Oh, those Falcon UFOs!

By Phil Plait | June 5, 2010 10:03 am

Yesterday, a lot of Australians reported seeing a bizarre UFO.

Just before 6:00 a.m. local time, numerous reports came in about a spiral of light in the sky with a bright central spot. The light was actually spinning around, like a pinwheel! One site has pretty cool video of it, and pictures are turning up on the web as well.

oz_ufo

Sound familiar? Yeah, it should: these reports are almost exactly like a spiral shaped light seen over Norway last year. The Norway sighting — a picture of it is below, on the right — was positively identified as a Russian missile, so of course as soon as I heard of this new Aussie sighting the first thing I thought of was that it was a rocket booster.

norway_spiralSo I leaned over my keyboard and was about to Google "rocket launch schedule" or something similar, when I suddenly stopped. I smiled, leaned back, and almost literally facepalmed myself. Gee, I thought to myself, what rocket would’ve launched yesterday morning?

Duh: the SpaceX Falcon 9! The private company successfully held its first test launch of the big rocket, blasting off from its Florida pad at 18:45 UT Friday — which is 04:45 Sydney, Australia time.

I don’t have ground tracks yet (maps of the path of the rocket over the Earth’s surface) Here’s the Falcon 9 ground track — the path of the rocket over the Earth’s surface — provided by jetforme (based on orbital parameters):

falcon9_groundtrack

Note how the path goes right over eastern Australia! The timing is perfect, too: about an hour later, the second stage would’ve been halfway around the world, matching the position and time of the UFO sightings.

The spiral pattern seen in Norway is known to be from gas leaking out of the booster. As the booster spins and the gas shoots out, it makes a water-sprinkler spiral pattern in the sky. As it happens, the second stage of the Falcon 9 was rotating; this was not supposed to happen and the SpaceX engineers are looking into it (it didn’t affect the launch adversely; the payload achieved orbit).

So the timing was right, the booster was spinning, and we know that spirals like this are an outcome of rocket launches.

Of course, this isn’t enough for some UFO believers. ABC in Australia had this from Doug Moffett of the UFO Research NSW:

"Firstly, the time of the launch was 18.45 GMT, which translates to 4.45am EST, the duration of the flight was 9 minutes 38 seconds – this is a full hour before the reported sightings," he said.

"Secondly, where was the glow from the boosters or from the friction created by the craft moving through the atmosphere, where was the tail of the rocket?"

"Thirdly, why would anyone launch a rocket on a maiden test flight with a trajectory that would take it over the most heavily populated parts of Australia?

"And how big must this rocket have been to be seen so clearly, at the same time, over such a vast distance?"

I have to admit, it’s pretty rare to see somebody get so many things wrong in so few words! Let’s take them point by point:

1) This isn’t a starship, it’s a rocket, and takes time to go around the Earth. An orbit is usually 90 minutes in period, so it takes about 45 minutes or so to get from Florida to Australia. Plus, since this was a launch it wasn’t moving at top speed the whole time; it took a few minutes to accelerate to orbital speeds. That makes the timing about perfect.

spacex_secondstage2) Mr. Moffett needs to understand that a launch from Florida, tens of thousands of kilometers from Australia, gives the rocket plenty of time to get above our atmosphere (which is only a few kilometers high). Heck, the Falcon 9 was up and outside the atmosphere in the first few minutes of flight, when it was barely over the Atlantic! So by the time it was passing over Australia it would’ve been a couple of hundred kilometers up.

3) Again, Mr. Moffett’s grasp of scale is lacking. If the rocket failed, it would have done so over the Atlantic. That’s why we launch rockets from Florida in the first place! There’s essentially no way a failure could cause a rocket to crash in Australia; by the time it gets there it’s in orbit and safe.

4) This is the most telling point: anyone familiar with the sky knows that satellites are easy to spot with just your eye. Rockets can be even easier, especially when they’re spewing out gas! This is something I’ve been saying for years: if you know what you’re looking at in the sky — meteors, satellites, planets, and so on — a lot of UFO stories evaporate. The fact that so many reported UFOs turn out to be mundane objects is a pretty good sign that more than a few UFO enthusiasts aren’t terribly familiar with observing the sky. I find that highly ironic.

For what it’s worth, the ABC story did have a quote from an astronomer who also posits it’s the Falcon 9, but they gave more space to the UFO guy, and put his claims after the astronomer’s, giving them more weight.

So despite the nonsense you’ll hear from the news sites and the bulletin boards that will claim this is some sort of transdimensional stargate warp, I think we have a pretty good idea that we actually do have a UFO here, as long as it’s an Übercool Falcon (in) Orbit.

Tip o’ the weather balloon to Ken Arthur, and to Robdotcom71 for the link to the Flickr pictures. Image credits: ABC News, user submitted by Destin Sparks and Henry Leef; SpaceX


Related posts:

- Awesomely bizarre light show freaks out Norway
- Another Russian rocket spiral lights up the sky
- Call to astronomers to report unidentified aerial phenomena


MORE ABOUT: Australia, Falcon 9, SpaceX, UFO

Comments (165)

Links to this Post

  1. Oh, those Falcon UFOs! « Men Into Space | June 5, 2010
  2. Blog de Astronomia do astroPT » OVNI espiral na Austrália | June 5, 2010
  3. Nova Espiral na Austrália identificada como Foguete Falcon 9 | CeticismoAberto | June 5, 2010
  4. UFO was second stage of Falcon 9 : Nightskyonline.info | June 5, 2010
  5. UFO Sighting over Australia confirmed! …Oh, hang on – maybe not… « codenix.blog | June 5, 2010
  6. Spiral “UFO” reports from the east coast of Australia « Victorian Skeptics | June 6, 2010
  7. congratulations to spacex, but sad pandas for humanity | woo, tangent | June 6, 2010
  8. O.V.N.I. sobre Australia | AstroCEDIA | June 6, 2010
  9. Spirialing ‘UFO’ Over Australia Was Likely Falcon 9 Rocket | Comet Enthusiast | June 6, 2010
  10. Prasoon Diwakar » UFO Sighting, No It Wasn’t. | June 6, 2010
  11. Another Sky Spiral Appears, This Time Over Australia | Gizmodo Australia | June 7, 2010
  12. Sydney Observatory – news and views on astronomy from Sydney » Spiral light in the sky identified as Falcon 9 rocket by Sydney Observatory astronomers on Saturday 5 June 2010 | June 7, 2010
  13. Aparece otra espiral en el cielo nocturno, esta vez en Australia | TengoFriki | June 8, 2010
  14. Aparece otra espiral en el cielo nocturno, esta vez en Australia | Ultimos Avances | June 8, 2010
  15. Mysterious Light Spiral Appears Over Australia (Video) | Disinformation | June 9, 2010
  16. Nachrichten aus der Raumfahrt kompakt « Skyweek Zwei Punkt Null | June 11, 2010
  17. Apparently Dan Aykroyd wasn’t acting in GhostBusters… at Alien’s Grin | June 19, 2010
  18. UFO over Hangzhou, China: a long exposé | forgetomori | July 16, 2010
  19. Fuffologia | August 12, 2010
  20. Science cat-fights: The media’s intelligent design of belief « The Tribal Scientist | August 26, 2010
  1. Wow! I too saw something unusual – it looked like a big orange fire moving rapidly upward, just a few seconds after 2:45 pm Space Coast time! Telephoto images show a white cylinder at the front of the flame-like appendage.

