were a “space age myth”.

  202. Rift

    @Greg in Austin

    More to the point- Clyde Tombaugh never came out directly and said ‘we are being visited’. He saw several things he could not explained, said that he did not believe they could be terrestrial in origin, but that they well may have been. Not exactly the sort of ‘proof’ the ufo crowd really wants. And as for “astronomers don’t report them because they are afraid to”, we are talking Clyde friggen Tombaugh who found Pluto with nothing but patience and good eyes and it didn’t tarnish his career.

    Albeit he never reported them ‘officially’ by calling the cops or anything, he just was willing to talk about the fact he had saw strange things, I’ve seen strange things, which I can’t say what they are 100%. But the logical leap to ‘alien spacecraft’ is too broad of a leap and runs into Occam’s Razor. And everything I’ve seen (except for a dim light making 3 or 4 90 degree turns when I was around 8 and looking for meteors- the jury is out on that one and I think it is a messed up memory) can be explain by several more mundane explanations.

    Clyde Tombaugh believed there are other intelligences in the galaxy that *might* be visiting us. I believe the same thing. But until I see far more evidence than what has been presented thus far, like Clyde Tombaugh I can’t say for certain we are.

    So stop calling me a sheeple and close minded. And show me some REAL evidence. And no, eyewitness accounts from Clyde Tombaugh, presidents, cops, my grandfather or whoever, aren’t good enough.

  203. Nigel Depledge

    Blake (33) said:

    An asteroid crashed in to Jupiter a few days ago and not one single astronomer saw it coming… and besides, astronomers are usually looking at a tiny little piece of the sky really far away. If a UFO did pass in their line of vision it would dissappear too quickly to see it. UFOs are seen when by people who stand outside with a naked eye scanning the whole of the sky… astronomers don’t do this.

    Yes, you’re absolutely right.

    No astronomer – especially not amateur astronomers – ever looks at the sky except through a large ‘scope that shows only a tiny little field of view. They never look at the whole sky to see what the weather is doing. They never look at the sky to judge the amount of cloud cover, or to try to estimate if and when cloud cover might break. They especially (amateur astronomers even more so) never ever look at the sky to decide where to point their ‘scopes. Instead amateur astronomers simply go outside and set up their ‘scopes with their eyes closed, then point the scope at their chosen object while looking at the ground. Only then do they peer through the eyepiece. Oh, yeah, and amateur astronomers never, ever use binoculars.

    Or maybe not… ;-)

  204. Nigel Depledge

    Jardmonkey (35) said:

    A little bit related- has there ever been any consensus on what the Apollo 11 crew saw and Buzz Aldrin described as a UFO during the coast to the moon (where they didn’t want to alarm capcom and instead asked about the location of the S-IVB stage)?

    Yeah, it was one of the panels from the S-IVB that covered the LEM during launch and was jettisoned before LEM extraction.

  205. Charles J. Slavis, Jr.

    You mean that the last Indiana Jones movie wasn’t real? I just bought an extra refrigerator in case of a nuculer attack. I guess I can use it to replace my out house that I accidentally blew up with my laser pen. I hope I don’t Freeze Willy.

  206. José

    @Alex
    They’re unidentified hot objects in the distance. The fact that they couldn’t see them with the naked eye doesn’t mean they were invisible. The whole point of looking with infrared cameras is that you can see things you can’t spot with the naked eye.

  207. Nigel Depledge

    Steve (36) said:

    Typically, they don’t even try to refute the most credible accounts. They simply aren’t addressed at all.

    Actually, the most “credible” accounts of UFO encounters (e.g. those typically involving many witnesses) have been addressed. There are perhaps a couple where the best conclusion really is “we don’t know” (which, BTW, is a long way from the conclusion “alien spaceships”, because it could still be some hitherto unknown but mundane atmospheric phenomenon). The other “most credible” accounts are riddled with inconsistencies and, frankly, there are often two or more possible mundane explanations.

    I had a fascinating face-to-face discussion with a retired NASA engineer who was deeply involved in the Apollo missions. When I asked him whether he had reason to believe in ET life, he did not flinch from answering in the affirmative. He explained to me that the majority of persons he worked with at that agency considered the ET presence factual, not theoretical, and an “open secret” among his peers at NASA. He described the subject as one which was discussed often, although, at his level, not in an official context.

    Belief in ET life is a completely different thing from belief in ET visitation to Earth. Are you sure you have not conflated the two here (or, indeed, your old NASA “engineer”)?

    And, irrespective of how many people believe a thing to be true, the fact remains that there is precisely zero credible evidence that aliens space ships have visited Earth.

    The frightened blowhards here & elsewhere concoct a host of rationalizations and weak logic

    Not so. It is the strongest logica of all – the principle pf parsimony.

    to keep them anchored in snug little comfort zones, but the consensus they once enjoyed – along with all the ridicule and derision they heap on those who aren’t buying their dogma – continues to crumble as more people LOOK UP, do their own investigations and start thinking for themselves.

    Well, you are wrong again here.

    When people really think for themselves, they tend to notice that all of the “evidence” for alien visitation is, to be generous, ambiguous. Absolutely none of it is unequivocal. Most of it is eyewitness accounts, which are notoriously unreliable. Show me the descent stage of an alien’s Terrestrial Lander. Then I’ll believe.

    Most of you are quite pathetic.

    Projection much?

    Don’t kid yourselves.

    This is precisely what science is – a mechanism by which we do not lie to ourselves. Essentially, it boils down to “Can I prove it is X (and not Y or Z) from evidence alone?”.

    Those here who pride themselves for their scientific minds would have been the first ones in line to draw straws for the opportunity to burn Giordana Bruno at the stake. In a contest between a heretical truth or a consensus-based myth, it is *you* pointy-headed twerps who are opting for the myth. Heresy just doesn’t yield the kind of social advantage you’re looking for.

    I have no idea what this is supposed to mean, but its general tone is pretty derisory. Since you have claimed in previous threads here that “UFO = alien spaceship” and never yet acceded to any request to bring forth real evidence, we can all quite reasonably ignore you as a loony.

  208. Greg in Austin

    202. Undisclosure Says:

    “Witness testimony, as stated above, isn’t usually too reliable unless the witnesses are highly credible and numerous.”

    Wrong. Eye witness testimony is unreliable. Period. No matter how well trained the people are, and especially when there are more of them. It has been tested clinically over and over again. When I get the time, I’ll find the links to the studies that tested 20 people at a time, watching videos of cars. The subjects were asked to count the number of blue cars. During the video, a person in a gorilla costume walked along in plain sight, but NONE of the subjects noticed it.

    “Do stars really exist? Pictures and videos are good supporting evidence, but we have little physical evidence of them. We can rely on what astronomers tell us…but you know how unreliable witnesses can be.”

    Wrong. You don’t have to rely on anything anyone else tells you to determine if stars really exist. First of all, you have your own eyes. Then, take into account what we have learned in hundreds of years using optics – magnifying glasses, then eyeglasses, then telescopes and binoculars. These are all tools you can use to see light. We have learned how to use a prism, which breaks up light into a spectrum, and we can use prisms to break up the light from stars to determine their spectrum. Then we have developed radio receivers, which not only work on Earth, but they also work great to pickup radio waves from stars. So, we’ve invented radio telescopes, visible light telescopes, infrared, near-infrared, x-ray, and so on. You can use all of these to independently verify the existence of stars. It is definitely NOT just pictures and an astronomer’s word that stars exist. Then there’s the math and physics for gravity and motion that work here on Earth, which can then be used to determine if those stars are really there. We have computer simulations, using that math and physics, that can predict the behavior of stars and planets and galaxies, and then we can use telescopes to make observations, and confirm whether or not our predictions are accurate.

    (Ignoring the literally blindingly obvious fact that the Sun itself, that big hot bright thing in the sky, that which all of life on this planet depends on, is, indeed, a star.)

    8)

  209. Greg in Austin

    @Alex,

    Those look to me like a squadron of aircraft (probably military) in the distance. Too far to see with the naked eye (or perhaps because of the angle of sunlight), but visible to the infrared equipment on board the aircraft. I saw no strange maneuvers, no sudden change in speed or direction. Nothing at all to indicate they are anything more than military planes.

    What is interesting is that the BBC article you linked quoted the pilot,

    “I believe they could feel we were pursuing them,” he said.

    C’mon. I can’t say with certainty what the guy next to me is feeling, but somehow this pilot can tell what someone in an aircraft 100 miles away is feeling? Right. Please forgive my incredulity.

    Again, nobody is questioning if Unidentified Flying Objects exist. The question is, is there any proof that UFO’s are Alien Spacecraft?

    8)

  210. Robert Powell

    Greg says:

    “The point of Phil’s post is to point out that A) Astronomers spend MORE time observing the sky than your average bear” …wow, have any other enlightening statements?

    B) “Astronomers are far less likely to mistake known objects (like the Moon) for flying saucers.” …Another enlightening statement! Surely someone doesn’t write an article to make those two “brilliant” points.

    Greg says: “And yea, you got anything a little more recent than 1952. No offense, but there are a lot more amateur astronomers today than there were 57 years ago.” …for starters Greg, you have provided zero, zilch, nada, nothing, in the way of any kind of survey or evidence to support the percentage of astronomers that have seen UFOs. Do you have anything to share? And as to there being more astronomers today than 57 years ago, you need to take a course in statistics. Just because there are more astronomers today, doesn’t mean that now you will have a different percentage of astronomers that see UFOs. If you can’t provide more recent data, don’t gripe about a valid statistic from 57 years ago.

    Greg says: “Appeal to authority is a logical fallacy, and not considered evidence to support the hypothesis that UFOs are Alien Spacecraft. Please try again.” ….Greg, I’m beginning to wonder about your ability to read and to reason. Did I ever say UFOs=Alien Spacecraft? Perhaps you would like to show me where I said that? This is like talking to a young kid. I don’t have time for this.

  211. Alex

    @ Greg and José

    I hear what you are saying- but keep in mind that this was the mexican military that had this encounter- surely the military isn’t sneaking up on themselves.

    The weird thing about that video is that the government couldn’t find an answer to what those ships were and I don’t think any other country is going to fly side by side and sneak up on a Mexican air force plane. but you are right that there isn’t proof that it is alien, but it seems like a really odd encounter to me, and also keep in mind Mexico is known as a hot spot for ufo’s. they seem to get sightings on a frequent basis and since that incident the Mexican government takes the UFO issue very seriously.

    I think the best way to get some answers would be if the government would come out and say what happened at Roswell, because 60+ years later, they still haven’t said a word.

    Here is an interesting mainstream news report about the Mexican UFO incident if anyone is interested-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDOOZ_IPb6Y

  212. Greg in Austin

    @Robert Powell,

    What is the point of your MUFON website, exactly? Is it to simply sell books and collect money for memberships? At the top of the page, it says, “Dedicated to The Scientific Study of UFO’s for the Benefit of Humanity.”

    So, how do you define UFO? In your FAQ page, the first topic is called “What is UFOLOGY.” In the second paragraph:

    “At any rate, UFO has now entered into common usage and appears in most dictionaries, along with ufology, the study of UFOs, and ufologist, one who studies UFOs. In many ways, the term is a “loaded” one in that it implies classification or designation prior to a proper analysis or thorough investigation. As commonly employed, UFO has also come to imply a spaceship, or vehicle, of extraterrestrial manufacture and origin. In reality, well over 90 percent of all reported UFOs prove to be IFOs – Identified Flying Objects – upon investigation. IFOs can be anything from distant airplane landing lights to the planet Venus, with ball lightning, weather balloons, and other astronomical and meteorological phenomena thrown in for good measure. “

    (Emphasis mine.)

    So, it seems to me that your website promotes the idea that UFO’s are equivalent to Alien Spacecraft. Regardless of your intent, the topic of discussion here by all of the other posters is clearly in the category of UFO=Alien Spacecraft.

    As to percentage of astronomers that report UFO’s, you are correct: I have not presented any studies or data on the subject. I do not know of any studies, and I have not performed such studies. I am only presenting data that I have personally experienced. If UFO reports were really of significant interest to astronomers, there would be a UFO Report Page on every major and minor Astronomical Society and Observatory website. So far, I have seen no such thing. A quick search at the Austin Astronomical Society, American Astronomical Society, and the McDonald Observatory shows no information on the reporting of or practice of searching for UFO’s.

    Based on the responses to this subject by astronomers on this post, and all the other related posts in Phil’s blog, supports the hypothesis that A) Astronomers are more familiar with objects in the sky, B) Few of them have seen more than one or two objects they could not explain, and C) None of them seem to believe that UFO’s are actually Alien Spacecraft.

    8)

  213. I think the best way to get some answers would be if the government would come out and say what happened at Roswell, because 60+ years later, they still haven’t said a word.

    What you really meant to say was, 60+ years later they still haven’t said it was a flying saucer with little space men inside.

    All their other statements, the ones about weather balloons, et al, obviously don’t count because they don’t jibe with your particular fantasy.

    And thus it goes on.

  214. Greg in Austin

    @Alex,

    I didn’t see a link to any government report that explains what what seen in the video, so I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that the Mexico government did not learn what they were. In the video, the pilot is not close enough to make an identification, so there’s no reason to believe they are NOT simply military aircraft.

    Also, there’s no reason to believe that they were not aircraft from another country, especially if they avoided close contact with this pilot.

    8)

  215. Alex

    Why so much secrecy around a weather balloon? That doesn’t make any sense………………..

    Keep in mind that this take place around the col war era and the government had good reason to keep the crash a secret, aside from the recent panic when “War of the Worlds” was broadcast. I don’t know that it was an alien craft——but the evidence and people’s/army officials accounts seem to suggest so

    @ Greg- there has not been a follow up from the Mexican government on that radar story and from what I understand they now study UFO’s along with countries like Canada-http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/ufo/index-e.html and the U.K. http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ufos/
    :)

  216. Also keep in mind this took place during the cold war era and the government had very good reason to keep this crash hidden from the public and other governments

    BS.

    If the U.S. government wanted to stick it to the rooskies, claiming to have “alien technology” would be a brilliant propaganda move.

    Yet another example of a UFOlogist making blanket statements that are utterly ridiculous and trying pass them off as Truth.

    OPINION does not equate to EVIDENCE.

  217. Greg in Austin

    @Alex,

    The coordinates in the video put the location very close to the Mexico/Guatemala border. My guess would be Guatemalan military.

    8)

  218. Alex

    Greg- If it was a Guatemala airforce plane, I’m sure the mexican government would have contacted them or the issue would be resolved……….. this was a huge story and there has not been a follow up report

    Kuhnigget- The government hasn’t said anything about Roswell, whether it was a weather balloon or not…………………

    and again, it doesn’t make sense to have so much secrecy around a weather balloon. files have never been released from the crash, which wouldn’t be a big deal to do so if it was just a weather balloon . Also add in the fact that 80% of the US think the government is hiding knowledge of extraterrestrials-http://www.cnn.com/US/9706/15/ufo.poll/ , there is good reason to come clean about the incident- weather balloon or not

    Also the Air Force made an announcement that day that they had come into possession of a “flying saucer” but later retracted it’s statement to say it was an “ordinary weather balloon”

    All I’m trying to say is that the whole incident is very sketchy and it doesn’t look like a weather balloon crash

  219. @ Jack Haggerty post #119:
    Thanks, Jack. I was the proud winner of my 3rd grade spelling bee, too. :)
    Ohh… the good old days of gym class and being done with “work” bt 3pm.

    I’ll check out the book you linked to, but if anyone hasn’t read “TOP SECRET MAJIC” they are missing out on one of the best researched books of the last 100 years.
    http://www.life-union.com/5/stantonfriedman/books.htm

  220. Matt L.

    @ Jack Haggerty post #119:
    Thanks, Jack. I was the proud winner of my 3rd grade spelling bee, too. :)
    Ohh… the good old days of gym class and being done with “work” bt 3pm.

    I’ll check out the book you linked to, but if anyone hasn’t read “TOP SECRET MAJIC” they are missing out on one of the best researched books of the last 100 years.
    http://www.life-union.com/5/stantonfriedman/books.htm

  221. @Greg, Post 151:
    In post #101 Dave made the statement “Where are the ancient caves drawings of flying saucers?” We responded to that with a link to such drawings. Of course, there are drawings of tons of religious figures, mythical creatures, and complete fanciful figures. Without question all of the UFO and alien looking drawings from ancient humans could actually be drawings of something else. They may very well have been drawing fun stuff for their kids that in no way had aliens or UFOs in mind.
    We responded to Greg, of post 151, with very possible ancient drawings of aliens and UFOs. We won’t say they definitively are of aliens and UFOs (can’t prove that), but that is certainly one credible possibilty, so we sent the link.

    Of course, astromers use their eyes all the time, but we’ve seen zero studies that say what they have or haven’t seen with their naked eyes, and we don’t expect humans to be able to see high flying UFOs beyond our atmosphere with their naked eyes. Have no astronomers reported naked eye sightings? Maybe not, we have no data on that one. If anyone does, please post the link.

    –Matt L. (the furthest west member of the twitter.com/thedarkcover group – now that our Vancouver guy is in New York)

  222. @ Ray, Post 154:
    It is a complete farce to say that all of the MJ12 documents are forgeries. Stanton Friedman proves that the original group of them are real, that the paper types were real, that the fonts were in use, that the typewriters were in use, that the date markings were real, and that there are things that nobody knew before the docs came out that have been researched and proven to be true – such as rare dates when two people met and flight logs showing where people were that completely gel with the MJ12 docs.

    Again, if you haven’t read the book you aren’t informed enough to speak on the validity of the MJ12 documents. Period. Of course, some of the ones that have come later are blatant forgeries or straight copies of other documents relating to comepletely different subjects. These fakes came out to dilute the waters, of course.

    Have fake MJ12 documents come out after the fact, of course they have. The best way to get information out, and also keep people from completely believing it, is to leak true data so people get exposed to it and start becoming desensitized to it, and then leak false data that waters down the original leak, so that if/when the truth comes out in undeniable fashion people will only be 40-60% shocked (guessing on percentages here, of course).

    We suppose people would say the CIA masterminded this tactic (maybe it is far older), which is brilliant, but it seems that the world of sports uses this all of the time these days. For example, teams leak that a player wants to be sold or traded, then the team denies it is true while at the same time drumming up interest and offers from other teams, and then the team actually trades or sells the player in an advantagous way, saying their player was “tapped up” or something, without looking like bad guys in the end.

    We don’t have any Wall Street guys in our group, but we’re guessing that someone on this page knows a lot about stocks and such, and would be able to confirm that this tactic of leaking info, denying info, and then proving the original leak was indeed true (at a profit) is done a lot in the world of high finance.

    WE’D LIKE TO NOTE that our group believes that it is better to lose fair than to win by cheating. Thus, if anyone makes a great point against alien life or visitation to Earth, or some of the Stanton Friedman validated MJ12 documents (we’ve never seen or heard of anyone proving him wrong), we will acknowledge the point and will never just believe something to believe it. Logic and reason is to be loved and followed whether it helps your position or hurts your position.

  223. @ Twit:

    We won’t say they definitively are of aliens and UFOs (can’t prove that), but that is certainly one credible possibilty, so we sent the link.

    That is certainly NOT one credible possibility, as any cultural anthropologist will tell you.

    All of your photos appear to be the same images the likes of which Erich von Danniken used in his silly “Chariots of the Gods” books 30+ years ago, all of which have been thoroughly discredited as “aliens” by scientists who actually study and know the cultures from which they were taken (utterly without context, usually, as on your linked website).

    Once again, UFOnuts reach into their rich mythology of lore, disregard the fact their “evidence” has been shown to be invalid years and years ago, all the while spouting off as if nobody in the world knows a thing about anything except themselves. I guess that’s one way to keep bringing up new generations of nutters to follow the old.

    Honestly, von Danniken? Can’t you guys at least make up new stuff?

  224. And what is with this silly “We” business?

    Jeebus, what do “we” have here? A bunch of bored teenagers playing secret society?

    Do girls get to join the club, too?

  225. Matt L.

    @kuhnigget, Post #215:
    “What you really meant to say was, 60+ years later they still haven’t said it was a flying saucer with little space men inside. All their other statements, the ones about weather balloons, et al, obviously don’t count because they don’t jibe with your particular fantasy.”

    Many people don’t believe what the government says about Roswell, because their answers are always full of holes. Again, read the paper “Government UFO Lies” by Stanton Friedman.
    http://www.v-j-enterprises.com/sf-government-lies1.html

    If the government’s answer were logical and didn’t include blatant non-truths or include things about bodies being parachute dummies that weren’t dropped until the early 1950′s maybe people would be more likely to believe it.

    The government has no credibility on the events of Roswell.

    When in doubt I go with the credibility and research of Stanton Friedman.

    Could all of this be a brilliant setup done by the military/government to cover some Earthly technology by both making it look like alien events and also saying it isn’t alien related? All of this could be to cover their own secret work and technologies, but my gut says ‘while that is completely possible’ that it isn’t all American events. It could be, in which case I’d tip my hat to the creators of such a brilliantly conceived and executed propoganda plan, of course, this would also make them true scum, but their technique would be impressive.

    –Matt L. (the furthest west member of the twitter.com/thedarkcover group)

  226. Matt L.

    @kuhnigget, Post #224:
    Six of us. One woman. Nobody under 30. We are all people with good jobs making good money – why insult anyone? We started an unofficial group a few years ago (emailing articles around, etc.), and recently joined twitter. We have a common interest in the subject. We all know each other through the film industry in Los Angeles, although not everyone is now working out of Los Angeles.

  227. @ Matt L. :

    I don’t make fun of just anyone, only people who dredge up 30 year old pop culture claptrap and try to pass it off as scientific evidence of alien visitation.

  228. BTW, Matt, nice self-aggrandizement on Twitter. I love this quote:

    Today our own, Matt L., refuted the absurd anti-alien arguments made by BadAstronomer. READ posts 72 and 73 at (Dr. BA’s blogsite)

    Woo hoo! Stick it to da man!

    (although you seem to have misidentified your posts. oh well. da man strikes back.)

  229. Matt L.

    @kuhnigget, Post #227:
    I think I wrote very clearly that the cave drawings are not evidence of alien life or visitation, so why say that I suggested that? Here’s what I actually wrote:

    “Of course, there are drawings of tons of religious figures, mythical creatures, and complete fanciful figures. Without question all of the UFO and alien looking drawings from ancient humans could actually be drawings of something else. They may very well have been drawing fun stuff for their kids that in no way had aliens or UFOs in mind.”

    How much more fair minded can anyone be?

  230. @ Matt:

    Sorry, it must have been that other matt at #220:

    We responded to Greg, of post 151, with very possible ancient drawings of aliens and UFOs. We won’t say they definitively are of aliens and UFOs (can’t prove that), but that is certainly one credible possibilty, so we sent the link.

    As I said before, no, it is not a credible possibility, as was demonstrated over three decades ago when Erich von Danniken first tried to pass it off as such.

  231. Matt L.

    @kuhnigget, Post #230:
    Oh, no problem, Kuhnigget. None of this is personal for me. I am interested in this subject matter, and I would love to know what the government knows about so many different topics. I never try to post anything that is insulting to anyone, and I always try to be reasonable, logical, and fair.

    I do believe that SOME UFOs are alien and I think there is a lot of very interesting and legitmate evidence that could show alien life or vehicles. I also think I could be being tricked into thinking this by a propoganda government/military plan to build up belief in alien UFOs in order to cover their own technological weapons/advancements.

    I think it is one of two things – either (1) the US government is dropping false evidence out there to make the alien possibility seem pretty possible or (2) there really are aliens visiting us. I don’t think it could be neither option given the amount of data from NASA tapes/audio, to document leaks, to quotes from astronauts/powerful people, etc.

    I readily admit that I could not prove this case in a court room beyond a reasonable doubt, as if in a murder trial, though I think I could if I had access to the mountain loads of data the government probably has on space.

    I am not familiar with Erich von Danniken, but I will read up on him. I’m always reading up on something, but most people I know and respect (amongst those who believe, I mean) start a credible list with Stanton Friedman and don’t have many more names to add.

    That guy who runs UFO Hunters, Bill-something, makes me feel dirty by association for believing, because so many believers taint the belief by making absurd statements or believing every single report of a sighting or an abduction or a moon base, etc.

    I, too, want hard evidence. I was once a non-believer, and some part of me will always feel that there may be no visitations at all by alien life, until I get to see something first hand or I can be sure that the government didn’t intentionally leak real documents that they originally conceived just to make all of this really seem real to cover other things they were doing.

    If that was the plan conceived in the 1940′s they did brilliantly well.

  232. That whooshing sound you are hearing is a wave of sarcasm going over someone’s head.

  233. Matt L.

    Oh. I didn’t look back up at #220 to see “the other Matt”.

    Do you believe that it is the 1st option? Or do you have a 3rd option?

    (1) the US government is dropping false evidence out there to make the alien possibility seem pretty possible in order to cover up their other secret military activities and technologies.

    Oh, and it was not me who wrote the Matt L responds tweet on our twitter page, and it was most certainly written as a joke at our little group, as if it was big news that anyone would care about. I think we have like 10 followers. :)

  234. Yes, Matt, there is a 3rd option:

    There is no evidence for aliens visiting the earth, therefore, they (if they exist) most likely didn’t.

    No government cover-ups (Since when could our government cover up anything), no conspiracies, no ancient astronauts riding flaming wheels across the sky or helping stupid ol’ Egyptians build pyramids, no flying saucers masquerading as mylar balloons on youTube, no cirrus clouds pretending to be beings from another dimension.

    There is no evidence for any of that.

    Sorry. If you “believe” otherwise, find yourself some evidence, otherwise your belief is based on faith and should more properly be called religion. Nothing wrong with having religion, mind you, but please don’t join the other nutters trying to pass if off as truth.

  235. Matt L.

    Well, I’m far from a “nutter”, but I like the term. I may start using it in social circles.

    – How do you explain the NASA audio saying things about seeing UFOs or being tracked, etc?

    – Are all of the people involved with the disclosure project lying?

    – Was astronaut Gordon Cooper just straight lying about what he saw?

    – Are all the documented UFO pilot sightings US craft over our skies?

    – Are you saying that all legitimate UFO craft (not misidentified stars, flares, etc.) are US military craft? Do you think foreign countries are testing over our skies?

    – How do you refute the MJ12 document assessments as researched and written in Top Secret Majic by Stanton Friedman?

    The US government/military has covered up many things for decades, and it is SUPER EASY to cover something up, because even if the truth gets out about something you can always deny it and some people, if not most, will believe a power source if they say something is fake. Just look at Barry Bonds or Mark McGwire, some people think they were clean on the field. Tons of people think OJ Simpson was innocent of murder. Things can be covered up and people will follow the cover up.

    Again, Stanton Friedman lists a number of decades old successful government cover ups on his website that people didn’t know about. Of course, things that are actively being covered up are by definition unknown to outsiders, so who’s to know what is being actively covered up. Do we have a base on the moon or Mars, I really don’t think so, but does the gov’t have cars that can run without oil reliance and gasoline, or gets hundreds of miles, per gallon? Maybe. Have drug companies ever covered up cures for diseases so that they can keep making money by selling medicines? I believe that has been proven, but I don’t have a source handy to back that up – I’ll look it up, but I think people do what is in their interest all too often even if what is in their interest goes against other peoples rights or interests.

  236. @ Matt:

    I think people do what is in their interest all too often even if what is in their interest goes against other peoples rights or interests.

    Including people who write and sell UFO books to the gullible public, like, for example, Mr. Stanton Friedman.

    But since you asked honestly several questions, I’ll give you my answers, though you won’t like them:

    – How do you explain the NASA audio saying things about seeing UFOs or being tracked, etc?

    Specifics, please? Are you referring to Apollo astronauts spotting the faring from their spent rocket booster, coasting along with them toward the moon? Or the urine dumps? Or, my new favorite, the “alien spacecraft” hovering around the Space Shuttle, which just happen to look like ice crystals interacting with the maneuvering jets. Again, specifics, please.

    – Are all of the people involved with the disclosure project lying?

    Lying is such a nasty word. Let’s just say, somebody’s making some money (from those DVDs you can conveniently buy right from the Disclosure Project’s website!). If you’d been around this blog a few months back, you would have met Mr. Mikey Horn, who also makes money selling ufo DVDs. I hate to break it to you, but however sincere some of these people might sound, quite a few of them know a cash cow when they see one.

    – Was astronaut Gordon Cooper just straight lying about what he saw?

    No, but astronauts are people too. See all the above posts on the “reliability” of human witnesses. And these quotes from Cooper are telling:

    (refering to the so-called “face” on Mars….) “That’s one of the reasons you need to send a manned mission to Mars, to study that stuff closer…”

    (on whether he saw a greenish object with a red tail move past his Mercury 9 spacecraft in 1963…)

    “No, somebody made a lot of money selling … lies on that one,” Cooper, the sixth American in space, told Art Bell on the syndicated “Coast to Coast” talk radio show Thursday night. “It was totally untrue, sorry to say.”

    – Are all the documented UFO pilot sightings US craft over our skies?

    No. Most of them are probably misidentified planets, stars, or other natural phenomena. Just because someone sees an “object” they can’t identify, doesn’t mean it’s an aircraft. Also, see answer above regarding arguments from authority.

    – Are you saying that all legitimate UFO craft (not misidentified stars, flares, etc.) are US military craft? Do you think foreign countries are testing over our skies?

    There are no “legitimate UFO craft”. No valid piece of testable, verifiable evidence for such has ever been presented.

    – How do you refute the MJ12 document assessments as researched and written in Top Secret Majic by Stanton Friedman?

    Jeez, do you get a commission or something? Mr. Friedman makes money writing books for people like you. The so-called Majestic organization has also been linked to the Illuminati secret society. Do you “believe” in that, too?

  237. Greg in Austin

    220. twitter.com/thedarkcover Says:

    “@Greg, Post 151:
    In post #101 Dave made the statement “Where are the ancient caves drawings of flying saucers?” We responded to that with a link to such drawings. Of course, there are drawings of tons of religious figures, mythical creatures, and complete fanciful figures. Without question all of the UFO and alien looking drawings from ancient humans could actually be drawings of something else.”

    Wait, so now you are saying the drawings you posted are probably NOT alien spacecraft? That is not what you suggested in your previous post. Previously, you posted a link to pictures and drawings specifically as evidence of ancient UFO paintings. Allow me to repost what you said,

    “@David post #101:
    Are you kidding with your “Where are the ancient cave drawings of flying saucers?”
    http://www.crystalinks.com/ufohistory.html
    Also, you can always walk into the Palazzo Vecchio gallery in Italy and have a look around.”

    You did not suggest that these images were NOT of alien UFO’s. In fact, the very first sentence on that link says, “The Historical Record of Planet Earth speaks of ongoing contact with extraterrestrials as found in oral traditions, tablets, stone monuments, petroglyphs, and art forms found throughout the planet. Many of these images could also be lenticular clouds. “

    So clearly, that website wants me to believe that these are ancient drawings of Alien Spacecraft.

    I like how you try to weasel your way out of this one. You clearly posted what you thought was evidence of Alien Spacecraft in ancient drawings, and now you are trying to throw doubt into your own evidence. Is this just your way of admitting you were wrong, and your “evidence” was erroneous?

    8)

  238. Greg in Austin

    220. twitter.com/thedarkcover Says:

    “Of course, astromers use their eyes all the time, but we’ve seen zero studies that say what they have or haven’t seen with their naked eyes, and we don’t expect humans to be able to see high flying UFOs beyond our atmosphere with their naked eyes. Have no astronomers reported naked eye sightings? Maybe not, we have no data on that one. If anyone does, please post the link.”

    You don’t have to look very far for reports of UFO’s from non-astronomers. Just do a search at ANY major news media’s website. You will typically get a dozen or so articles of “UFO Sightings.” Now, if you notice, those headlines will not say, ASTRONOMER SEES MOON. or, ASTRONOMER SEES VENUS! What you will see are, POLICE OFFICER SEES UFO, PILOT SEES UFO OVER CITY, MAYOR CLAIMS TO HAVE SEEN UFO.

    Now, I would say that this is because the media knows that there are more people who want to believe UFOs are Aliens, so those headlines will sell more newspapers. It is really that simple. FARMER SEES UFO, ASTRONOMER DETERMINES ITS THE MOON is not as exciting, although those cases do exist, too.

    So, you can come to your own conclusions here.

    8)

  239. Greg in Austin

    @Matt L.

    – How do you explain the NASA audio saying things about seeing UFOs or being tracked, etc?
    I agree, there is audio of astronauts saying, “UFO,” as in Unidentified Flying Object. There is no audio, video, or any physical evidence of an astronaut saying, “Houston, we have an alien here, and he wants to talk to you.” 99.9% of those objects turn out to be pieces of the rocket, ice crystals, and other orbital debris. The last 0.1% of them remain unidentified, because they were simply unable to see it close enough.