    I have to laugh – after nearly every launch someone, who ought to know better, gets all in a tizzy over big fuzzy shapes and spirals, and that’s right here, right where the culprit took flight!

    Go SpaceX!
    Chuck Greenwood, planetarium engineer
    Brevard Comm Coll Planetarium & Observatory

  2. Messier Tidy Upper

    Saw this on tonight’s news and immediately knew you’d cover it, BA. :-)

    But, if it *is* positively identified as the Falcon 9 that means its NOT unidentified and we have an I.F.O. instead! ;-)

    (Not for the first time of course – Venus & even the Moon are famous ex-UFO’s turned IFO’s.)

    A-l-t-h-o-u-g-h :

    There’s essentially no way a failure could cause a rocket to crash in Australia ..

    Rocket? No. Space Station – yes. Have you forgotten what happened to Skylab? ;-)

    The West Australian (state) govt sent NASA a littering ticket for that one I believe .. ;-)

    PS. Man that was a quick correction with the strike thru’ line there. No one had even commented on it yet & its done. Talk about a self-correction. :-)

  3. Best line: “This isn’t a starship, it’s a rocket…” That dude has been watching too much space opera. :)

  4. Mchl

    So SpaceX is in fact hauling into space Russian built torsion energy weapons?

  5. Fascinating stuff. Once again, sir, you have illustrated how truly wacky this old world and its humanoid inhabitants can be.

  6. Jeff

    Up next on ABC: Why the aliens decided to intercept the Falcon rocket.

  7. Will

    The ABC News report aired at 7pm (the major nightly news broadcast) only spoke about a Cape Canaveral launch.

  8. The launch of Falcon was timed so as to give cover to the aliens wormhole back to Nibiru.

  9. Gary Ansorge

    All this excitement just goes to show how bored people are. Mundane explanations aren’t nearly as news worthy as the fantastic. A stargate opening would really be something exciting, for those who don’t realize how wonderful it is for a bunch of proto apes to be able to understand enough of the universe and its laws to be able to launch such a craft.

    Me. Proto ape. Proud to be.

    GAry 7

  10. IVAN3MAN AT LARGE

    Doug Moffett of the UFO Research NSW:

    Thirdly, why would anyone launch a rocket on a maiden test flight with a trajectory that would take it over the most heavily populated parts of Australia?

    Meh. They are all descended from convicts, so who cares?! ;-)

    *Runs and hides*

  11. I saw the news report and the first thing I thought was it had to be the booster. I wish I’d seen it but by the time she went over I was in bed. I recall someone mentioning in the comments of the launch post that the spacecraft had rolled so you really don’t have to be a rocket surgeon to know what went on here.

  12. Gary Ansorge

    10. IVAN3MAN AT LARGE

    “Meh. They are all descended from convicts, so who cares? ”

    Yes and isn’t it interesting that their crime rates are no higher than any other nations’? I guess all those who assumed there was a substantial genetic component to criminal activity were just plain wrong.

    Gary 7

  13. IVAN3MAN
    “Meh. They are all descended from convicts, so who cares?!”

    I once asked my grandmother about that and she said she was no damned snitch so I never did find out if it is true or not.

  14. Rory Kent

    If Elon Musk has developed a transdimensional stargate warp device, you are going to have a lot of egg on your face.

  15. alfaniner

    I thought it was going to be another “balloon boy” story. (His name was Falcon.)

  16. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ 13. Shane Says:

    IVAN3MAN : “Meh. They are all descended from convicts, so who cares?!”

    I once asked my grandmother about that and she said she was no damned snitch so I never did find out if it is true or not.

    Haven’t you ever heard of wikipedia? ;-)

    In answer to your question – no, us Aussies are not *all* descended from convicts – some of us migrated later as volunteers & also many of the British guards, troops and officials stayed on and left descendents. There were also many waves of immigrants seeking to make a fortune on our gold fields in our gold rush period.

    Plus there are the Australian Aborigines or their survivors who were there pre-convicts and pre-European discovery and we’re a modern multicultural melting pot now and have been since the about 1950′s-60′s.

    In fact, one of the claims to fame my own state of South Australia has is that it was founded as a free colony and was the first (perhaps *only* I think) state to develop without convict labour. (BTW.Victoria and Tasmania are further south we’re actually more in the middle but anyhow. )

    Nowadays here in Oz having convict ancestry is a cause for family pride not shame, mostly anyhow. :-)

    Plus see : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australia#History

    PS. Meant to say this before but after staying up super late – or early however you describe 3 a.m. my time – to watch the Falcon 9‘s first aborted launch attempt I need to sleep and sleep in late at that and thus I ended up missing all the fun as well as my chance to see that spiral IFO.. Durn this need for sleep! :-(

    @ 17. Mike O :

    Depends where it lands – there’s plenty of outback where very few people live but we also have pretty big cities and a total national population of about 22 million.

    @18. IVAN3MAN : Yes – as long as you buy us all a beer to make up for your outrageous insult! Make mine a Coopers Pale Ale please! ;-)

  17. Mike O

    If that was a warp drive where are the Vulcans?

    Aussies are cool. Are there that many people in Australia to be worried about a crash?

  18. IVAN3MAN AT LARGE

    @ Shane (#13),

    Err… is it safe for me to come out of hiding?

    I hear that now many Australians regard convict ancestry, if they can prove it, as “a badge of honour”! :-)

  19. DrFlimmer

    That’s why we launch rockets from Florida in the first place! There’s essentially no way a failure could cause a rocket to crash in Australia; [...]

    Do I get this right? You launch from Florida, because then no Australian can be harmed? Well, that’s very thoughtful ;) (although I’m from Europe, but I guess that even we are pretty save from your little vehicles).

    [...] I think we have a pretty good idea that we actually do have a UFO here, as long as it’s an Übercool Falcon (in) Orbit.

    Hm. That would be an ÜFO, then. Since I’m German I am familiar with these “Umlauten”, but I think this sounds quite nice: “Look, the nice little ÜFO in the sky!” :-D

  20. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ ^ Dr Flimmer : How is that pronounced? Those umlauten bits I mean?

  21. Looks like swamp gas to me.

  22. Jeffersonian

    #4 would matter if the trajectory were straight-up and the flight of very short duration. Surely the guy’s not that dumb ; he’s just getting his 15 minutes.

  23. The ‘Aussies descended from convicts’ bit always makes me larf.

    Some Aussies are, like myself, well.. Americans. And you definitely don’t want anything to do with THOSE illiberal, illogical nutters- they’re all 4WD owning, godbothering racist teabaggers who think everyone other than themselves are pinko atheist socialist commies, aren’t they? AREN’T they? xD

    UFO guy Moffett is all too typical of conspiracy-loving nutwhackazoids. You could put the flight plan for Falcon 9/1 under his nose and he’d still blame the Illuminati for spying on his dog’s dinner with microchips.

  24. Lonny Eachus

    Falcon idjits. It’s obviously nothing more than a natural occurrence. My best guess is a dry-cleaning bag full of marsh gas.