    – Are all of the people involved with the disclosure project lying?
    I don’t know. I haven’t met anyone involved with the disclosure project, much less all of them, and I am not a lie detector. Why don’t you ask them?

    – Was astronaut Gordon Cooper just straight lying about what he saw?
    What did he say he saw? Could he have been mistaken? Was he human? Have you ever mistaken something mundane for something fanciful? I once thought the shadow of a tree was the shadow of a person looking in my window.

    – Are all the documented UFO pilot sightings US craft over our skies?
    I don’t know. I haven’t read all of the documented UFO pilot sightings. Do any of the sightings have physical evidence that Aliens exist, that they built Alien Spacecraft that could travel to Earth, and have been doing so for decades, if not centuries? Because that’s what we are asking for.

    – Are you saying that all legitimate UFO craft (not misidentified stars, flares, etc.) are US military craft? Do you think foreign countries are testing over our skies?
    I know for a fact that the United States has flown military aircraft without permission over every major country in the world, and it is highly likely that those countries have done the same thing. Why wouldn’t they?

    – How do you refute the MJ12 document assessments as researched and written in Top Secret Majic by Stanton Friedman?
    I haven’t read the MJ12 document assessments. Do they have physical evidence that Aliens exist, that they built Alien Spacecraft that could travel to Earth, and have been doing so for decades, if not centuries? Send me a copy of Stanton Friedman’s book and I might read it for entertainment. I’d rather see the physical evidence.

    What’s a more likely scenario:
    A) 40 years ago, the USSR flew aircraft over the US, and instead of causing widespread panic, the military denied seeing anything, and allowed the media to report the incident as UFO’s.
    B) 40 years ago, an alien space craft flown by life forms we have no evidence even exist traveled 100 light-years to earth, flew over the US, left zero physical evidence of its propulsion, and disappeared as if by magic.

    Look, until you have evidence, you might as well say that UFO’s are actually Flying Pink Unicorns Ridden by Leprechauns. There is enough historical evidence, mythical stories, and eyewitness testimony to support that hypothesis. Why don’t you twitter about that?

    8)

  240. Matt L.

    @236 and @238:
    Your responses are appreciated. I mention Stanton Friedman, because he is a solid and very well researched source. Not to mention that he had a security clearance and actually worked on government propulsion projects. It’s sort of like talking about basketball in the 90′s and constantly referring to Michael Jordan… it just goes with the subject matter. He is the most credible voice on the subject from the believer side and his books are backed with sources, research, and solid reasoning, and I think we can mostly all agree that facts and evidence is what we all want and look for.

    No debunker has ever been able to debunk his work, but he debunks the debunkers constantly. He is far from the only researcher on a topic to sell their work… many cancer researchers sell theirs, too. That’s what researchers do, they sell their findings. Most UFO researchers books are garbage, not his.

    I think there are so many jokes out there who do push absurd alien stories like Bob Lazar and that guy from UFO Hunters, Bill-whatever. I respect people who have solid opinions whether they agree with mine or not.

    Greg, I think your USSR scenario is quite viable. But one thing that doesn’t fit with it in regards to Roswell is that the story given out to morning papers differed greatly from what was given out by evening papers. If you look at papers going from east to west in the U.S. when the Roswell story broke, papers in the east had the recovered UFO story, but papers in the west had a more benign lead without a recovered UFO. Why did the government/military change their story midstream?

    Your B scenario is unfair, though, because we don’t know that the gov’t has no evidence anymore than we know they do. That information is not for regular people to be told. If we did grab craft or bodies or whatever technology, there is no way that would hit the papers these days. At least, I don’t think it would.

    We have no evidence to say the 100+ people in the disclosure project are all in this for money, and we have no data to say that money is even being made by that project. If people are lying for money then they are scum. Some may be, Bob Lazar certainly is, but it would be quite a reach to say all of the disclosure project are lying. Nor is it fair to assume people are lying with no evidence against them. Of ourse, we can’t take a persons testimony as absolute proof either… we do need the tangible body, technology, or no doubt pictures video/official statements to prove life beyond our own beyond a shadow of doubt. I agree with you gents there.

  241. @ Matt L.:

    Not to mention that he had a security clearance and actually worked on government propulsion projects.

    My dad had a security clearance. He was a traveling salesman who had clients on the Hanford Reservation. Arguments from authority still require the same evidence as any other argument.

    No debunker has ever been able to debunk his work, but he debunks the debunkers constantly.

    Please provide an example of Mr. Friedman’s claims, and I will debunk it for you.

    We have no evidence to say the 100+ people in the disclosure project are all in this for money, and we have no data to say that money is even being made by that project.

    I would say the fact they are selling a DVD on the very first page of their website might be a datum.

    If you look at papers going from east to west in the U.S. when the Roswell story broke, papers in the east had the recovered UFO story, but papers in the west had a more benign lead without a recovered UFO. Why did the government/military change their story midstream?

    Err…ever hear of time zones? Deadlines? Newspapers on the West Coast had longer to work on the story…and get beyond the sensationalism. Hard to believe in this day and age, but at one time there really were reporters who knew how to do their jobs, not just read pabulum from some PR flak.

  242. Nigel Depledge

    Alex (217) said:

    I don’t know that it was an alien craft——but the evidence and people’s/army officials accounts seem to suggest so

    This is a logical fallacy.

    Simply because you have not seen evidence to prove to you what it was, you have assumed that the evidence is consistent with the Roswell object being an alien spaceship.

    Yet none of the evidence is sufficient to suggest that “alien spaceship” is even in the same ballpark as a reasonable conclusion. It could have been a weather balloon, or it could have been a secret military project. Both of these things are known to exist. But to assume that “not much information” suggests the conclusion “alien spaceship” is utterly ludicrous.

  243. Nigel Depledge

    The darkcover (220) said:

    We responded to Greg, of post 151, with very possible ancient drawings of aliens and UFOs. We won’t say they definitively are of aliens and UFOs (can’t prove that), but that is certainly one credible possibilty, so we sent the link.

    Why is “aliens” a credible possibility? What makes it credible?

    Since there is no evidence at all to suppose that aliens have travelled to visit Earth (we still do not know if ET life exists at all!), why is “alien visitors” a credible possibility for anything at all? Surely the most credible possibilities are things we already know to exist (in the kind of depictions you were discussing).

  244. Nigel Depledge

    The darkcover (221) said:

    The best way to get information out, and also keep people from completely believing it, is to leak true data so people get exposed to it and start becoming desensitized to it, and then leak false data that waters down the original leak, so that if/when the truth comes out in undeniable fashion people will only be 40-60% shocked (guessing on percentages here, of course).

    Irrespective of whether the documents you refer to are genuine or fake, the argument you use here is extraordinarily feeble. The best way to get information out is to publish it. The discovery of ET life would be just about the most important and sensational discovery since fire.

  245. Nigel Depledge

    Matt L (227) said:

    How much more fair minded can anyone be?

    Well, for a start you could acknowledge that not all possibilities are equally probable. That would demonstrate at least some measure of intellectual honesty.

    “Possibilities” that invoke things for which no tangible evidence exists (and “alien spaceships” really sits slap bang in this field) are far less likely than phenomena that are known to exist. We are actually now in the position of knowing quite a lot about how the universe functions. It’s true that there is plenty we don’t know, but that does not take away anything from the fact that there is a lot we do know.

    For instance, we know what the challenges are that must be overcome to achieve interstellar travel. Wherever unknown objects / lights are observed in the sky, hitherto unknown atmospheric phenomena are a far more likely answer than alien spaceships (the classic exemplification here is that for a long time there was no evidence to support the existence of “sprites” until they were filmed from the space shuttle).

  246. Nigel Depledge

    Matt L (237) said:

    I mention Stanton Friedman, because he is a solid and very well researched source. Not to mention that he had a security clearance and actually worked on government propulsion projects. It’s sort of like talking about basketball in the 90’s and constantly referring to Michael Jordan… it just goes with the subject matter. He is the most credible voice on the subject from the believer side and his books are backed with sources, research, and solid reasoning, and I think we can mostly all agree that facts and evidence is what we all want and look for.

    OK, but we actually know that basketball exists, no matter how much we might prefer the contrary.

    Also, if this one man has so much evidence, why does hwe not share it with the rest of the world? I am sure there would be hundreds of thousands of scientists queueing up to analyse pieces of an alien spaceship.

    No debunker has ever been able to debunk his work

    Perhaps because there is no need…?

    , but he debunks the debunkers constantly. He is far from the only researcher on a topic to sell their work… many cancer researchers sell theirs, too.

    Actually, you are just making stuff up now. Most cancer researchers (mostly publicly-funded) publish their work. Since academic journals do not have vast circulations and large advertising revenues, they mostly have to charge researchers to publish.

    Some cancer research doesn’t get published, but this is to protect sensitive IP that allows a drug company to invest in a drug.

    That’s what researchers do, they sell their findings.

    Not so. Real scientists publish their work for scrutiny by their peers. They do not sell it in airport bookshops.

    Most UFO researchers books are garbage, not his.

    So, why is the fantasy that “UFO = alien spaceship” any more credible when published by him than by anyone else?

  247. @Matt L.

    Keep in mind that when people say that eyewitness accounts don’t count as evidence, they are not saying that the witnesses are lying. Some may be lying, but many more are probably just mistaken, either in their interpretation of what they saw or in their memories of events.

    Furthermore, as has already been pointed out, a person’s profession (police officer, pilot, etc.) does not mean that they are accurate in their assessment of a sighting. First off, they are human and can be mistaken. Second, their particular training predisposes them to making certain judgments and dismissing or not even thinking of others. Here, context is very important. What is going on? What is the state of the person (under some manner of stress, tired, agitated, resting, alert, etc.)? There have been documented cases of pilots mistaking a star or meteor as being a craft on a collision course with them, when, in fact, what they were seeing is nowhere near their aircraft. In cases like that, there is a natural tendency to see danger. If there is danger, and act as if there were, you have taken a safe course; if there is no danger, but act as if there were, you generally are still safe; if there is danger, but you do not take action as if there were, you’re in trouble. So, the safer course of action is to assume danger. The worst you’ll suffer is a little bit of ridicule if you’re wrong.

    It is not enough to be a “trained observer”. The important thing is, what were they trained to observe? They are all human. They are all imperfect. They can all make mistakes. And when they are in a situation which is not familiar or “normal”, the potential for mistakes goes up.

  248. Matt L.

    Stanton Friedman has spoken publicly, for free, on many hundreds of occassions. He has done (probably – I do not have the actual numbers, of course) over 1000 radio and tv shows from Larry King to Coast to Coast, I believe even Oprah (but I want to be clear that I don’t watch Oprah). :)

    Debunkers at it Again (by Stanton Friedman)
    http://www.v-j-enterprises.com/sf-mufon-020309.html

    Government UFO Lies (by Stanton Friedman)
    http://www.v-j-enterprises.com/sf-government-lies1.html

    Update on Operation Majestic 12 Documents (by Stanton Friedman)
    http://www.v-j-enterprises.com/mj12_update1.html

    Quickly here, maybe the cave drawings are cartoons and not at all aliens… I have said this previously in this forum. They look like space suits, but that is not the only, or necessarily best, guess that can be made. And we will likely never know what the artist intended, so in a way it is a dead issue no matter what they intended. It will never be more than interesting art work.

    I want evidence too, gents, and Stanton Friedman offers the most scientific efforts on it. He is no snake oil salesman. Of course, so many believers and pushers are, and they make me sick. He is a class act whether you know his work and agree with it or disagree with it.

    I assume you are not against investigation. You just want evidence that sways you before believing. That’s fine. That’s how everyone should be, and I was a non-believer not too too long ago. Reading Top Secret Majic and hearing the NASA audio tapes, etc., was what swayed me.

    I am not a big fan at all of whatshisname on the Disclosure Project. I believe his family has money, so he should not taint a nice idea, to get government employees to come forward, by coming across like a saleman. I don’t think he does, but he does bother me with his constant talk of “free energy”, because it doesn’t need to be tied to UFO investigations. They are different issues.

    When you walk into Borders or Barnes and Noble, you won’t get too far in before you see books for sale by scientist/researchers saying they can cure something or fix something.

  249. Matt L.

    On second thought, I think whatshisname on the Disclosure Project DOES come across like a salesman. He seems less together than the people who have signed on to disclose on the project. His thing should be get all the sworn disclosures and give them all away for free.

    I’m not sure that he doesn’t do this, as I know there was a press conference in Washington DC where these people gave their testimony in public, but he should always give away electronic versions of their testimony for free and then it would be fine to sell nice looking bound copies of the same testimony.

    I forgot to mention that Stanton Friedman DOES give away his articles for free on his website, too. This should be what all people who aren’t in it for money do. Give electronic articles/copies for free and sell the nice bound copies or books.

    I have no problem with selling books as The New England Journal of Medicine charges over $100 for their materials and full online access. Research is very costly.

  250. @ Matt:

    On second thought, I think whatshisname on the Disclosure Project DOES come across like a salesman.


    Well, to quote an old sage, “Congratulations! You’ve taken your first step into a larger universe.”

    I have no problem with selling books as The New England Journal of Medicine charges over $100 for their materials and full online access. Research is very costly.


    The reason the NEJM is costly is because every article that appears in it is juried by a committee of other scientists, who review the work in question before it’s published. That’s part of the value of publishing in peer-reviewed journals: your work is scrutinized, questioned, validated.

    I have nothing against Mr. Friedman making money off his work, just don’t equate it with research presented in a juried science journal. I doubt if he would make the cut.

    BTW, still waiting for something to debunk. Go ahead, open his book and pick something. I’ll wait.

  251. Matt L.

    Stanton Friedman would make any cut in assessing research methods. He’s a gold standard on the issue whether you believe in alien UFOs or not. Unfortunately, there are very few others who meet his research standards in this field or others. I have hope for John Greenwald Jr.

  252. Still waiting for something to debunk.

  253. Matt L.

    I sent the links to a few of his articles back in post #247… he has a bunch of articles on his site at:
    http://www.stantonfriedman.com/

    I suspect you will agree with a bunch of his articles, because some of them are about how Bob Lazar and others are frauds telling lies.

    –Matt

  254. No, that’s not the way it works, Matt.

    You come here claiming this guy’s work is groundbreaking science. So…YOU pick something out and relate it to me. Find one of his claims that you think proves he’s on to something and not just another UFO nut selling books to the suckers.

    I’ll be happy to comment on whatever you choose to support your thesis, vis a vis Mr. Friedman.

  255. Greg in Austin

    @kuhnigget and Matt L.,

    I looked up Friedman on the intertubes. I didn’t realize the guy Matt was talking about was the guy on the overly sensationalized UFO “documentaries” shown on History Channel. You know, the ones with the eerie music, the funny camera angles, the suspenseful comments right before the commercial, and the complete lack of any physical evidence? Cause you know, if you see it on TV, it MUST be real! ;)

    I especially liked the info on Wikipedia:
    en . wikipedia . org/wiki/Stanton_T._Friedman

    Major conclusions and arguments

    Friedman states that he has reached major conclusions on the basis of his research dating back to the late 1950s. These can be summarised as follows:

    1. There is overwhelming evidence that planet Earth is being visited by intelligently controlled extraterrestrial spacecraft; i.e. some UFOs are ET spacecraft, though most are not.

    Of course, none of this is in the form of physical evidence, that which can be independently verified and tested by anyone else.

    2. Some few people in the US and other governments have known the above since at least 1947 and employ a “need-to-know” policy regarding this knowledge; i.e. the knowledge is highly classified largely as sensitive military information.

    Just like every good conspiracy theory, the “Government” has all the information, and is hiding it, therefore NOBODY can ever confirm or deny its existence. This is what psychologists call a self-sustaining delusion. Because of some unknowable information, we can’t prove him wrong, therefore he must be right.

    Oh, but here’s my favorite:

    In addition, Friedman maintains that, although arguments against these conclusions sound plausible, “when one examines them, they collapse, because of an absence of evidence to support them, and the presence of evidence that contradicts them

    His is saying that the arguments against extraterrestrials fail because of lack of evidence, and the presence of evidence in favor of extraterrestrials. Oh the irony! I would say the sheer mountains of evidence for mundane objects (planes, balloons, atmospheric phenomenon, mistaken identity, all things that we know to exist far exceed the ZERO evidence we have that extraterrestrials even exist, much less are capable, and have indeed visited Earth.

    Regarding testimony, he states that “we must remember that the reason most sightings can be determined to be relatively conventional phenomena, often seen under unusual circumstances, is that most people are relatively good observers.

    Actually, this is his monumental failure. Every case study has shown that most people are horrendously poor observers, especially in stressful situations. If there’s an accident at an intersection witnessed by 10 different people, you can get 10 different accounts of the accident.

    @ Matt L., I don’t think you and your twitter folks should stop looking for evidence of Aliens. In fact, I think using technology as you are is a fantastic way to dig into this phenomenon. However, I would hope that you will learn how to think a little more critically, skeptically, and scientifically.

    8)

  256. I just had a thought: has anyone noticed that we no longer see photographs of UFO’s, aliens, cattle mutilations, chupacabras or the like, even as camera-equipped cell phones have become ubiquitous?

    I wish I could have saved some of you guys some time in regard to Friedman, MJ12 and beyond. The question of modern extraterrestrial visitation is completely independent of the realities of greed, forgery, fraud, pathological government secrecy and reckless psy-op experiments that have all blended together to make the whole sordid mess of our UFO history.

  257. @ Jon Lester:

    I wish I could have saved some of you guys some time in regard to Friedman, MJ12 and beyond.

    It is impossible to “save time” when dealing with UFO nutters. They have their aliens, and they’re gonna keep ‘em.

  258. I went over to Stanton’s site and read the first article…
    http://www.v-j-enterprises.com/sf-mufon-020309.html
    It is a “debunking” of the Skeptical Inquirer’s debunking of the Roswell incident. Apart from all the ad-homs that is.

    Here’s a couple of cute quotes:
    pseudoscience of anti-ufology
    By far the simplest solution to the UFO problem is that the best cases (Multiple witness radar visual, landings etc.) involve alien spacecraft.

    Is it common practice to litter an article with references and find that all of those references refer to books by the article’s writer?

    Oh dear, apparently he is a proponent of the Betty and Barney Hill story.

  259. @ shane:

    What I love, and what Dr. BA has posted about before, is the way Friedman wields the word, “debunker,” as if it were an insult. Kind of like Rush Limbaugh spitting out “liberal” every time he wants to insult someone.

    Getting rid of bunk seems like a pretty noble occupation.

  260. Nigel Depledge

    Matt L (247) said:

    Stanton Friedman would make any cut in assessing research methods. He’s a gold standard on the issue whether you believe in alien UFOs or not. Unfortunately, there are very few others who meet his research standards in this field or others. I have hope for John Greenwald Jr.

    Well, if Friedman’s standards are so high, he must have published lots of peer-reviewed articles, yes?

    Let’s have some citations, then!

  261. Nigel Depledge

    Matt L (237) said:

    Your B scenario is unfair, though, because we don’t know that the gov’t has no evidence anymore than we know they do. That information is not for regular people to be told. If we did grab craft or bodies or whatever technology, there is no way that would hit the papers these days. At least, I don’t think it would.

    So, what do we actually know here?

    (1) That there is no hard evidence for alien spaceships.
    (2) That the US government has denied possessing evidence of alien spaceships (i.e. bits of those alleged spaceships).

    The possibilities you suggest are either that (a) there are no alien spaceships, or (b) that there are alien spaceships and the government is keeping them quiet. You seem to accord both of these possibilities equal weight.

    However, we also know several other things to put this into some context:
    (1) Governments and military organisations comprise human beings, who are known to be notoriously fallible;
    (2) Many people (if not most) are greedy and self-centred;
    (3) Hard evidence for ET life would be the most sensational discovery since fire;
    (4) Any individuals who shared the secret evidence with the rest of the world would no doubt be on the gravy train for life.

    Combining these factors, we can assess the plausibility of (a) and (b) above.

    If (b) is correct, it requires that we make some additional assumptions:

    (1) That no-one has inadvertantly let slip any real evidence, in the 60 years since Roswell (i.e. we must assume super-competence in just this one aspect of government).
    (2) That no-one has attempted to make a quick buck by “leaking” evidence of ETs to the world’s media.
    (3) That only the US government has evidence for alien spaceships, because (for some strange reason) alien spaceships never land or crash or get shot down anywhere else in the world. Not even China or North Korea.

    However, if (a) is correct, we need make no additional assumptions at all.

    Therefore, we can reasonably conclude that possibility (a) is far more credible than possibility (b). It (a) is also the more reasonable conclusion, because assuming (b) to be correct when (a) is simpler and we have no evidence for (b) violates the principle of parsimony.

  262. Twiddling fingers….waiting for those examples of rational, evidenced-backed theories from Mr. Friedman…waiting…waiting…

  263. Steve Boltzman

    About the Moon “UFO” video: >> that’s been determined to be a balloon <> Gentlemen; Old topic, but for your future “UFO” debunking pleasure.

    >> It’s a television satellite in a highly elliptical geosynchronous orbit near the ecliptic. Such an orbit describes an analemma in the sky. In this case, one lobe of the stretched figure-eight is seen in front of the Moon.
    [More modern such satellites continually correct their positions so that the figure-eight is flattened into a line on which the satellite drifts.]

    >> It’s round because it’s out of focus. And any typical video of a satellite passing in front of the Moon will show what appears to be a dark blob about the size as that seen in this video.

    >> The author of the video was told all this by an astronomer but chose to ignore that rather obvious and conclusive determination–opting for the indeterminant “UFO” instead. A balloon, near or far in random air, would not have remained in front of the moving Moon’s 30 arc/sec but a moment.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geosynchronous_orbit
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analemma

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2007/12/14/italian-ufo/

  264. Steve Boltzman

    >> Anyway check out the Mexican UFO footage taken from a plane <<

    Yet another long-debunked “UFO” video. This one courtesy of the notorious Mexican video salesman Jaime Maussan. Those are ordinary gas fires on top of offshore oil derricks as seen by an infrared camera. This nonsense was debunked almost as soon as it appeared in 2004 by more rational Mexicans.

    As with the satellite video and so many “UFO” pictures and videos before, this is simply a case of forcing an unfamiliar and ambiguous image into a phony “UFO” context. There aren’t any REAL “UFOs” of any kind and there never were. There are no “UFO” facts in the world. There are only endless, unverifiable, insubstantial and wholly inconsequential “UFO” fairy tales.

    It’s all nothing but a paranoid space-age myth and collective delusion.

    http://www.csicop.org/si/2004-09/campeche.html

    http://www.reall.org/newsletter/v06/n03/illinois-ufo-mania-of-1897.html

  265. @ Steve Boltzman:

    Your satellite hypothesis describing an analemma in the sky doesn’t quite cut it. The “figure 8″ motion of a satellite in geosynchronous orbit, even if seen edge-on, would take hours to be noticeable. The video clearly shows the typical “bubbly” seeing of a live video shot with extreme magnification. A time-lapse view would be strikingly different. If you’ve ever spent any time at the eyepiece of a telescope, you’d see that right away.

    Also, the track of the object in the video clearly slows, even stops, a couple of times before moving on in the same direction. Tough for a satellite to manage that.

    And finally – and the corker, as far as I’m concerned – a communications satellite in geo-synchronous orbit would simply not be visible as anything other than a point of light to any ground-based telescope. 22,000 miles is a long ways away. Even if one were silhouetted against the moon, it wouldn’t appear as anything but a pinprick. To magnify it as large as the object in the video, you’d also have to blow up the moon to ridiculous proportions…which the video clearly does not do.

    If you were to take away the features of the moon in that video, and were instead viewing the object against a neutral (say…sky blue) background, I think it would be very obvious that what you were seeing was a drifting balloon.

    Anyway, that’s what’s it clearly looks like to me. And I would stick with that explanation.

    Your mention of the Mexican UFO explanation, however, is correct, so far as I know.

    If you’ve read Dr. BA’s blog in the past, you’ll know that “explanations” don’t usually sink in to the true believers. Nor will any thoroughly debunked case fail to be brought up repeatedly in the future.

    Such is the power of faith.

  266. I guess Matt won’t be sending any more tweets about defeating the bad ol’ skeptics. Or maybe that’s what he’s doing now, since he doesn’t seem in a hurry to supply those “gold standard” UFO investigations of Mr. Friedman. Damn, and I was so looking forward to some good bunk to de.

  267. Steve Boltzman

    Yeah! Stanton Friedman, the self-described “flying saucer fizzicyst.” What a “sterling” Joke!

    [Gee, this posts first time. I wonder what the system didn't like about my "geostationary satellite" post that I tried yesterday and this AM. Could have been the links. Oh, well.]

  268. @ Steve B.:

    If your posts contain links to other websites, they will be held up in moderation.

    Which is why, I’m sure, Matt’s posts with all his Friedman research haven’t shown up yet.

  269. Steve Boltzman

    kuhnigget; You mean well, I’m sure, but the satellite hypothesis is the best hypothesis. It’s the right location, right size, right motion–as shown by Sposetti’s time-lapse images of geostationary satellites.

    >> Your satellite hypothesis describing [a section of] an analemma in the sky doesn’t quite cut it <> The video clearly shows the typical “bubbly” seeing of a live video shot with extreme magnification.<> A time-lapse view would be strikingly different.<> If you’ve ever spent any time at the eyepiece of a telescope, you’d see that right away.<< That doesn't help. "If you do say so yourself" is the common rebuttal. The presumption of authority not in evidence doesn't advance any argument. And this is the fallacious appeal on which your entire "balloon" position depends. "Because I say so" doesn't refute objective astronomical evidence. Understand now?

    >> Also, the track of the object in the video clearly slows, even stops, a couple of times before moving on in the same direction. Tough for a satellite to manage that.<< See Above. It's 3600 discontinuous stills.
    And that's exactly what necessitates the geostationary aspect in explaining what is seen. And it's where the "balloon" explanation is horribly lacking: a free-floating balloon, miles away, is unlikely to remain in front of the Moon's small 30 arc/min as a telescope tracks it. Or if it were a tethered balloon, it never would have been an "unidentified" to begin with and still would have had to have been miles away. Again, not very likely. So however seemingly reasonable and easy, the "balloon" explanation has fatal problems.
    The amateur has since claimed that the retrograde motion of the satellite was caused by his tracking the Moon over time. If it was a free-floating balloon, not only would such a revealing admission not be necessary, it doesn't follow his own "balloon" explanation. He has also removed all of the files relating to this Moon and “UFO” nonsense from his website and does other serious backpedaling when asked about it. Apparently, every aspect of this kid’s “UFO” nonsense was someone else’s fault! Isn’t that always the way when a crummy Internet hoax gets its creator too much attention from the wrong people?

    >> And finally – and the corker, as far as I’m concerned – a communications satellite in geo-synchronous orbit would simply not be visible as anything other than a point of light to any ground-based telescope.<<
    We see from Sposetti's images that's simply not true. And there are many other videos of satellites crossing the Moon that are very similar to the one in question.

    .ttp://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/2573054/page/0/view/collapsed/sb/5/o/all/fpart/all/vc/1

    And for all the obvious "informed" amateur objections stands the fact that there are just too many contingencies to account for, so abstract (or fallacious) appeals can't be effective arguments. That and the fact that professional astronomers know very well that geostationary satellites can be seen and have shown it.

  270. Greg in Austin

    @Steve Boltzman,

    Very interesting information. Whether it is a balloon or a satellite, that fact hardly matters. The point is that the object seen in the video has a terrestrial explanation, and is not an Alien Spacecraft. As is every other photo, video, or eyewitness story we have seen or heard so far.

    8)

  271. Well, okay, Steve, since Matt seems to have bailed…

    And that’s what the amateur who manufactured the Moon and “UFO” video claimed when astronomer Stefano Sposetti–an expert in the subject–told him it was an ordinary geostationary television satellite.

    Two paragraphs down, you’re excoriating me for presenting an argument from authority. And yet you lead with this? Okay.

    It’s twelve discontinuous pieces of 300 discontinuous frames each. And both the lunar surface and the object are distorted by turbulence so that its shape is changing radically from frame to frame. So it’s not very likely to be a balloon a few miles from the telescope.

    Your conclusion does not follow from the preceding statements. The twelve discontinuous sections of video have obviously been composited to show the path of the object across the face of the moon. That is not in question. The turbulence that distorts both the moon and the object is also not in question. These two facts do not have any impact on the identification of the object in the foreground, and do not rule out a balloon (which would not have to be “a few miles from the telescope,” only a couple thousand feet.)

    >> If you’ve ever spent any time at the eyepiece of a telescope, you’d see that right away.< < That doesn't help. "If you do say so yourself" is the common rebuttal. The presumption of authority not in evidence doesn't advance any argument

    See above. The “time at the eyepiece” comment is germane, as it helps to establish familiarity with the size and appearance of objects in telescopes.

    The amateur has since claimed that the retrograde motion of the satellite was caused by his tracking the Moon over time. If it was a free-floating balloon, not only would such a revealing admission not be necessary, it doesn’t follow his own “balloon” explanation

    Again, your conclusion is not supported by the sentences that precede it. “Tracking the moon over time” would not cause the object in question to speed up, come to a halt, change direction, and gradually reverse course. Even if it were a satellite caught at the apex of its analemma, the object would not move in this manner.

    And contrary to your belief, a floating balloon could indeed produce this motion. As I stated in my email, the moon does not shoot across the sky like a meteor. Even at high magnification, it takes a long time for it to track out of a telescopic view. A free floating balloon, a couple thousand feet in the air, could track the exact same path as seen in the videos. Check youtube for other shots of balloons being passed off as ufos. They move in exactly the same fashion.

    >> And finally – and the corker, as far as I’m concerned – a communications satellite in geo-synchronous orbit would simply not be visible as anything other than a point of light to any ground-based telescope.<<

    We see from Sposetti’s images that’s simply not true. And there are many other videos of satellites crossing the Moon that are very similar to the one in question.

    I can’t seem to find those images. The shots on the website you link to are mostly of the ISS and the space shuttle. Again, as I stated in my email, the ISS is huge, and it’s in low earth orbit. A communication satellite in geosynchronous orbit is smaller by a factor of ten or so, and about 180 times farther away. Looking at the shots of the ISS silhouetted against the moon, you can clearly see it’s only about 2 times as big as the object in the video in question. So how could a much smaller satellite than the ISS, one that is 22,000 miles farther away, only appear twice as small in the video?

    Straight answer, it couldn’t! As you can clearly see from the video, the background moon is magnified probably at 100 or 120 power or so. That sort of magnification would show a communication satellite 22,000 miles away as nothing more than a pinpoint, which again is not what the video shows.

    If you have other photographs that show otherwise, I’d be happy to see them. Otherwise, and until someone comes up with an alternate theory that is actually backed up by sound evidence, I’m sticking to the balloon theory.

    Cheers.

  272. Greg in Austin

    Steve Boltzman said,

    “And there are many other videos of satellites crossing the Moon that are very similar to the one in question.

    .ttp://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/2573054/page/0/view/collapsed/sb/5/o/all/fpart/all/vc/1″

    I did not find any videos of a satellite crossing the moon either. In fact, Steve, this link you posted has many commenters that state why they DON’T think the big black circles are satellites.

    Please note on that page the comments from Jim Mosher:

    Objects at higher altitudes than the ISS will take longer to cross the Moon, just as a distant plane seems to be moving more slowly than one moving at the same speed nearby. But if they are farther away they will also look smaller. An extreme example would be a geostationary communication satellite which, being by definition at a fixed point in the sky, would, like a non-tracking telescope, sweep over the 0.5 deg diameter of the Moon in about 2 minutes. But to accomplish this degree of slowness it has to be about 36,000 km away (nearly 1/10th the distance to the Moon), meaning it will look small indeed. At that distance even an extremely large satellite with a 10 m wingspan would be only 0.06 arc-sec across — barely big enough to blot out a 100 m crater on the Moon and much too small for any amateur telescope to detect as a dark dot in transit.

    Seems to me that the evidence, and the rough calculations, all point to the black circle being a balloon, and not a satellite in geostationary orbit. Quite simply, a satellite would move across the moon too quickly and be too small to see anything other than a light.

    I could be wrong. Do you have any other evidence, Steve?

    8)

  273. Steve Boltzman

    And that’s what the amateur who manufactured the Moon and “UFO” video claimed when astronomer Stefano Sposetti–an expert in the subject–told him it was an ordinary geostationary television satellite.

    >> Two paragraphs down, you’re excoriating me for presenting an argument from authority. And yet you lead with this? Okay.<> I can’t seem to find those images.<> I’m sticking to the balloon theory.<<

    You're welcomed to it! :-)

  274. Steve, you do realize that during a 12+ hour period, the time it took Sposetti to take that satellite track, the moon would have risen and set, covering in the process the entire length of the night sky?