  25. tony ostinato

    this sighting was falcon 9. that is clear.

    the guys on the spaceflight forums have been using these videos to calculate roll rates and stuff, theyre hugely amused by the silly ufo talk.

    i have a set of rules for ufo sightings that makes quick work of dispersing them:

    if it flies like a plane its a plane if its flies like balloon its a balloon if it flies like a satellite its a satellite etc etc etc.

    that leaves only stuff that does amazing unbelievable things like 90 degree angles at orbital speed.

    i saw exactly that in the mid 80s, what i thought was a satellite or perhaps the mir space station did a computer-animation-perfect 90 degree angle. the light had come up from the horizon and was behaving in speed and appearance like any other satellite would until that happened and then it continued on until it faded in the usual satellite way.

    since then ive wondered. the only explanation ive come up with is that i saw 2 satellites crossing paths but that occured to me the moment it happened and my eyes darted back and forth to where the “first” object should still be on its continued path and it just wasnt there.

    so thats why i believe in ufos.

    yet with all that i still dont believe OTHER peoples ufo stories.

  26. Chief

    I understand the need to believe in UFO’s as we want to be part of something much larger than we would otherwise experience. Those going the UFO route as shown mistake everyday objects as other things. The problem is that they miss what we are doing for real that is right in front of their eyes. We have our own amazing space fleet and it is paying off in dividends.

  27. David Turnbull

    Excellent post, I love it when the astronomy and the skepticism come together. Bonus giant rockets too, wee!

  28. Kamilyon

    I’m one of those people that definitely believes that there is intelligent extraterrestrial life out there. To me, it’s the Carl Sagan logic, that the universe is an extraordinarily large place, and the odds of something being out there somewhere is feasible.

    That being said, if there have been intelligent visitors to this planet, it’s not likely that Billy-Joe-Bob trailer resident living out in the sticks is going to recognize it when he sees it. Only human arrogance would assume that extraterrestrial life evolved just like us, and would act the same way.

  29. If the writer said it was a flying frog, you child mentality skeptics would agree. It’s called heard poisening and Hitler perfected it, but the writer of this story could have taught him a thing or two. It took my only three months to prove that aliens exist. I laugh at you, knowing you honestly do not have a clue to what is out there.

  30. Your Name Here

    Damn, I missed it.

    Guess I’ll wait until the next Falcon 9 launch.

  31. Surely the guy’s not that dumb ; he’s just getting his 15 minutes.

    And, he’ll sell a few more DVDs, books, personal appearances, etc.

    From the get-go, the prime movers in the UFO business have been in it for the money and/or status, all talk of altruistic noble causes to the contrary.

  32. John Paradox

    2. Messier Tidy Upper Says:

    A-l-t-h-o-u-g-h :

    There’s essentially no way a failure could cause a rocket to crash in Australia ..

    Rocket? No. Space Station – yes. Have you forgotten what happened to Skylab? ;-)

    The West Australian (state) govt sent NASA a littering ticket for that one I believe .. ;-)

    I remember Skylab really well, as I have/had a t-shirt with “I Survived Skylab” and an image of it on the front. In fact, it got me on TV…. it was the local ‘public access’ channels’ anniversary, and there was a guy with a video camera recording interviews. He saw the Skylab shirt and came up, filming the shirt, then asked me some questions:
    Q: how did you survive Skylab
    A: by not being on it or where it landed.
    Q: are you one of the people who went looking for pieces with butterfly nets?
    A: No, but they’ve been after me with butterfly nets for years.
    A while later, one of my friends who was at the celebration came up to me and told me they were running the interviews, including mine, on one of the channels as part of the celebration.

    J/P=?

  33. Dagnabit, I wish I had seen that!
    I don’t understand why anyone would not just think its cool without having to make it into something useless and silly.

    Although the Norway one looks way cooler. Maybe they shouldn’t fix it. It can be a PR thing to look for the Falcon spiraling in the sky. Although I suppose it would be an expensive PR thing…

  34. #30, Scott Waring, has decided that because I can show conclusively that this was a Falcon 9, I’m Hitler. Worse than Hitler, actually. I could’ve been Hitler’s teacher! Seriously. Scroll up and read what he wrote. Better, click through his name to his site. Apparently his picture of the spiral has a red/green reflection in it, and therefore I am Hitler. Or something.

    Folks, I present to you Scott C. Waring. As long as people like him exist, I’ll never be out of a job. And as long as the news talk to people like him, there will be even more people like him.

  35. Phil – I’d agree with you that Scott Waring keeps you employed but I also note on his website he describes himself as a ‘teacher’ and that is somewhat disturbing if he takes his lack of critical thinking skills into a classroom.

  36. Zucchi

    @Doug Moffett:

    “Firstly, the time of the launch was 18.45 GMT, which translates to 4.45am EST, the duration of the flight was 9 minutes 38 seconds – this is a full hour before the reported sightings,” he said.
    *******
    Okay, this is the least of the stupid mistakes, but — isn’t it a little hilarious that he couldn’t figure out to subtract 4 from 18:45? How the hell did he get 4:45 am, instead of 2:45 pm?

    Oh, and Scott: I don’t care how crazy you are — for God’s sake learn how to spell. “Heard poisening”? You should be ashamed.

  37. Favorite quote from “the teacher”‘s website:

    In the photo below note the re (sic) and green UFO orbs at the lower right, as well as the huge moon like UFO on the left.

    Um, would that be the invisible orbs at the lower right, next to the LENS FLARES?

    Oh, wait! I get it! Those are the OrbShips™ that bring the dust motes, I mean, orbs, to Earth when Ghost Hunters set up their cameras in a “haunted” house!

    Honestly, some people should not be allowed out unattended.

    EDIT:

    Wait! Wait! Now I know he’s just goofing us! A couple posts down is this howler:

    Guatemala Sink Hole Made By Aliens Living Below City 2010, UFO sighting.

    Nobody, I mean, nobody, could be that looney! My hat’s off to Mr. Waring. Great parody! You should work for The Onion!

  38. Zucchi (37): He meant Australia time. He did the math correctly, but that’s about the only thing he did do correctly.

  39. HvP

    Reading Scott Waring’s website makes me physically weak.

    Most photos appear to be cropped and show an area at or past the limits of the camera’s resolving power. I love the quote about the guy who said he bought a new camera because he often saw lights and night and wanted a high power camera to photograph them. He then proceeded to start finding UFOs in his pictures that he never noticed at the time of the photograph. If there’s one thing that causes mistaken UFO sightings it’s people with cameras at high magnification that don’t understand optics.

  40. #37 – Thank YOU! That is what I thought about the spelling. And worse, he’s a teacher? Perhaps that’s more a euphemism for “person in touch with aliens” and he’s not actually teaching our children.

  41. Steve-o

    holy crap, there are two more UFO’s at the bottom of the picture on that whack-job’s website. Two of the ones that look like street lights!!! INVASION!!!

  42. YES! Nailed it! Thanks for confirming my guess! Someone put that pic up on Twitter last night. So I put out the idea that it might be the Falcon rocket.

  43. flip

    Darn! If only I had been one state over I could have seen it. (Er, and been up that early in the morning)

  44. jiblonghorn

    Well, Scott, if there had been an announced flying frog in the sky that was scheduled to appear over Australia at that time, I would believe it.