    Furthermore, you do realize that his photographs are of light trails, i.e. the track left by the light reflecting off the satellite, not the satellite itself?

    At no time does Mr. Sposetti claim to actually photograph the shape of the satellite itself, which he would not do, given that it would be too small for his C8 to resolve.

    Your heart is in the right place, but you have to think a little more.

    Cheers again.

  275. Greg in Austin

    @Steve,

    Its not that I don’t believe you. Its just that you are not presenting any evidence to support your claim. The video you just posted a link to, as evidence that “there are many other videos of satellites crossing the Moon ” is missing one minor detail: THE MOON!

    There is no moon in that video. Please present a video of a known satellite passing in front of The Moon, or else retract your claim that such things exist.

    “Astronomer Sposetti IS an authority.”

    An authority for what? I don’t know who Sposetti is, and I don’t care if he invented bread or the CCD camera. If you or I cannot verify his claims by repeating his experiment, then that is simply not good science. And you or I would be foolish to accept his word as fact without the evidence to support it.

    Show us evidence of your claim that the black circle object was a satellite, by either linking to a photo or video of a known satellite passing in front of the moon (just like the photos of the known ISS, Space Shuttle or Hubble passing in front of the moon or the sun), or at least show us the calculations for an object the size and shape of a known geostationary satellite, at a known distance from Earth, resolved in an ordinary backyard telescope.

    Otherwise, you will have to accept the fact that there is more data that supports the hypothesis that the black circle is a balloon. There are already links to such data here, but I will be happy to find more, if you’d like.

    8)

  276. Steve Boltzman

    >> Your heart is in the right place, but you have to think a little more.<<

    Great advice coming from someone who is still making elementary errors. :-)

  277. Steve Boltzman

    >> you are not presenting any evidence to support your claim.<> An authority for what? I don’t know who Sposetti is <> cannot verify his claims by repeating his experiment, then that is simply not good science.<<

    Science by blog? No one is doing any science, it's simply a matter of making the *best* debunking argument; and the old (weather) "balloon" canard just ain't good enough for me on this one. :-)

  278. Okay, I’m going to call Poe on this one.

    Great advice coming from someone who is still making elementary errors.

    Which elementary errors would those be, Steve? Please be precise.

    The video of Mr. Sposetti’s satellite tracks you linked to showed an area of the sky just over 11 x 9 arc minutes across. The moon is 30 arc minutes across. It took over 12 hours for the satellites Mr. Sposetti photographed to move from one side of his frame to the other. In that same 12 hours the moon (and the rest of the sky — see the horizontal star trails in Mr. Sposetti’s video) would rotate completely around from horizon to horizon.

    Do those facts register? Do they not make the teeniest dent in your theory?

    And why have you conveniently failed to counter the argument of how tiny a satellite in geosynchronous orbit would appear from the ground?

    Maybe you’d like to let fly a few more canards and see if any of them quack.

  279. Greg in Austin

    279. Steve Boltzman Says:

    >> you are not presenting any evidence to support your claim.< <

    Oh, yeah, I am; you just have to put it all together for yourself.

    No sir. I have to do nothing of the sort. You made the claim, the onus is 100% upon you to provide the evidence for your claim. Show me a video of a known satellite passing in front of the moon, like you claim exists, or admit you are mistaken. The only “evidence” you have presented is not what you claim, or directly contradicts your claim (in the case of the forum posts you linked to.)

    >> An authority for what? I don’t know who Sposetti is < <

    Ignorance of the fact that he's a real astronomer doesn't change that fact.

    Argument from authority is a logical fallacy, and a popular one with woo-ists. It doesn’t matter if he’s the Grand Poobah of Astronomy. If there’s no evidence, there’s no reason to accept that claim. What if Sposetti says the sun is made of butter and the moon is made of green cheese? Would you believe him because he’s a “real astronomer?”

    As a related note, please point where Sposetti suposedly claimed the black circle was a satellite. Now I’m beginning to question THAT claim’s legitimacy. Why are you playing the role of Sposetti’s hand puppet?

    >> cannot verify his claims by repeating his experiment, then that is simply not good science.< <

    Science by blog? No one is doing any science, it’s simply a matter of making the *best* debunking argument; and the old (weather) “balloon” canard just ain’t good enough for me on this one. :-)

    Read that little paragraph up at the top of the page… that one right below Phil Plait’s picture. Can you read what that says? No? I’ll help:

    Phil Plait, the creator of Bad Astronomy, is an astronomer, lecturer, and author. After ten years working on Hubble Space Telescope and six more working on astronomy education, he struck out on his own as a writer. He has written two books, dozens of magazine articles, and 12 bazillion blog articles. He is a skeptic, and fights misuses of science as well as praising the wonder of real science.

    Obviously, this is a science blog, and a skeptic blog. Skepticism means you question everything, and only accept what is supported by evidence. I am willing to accept that the black circle is a satellite in geosynchronous orbit , if someone can explain to me how large that satellite would have to be in order to look that big, or have photos or video of a known satellite moving in front of the moon in the same manner.

    If its not a balloon, like you say, what else could it be? It behaves like video we’ve seen of balloons in the air, it is shaped like a balloon, rough calculations say it could be a balloon, so why could it not be a balloon?

    8)

  280. Greg in Austin

    279. Steve Boltzman Says:

    Great advice coming from someone who is still making elementary errors. :-)

    That’s called an ad hominem. It means, “argument against the man.” In other words, instead of arguing the facts of the discussion, one attacks the person making the arguments. Its another woo-woo-ist tactic.

    Just a helpful piece of advice: it doesn’t work well here.

    8)

  281. @ Greg:

    Isn’t it well past my snarky time? Must have taken too many meds. :)

  282. Greg in Austin

    @kuhnigget,

    It is way past your snarky time, and I kinda understand and admire your restraint. You don’t want to rile up The BA, but surely one like yourself can find ways to slam those who fail at logic in the most polite manner.

    But then again, that way isn’t as much fun!

    8)

  283. I am beginning to wonder if Steve doesn’t have a thing going on for Mr. Sposetti. Handsome Swiss astronomer, late nights under the stars, all the chocolate you can eat….it could do things to one’s thought processes.

  284. Nigel Depledge

    At a distance of 22000 miles (about 35000 km), a satellite 1 m square (as viewed from Earth) would subtend an angle of only 0.006 arcseconds.

    To resolve this object at all would require a telescope with a diameter of 19 metres. Therefore, I conclude that it is impossible, with existing technology, to see a geostationary satellite from the Earth’s surface as even a speck silhouetted against the moon. These objects can, of course, be seen with telescopes as points of light against the darkness of the night sky, but they are not resolved.

    So, I have to say I really do not buy the “satellite” conclusion, no matter who made it, unless the satellite is extraordinarily large or too close to Earth to be in a geostationary orbit.

  285. I knew somebody would chime in with the math eventually. Thanks Mr. Depledge, for quantifying my generalities. 19 meters (sorry, metres) seems slightly larger than Mr. Sposetti’s 8″ Celestron.

  286. Steve Boltzman

    >> Which elementary errors would those be, Steve?<> The video of Mr. Sposetti’s satellite tracks you linked to showed an area of the sky just over 11 x 9 arc minutes across. The moon is 30 arc minutes across. It took over 12 hours for the satellites Mr. Sposetti photographed to move from one side of his frame to the other. In that same 12 hours the moon (and the rest of the sky — see the horizontal star trails in Mr. Sposetti’s video) would rotate completely around from horizon to horizon.<> Do those facts register?<> Do they not make the teeniest dent in your theory?<> And why have you conveniently failed to counter the argument of how tiny a satellite in geosynchronous orbit would appear from the ground?<<

    As I said already: We see from Sposetti's images that's simply not true. And there are many other videos of satellites crossing the Moon that are very similar to the one in question.

    And for all the obvious "informed" objections stands the fact that there are just too many contingencies to account for, so abstract (or fallacious) appeals can't be effective arguments. That and the fact that professional astronomers know very well that geostationary satellites can be seen and have shown it.

  287. Steve Boltzman

    Great advice coming from someone who is still making elementary errors.

    >> That’s called an ad hominem.<< No, that's just stating the obvious fact.

  288. Steve Boltzman

    >> you are not presenting any evidence to support your claim.< > No sir. I have to do nothing of the sort.<> You made the claim, the onus is 100% upon you to provide the evidence for your claim.<> An authority for what? I don’t know who Sposetti is < > Argument from authority is a logical fallacy <> Skepticism means you question everything << No, it doesn't really.

    There's practical skepticism of extraordinary claims–usually the so-called paranormal and other obvious nonsense–which is what skeptics do, what this skeptic does, as in questioning the veracity of the "balloon" explanation. :-)

    And then there's philosophical skepticism, which does question everything to the point of absurdity and knowing nothing. That's the hallmark of today's irrational relativist, and other woo-woos and loons. Think!

    http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/appeal-to-authority.html

  289. There comes a time when every moron identifies himself by his own idiotic behavior.

    Oh, only misinterpreting the amateur’s Moon and “UFO” animation as an actual video to begin with–when it’s actually 3600 discontinuous stills.

    Check out comment #273, where I expressly acknowledge the video is a composite of 12 separate videos. I realize you have difficulty with reading comprehension, so I’ll repeat the point: It doesn’t matter. The 12 videos were composited side by side to show the object’s path across the moon. That composition does not in any way affect any theory of what the object might be.

    the obvious evidence that it’s a manufactured, time-lapse bit of work is shown to you;

    There is no such obvious evidence. The video shows quite clearly what a “live” view of a highly magnified moon looks like when viewed through a telescope. You are mistaken and have nothing but your own opinion to back you up.

    including the fact that the object–whose shape is continuously distorted, frame by frame–is most probably outside the atmosphere.

    There is nothing in this video that leads to that conclusion. Any object, observed at high magnification through a telescope, with the seeing conditions made apparent by the bubbly nature of the moon in the background, will show similar distortions. You are mistaken and have nothing but your own opinion to back you up.

    Then failing to acknowledge the fact that astronomers and amateurs quite commonly witness and record satellites crossing the face of the Moon, when much more than ample evidence has been presented here

    You have presented no such evidence. In fact, your own evidence contradicts your theory, as the only “satellites” you’ve shown are in fact very large structures (ISS, Shuttle) which travel in low earth orbit, not 22,000 miles away in geosynchronous orbit. You are, apparently, ignorant of the difference.

    I suggest you read what I’ve already presented and reconsider

    I suggest you read it yourself, and try to understand it, because right now you are coming across as a low grade moron.

    And as already abundantly shown, the “balloon” explanation, besides being a highly unlikely possibility, just doesn’t account for all of the observed fact

    This is an incorrect statement. You have only abundantly shown your own inability to understand the videos you, yourself are presenting. A balloon perfectly accounts for all the observed facts, and does not have to violate the laws of physics and optics to do it.

    < < Yeah, since it's all about the changing angle of observation, that would be how to record the apparent line described by a geostationary satellite over 12 hours. Is there a point here?

    The only “changing angle of observation” in the video of Mr. Sposetti that you present is the tracking of the telescope as it follows the center of the satellite’s path. In the same 12 hour period, the background sky (which would include the moon, if it were present) speeds by, from horizon to horizon. That is why you see the horizontal star trails in his video. The “point” here, is that you do not understand the very evidence that you are presenting, as it directly contradicts your theory.

    >> Do those facts register?< < Yes, but how does any of that change anything

    This is further evidence you are acting like a moron. Gee, how do facts that contradict your theory get in the way of your theory? Really, Steve? Really?

    My determination–rightly or wrongly–is that the amateur manufactured his animation in much the same manner as Sposetti did his, but using different tools and when the Moon happened to be passing the loop described by a geostationary television satellite. Simple!

    Your determination – wrongly – is based on a misunderstanding of the very evidence you present. If the moon “happened to be passing the loop described by a geostationary television satellite” it would pop into view for a handful of frames at the most, for the simple reason it took Mr. Sposetti 12 hours to capture that motion. 12 hours! Kriminy, even a moron can get that, Steve! In 12 hours the entire sky, including the moon, rotates across the entire vault of the heavens! What part of that do you not understand? Sposetti’s video does not cover the entire vault of the heavens, it covers a patch of sky one third as big as the moon.

    The main difference being that the amateur then presented his work on the Internet as a “UFO” video. And that makes all the difference. Comprende?

    The motivations of the maker of the video do not change the laws of physics or optics. Katalavaineis?

    >> Do they not make the teeniest dent in your theory?< < Not in the least!

    Of course not. Because you’re a crank. You act like a crank. You don’t understand science like a crank. And you cannot fess up to the fact that others have caught you in your ignorance….like a crank.

    As I said already: We see from Sposetti’s images that’s simply not true. And there are many other videos of satellites crossing the Moon that are very similar to the one in question.

    Again, you do not understand what you are looking at when you see Sposetti’s video. Nowhere does he state he is photographing satellites. He is photographing light trails. That you don’t understand that is further evidence you are acting like a moron.

    And please produce one of those “many other videos” you keep talking about, because all the videos and images on the websites you’ve linked to don’t show them. They DO show the ISS and the space shuttle, both of which travel 22,000 miles lower than a geosynchronous satellite.

    And for all the obvious “informed” objections stands the fact that there are just too many contingencies to account for,

    There are not too many contingencies to account for. There are only two factors: a balloon, approximately 1500 feet away, and the chance alignment of the moon in front of the same. That’s it. Nothing more. No ignored laws of physics, nothing. A balloon. The moon.

    And now, here’s something to think about, Steve. Every crank that comes onto this site behaves in very predictable ways. First, they present their opinion as fact and challenge everybody to prove it wrong. When actually proven wrong, they stomp their virtual foot, ignore the evidence placed before them, and restate their original claim all over again. When they are challenged yet again, they come back with the statement that “you obviously can’t understand so I won’t bother trying any more” and then they go away.

    You have now completed the first steps. How soon before you reach the end?

  290. “chance alignment of moon in front of the same” s/b “in back of the same.”

    Though I should have left it uncorrected, so it could be seized upon as “evidence.”

  291. Greg in Austin

    Steve Boltzman Says:

    and including the fact that the object–whose shape is continuously distorted, frame by frame–is most probably outside the atmosphere.

    How do you come to that conclusion? The distortion is caused by the atmosphere, yes, but that distortion can and does occur between the ground and nearby objects. Especially if the distortions are caused by heat rising from the ground. Yesterday, I saw heat distortions between the hood of my truck and the car in front of me only a few feet away. Have you ever looked at a distant object on land (say a mountain or a city skyline) thru a telescope? There can be a great deal of distortion between the observer and something only a few miles away. Therefore, the black circle object could have only been a mile or two away, putting it at between 5,000 and 10,000 feet. That’s well within the range of a large balloon.

    Then failing to acknowledge the fact that astronomers and amateurs quite commonly witness and record satellites crossing the face of the Moon, when much more than ample evidence has been presented here.

    And when those astronomers witness such an event, how long does it take the satellite to cross the face of the Moon? Less than a second? The black circle video (which looks like a 30fps video to me) is 2 minutes long. That object is moving much slower than any satellite we’ve seen. Unless, of course, you’d like to point out another video of a known satellite crossing in front of the Moon?

    As I said already: We see from Sposetti’s images that’s simply not true. And there are many other videos of satellites crossing the Moon that are very similar to the one in question.

    Baloney. None of Sposetti’s images show the Moon, and you have presented no other video of satellites crossing the Moon as evidence to support your claim. Please, show me ONE other video of a satellite crossing the Moon. If there are so many, that should be very easy. I think I’ve asked for this already.

    And for all the obvious “informed” objections stands the fact that there are just too many contingencies to account for, so abstract (or fallacious) appeals can’t be effective arguments. That and the fact that professional astronomers know very well that geostationary satellites can be seen and have shown it.

    Again, I call baloney. There have been several postings by amateur astronomers here that say you cannot resolve a geostationary satellite with any existing ground-based telescope, and there’s actually data (mathematical calculations) that back it up. You have present no data to support your claim other than your argument to authority. You haven’t even presented evidence that your authority made the same claim you are making.

    So, from a very basic standpoint, there is only ONE data point that supports your hypothesis that the black circle object is a geostationary satellite: It moves in a curved motion, similar to that of a geo-sat at one end of its analemma. Other than that, you have no data to support your claim. You don’t have any other photos or video of a satellite crossing in front of the moon, you don’t have any photos that are more than a pinpoint of light coming from any other geo-sats, you don’t have any calculations that show the apparent size of a geo-sat as seen thru an 8″ telescope, and you don’t have any data that says the object cannot be a balloon.

    On the other hand, we have lots of data that supports the balloon hypothesis. It is round. It is moving at an apparent speed consistent with a balloon in the atmosphere. The apparent size is consistent with a large balloon in the atmosphere. There are photos and video taken during the day and at night of balloons in the atmosphere (google sky balloon ufo). The calculations say it cannot be a geo-sat 22,000 miles away, but it could be a 1m balloon a mile or two away.

    Again, its not that I don’t want to believe you, but I cannot accept your claim with the evidence (or lack of) you have presented.

    8)

  292. Steve Boltzman

    We don’t know the actual size of the satellite or its distance from Earth at the time. There are simply too many contingencies to say it’s “impossible” based on assumptions and a simple formula.

    >> To resolve this object at all would require a telescope with a diameter of 19 metres. Therefore, I conclude that it is impossible, with existing technology, to see a geostationary satellite from the Earth’s surface as even a speck silhouetted against the moon. These objects can, of course, be seen with telescopes as points of light against the darkness of the night sky, but they are not resolved.<<

    And your argument is something of a straw man, since it all depends on the word "resolve." In both circumstances it's the negative, "not resolved," but in one case your conclusion is "seen" and in the other it's "not seen." In the amateur's phony Moon and "UFO" animation–the actual case, not the abstract–the object, an Earth-orbiting satellite, is not resolved; it is in fact wildly distorted from frame to frame. So it's not "not resolved," but that doesn't mean something is "not seen" or it's "impossible" to see.

  293. Greg in Austin

    Simple question:

    If a geosynchronous satellite in orbit at 22,000 miles away passes between the Earth and the Moon (238,857 miles away), where the Moon is lit by the sun, would the satellite be seen as a dark spot, or a bright light against the background of the Moon? In other words, if the sunlight is reflecting off the Moon, could it also be reflecting off the satellite?

    Since I guess it would depend on the angle of the sunlight, let’s assume its night time locally on Earth, and the moon is half-full or more. I think I may be able to work this up with a drawing and calculations…

    8)

  294. Greg in Austin

    @Steve Boltzman,

    You obviously do not understand what “resolve” means. From Dictionary.com:

    re-solve
    -verb
    11. Optics. to separate and make visible the individual parts of (an image); distinguish between.

    Look it up on a Physics and Optics website. What we are talking about here is the ability to see more than one pixel of an object.

    The fact that the black object moving across the face of the Moon is more than just a single pinpoint of light (more than a single pixel) means that the object must be larger than any geostationary satellite at 22,000 miles away, or it must be closer than 22,000 miles away.

    Let’s use an example you can understand: Take a penny and hold it up at arm’s length. Can you still see it? Now, take that penny, tape it to the wall of a building, and step 1,000 feet away. Can you still see it? Can you still see the date, or any details? How big would that penny need to be in order for you to see it from 1,000 feet away? 5,000 feet? 1,000 miles? 22,000 miles?

    That is what we mean by “cannot resolve.” It is physically impossible to see the shape and outline of a 1-meter square satellite that is 22,000 miles away with anything less than a 19 meter telescope. If the satellite is reflecting sunlight, then you will see a pinpoint of light, but you cannot see any details. The ISS is large enough and close enough that we can see its shape from Earth, even in the daytime. The same for the Shuttle, Hubble, and a few other low-orbit sats. But they are at an orbit of about 220 miles, not 22,000.

    Does that help any?

    8)

  295. Steve Boltzman

    >> There comes a time when every moron identifies himself by his own idiotic behavior<< begins the rant.

    And you just did that! Take a bow. But a blowup wasn't very *rational* of you. :-)

    All the rest is more of the same superficial analysis, misunderstanding of the basic facts of the matter, ignoring the evidence, then ad hominem and outright name-calling. That's #9 in the Woo-Woo Credo. Good Work, Nutboy!

  296. Steve Boltzman

    You obviously do not understand what “resolve” means. From Dictionary.com:

    >> to separate and make visible the individual parts of (an image); distinguish between.<> Does that help any?<< Are you straight on the Authority fallacy, now?

  297. Ooo…great response, Steve!

    Rather than counter any one of the objections I raised, you call my post a “rant.”

    Sorry, philo mou, that’s not a “blowup.” Trust me on that one.

    All the rest is more of the same superficial analysis, misunderstanding of the basic facts of the matter, ignoring the evidence

    Describing yourself, are we? No? THEN ANSWER OUR QUESTIONS. You’ve failed to do so at every turn. Instead, you keep repeating the same thing, over and over and over, as if it will get better with use.

    Why don’t you just admit, you made a mistake, you misunderstood the video you saw, you don’t really understand the geometry behind the video, and be done with it? Don’t worry, we won’t think any less of you. In fact, if you’d fess up to it, you’ll come across as a person with a brain, instead of a person who’d rather just repeat the same old nonsense as if that will make him sound smart.

    So again…answer our questions. Defend your theory with real evidence. Counter our arguments with better arguments, not the same old thing.

    Want to give it a try?

  298. @ Greg:

    No, I obviously do understand; but you obviously miss the point. What “individual parts” of that wildly distorted (from frame to frame) black blob are resolved?

    Nutter talk. He’s at the “make picayune comments about language” stage of crankdom.

    Hey, Steve. The fact that you can see a “wildly distored…blob” means it’s resolved. If it weren’t, you would only see a single point. That’s what resolved means. Try again.

    To quote one of the good doctor’s favorite phrases, “The Stupid…it burns!!!”

  299. Steve Boltzman

    >> There comes a time when every moron identifies himself by his own idiotic behavior< > Rather than counter any one of the objections I raised <> you call my post a “rant.”<> THEN ANSWER OUR QUESTIONS.<< Geez, he's channeling Perry Mason now. :) )

    Shout all you like, nutboy, you're not showing anything but the fact that you're a poor loser who can't understand most of the evidence presented, or just refuses to admit it. Going over it over and over doesn't change a thing. And now that you've embarrassed yourself by hanging onto the punctured "balloon" nonsense, you start the shouting, name-calling and laughable prosecutorial routine. What a self-important Dope! Now, Get Over It and Yourself!

    It's no wonder that you have to be reprimanded by rational others. You're arrogant and obtuse, then belligerent without reason outside of yourself. That's pretty irrational behavior for a "skeptic." How long have you been playing at being a "skeptic?" It's obviously not your inherent state. :-)

    I've studied astronomy and the philosophy of science for thirty years, have been a card-carrying skeptic as long, and have been busting "UFO" nuts and and every other kind of pseudoscientific crank, crackpot and loon on the Internet for twenty years. So give your name-calling nonsense a rest.

    And think about this way: The "geostationary satellite" hypothesis–even if wrong–is a much better explanation than the "balloon" hypothesis if only because it's falsifiable, it's an explanation with substance. And in attempting to falsify it we learn something about how the Moon and "UFO" was manufactured and why. Whereas, the insubstantial, unverfiable and inconsequential "balloon" explanation isn't even wrong! :) )

    And for you information, the amateur who manufactured the "UFO" animation that you misinterpret literally as a "near object in real time," claimed that his "conclusion" was that it was a 12-inch balloon, FOUR MILES away.

    Talk about not even bothering to get the basic facts of the story right. Geesh!

  300. Steve Boltzman

    >> The fact that you can see a “wildly distored…blob” means it’s resolved. If it weren’t, you would only see a single point. That’s what resolved means.<>“The Stupid…it burns!!!”<< Your behavior is pretty stupid that's for sure.

  301. FSM save us from the morons of the world.

    I took the liberty of looking up some of Mr. Boltzman’s other posts, on this blog and others. And while I admire his stance against the UFO nutters, he does exhibit a tendency to equate his opinions with fact.

    Again, Mr. Boltzman, point by point:

    I’ve studied astronomy and the philosophy of science for thirty years, have been a card-carrying skeptic as long, and have been busting “UFO” nuts and and every other kind of pseudoscientific crank, crackpot and loon on the Internet for twenty years. So give your name-calling nonsense a rest.

    30 years, and you are not aware of the fact that the earth rotates, and that such rotation, over a period of 12+ hours, will make the moon and the entire vault of the sky move from horizon to horizon, and not just across a tiny little square hardly a sixth of a degree across? Sorry, but that’s the only conclusion I can come to since you don’t seem to understand why your theory does not mesh with the video of Mr. Sposetti’s you used as evidence.

    And think about this way: The “geostationary satellite” hypothesis–even if wrong–is a much better explanation than the “balloon” hypothesis if only because it’s falsifiable, it’s an explanation with substance.

    Do you know what the term “falsifiable” means, apropos science? I think not. Falsifiable means it can be proven false by the presentation of contrary evidence. A theory that says water boils at 32° is falsifiable by a simple experiment. A theory that says angels that cannot be detected by any means are the cause of that water boiling is not falsifiable, and is therefore not a scientific test.

    Both your satellite theory and my balloon theory meet the falsibility test. In your case, your theory has in fact been pretty well proven false by the fact that it is contrary to the laws of physics and optics. The balloon theory, at least by you, has not been proven false because you have not presented any valid evidence against it. (And no, the fact that your hero Mr. Sposetti can photograph the light trails of satellites is not evidence against it. His videos are, in fact, irrelevant.)

    And in attempting to falsify it we learn something about how the Moon and “UFO” was manufactured and why.

    Oh really? What did you learn about why the video was “manufactured? Do tell.

    Whereas, the insubstantial, unverfiable and inconsequential “balloon” explanation isn’t even wrong!

    Well, finally, you’ve said something correct. It isn’t wrong! (It may not be right, but you certainly haven’t proven it wrong.)

    And for you information, the amateur who manufactured the “UFO” animation that you misinterpret literally as a “near object in real time,” claimed that his “conclusion” was that it was a 12-inch balloon, FOUR MILES away.

    Then the “amateur” and I are in very close agreement, differing only in a few thousand feet or so. Both of us think the balloon is about a foot in diameter (I’d go a foot and a half, given that’s the size of most mylar balloons you buy in supermarkets.) And the relative difference between me saying 1500 feet or so vs. him saying 4 miles is a factor of just over ten. Whereas the difference between a geosynchronous satellite’s orbit and that of an object in low earth orbit is a factor of over 120. So whose theory is more off base? Who is not even bothering to “get the basic facts of the story right”?

    Geesh, indeed.

  302. Greg in Austin

    @Steve,

    Why haven’t you addressed my questions?

    1) Have you found a photo or video of a known satellite passing in front of the moon?

    2) Have you calculated how large a satellite would have to be in order to resolve it (see it as anything more than a single dot) from 22,000 miles away?

    3) Have you found an example of where Mr. Sposetti actually claimed the object was a satellite?

    And please stop claiming it’s “round.” Take a good look at it. It’s Not!

    I’ve watched the video dozens of times. The black object is clearly circular in shape. You do know what a circle is, don’t you?

    8)

  303. Greg in Austin

    Steve said,

    And think about this way: The “geostationary satellite” hypothesis–even if wrong–is a much better explanation than the “balloon” hypothesis if only because it’s falsifiable, it’s an explanation with substance. And in attempting to falsify it we learn something about how the Moon and “UFO” was manufactured and why. Whereas, the insubstantial, unverfiable and inconsequential “balloon” explanation isn’t even wrong! :) )

    I think this is the closest we’re ever going to get to you actually admitting you are wrong. I don’t know why this is so hard, but you are wrong. Twice.

    The “geostationary satellite” hypothesis has ZERO evidence to support it. It is most definitely wrong.
    The “balloon” hypothesis has plenty of evidence to support it: The object is round. It moves like a balloon would. The calculations say it could be a balloon 1-3 feet in size. We have photos and video of known balloons, and they look just like it.

    You have provided ZERO evidence to support the satellite hypothesis, and you have provided ZERO evidence AGAINST the balloon hypothesis.

    Again, all you have to do is show us ONE photo or video of a known geostationary satellite in front of the moon. You claimed several times that the videos were numerous. Have you changed your mind?

    8)

  304. Just for fun, here’s another quote from Mr. Sposetti’s own website, describing his satellite pictures. The emphasis is added by me.

    The geostationary satellites each show a small degree of independent movement over several hours which has caused the satellite image to be a very short curving line rather than a fixed dot. The varying density of the lines is thought to be due to the brightness changing with time as the sun reflection angle changes. The orbits are not exactly stationary and appear as small ellipse, circle or figure of 8 each day. The maximum excursion is normally maintained to +/- 0.1 deg East-West and North-South by brief thruster firings every week or so. An old satellite (not shown here), which has lost attitude control and it slowly tumbling in an inclined orbit is seen as a row of dots. The diameter (size) of the satellite images relates to their brightness rather than the dimensions of the satellites.

    I hear many community colleges offer courses in remedial reading to adults who never quite got the hang of it.

  305. Steve Boltzman

    >> I took the liberty of looking up some of Mr. Boltzman’s other posts, on this blog and others.<> you are not aware of the fact that the earth rotates, and that such rotation, over a period of 12+ hours, will make the moon and the entire vault of the sky move from horizon to horizon <> Falsifiable means it can be proven false by the presentation of contrary evidence.<> A theory that says water boils at 32° is falsifiable by a simple experiment.<> Both your satellite theory and my balloon theory meet the falsibility test.<> In your case, your theory has in fact been pretty well proven false by the fact that it is contrary to the laws of physics and optics.<> The balloon theory, at least by you, has not been proven false because you have not presented any valid evidence against it.<> Sposetti’s videos are, in fact, irrelevant.<> What did you learn about why the video was “manufactured?<> Well, finally, you’ve said something correct.<> Then the “amateur” and I are in very close agreement, differing only in a few thousand feet or so.<> And the relative difference between me saying 1500 feet or so vs. him saying 4 miles <> Whereas the difference between a geosynchronous satellite’s orbit and that of an object in low earth orbit <> Who is not even bothering to “get the basic facts of the story right”?<<

    You, of course. And because of that, your failure of the imagination, astronomical ignorance and general scientific illiteracy, you've failed to understand the proper debunking of this phony "UFO" animation case.
    ______________________________

    Armed with the Null hypothesis of "UFO" reports; knowledge of the history of the myth and collective delusion as an easily understandable cultural phenomenon, and the very obvious product of the human imagination (and a conceptual absurdity); and the biological and astronomical implausibility of the ETH: the Psychosocial hypothesis not only destroys the delusion, it destroys the reasons for believing.

  306. This discussion has been somewhat amusing. Has anyone pointed out that in Steve’s first post, he linked to the BA’s post from 2007 suggesting that it’s a balloon? Last I checked, the BA is an astronomer, just like Mr. Sposetti.

    Here are a few questions: How large is the average satellite that is in geosynchronous orbit? At the lowest altitude possible for geosynchronous orbit, how large would the satellite need to be in order to be resolved? How large would it have to be, at the lowest altitude for geosynchronous orbit, to have the size shown in the video, as compared against known features of the moon in the video?

  307. Wow. Just…wow.

    I think if I post anything else, Steve’s head is going to explode.

    And I notice he still hasn’t answered Greg’s questions, or found a picture of a geosynchronous satellite in orbit, even though he said earlier their were lots of them.

  308. @kuhnigget and Greg

    I suggest not posting any other responses to Steve until he answers the questions that have been asked, or if you do respond, respond only with the unanswered questions.

  309. Steve Boltzman

    >> many community colleges offer courses in remedial reading to adults <> I think if I post anything else, Steve’s head is going to explode.<> he said earlier their were lots of them.<< I said nothing of the sort.

  310. Steve Boltzman

    >> I suggest not posting any other responses to Steve << And I Agree! :-)

  311. Steve Boltzman

    >> he linked to the BA’s post from 2007 suggesting that it’s a balloon <> Last I checked, the BA is an astronomer <<

    And we all know that astronomers–like astronauts and pilots–are experts on the subject of "UFOs" and in the interpretation of phony "UFO" animations!

  312. @ Todd:

    Awwww, how about just one more??

    From Stevie’s post #312:

    >> he said earlier their were lots of them.<< I said nothing of the sort.

    Annnnd from Stevie’s post #275:

    We see from Sposetti’s images that’s simply not true. And there are many other videos of satellites crossing the Moon that are very similar to the one in question.

    </blockquote

    Kuh-fwoom! His head asplodes.

  313. Steve Boltzman

    >> And there are many other videos of satellites crossing the Moon <> Kuh-fwoom! His head asplodes.<< This buffoon's obviously has. :-)

  314. @ Steve:

    Key words there being “very similar to the one in question.”

    Maybe not kuh-fwoom. Maybe just a little paf! as of a dim bulb sputtering out.

    Begone, ye troll, ye.