  45. Paul

    I’m not quite so confident this is the F9. I cannot find enough information on the web to be convinced that the “timing is perfect”. Also, “The spiral pattern seen in Norway is known to be from gas leaking out of the booster.” is not a forgone conclusion. In fact, energy management maneuvers often include spirals of varying speed and radius depending on when they are executed in the flight path. Since the Bulava launch was classified; how would we really know it was gas leaking out of the booster? Some might say an energy management spiral should take place early in the flight, but if the flight trajectory needs to be flexible, even in mid-flight; spiral execution near apogee may be better for fine tuning. Also, executing a energy management spiral at max-Q, early in the flight trajectory, also radically increases the maximum G-load design requirements.

  46. Don Gisselbeck

    Is it possible Mr. Waring is doing a parody, or does the amount of work he has put into his site make that unlikely? (Like the the George Bush is the Anti-Christ web sites.)

  47. @50 Paul, you’re overthinking this. Watch the witness video. Watch the launch video. The roll rates are identical. That’s it. Case closed.

  48. Zucchi

    #39 Phil: my turn to feel like an idiot. Who knew that other countries (besides the U.S.) are allowed to have Eastern Time Zones? I really don’t know what’s wrong with me today.

  49. But wait there’s more…

    “Highway set to close for spacecraft landing”
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/06/06/2919443.htm?section=justin

    This one I’d like to see – the return of the Hayabusa probe with asteroid samples on board. It’s coming down in a sparsely inhabited area, but I’m sure there will be some UFO nuts out there to welcome ET.

  50. Paul

    But, but, but… Ok I notice the roll rates look similar; but the roll in the launch video was less than 10 minutes into the launch while BOSS (New Boston AFB tracking station) had acquisition. How could this be seen from Australia? Are you suggesting the booster was still out gassing 45 minutes later? Maybe… Also, the geometry doesn’t work out (at least for me). If you do the math, it appears that the RB would be over the horizon as viewed from the Australian coast.

  51. A. James Moore

    “If the writer said it was a flying frog, you child mentality skeptics would agree. It’s called heard poisening and Hitler perfected it, but the writer of this story could have taught him a thing or two. It took my only three months to prove that aliens exist. I laugh at you, knowing you honestly do not have a clue to what is out there.”

    Mr. Waring,

    For a “writer” you’ve got a particularly pathetic grasp of both the English language… and logic.

    It is called “herd” as in “…of sheep”. The word is “poisOning”. Y(me/my)our proof of “aliens” is fundamentally unsound and dependent upon conjecture that requires the kind of suspended disbelief usually reserved for faith healers, and your laughter is, well…laughable. The turn of phrase is “as to what is out there”, and you sir, haven’t such a clue. If you expect others to take you seriously when stepping so boldly into a debate, even if it is only on the internet, you really must up your game.

  52. Just s0 people don’t get confused, 54 Paul is not the same person as 55 Paul!

  53. denniscav

    I was unaware that there was a “heavily populated” part of Australia! Sorry about that! Respectfully, Nanu Nanu from planet Ork.

  54. Andrew

    It’s people like Scott waring who think that when I perform a EEG test on them, they think that I can read their thoughts.

  55. ND

    “Botany Bay? O no!!!”

  56. Mark Hansen

    Andrew, in order for you to read their thoughts, they would first have to have some to read.

  57. Rover

    I was flying a commercial airliner into Sydney when the object went over, it was a truly astounding sight.

    While not knowing what it was at the time, I am happy that the Falcon 9 explanation so closely matches the facts.

    Sidebar: Someone with an entreprenurial flair should put up a satellite that does nothing but vent gas over populated areas at sunrise and sunset. Call the Pepsi Spiral or something and the worldwise advertising exposure would be worth millions.

  58. Thank the Lord that “commonsense” finally prevailed and an American debunked our simple minded theories. Another brilliant American benchmark to aspire to (must be, as they say: College educated).
    -Red necked Aussie convict.

  59. @ A. James Moore:

    Mr. Waring,
    For a “writer” you’ve got a particularly pathetic grasp of both the English language… and logic.

    The scary part is, he says he’s an English teacher in Taiwan. Maybe he’s part of some seekrit gubmint plot to sabotage the Asian economy.

  60. Neva Neva (65): Why the sarcasm? I didn’t say anything about Aussies in general, just that one UFO guy. Don’t confuse what I wrote with what commenters wrote… especially when they wrote in jest, too.

    I guess all Australians are thin-skinned and have no sense of humor.

  61. Rodney Austin

    As a New Zealander I can quite understand other people’s comments regarding Australians. However some of my best friends are Aussies. Most Aussies are really quite nice folks, just a little gullible. The rest aren’t worth bothering about.
    UFO can also stand for “Unbelievably Foolish Observers”

  62. @ Rodney – Baaaaaaaaaa!

  63. jcm

    That’s no UFO. It is just a mundane object.

    “if you know what you’re looking at in the sky — meteors, satellites, planets, and so on — a lot of UFO stories evaporate.”

    Speaking of which, Venus, Mars, and Saturn are visible after sunset.

  64. Are you really all so BLIND? Can you not see the TRUTH, right before your very eyes? Of COURSE it’s not some stupid man-made rocket-ship. Jeez! How boring! Yes, the aliens are HERE!!!!!1 Duh!!!– And, being naturally a bit put off by the disgusting hairiness of us primates, they’ve put up an enormous BARBER’S POLE in the sky! –Take a second look, you unbelievers. You’ll realize you knew it all along. Ha-HA, skeptics!

    Shave and a haircut… less than 5 light-seconds away!

    I’m packing my tin-hat, my jet-pack and my magazines (there’ll surely be a long wait) RIGHT NOW!

    Shazbot!

  65. @ Grendel. yeah, well said about Rodney. I may add that his ‘best friends’ probably have to support him financially, as Australia does with most Kiwi’s.

  66. Mark Hansen

    Neva Neva, just crack open another beer and stick to watching the footy and leave the thinking for those that don’t get sore heads from it.

  67. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ 67. Phil Plait :

    I guess all Australians are thin-skinned and have no sense of humor.

    Hey, as an Aussie who is (fairly) thick skinned and *does* have a sense of humour I .. nah forget it! (Cracks open another beer.) ;-)

    There’s idjits in every nation unfortunately. :roll:

    Course most Americans are shotgun weilding redneck yahoos, most Scots are thriftier than Scrooge, most Brits do nothing but drink tea and attend soccer riots, most Germans wear lederhosen and drink steins of beer (hey I would too given the chance – drink steins not the lederhosen mind ..), most Irishmen drink guinnness and write poems and limericks, most etc .. etc .. :-P

    People are people folks. ;-)

    To quote from the greats (i.e. Monty Python & the Life of Brian’ ) :

    Brian : “We’re all individuals.”
    Crowd : “YES , WE’RE ALL INDIVIDUALS!” [Chanting in unison.]
    Solitary voice in the crowd : “I’m not!’ ;-)

  68. jick

    “…over the most heavily populated parts of Australia…”

    Err… If I draw a circle with 50km radius centered at me, it will contain the population of Australia (~21M), and some more.

  69. I know you do work for the NSA to debunk UFO sightings Phil. Trying to cover up UFO sightings with your lies is unethical Phil.

  70. Niall

    @Scott C. Waring, yes it would be unethical if there were actually UFO’s to cover up. Logic dictates that it was a rocket (it was scheduled to be there after all), nut-job fantasism dictates that it’s a UFO.