  315. Okay, so I know I’m being evil here, but just to twist the knife…

    Remember how Stevie kept saying the “ufo” video was a series of still frames, time-lapse, etc.? And how, if a knucklehead like me would only refer back to the original maker’s notes, it would explain the little conundrum of how Mr. Sposetti’s video, which is supposedly the same basic thing but took 12 hours to photograph, didn’t quite jibe with the moon video?

    Well, gosh. Here’s what that very same original video maker had to say in the notes to his movie (the bold is mine):


    Note:the capturing software was set to grab 300 frames x movie so I
    couldn’t track the event in continous mode. This is the cause of the gaps between the movies. The path on the background image is due to the stacking while the object moved through the moons surface.

    In other words, Stevie, you misread this one, too! Each segment of the movie was 300 continuous frames long! They weren’t shot in “time lapse”, you nit! The only jumps in time are the brief gaps between each segment of video!

    Steeeeerike one. Steeeerike two. Steeeeerike three! You’re outta here!

    Meow.

  316. Greg in Austin

    Steve Boltzman said,

    Which is all that it is, you couldn’t think of anything better so it must be a balloon–a failure of imagination.

    My imagination works just fine. The black circular object in the Italian video could be a Leprechaun wearing a really big sombrero riding a flying pink unicorn. It could be a giant marshmallow thrown into the air by a genie after magically appearing from a lamp.

    See, it only takes a little imagination to come up with a completely unlikely idea, like a satellite in geosynchronous orbit that somehow magically grows 1000 times its normal size.

    Oh, and I must have missed the answers to my questions:

    1) Have you found a photo or video of a known satellite passing in front of the moon?

    2) Have you calculated how large a satellite would have to be in order to resolve it (see it as anything more than a single dot) from 22,000 miles away?

    3) Have you found an example of where Mr. Sposetti actually claimed the object was a satellite?

    8)

  317. Greg in Austin

    @Todd,

    The Meteosat series from the European Space agency (en . wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteosat) is a series of geo-sats seen over Europe. They are approximately 2.1 meters in diameter, and 3.2 meters long.

    Since the video was made by an Italian astronomer, its most likely that any geosynchronous satellites visible (as a pinpoint of light, of course) from Italy would be one launched and used by the ESA.

    en . wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_satellites_in_geosynchronous_orbit

    8)

  318. Greg in Austin

    Steve Boltzman Says:

    >> And there are many other videos of satellites crossing the Moon < <

    Does that say videos of geosynchronous satellites crossing the Moon? No.

    Ok, ignoring the fact that you were specifically using Sposetti’s videos of geosynchronous satellites as evidence to support your claims, please show me an example of ANY KNOWN SATELLITE crossing the Moon. You do understand that any satellite in Low-Earth Orbit will pass across the moon in less than 1 second. That’s much shorter than the 2 minutes shown in the Italian video.

    I’ll be waiting patiently for your response.

    8)

  319. Steve Boltzman

    >> Okay, so I know I’m being evil here, but just to twist the knife…<<

    Just being completely stupid is more like it since it's all been addressed.

    You're taking the work and word of a computer graphics guy who manufactured a phony "UFO" animation and posted it in the internet. Duh! Where are those critical thinking skills? Nonexistent! And it so wanted to be a real skeptic.

    Maybe in some other world, loser.

  320. Steve Boltzman

    I said, “It’s a television satellite in a highly elliptical geosynchronous orbit near the ecliptic.” What does “highly elliptical” mean to you?

    >> I’ll be waiting patiently for your response.<< No problem, Greg!

    A geosynchronous transfer orbit or geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) is an intermediate orbit used to reach geosynchronous or geostationary orbit.[1] It is a highly elliptical earth orbit with apogee at about 35,700 km, geostationary (GEO) altitude, and an argument of perigee such that apogee occurs on or near the equator. Perigee can be anywhere above the atmosphere, but is usually limited to only a few hundred km to reduce launcher delta-v (ΔV) requirements and to limit the orbital lifetime of the spent booster.

    Now, that should answer all reasonable objections. And the "geostationary satellite" hypothesis is not just perfectly plausible, it's highly likely.

    Isn't learning about practical astronomy and space science while honing your critical-thinking skills fun? :-)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geosynchronous_transfer_orbit

  321. Steve, you do realize how pathetic you sound, don’t you?

    I may be a snarky internet blog poster, but at least I get my facts right. At least I understand the things I present as evidence. At least my knowledge of astronomy and science is sound enough that I don’t have to ignore basic laws in order to cling to my tenuous position.

    You know who you remind me of, Steve or Dwaine or whatever your name is? George W. Bush. He’s another guy who didn’t get one thing right.

    And the sad thing is, it didn’t have to turn out this way. If you’d just come here and said, “Hey guys, about that UFO over the moon thing. What do you think of this….?”

    But no. You posted your opinion as if it were the word of god, case closed, no room for discussion, and then when we started calling you on your arrogance, you turned into a raving crank…just like all the other raving cranks who post on Dr. BA’s blog. You could just as easily be raving about pro-UFO arguments, or plasma physics, or any of the other goofball stuff the cranks crank out. You’re exactly the same.

    Humility, Steve. Try it. You might actually learn something.

    And now I assume you’re going to answer Greg’s questions? Yeah, right.

  322. Steve Boltzman

    >> And there are many other videos of satellites crossing the Moon < > Key words there being “very similar to the one in question.”<> Maybe not kuh-fwoom. Maybe just a little paf! as of a dim bulb <> Begone, ye troll, ye.<<

    Take your own advice, you sad loser. Troll? That's Funny! If I'm a troll then you're the mad dog who took the bait. Duh! (Not that that's what it was at all.) These things follow a very predictable course. Get over it.

  323. Yeah, yeah. You said all that before, Steve/Dwaine/Sir Knowsalot.

    So NOW are you going to answer Greg’s questions?

  324. Greg in Austin

    @Steve,

    Drop the ad homs, stop crying over your bruised ego and answer the questions.

    1) Have you found a photo or video of a known satellite passing in front of the moon? (Notice, I did not say it had to be a geosynchronous satellite, but I would prefer it be something other than the ISS, the Shuttle or Hubble.)

    2) Have you calculated how large a satellite would have to be in order to resolve it (see it as anything more than a single dot) from 22,000 miles away?
    (If you cannot perform these calculations, just say so, and we can find someone who can help you.)

    3) Have you found an example of where Mr. Sposetti actually claimed the object was a satellite?
    (This is most important. I want to know where and when Mr. Sposetti actually claimed the black object was a geo-sat.)

    Still waiting…

    8)

  325. Steve Boltzman

    >> didn’t get one thing right…. Humility <> And the sad thing is, it didn’t have to turn out this way.<<

    Yeah, you didn’t have to make a complete fool of yourself by defaulting to your habitual (but inept) irrational mad-dog attack mode. Take a Lesson!

    You didn’t answer my question: How long have you been playing at being a “skeptic?” It’s obviously not your inherent state. What sort of pseudoscientific loon were you before you converted? “UFO” Believer, Ancient Astronauts, Lost Civilisations, “Face” on Mars and NASA Masonic conspiracy? “Woo Woo!” You recent converts can be the biggest zealots. Do Tell!

  326. Steve Boltzman

    >> bruised ego <> answer the questions.<< Stop ignoring the evidence presented.

    If you haven't got it by now, too bad. Any failure is your own.

    Again: It is a highly elliptical earth orbit with apogee at about 35,700 km, geostationary (GEO) altitude, and an argument of perigee such that apogee occurs on or near the equator. Perigee can be anywhere above the atmosphere, but is usually limited to only a few hundred km …. Okay?

  327. Stop ignoring the evidence presented.

    It seems as if I haven’t been ignoring it enough to suit your purposes.

    Again: It is a highly elliptical earth orbit with apogee at about 35,700 km, geostationary (GEO) altitude, and an argument of perigee such that apogee occurs on or near the equator. Perigee can be anywhere above the atmosphere, but is usually limited to only a few hundred km …. Okay?

    Okay! Of course, any satellite with a perigee of only a few hundred kilometers would have an orbital velocity, at closest approach, even faster than that of the ISS, which, as has been clearly shown by the videos you linked to previously, moves past an area of the sky the size of the moon in less than a couple seconds.

    And need we mention that a satellite in such a highly elliptical orbit would not describe a wee little analemma in the sky, as was so forcefully stated in your original argument?

    Once again, Steve, your own assertions negate your theory, as any such satellite does not match the original “ufo” video in question.

    Try, try again.

  328. Greg in Austin

    Steve Boltzman said,

    >> answer the questions.<< Stop ignoring the evidence presented.

    We have not ignored the evidence you have presented. In fact, we have responded to every bit of it. The problem is. you have not provided any evidence that supports your claim. Do we really have go thru all this again?

    You claimed the black circle in the “Italian UFO” video was a satellite in geosynchronous orbit. Your source for this claim was an astronomer who takes pictures and video of geo-sats. Getting past the obvious argument from authority, we looked closer at the facts of your claim.

    1) The object in the video is too large to be any satellite in geosynchronous orbit. The math proves it, the videos of real geo-sats show nothing but pinpoints of light, and the lack of any additional photos or video of ANY satellite passing in front of the Moon strongly suggests that the object CANNOT be a satellite.

    2) Any satellite in orbit will pass across the face of the moon in less than one second, whereas the object in question is shown to take minutes to pass over the Moon.

    3) You have not provided a source for your original claim. Let me go back and look… nope. No source. I don’t believe that any astronomer ever claimed the object was a geo-sat, and that you are simply making it up.

    4) You refuse to backup your claim with facts, you continually ignore requests to answer simple direct questions, and you mouth off in your comments with personal attacks and childish behavior.

    Perhaps someday you will grow up and learn to play well with others, learn to back up your claims with real evidence, and learn to admit when you are wrong with dignity and grace.

    8)

  329. Nigel Depledge

    Steve Boltzman (295) said:

    We don’t know the actual size of the satellite or its distance from Earth at the time. There are simply too many contingencies to say it’s “impossible” based on assumptions and a simple formula.

    We don’t know the exact size of this particular satellite, but we do know quite a lot a bout satellites in general, including geostationary ones. There are none that are larger than about 3 m x 3 m. How can I know this? Because of the limitations of the launch vehicles that are and have been available. The largest space vehicles ever launched were the Apollo moon missions, where the CSM had a diameter of approx 4 m. Cassini-Huygens was probably the largest unmanned probe launched, and it was roughly the size of a bus (i.e. with a cross-section of 3 m x 3 m approx). What matters when trying to resolve an object is its smallest dimension, not its largest.

    >> To resolve this object at all would require a telescope with a diameter of 19 metres. Therefore, I conclude that it is impossible, with existing technology, to see a geostationary satellite from the Earth’s surface as even a speck silhouetted against the moon. These objects can, of course, be seen with telescopes as points of light against the darkness of the night sky, but they are not resolved.<<

    And your argument is something of a straw man, since it all depends on the word “resolve.”

    It’s really very simple. To resolve an object from its background (i.e. to distinguish it as a separate feature) when it is darker than its background is simply to see it. However, when the object reflects or emits more light than the background against which it is viewed, the light is seen even if the object is not. So, reflected light from a satellite can indeed be observed against the darkness of space. However, a geostationary satellite 35,000 km distant will not be resolved (i.e. seen) against a bright background such as the sunlit moon.

    In both circumstances it’s the negative, “not resolved,” but in one case your conclusion is “seen” and in the other it’s “not seen.”

    Yes, because, if you understood the situation, you would see that in one case you are observing a relatively dark object against a lit background and in the other you are observing emitted or reflected light from the same object against a dark background. This makes a difference. Certainly you can see the light of stars with the unaided eye against the dark backdrop of space. However, you do not resolve them as objects – they are mere points of light. If they did not emit light, we would not see them at all.

    In the amateur’s phony Moon and “UFO” animation–the actual case, not the abstract–the object, an Earth-orbiting satellite, is not resolved; it is in fact wildly distorted from frame to frame.

    Ah. I see that you do not understand the word “resolved”. Despite the fact that the balloon is distorted due to turbulence, it is indeed resolved as a round object as opposed to a mere unresolved point of light.

    So it’s not “not resolved,” but that doesn’t mean something is “not seen” or it’s “impossible” to see.

    Well, I hope I have been able to enlighten you about both my use of the word “resolved” and the (critically important!) diference between a relatively dark object seen in front of a lit background, and emitted (or reflected) light from an object against a dark background.

    Either way, whether you have understood the arguments or not, the “geostationary satellite” is not a credible explanation for the object that was pictured in front of the moon.

  330. Steve Boltzman

    >> any satellite with a perigee of only a few hundred kilometers would have an orbital velocity, at closest approach, even faster than that of the ISS, which, as has been clearly shown by the videos you linked to previously, moves past an area of the sky the size of the moon in less than a couple seconds.<> And need we mention that a satellite in such a highly elliptical orbit would not describe a wee little analemma in the sky, as was so forcefully stated in your original argument?<> Once again, Steve, your own assertions negate your theory, as any such satellite does not match the original “ufo” video in question.<> Try, try again.<< Haven't leaned anything from this lesson, have you? Oh, well.

  331. Oh, the fun we have.

    You’re forgetting that it’s way to becoming a geostationary satellite. You’re taking the most extreme situation in order to dismiss all others.

    Your typing deteriorates along with your logic. I presume you meant “on its way to becoming a geostationary satellite?”

    Do you mean it wasn’t one before? Was it not yet in its final orbit? Was the object in front of the moon in fact a rocket propelling this satellite “on its way”?

    Regardless, either case doesn’t work. If it’s at perigee, it’s moving too fast. If it’s at apogee, it can’t be resolved. There is no happy medium secret sweet spot in between that would allow the satellite to produce the motion in the video.

    It would since an analemma is merely apparent motion measured over time.

    No, Steve. It wouldn’t. And for one reason that is exactly what you just stated. An analemma is indeed an apparent motion, one that takes many hours in the case of a satellite to observe. The video you linked to in your first post shows this quite clearly.

    Here, yet again, you have just provided evidence that refutes your own conclusion. To wit:

    •the object in the “ufo” video was photographed continuously in real time. (This is what the photographer said, Steve, in his notes that you told me to look at.

    •the object moved across the face of the moon over a period of several minutes.

    •a satellite’s apparent analemma motion requires several hours to see.

    Therefore…get the picture?

    No, of course you won’t. You’ll seize on the word “fun” I used in the first sentence and claim that proves I’m just making stuff up. No, wait… You’ll seize on that sentence there and claim that it proves I’m making stuff up. No…you’ll pick that sentence….

    And on and on and on.

  332. BTW:

    Haven’t leaned anything from this lesson, have you? Oh, well.

    Yes, I’ve “leaned” into my laptop and banged my head against the keyboard, wondering how someone (you, in case you don’t get it) could be so pig-headed instead of just manning up and admitting you made a simple mistake.

  333. Steve Boltzman

    Oy Vey! More “conclusions” by make-it-up and “because I say so” blathering.

    Quite rationally, I’ll trust my own knowledge, understanding and good sense on this. :-)

  334. Steve Boltzman

    >> Your typing deteriorates along with your logic.<> the object in the “ufo” video was photographed continuously in real time. This is what the photographer said…in his notes that you told me to look at.<> Haven’t leaned anything from this lesson, have you? Oh, well.<> Yes, I’ve “leaned” into my laptop and banged my head against the keyboard, wondering how someone (you, in case you don’t get it) could be so pig-headed instead of just manning up and admitting you made a simple mistake.<<

    Haven't seen any evidence that I'm mistaken. It's an hypothesis. It's my debunking of a completely inconsequential "video" that was presented in a "UFO" context. Nothing to admit and nothing to get excited about. EOS

  335. Greg in Austin

    Steve Boltzman said,

    The whole thing could very well be a time-lapse animation of a drifting geostationary satellite and a moving Moon over time. It’s not an extraordinary claim by any stretch. It could be wrong, but that doesn’t mean it’s loony.

    No, it cannot. It cannot be a geo-sat. We’ve done the math. We know the physics. We’ve done the observations. It does not behave in the manner of any known satellite. It is too large to be a geo-sat, and moves too slowly to be a near-earth satellite.

    Your claim has zero evidence to support it. IT IS WRONG. Nobody said it was loony, it is simply wrong.

    You are deluding yourself if you are willing to believe the object was a satellite.

    And, just to let you know, spelling and grammar count if you want anyone to take you seriously. Your childlike behavior only further reduces your already low credibility.

    8)

  336. Greg in Austin

    Steve Boltzman said,

    Quite rationally, I’ll trust my own knowledge, understanding and good sense on this.