  71. Mark Hansen

    ROFL @ S.C.W. (#75) If Phil does work for the NSA, then covering up would be part of his job description and as such can’t be unethical. If Phil doesn’t work for the NSA then S.C.W. is outright lying and as such is the unethical one. So come on S.C.W., show the evidence proving BA to be a gummint spook and prove you’re not lying. You do have evidence, don’t you?

  72. Brown

    That is an utterly weak and lame explanation. The Falcon Rocket has been inserted successfully in orbit. According to Elon Musk “Nominal shutdown and orbit was almost exactly 250km. Telemetry showed essentially a bullseye: ~0.2% on perigee and ~1% on apogee.”

    Second stage engine shutdown was at T+ 8:50.

    So we’re being told that an hour later we’re looking at a rocket still firing and spinning wildly out of control?

    Are you on drugs?

  73. Ahhh Mark – Scott C. Waring does not need evidence – he KNOWS (cue ominous x-file soundtrack rip-off, although also the twilight zone theme would do nicely as the x-files music was often fairly derivative and lacked the verve of the darker Twilight Zone themes – blather, blather, blather. . . )

    Has he gone yet? Yes, good, Right now about that new surveillance satellite we have been workshopping. . .

  74. Michael Kingsford Gray

    Bugger!
    If only I had known that it orbited directly over Adelaide, South Australia.
    Damn.

  75. blf

    Scott C Waring’s mind was invaded by Teh Aliens years ago. He—er,it—is now one their leading propagandists. By acting so “obviously” bug-nuts, it’s discrediting the entire idea the Earth is controlled Teh Aliens (with the help of Trilateral Commission, and Mrs Ronnie Wassers of Cardiff, Wales).

    We’re on to you, Aliens! We will reclaim the Earth!
    ARF-ARF (Aliens Resistance Force - Advanced Reconnaissance Facility).

  76. A priceless example of just how far these morons are willing to go to delude themselves:
    A few years ago, some ridiculous so-called “documentary” on UFOs was shown on British TV. I didn’t watch it, but I heard that some 24-carat nutjob, who believed that we were being visited by alien spacecraft on almost a daily basis, claimed that most of us weren’t aware of it, because, “they are so sophisticated, they can disguise themselves as ordinary aircraft”!!!!
    How’s that for unfalsifiable???

    #67 Phil:
    Australian are definitely not all thin-skinned and lacking a sense of humour. IMO, far and away the funniest comedian on the planet is an Aussie, by the name of Kevin Bloody Wilson.

  77. Robin S

    @ Paul (55) and Brown (81): first, any gas leaked will travel along with the spacecraft (although it will keep moving in the direction it was vented, of course). Remember that whole inertia thing? Second, SpaceX had a second burn scheduled for the stage 2 engine later in the initial orbit to fine tune the orbit. This burn was necessary as the orbit at insertion, although very nearly perfect, was not the final orbit. Read some books or let Google be your guide: secondary burns to put the finishing touches on an orbit are common, de rigueur.

    @Sc0tt Waring: where’s your proof? You do know that proof has to be pretty much irrefutable, right? And I don’t mean irrefutable as in it satisfies the requirements of sci-fi or fantasy storytelling. You’ve offered nothing like that. From reading your site, it appears your science education stopped shortly after you learned that sticking a fork in the toaster can hurt. Alas, your bleatings and your “logic” are just further proof of how bad science/math education is getting in the US.

  78. Martyn

    God, some of this stuff is just plain making it embarrassing to be Australian.

    You guys who are so keen to ascribe this to some dark conspiracy – what’s wrong in your lives that such ideas so consume you?

  79. @ Robin S:

    Alas, your bleatings and your “logic” are just further proof of how bad science/math education is getting in the US.

    No! No! Did you not see my exposé of Scott? HE is the one working for the ebel gubmint! He is a “teacher” instructing young Taiwanese how to — get this! — speak English!

    It’s all part of the gubmint plan, see? First, teach those foreign kids improper English so “real” people will make fun of them. Then, get them to believe space aliens from underneath Guatamala are stealing their babies and adding too much ginger to their fish sauce. Their feelings and tastebuds hurt, they will withdraw their university applications and resign themselves to making cheap crap for WalMart. The U.S. economy will be saved! Wahoo!

    Good job, Scott! But…just a hint…you might want to ease up a bit on the rhetoric. Folks are getting suspicious.

  80. Goodness, he came back! Scott C Waring (#77): You know I work for the NSA? News to me. Can you provide me with a canceled check, for example, or an ID card, or some other evidence I work for the NSA?

  81. Puh-leeze, Dr. BA!

    The fact that there is no evidence of your NSA employment is PROOF that you are one of them! Add to that your own denial and…

    Hey…that helicopter is flying awfully low…

  82. Zucchi

    #61, @Andrew: “It’s people like Scott waring who think that when I perform a EEG test on them, they think that I can read their thoughts.”

    Ah, but how do you know they think that? You know because you read their thoughts with the EEG! (Or, they tell you. Or maybe you work for the NSA along with Phil. Or maybe that’s what the aliens want me to think …. or — could it be reptiloids?)

  83. Dave Dooling

    Skylab hit Australia because it had more lift than NASA expected. I was in Skylab control when it came down. NASA had it oriented to generate as much drag as possible to come down faster (once the end was inevitable). In the last orbit or two their calculations showed it coming down over Europe, so NASA shifted to a low-drag attitude to move the entry footprint into the Indian Ocean. Most of the station indeed went into the ocean, but Skylab “flew” a little better during entry than anyone thought it would, and pieces landed across Australia. Last I heard they think the film vault is somewhere towards Alice Springs.

  84. BH

    …gives the rocket plenty of time to get above our atmosphere (which is only a few kilometers high).

    Nice try, for most intents our atmosphere is ~100km thick.

  85. Keith (the first one)

    I checked out Scott C Waring’s website. He also claims the Guatemalan sink holes are tunnels. Some crap about underground alien bases (He must have watched the horrible Tom Cruise version of War of the WOrlds recently).

    He has also issued a challenge to Phil. Something about building’s on the moon. Actually I’d like to see that debunked because I can’t explain what they are. Though it seems very unlikely that they are buildings on the moon.

  86. Pat

    “As it happens, the second stage of the Falcon 9 was rotating; this was not supposed to happen”

    ALIEN SABOTAGE! o.O

  87. NAW

    I have to admit. By the time I got to the bottom of the page I almost forgot what the blog was about. Frendly Australian basing and two posts from a mad man. It is just a little sad how they keep to their sad beleafs even when proven wrong.

  88. Mark Hansen

    Keith (the first one), The “buildings” look to me to be some leftover from the processing. IANA photographic expert by any means but if you look closely at the stripes, which is what I think S.C.W. thinks are buildings, you can see craters, the edges of crater walls and other natural features which seems very odd for any builder to incorporate into their structure. Unless the builder wants the building to be cunningly camouflaged so that all you can see of it is a miles-long stripe.

  89. Hedgie

    @67 Don’t worry Phil, not all of us :D

  90. Dave Dooling

    Postscript: The three guys from NASA/Marshall who were dispatched to look for debris said the Aussies were most warm and hospitable, and quite good-natured when they presented the “ticket” for littering.
    :)

  91. Someone mentioned this in comments on my blog and, like you, I immediately wondered what was up in the air at that time… SpaceX! Of course.

    the ABC story did have a quote from an astronomer who also posits it’s the Falcon 9, but they gave more space to the UFO guy, and put his claims after the astronomer’s, giving them more weight.