    Your knowlede, your understanding and your good sense are seriously lacking on this subject. You have admitted you do not understand words like “resolve” and “geostationary orbit.” You have no understanding of physics or the motion of the stars and moon. Your childlike behavior shows you are either unwilling or unable to use good sense. We have explained the reasons why your conclusion is wrong, and yet you refuse to accept the fact that you are wrong. This is like a religion to you, and nobody else, not even the actual physical evidence, is going to change your mind.

    Good luck to you. I hope you don’t follow this method for everything else you do in life.

    8)

  337. Haven’t seen any evidence that I’m mistaken. It’s an hypothesis. It’s my debunking of a completely inconsequential “video” that was presented in a “UFO” context. Nothing to admit and nothing to get excited about. EOS

    Of course you haven’t seen any evidence that you are mistaken. That would be beyond the realm of the artificial universe you’ve constructed for yourself, the one in which you sit at the center, the fount of all knowledge. I have visions of Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons, parked in a Starbucks taking advantage of the free wi-fi and berating the barista for bringing him a soy latte when he distinctly said he wanted a caramel macchiata, this despite the receipt that clearly says soy latte crumpled beneath his laptop. Damn, that reality, and its constant intrusion!

    And it wasn’t your failed “debunking” that caused the excitement, Steveroonie, it was the holier than thou attitude with which you presented your unsupported opinion as fact and then launched into a tirade the moment your “evidence” proved lacking.

    Usually, these sorts of exchanges grow tiresome at this stage. Witness dear old Chuck in the Texas creationist thread. But at least Chuck adds a sense of humor to his idiocies, a quirky innocence to his stupidity. You, Steve or Dwaine, or whatever name you choose to call yourself, have none of that. You entered arrogantly with no sense of humility, and now you will probably leave just as arrogantly, clinging self-righteously to your conclusion, now downgraded, I see, to “an hypothesis” instead of ” the best hypothesis.” Even an artificial universe evolves.

    Mirroring what Greg so graciously concluded, good luck indeed to you. You will need it.

  338. Nigel Depledge

    Steve Boltzmann (333) said:

    It would since an analemma is merely apparent motion measured over time.

    Yes, the analemma is apparent motion. If the object you view is a satellite in low-earth orbit (or somewhere between LEO and geostationary orbit, assuming it is large enough to see), you would observe its actual motion. Now, what were you quibbling about?

  339. Nigel Depledge

    Steve Boltzman (333) said:

    Once again, your ridiculous conclusion by make-it-up and “because I say so” proclamation doesn’t mean squat.

    Actually, Steve, go back and read your own comments again.

    At no point have you supported your assertion with any actual references to data, nor by any reasoned theoretical analysis. It seems to me that you are the one using “because I say so” proclamations. And you are right – they don’t mean squat.

  340. Nigel Depledge

    Steve Boltzman (336) said:

    Quite rationally, I’ll trust my own knowledge, understanding and good sense on this.

    Erm, no. It would be rational to trust evidence and logical reasoning.

    The object in the video cannot be a geostationary satellite because such an object would be too small to see. Even if it were 3 m across (i.e. roughly as large as the Cassini probe), it would only be 0.018 arcseconds across at a distance of 35,000 km. This could only be seen against the sunlit moon using a telescope with a diameter of 6.4 metres or larger, and no amateur has access to such equipment.

    As an aside, professional telescopes of that size will never be aimed at the moon, because the amount of light they could collect from it would damage or burn out the sensors.

    If the object is a satellite somewhere between LEO and geostationary orbit on its way to adopting a geostationary orbit, it should be trivially easy for you to track down which satellite it is (based on the date and time of the observation) and share the information with us. This is because it is not all that frequently that satellites are boosted into geostationary orbits (partly, of course, because the geostationary positions are becoming a bit crowded). That would, y’know, constitute evidence.

    BTW, film (or animations) of geostationary satellites as pinpoints of light against dark space does not constitute evidence that such objects can be seen against the backdrop of the sunlit moon. Irrespective of what you believe or in what authority you trust, they simply cannot be seen by existing telescopes. Feel free to do the maths for yourselfl; it’s not hard, and the relevant formulae are available on the internet (in fact, they’re also on the BA’s blog – search for “Apollo Hubble Moon” and you’ll find the entry where Phil uses them). I’m not asking you to take my word for it, I’m asking you to find out for yourself.

  341. Nigel Depledge

    Steve Boltzman said:

    The whole thing could very well be a time-lapse animation of a drifting geostationary satellite and a moving Moon over time. It’s not an extraordinary claim by any stretch. It could be wrong, but that doesn’t mean it’s loony.

    Your postulate makes a clear prediction here. You predict that the analemma scribed by the satellite remins in front of the moon for the entire duration of the observation.

    However, in the hours needed to record the analemma of a geostationary satellite, the moon will travel across a large portion of the sky (as viewed in the referential frame of an observer on Earth). In the same time, the satellite will remain almost directly above one point on the Earth’s surface, i.e. its apparent position will change relative to the background, which includes the moon.

    Therefore, it is trivially simple to conclude that your postulate not only “could be” wrong, it most certainly is wrong. And the fact that you did not even bother to think about this, while at the same time trying to defend your claim that the object is a satellite does, indeed, make your claim “loony”.

    Seriously, though, whether the object was a satellite or anything else, stop and think before posting. Arguments that are so feeble not only do not help your case, they rob you of any credibility.

  342. Hey, Nigel, didn’t you read Steve-o’s final post? He said, “EOS” (End of Story).

    Further evidence not required. The Word has been writ. The Author has moved on, smugly aware that his vast knowledge (over 30 years studying “astronomy and the philosophy of science”) is just too great for mere mortals such as us.

    Steveroonie hath ascended. Let us be thankful we have the Truth™ he left behind, and pray to the great philosophers of science that one day we might understand his best of all hypotheses.

  343. Nigel Depledge

    Steve Boltzman (337) said:

    I haven’t seen any objection that makes this seemingly mundane scenario implausible.

    Only because you have neither thought about it nor understood what you are proposing. Your “geostationary satellite” scenario is not merely implausible – it is demonstrably impossible.

    And no, I didn’t care whether you tried to deconstruct it or not.

    Actually, that was easy to, not deconstruct as such – more like “shred”. Your scenario is not plausible. Either accept that there are people here who know more about such things than you do (and therefore accept that you were wrong to propose a geostationary satellite as an explanation), or come up with some real support for it. You have reiterated that your scenario is plausible / possible / probable / the only “explanation” for the object pictured, but you have not supported your assertions. In fact, if Kuhnigget is correct, some links that you have provided actually gainsay your proposed explanation.

    I never asked you to attempt that

    Yet you posted it in the discussion thread of a sceptical / science blog. What else did you expect? That we would respect your “right” to wrongly believe yourself to be correct?

    and would have been perfectly happy for you to have said nothing.

    And we would have been perfectly happy for you to have said nothing, or to have said nothing wrong. No-one objects to people making errors – it is, after all, part of being human. You, however, have clung to your erroneous view despite several refutations of all aspects of it. Why have you done this?

    This isn’t science by messaging. It’s harmless talk, if you’re interested, do your own research and draw your own conclusions.

    We did. You got it wrong. Why is that so hard for you to accept? This only turned into an extended bout of to-ing and fro-ing because you refused to accept that, based on available evidence and context (1) a balloon is probably the best explanation for the object pictured; and (2) a geostationary satellite is not a plausible candidate at all.

    You’re not going prove much of anything by messaging.

    Aside, you mean, from the fact that you got it wrong? I and others have provided sufficient detail here to show that your scenario is not plausible, and to allow others to verify this independently.

  344. Nigel Depledge

    Kuhnigget (345) said:

    Hey, Nigel, didn’t you read Steve-o’s final post? He said, “EOS” (End of Story).

    Further evidence not required. The Word has been writ. The Author has moved on, smugly aware that his vast knowledge (over 30 years studying “astronomy and the philosophy of science”) is just too great for mere mortals such as us.

    Steveroonie hath ascended. Let us be thankful we have the Truth™ he left behind, and pray to the great philosophers of science that one day we might understand his best of all hypotheses.

    Oh, man! And I had saved my most scathing ripostes for last!

    Oh, well. I guess that one advantage of being late to the party is getting to have the final say …?

  345. Oh, well. I guess that one advantage of being late to the party is getting to have the final say …?

    Yes. :)

  346. Nigel Depledge

    Kuhnigget said:

    Yes.

    Thought so.

  347. Steve Boltzman

    The whole thing could very well be a time-lapse animation of a drifting geostationary satellite and a moving Moon over time. It’s not an extraordinary claim by any stretch. It could be wrong, but that doesn’t mean it’s loony. It’s an hypothesis. It’s my debunking of a completely inconsequential “video” that was presented in a “UFO” context.

    >> Aside, you mean, from the fact that you got it wrong?<< says Nigel Depledge

    So, you're saying–after all the irrelevant diversions and condescending pontifications–it couldn't possibly be a HOAX manufactured by a computer graphics artist and amateur astrophotographer with knowledge of geostationary satellites?
    :-)

  348. Greg in Austin

    @Steve Boltzman,

    Nobody here said it couldn’t have been faked via digital manipulation. However,

    A) Do you have any evidence that the black circle object was digitally added to video of the moon? Did you or someone else analyze the original video file?
    B) It looks just like videos we’ve seen of known balloons.
    C) It CANNOT be a geo-sat, for the reasons we’ve already explained two dozen times.

    Therefore, assuming that the video is real (and not partially or completely fake, and there’s no reason to believe it is fake or digitally edited, unless you have evidence that says otherwise) THE MOST LIKELY EXPLANATION IS A BALLOON!

    In science, if your hypothesis is tested and fails that test, the hypothesis is thrown out. The hypothesis of the black dot being a geo-sat failed the test. It is bad. It did not succeed. The satellite hypothesis is wrong. It is not right. It is wrong. It is incorrect. Accept it and go on.

    8)

  349. Sounds like a Monty Python routine:

    “Bereft of life, it rests in peace! If you hadn’t posed it to the blog, it would be pushing up the daisies! This…is an ex-hypothesis!”

  350. Greg in Austin

    Steve Boltzman said,

    The whole thing could very well be a time-lapse animation of a drifting geostationary satellite and a moving Moon over time. It’s not an extraordinary claim by any stretch.

    No, it cannot.

    In case anyone comes in here and reads only Steve’s posts, I want to make sure we there is no confusion here. A geostationary satellite will never look like a black circle to anyone standing on Earth using a telescope smaller than 19 meters (62 feet) in diameter. It will only look like a single pinpoint of light, and that’s only if it is reflecting sunlight. Steve’s hypothesis that the object in question could be a geo-sat is completely and utterly wrong.

    His claim has no evidence to support it.

    8)

  351. Nigel Depledge

    Steve Boltzman (351) said:

    So, you’re saying–after all the irrelevant diversions and condescending pontifications–it couldn’t possibly be a HOAX manufactured by a computer graphics artist and amateur astrophotographer with knowledge of geostationary satellites?

    Of course it could be a hoax manufactured using CGI.

    But even if it is a hoax, it certainly isn’t a hoaxed-up geostat satellite. It quite simply cannot be a geostationary satellite, for the following two reasons (each of which is pretty final on its own, BTW):
    (1) It is impossible to see a satellite that is in geostationary orbit (i.e. at an altitude of 35,000 km) as anything other than a speck of reflected sunlight using currently-existing telescopes.
    (2) The moon is behind the object while the object moves about (describing what you have mistaken for the analemma of a geostat satellite). If it were a geostat satellite, it would take many hours to describe its analemma aginast the sky. In the same time, the moon would move across at least one-quarter of the entire sky, so could not be in frame for more than a short portion of the analemma-like movement.

  352. Nigel Depledge

    I should add, I suppose, that if you were somehow to send a large object into geostationary orbit – say, presenting a cross-section to the Earth of about 6 m x 6 m – then this would be just visible (as a single pixel)against the moon using the world’s largest telescopes.

    But the point is moot, because these telescopes are unlikely ever to be pointed at the moon, because of the risk this poses to the sensitive detectors.

  353. Nigel Depledge

    Using a pretty big amateur telescope (say, 50 cm diameter, which is roughly 20 inches), the smallest object that could theoretically be resolved at a distance of 35,000 km is…

    Resolving power of a 50 cm scope is (R = 11.6/D) = 0.232 arcseconds.

    For an object at a distance of 35,000 km, this would be…

    Alpha (angular size in arcseconds) = (d / D) x 206235 where d is size and D is distance (same units).

    Rearrange to get d = (Alpha / 206235) x D, which gives us 39.37 metres. So, an object would need to be about 40 m x 40 m in cross-section to be visible with a big amateur telescope at an altitude of 35,000 km. And even then, it would be a mere speck, at the very limit of the telescope’s ability to resolve.

  354. Dave in Minneapolis

    I still think a wide-angle/fish-eye night vision camera network would settle this debate (I’ve seen such cameras on news footage of meteor shower displays). I don’t know how far apart they would have to be from one another to cover the area above the US, but I suspect a network only a fraction of the size would reap dividends relatively quickly.

  355. UFO

    http://www.foxnews.com/video/index.html?playerId=011008&streamingFormat=FLASH&referralObject=7625992&referralPlaylistId=playlist

    this guy sees UFO’s over his house all the time/ many people including military stop by to check it out. the news goes to his place one night and even gets ufo’s on footage.

    and yes they check with local military and satellite websites to see that it isn’t the case. interesting report

  356. Greg in Austin

    @UFO,

    I’m sure this guy charges a fee to come visit his property to watch for UFO’s. And the footage captured by the news crew was obviously a satellite. It looks just like satellites I’ve seen. The professional Astronomer says it looks like a satellite. The most bovious and most likely explanation is a satellite.

    Whats missing is any actual physical evidence of Alien Spacecraft. That guy can believe whatever he wants, but he has no evidence to support his claims.

    Sound familiar?

    8)

  357. Steve Boltzman

    I said: So, you’re saying–after all the irrelevant diversions and condescending pontifications–it couldn’t possibly be a HOAX manufactured by a computer graphics artist and amateur astrophotographer with knowledge of geostationary satellites?

    >> Of course it could be a hoax manufactured using CGI.<> But even if it is a hoax, it certainly isn’t a hoaxed-up geostat satellite. It quite simply cannot be a geostationary satellite….<<

    http://www.satcom.freeserve.co.uk/astrasunout.jpg

    http://www.satcom.freeserve.co.uk/geos.htm

    Steve Boltzman, Skeptimus Maximus

  358. Nick Spry

    Astonomers are mainly going to be focusing on deep stellar space rather than local planetary systems (including ours). Anything traversing the space between stars would have to be travelling at far greater than light speed in order to cover the vast distances involved in any reasonable time. Therefore they would not be visible by normal means. Craft would only slow down to visible speeds when they arrive at a planet. Also when you focus on a distant object, much of the foreground blurs out (depth of field) so an astronomer would not see objects close to earth unless they specifically focused there.
    It would also seem reasonable to assume that life-supporting planets like our own would be more likely to be hubs of activity, whereas any activity in deep space would be enormously thinly distributed, again because of the vast areas of empty space.
    It’s easy to find a person in London, but much harder in the Gobi desert. Now scale that up a few hundred trillion times, throw in depth of field, and it’s clear why we don’t see much activity in deep space.

  359. Grant

    Phil Plait is a jerkoff, who calls himself an expert, but dismisses the possibility of life out there! Most of the sightings are occuring inside our atmosphere or just above it, and astronomers are mostly surveying deep space and anything passing through the field of view in the upper atmosphere wouldn’t even be visible to astronomers who are focusing on small portions of the sky out in deep space! And if these objects are travelling at the speeds being reported, then astronomers certainly wouldn’t see them passing through those minute fields of view when they are at such low altitudes. PHIL PLAIT! STOP REPORTING AND DEBUNKING, YOU SUCK AT IT! FIND ANOTHER CAREER, MAYBE WRITING CHILDRENS STORYBOOKS, MAYBE!!!

  360. Albert Ramos

    That was a great article above and it made sense. This whole UFO thing is all a myth. See amazon.com for the book “How Modern Society Invented UFOs.” It will explain it is a myth of the science age.

  361. danny

    any of you mugs every bothered to research the numbers.

    theres several scientific studies.

    most come to the conclusion 18 to 24 percent of astronomers report seeings uFOs.

    and most have multiple sightings over their lives.

    if you want me to provide links i will.
    however i doubt any of you really want to look behind the curtain.
    just keep quoting this phils figures,guesses and opinion dressed up as fact without any corroborating data presented.

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