    And, coincidentally enough, the comment on my blog appeared in a post about the Melbourne Age doing the exact same thing as the ABC: giving column space to idiotic ideas, this time contentions by noted loony Colin Andrews that recent storms in Australia are linked to HAARP and the Australian Government interfering with the weather (he has the radar images to prove it!) The style of the journalism purports to be skeptical, but that would not be the takeaway for most people.

  92. NAW

    Wow, I went to that SCW’s site. I think my “mad man” statement was a little weak. And if he is still reading posts here. Really dude, I hope your other pictures of “building” are a lot better than those artifacts. And just so you know, the moon does not have white lettering on it. That was added later.

  93. Matt T

    @Scott C Waring
    “Dragons of Asgard”? Srsly? Are you going for the Guinness book entry for “world’s most derivative fantasy novel title”?

  94. Boomgoes

    Regarding Scott Waring’s site, he has also found buildings on Mars! Apparently rocks + red sharpie = buildings! Who knew it was that easy.

  95. spb

    Thanks for the info folks, esp the ground track. This corroborates my research.
    Case closed.

  96. saffras

    Hi mate – thanks for the information – however, I was curious about some of the images posted on youtube of the norway spirals…. you know the ones, where the spiral recedes rapidly from the centre to the edges – like an inverted iris…. How does that happen?

    also, i am wondering how the gas is visible in the spiral formation for several hours… and at night…. is this gas “artefact” within our atmosphere, or is it venting in space? i could understand this being visible at dusk or dawn when its elevation allows light from the sun to strike it – but some of these sightings were reported quite late at night.

  97. Flyingrelic

    RE: Aussies decending from convicts:
    Parts of Australia were settled by England exporting thieves, malcontents,and “women with no visible means of support” (Convicts at Botany Bay).
    Parts of the United States were settled by religious nut jobs with guns (Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock).
    As an American, I can only conclude that somehow, Australia got to pick FIRST!

  98. @Scott C. Waring – “It took my only three months to prove that aliens exist.”

    You own ‘only three months?’ How is that possible?

  99. Richard Sutherland

    I saw a big ball of fire rise up from the horizon early this morning. It’s still up there as I write this. Is it an alien spaceship? Come to think of it, it does this every morning.

    @Gary Ansorge:
    “Yes and isn’t it interesting that their crime rates are no higher than any other nations’?”

    Yes, but this could just be because they have far fewer laws on the books, making it harder to commit a crime!

    j/k people.

  100. Patti

    The “rocket theory” begs further scrutiny. People have been shooting rockets into space since 1942. The United States Space Surveillance Network (SSN), has tracked every object in orbit over 10 cm (3.937 inches) in diameter since it was founded in 1957. In its entire history, the SSN has tracked more than 24,500 space objects orbiting Earth. How is it we are just now seeing this spiral phenomenon?

  101. Keith (the first one)

    Thanks Mark Hansen (100). I could tell they weren’t actually structures on the moon, considering you can sort of see through them and they don’t cast shadows. Then again, conspiracy theorists never got the hang of what shadows look like on the moon, did they?

  102. Martyn

    @ saffras 108 – it’s an interesting visual phenomenon, isn’t it? My take on that is pretty simple: the rocket stops venting. The spiral is a spiral because all the gas in it is moving rapidly outwards from the rotating rocket at the centre. The relatively dense central area would cease to exist without the constant input of exhaust – and when that happens, sure enough, we see a dark region appear to swallow up the centre of the trail of gas. In reality what we are seeing is the last arc of gas the rocket vented moving outwards like all the rest of the exhaust trail – but now with nothing more coming out to replace it.

    The formation remained visible for some time because it was backlit by the sun and there was nothing to disturb it. It was above most of the atmosphere, and while the pressure is low enough that the exhaust trail is *very* thin, it still takes time to dissipate to invisibility. That said, I don’t think it was actually several hours, was it?

    As for the sun, the higher you go, the longer you can see it. At orbital altitudes the sun is setting over a horizon that’s thousands of kilometres away, rather than only twenty or thirty. Take a balloon flight at evening to prove the point. Or, watch the night sky for satellites – you can see them during most of the night, and what illuminates then is reflected sunlight.

  103. Adam

    To further back up the point that it is a rocket, here is a video of the space shuttle creating a similar feature (without the spiral) in the pre-dawn skies over Florida after launch.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYZK-QE3Wgk&feature=youtube_gdata

  104. Eric

    Both stages of the falcon 9 exhausted their fuel within the first 15 minutes of flight. This fact absolutely rules out this formation in Australia an hour after the launch as coming from the falcon 9 or it’s engines.

  105. @ eric:

    Faulty logic. You’re assuming the “formation” is the result of the 2nd stage engine burn, as opposed to outgassing from the fuel tank following engine cut-off. (The engine was stopped…it did not “exhaust” its fuel.) The 2nd stage was spinning. It was outgassing propellent. Its flight path took it over Australia. 1 + 1 + 1 = 3.

  106. Phil @ 67 – I see what you did there. Even if nobody else seems to have.

    It’s worth noting, purely for educational purposes of course, that the British transported a significant number of convicted criminals to North America in the pre-Revolutionary War period. There is some evidence, the strength of which can be debated, that they only bothered settling Australia at all because they needed a new transportation destination after they lost to the American colonies.

  107. Scary. This tripe (the ABC quote, that is) is getting repeated quite a lot, mostly by the gullible: Google the falsehood: “the duration of the flight was 9 minutes 38 seconds.”

  108. justsayupyours

    Not one of you requested confirmation that the coordinates from jetforme were accurate and complete? Not one of you asked where he got that information? Who else has access to that information? But we are supposed to believe it without question?
    I find this whole article pathetically lacking. So much for investigative reporting, because there is none.

  109. justsayupyours

    http://www.spaceflightnow.com/falcon9/001/100602rollout/
    “The Falcon 9 rocket will head east from the Space Coast, but SpaceX is not divulging the altitude or inclination of the planned orbit. ”
    “The Falcon 9 was shooting for a CIRCULAR orbit 250 kilometers, or 155 miles, high and an inclination of 34.5 degrees. ”
    “SpaceX says they accomplished a second stage restart “burp” to slightly change the Falcon’s orbit. That could explain the slightly ELLIPTICAL orbit being reported by independent tracking data.”
    “We did a test burp of the second stage after orbit insertion, so the current orbit will be a little different than the insertion orbit,” Elon Musk tells Spaceflight Now.”

    As you can see it reached an ecliptical orbit, not a zig zagging one like jetforme produced.

  110. @ Justsayupyours:

    As you can see it reached an ecliptical orbit, not a zig zagging one like jetforme produced.

    Really? Really? You’re sticking with that statement? Honest to gosh? You don’t…I don’t know, maybe want to take a refresher course in geography, perhaps? Maybe look up the expression “mercator projection”?

    Because, honestly, the only thing that seems to be “up yours” is your brain.

    Here’s a hint, in case you’re having a little difficulty understanding the concept: an orbit about the planet – elliptical or circular – will appear as a “zig zagging” sine wave on a flat map of the spherical Earth.

    Jeebus. No wonder you conspiracy-believing, UFO wishful-thinking, everybody else is a moron except me, nutjobs can’t get anyone to take you seriously.

  111. Mark Hansen

    *Sigh*
    …Who else has access to that information?…
    Well, you might think that NORAD would be able to track it. They can and they do. But, you might say, this is data that I am unable to access. Not so; the two-line elements are available from celestrak.com which gets them from NORAD and can be used in many software packages listed at the site. If you need a free program, try Home Planet 3.1. Graphics aren’t pretty these days but handsome is as handsome does and it does work well. Plug elements into program and voilá – ground track of satellite shown.

    This is how you can check claims – not through “It doesn’t look like it to me” statements but through thinking and learning. See also kuhnigget’s explanation, especially Mercator projection, unless you like to believe that we live on a flat earth.

  112. Jim Oberg

    Also, the launch azimuth out of the Cape was significantly north of due east, which allows an estimate of resultant inclination.

    http://www.orbiterwiki.org/wiki/Launch_Azimuth

    cos(i) = cos (φ) sin (β)

    where i is the desired orbit inclination, φ is the launch site latitude, and β is the launch azimuth. Solving for azimuth:

    β = arc sin ( cos(i) / cos (φ))

    Cos(34.5º) = 0.82413

    Cos(28.5º) = 0.87882

    divided = .93777

    Asin = 69.68 Degrees

  113. justsayupyours

    I did try and check coordinates but once you get on the NSA site you’re not allowed to provide that information to anyone. If jetforme’s ground track was based on coordinates, how come he hasn’t been prosecuted yet?
    There was also a spiral off the west coast of Canada a few weeks ago, but the Falcon 9 wasn’t in orbit yet.

  114. I did try and check coordinates but once you get on the NSA site you’re not allowed to provide that information to anyone. If jetforme’s ground track was based on coordinates, how come he hasn’t been prosecuted yet?

    SpaceTrack, which is the group that jetforme gets his data from, is not associated with the NSA. It must comply with government regulations regarding military and NASA payloads, but there are no restrictions on plotting commercial launches and posting the results on blogs.

    Sorry, no bad ol’ gubmint conspiracy at work.

    There was also a spiral off the west coast of Canada a few weeks ago, but the Falcon 9 wasn’t in orbit yet.

    Wheeee! The UFO industry has a new product to market to the suckers! Just weeks after a confirmed Russian missile test created the first “spiral” they are now a standard part of the UFO nut lexicon. I suppose they are intricately tied in with crop circles, too. But hey, for only $19.99 you can buy the video and find out!

    Why is reality so boring for some people? There are so many exciting, strange, yet real things out there. Why fixate on fantasy?

  115. justsayupyours

    If the information was actually based on the real coordinates, he cannot put it out in the public forum, it’s really that simple. So he’s either wrong or he didn’t get the real coordinates. Which is it?
    You want strange? This whole theory of the spiral being the Falcon 9 is based on jetforme’s ground track. So if his ground track is wrong, the whole theory is wrong.
    The west coast of Canada is within range of HAARP. You believe there was a spiral over Norway and Russia, but now you don’t care about this one? Come on, where’s your theory now? Instead you try and make me out to be a nutter, well that’s classic, isn’t it, straight from the manual? What’s the matter, all out of theories?
    But make sure you never question anyone especially authority (insert sarcasm here).

  116. Uh…Earth to justsay…

    If the information was actually based on the real coordinates, he cannot put it out in the public forum, it’s really that simple. So he’s either wrong or he didn’t get the real coordinates. Which is it?

    Or, third option: you don’t know what you are talking about.

    Please explain why you think he cannot post orbital data for a commercial rocket launch on a blog? Why do you have this belief? Amateur satellite chasers track – and publish – such data all the time. Where are you getting your information from? It’s wrong. You are wrong. There are no such restrictions.

    The west coast of Canada is within range of HAARP. You believe there was a spiral over Norway and Russia, but now you don’t care about this one?

    In case you missed your own post:

    There was also a spiral off the west coast of Canada a few weeks ago, but the Falcon 9 wasn’t in orbit yet.

    That sentence implies that because Falcon wasn’t in orbit, there isn’t an explanation for any Canadian siting. Sorry, but that’s your sentence, not mine. If you believe otherwise, please craft your sentences accordingly.

    If you have read previous entries on this blog about the Norway event, you would know pretty much everyone except the nutters accept it was a Russian missile test. If you have evidence for another similar event above Canada, please share.

    The point is, upyours, these are explainable events, that do not require conspiracies, extra-terrestrial visitors, sooper secret gubmint programs, or anything else. They are really nifty effects of outgassing from spinning rocket boosters. If you would educate yourself a little bit more (and again, I’d say start with a refresher course in maps), you might realize that.

    But make sure you never question anyone especially authority (insert sarcasm here).

    Sarcasm noted, but it’s misdirected. I prefer my own critical thinking skills to blind allegiance to authority. You should to, but first, you might want to sharpen those skills up a bit.

  117. storm

    sorry who did u say your ” employer was ”….? funny how on the 5 july, or wat ever, there were a lot of reports bout strange lights, objects in the sky. which u have said was understandable because some BIRD, ROCKET or wat ever was doing a victory lap of the earth……wat about the hundreds of other dates people have reported lights, objects, wat dose the bird sorry ROCKET, have a non-takeoff time an go wich ever way it feels pending on its mood. were is your answer for the hundreds of other sighting on hundreds of other dates, made by hundreds of other people ….?? i think u should stop ur smart comments to people who i belive r of the norm, “”concerned, scared, worried, excited, facinated”" wat ever . because u look like the stupid 1 couse all u got is 2 dates, while hundreds people have hundreds of dates an hundred of photo’s to prove it……nl……

  118. storm

    …. oooh and u dont need to be a bloody ROCKET SCIENTIZE to no wat we c with our own to eye’s….!!!!

  119. …. oooh and u dont need to be a bloody ROCKET SCIENTIZE to no wat we c with our own to eye’s….!!!!

    No, but graduating from grammar school helps.

  120. justsayupyours

    @kuhnigget, are you a spelling Nazi now?
    All you have to do is go on the NSA site and that’s what it says. You will be prosecuted if you share any of the information from their site. Maybe the misinformation never gets prosecuted? What will be interesting is what happens to jetforme.
    If you have that Norway spiral all figured out, how come you have no knowledge of the Canada one? Do your own damn research, I have. I have no idea what it was, looks very much like this one. I have ruled out the Falcon 9 because it wasn’t in orbit yet. Like I said, whatever theories you have, please share.
    But interestingly enough the Falcon 1 when launched in 2008 took out 3 government satellites. Were you aware or did you ever post anything about that?

  121. @justsayupyours:

    All you have to do is go on the NSA site and that’s what it says

    What site are you visiting? If you go to space-track all you need do is register! Again, there is no law against publishing commercial satellite data! If you have evidence to the contrary, please present it!

    If you have that Norway spiral all figured out, how come you have no knowledge of the Canada one? Do your own damn research, I have.

    Okay. (dum de dum…) Wow. 15 seconds of Google did it. Are you referring to the rocket launch from Vandenberg Air Force base that some nuts were trying to claim as a UFO? Kriminy, even the UFO industry figured that one out:

    www (dot) ufocasebook (dot) com (slash) 2010 (slash) anotherspiralhoax (dot) html

    The two events are not even closely similar! The Norway/Australian events were outgassing from spinning rockets, the Vandenberg event was an exhaust contrail. Jeebus, those of us on the West Coast see those every time any rocket lifts off from Vandenberg!

    Might I add research skills to your list of subjects to bone up on?

    But interestingly enough the Falcon 1 when launched in 2008 took out 3 government satellites. Were you aware or did you ever post anything about that?

    Oooooh reeeeeallllly? Gosh, I hadn’t heard that! Mind revealing your sources? Bonus points if they come from some paranoid seekrit gubmint conspiracy site!

    Kid, you are obviously intelligent enough to be interested in this sort of thing…why not try studying the reality behind rockets and spaceflight? Give it a shot. In the end, I’m willing to bet you’ll find it so much more satisfying than all the UFO silliness.

    Or, maybe you won’t.

  122. justsayupyours

    @kuhnigget Go to the NSA site and read the agreement.
    So you go to a UFO site to get your information? Even though you believe nothing else on that site, you believe this? Now that is laughable.
    I went to the Vandenberg site and it says that the Minotaur IV was launched on April 22, 2010 and the ground based interceptor was launched on June 6, 2010. But it says nothing about ANYTHING being launched on May 21, 2010. But somehow I’m supposed to believe that UFO site, just because you think I’m a nutter. LOL
    Will you give me negative points if I post the source as being a government backed corporation?
    Btw no one except you is talking about UFOs. I’m talking about military shenanigans.

  123. justsayupyours

    Also from that government backed corporation article – when the Falcon 1 took out the 3 government satellites they also lost the ashes of astronaut Gordon Cooper and Star Trek actor James Doohan. Sure hope their families got a refund.
    Another interesting thing about the founder of SpaceX Elon Musk is that he also co-founded Tesla motors. Which means something to those striving for free energy. The Merlin motor on the Falcon 9 incorporated energy from a vacuum. Proof that free energy is already patented.

  124. Okay, Justsayupyours, now you’ve exposed yourself as a crank. You are exhibiting typical crank behavior, which everyone here has seen before. You ignore the arguments, and instead make up your own. You then proceed to rant about how irrelevant those arguments are and add additional paranoid fantasies of your own devising.

    I thought you were intelligent, so I’ll go through it again, step by step so you can understand.

    @kuhnigget Go to the NSA site and read the agreement.

    For the umpteenth time, what site? Specifics, please. Did you bother to go to the SpaceTrack website that Jetborne actually used to get his data? I’ll say it again: NO SUCH RESTRICTIONS APPLY. IT IS NOT ILLEGAL TO POST ORBITAL DATA ON COMMERCIAL SATELLITES.

    So you go to a UFO site to get your information?

    No, Upyours, but thank you for the laugh. If you actually read my post, you will see that I was letting you know that even the UFO cranks had seen through the hokem of your “canada spiral.”

    I went to the Vandenberg site and it says that the Minotaur IV was launched on April 22, 2010 and the ground based interceptor was launched on June 6, 2010. But it says nothing about ANYTHING being launched on May 21, 2010.

    This is where that critical thinking comes in, Upyours. If you bothered to read ANY of the reports on this fraud, you will see that the UFO sites in question took an existing photograph of a Vandenberg launch and pretended it was something it was not.

    I have no idea what bringing up a launch on June 6 or May 21 has to do with anything. It doesn’t matter. The point is, and I will put it in all caps so maybe it will sink in: THE HOAXERS USED AN EXISTING VIDEO OF A VANDENBERG LAUNCH AND CLAIMED IT WAS A “UFO” OVER CANADA. IT IS NOT.

    Will you give me negative points if I post the source as being a government backed corporation?

    You haven’t posted ANY source yet, so I guess that would be an improvement. You’re the only one who seems to think the government is up to something.

    Btw no one except you is talking about UFOs. I’m talking about military shenanigans.

    Except, Upyours, the “events” you are bringing up are only “events” in the eyes of the UFO nuts. Unless you have another source that you can actually identify in which that canadian spiral of yours is discussed in the context of “military shenanigans” and not UFOs? If so, and once again, please share!

    Look, it doesn’t matter what you think these things might be. What matters is what the evidence leads us to conclude.

    Norway: Russians admit to test firing a missle at the same time, same location. They admit the test failed and the rocket was spinning. People in Norway see what looks exactly like an outgassing rocket with an expanding spiral of gas trailing behind it illuminated by the sun. Occams razor.

    Australia: SpaceX launches a rocket on a trajectory that takes it over Australia at exactly the time the “UFOs” are reported. The rocket’s booster is unexpectedly spinning. Observers see something that looks exactly like a spinning booster outgassing a spiral of vented fuel right where the SpaceX vehicle should be. Occams razor again.

    Now, if you’ve got some conflicting evidence of “military shenanigans,” I’d love to see it! Post it here! Post anything that backs up your theory. That’s the way it works.

  125. The Merlin motor on the Falcon 9 incorporated energy from a vacuum.

    Now you are proving you are a crank.

    Care to provide some evidence for that little nugget?

  126. Mark Hansen

    storm, perhaps you ought to calm down and then type. If you want people to take you seriously, try communicating coherently otherwise you will be wasting your time and anyone else’s that tries to figure out what, if anything, you are saying.
    Okay, now on to the “arguments”:
    sorry who did u say your ” employer was ”….?
    If you start out by assuming that anyone that can explain sightings is part of “teh ebil gummint konspirasy™“, then you’re not going to be taken seriously at all.
    …funny how on the 5 july, or wat ever, there were a lot of reports bout strange lights, objects in the sky…
    Which 5th of July? Last year, year before, year before that? Where? When? Do you see the problem here? If you want something explaining, then you have to give a bit of detail.
    …which u have said was understandable because some BIRD, ROCKET or wat ever was doing a victory lap of the earth……
    I’ll assume you were directing this at kuhnigget. Where did kuhnigget explain away any 5th of July sighting as a bird or a rocket or “wat ever”? And if you can’t be sure what the explanation was for an uncertain date, how about you go and get your story together before you launch into your diatribe?
    …wat about the hundreds of other dates people have reported lights, objects, wat dose the bird sorry ROCKET, have a non-takeoff time an go wich ever way it feels pending on its mood…
    No, but not all of the lights and objects on various, unspecified, dates can be attributed to rockets. Some are even more mundane than that. Venus (yes, it still gets mistaken for a UFO); aircraft, both civil and military, secret or otherwise; Chinese lanterns, and others that can’t be explained easily because there simply isn’t enough to go on, such as dates, times, locations. Getting snarky about an explanation which bursts your UFO bubble doesn’t show you in a good light either.
    …i think u should stop ur smart comments to people who i belive r of the norm, “”concerned, scared, worried, excited, facinated”” wat ever . because u look like the stupid 1 couse all u got is 2 dates, while hundreds people have hundreds of dates an hundred of photo’s to prove it……nl……
    Would you prefer dumb comments?
    All he has is 2 dates because that’s all that was talked about. You are the one with the nebulous “hundreds” of dates and “hundreds” of photos. Care to share?
    …. oooh and u dont need to be a bloody ROCKET SCIENTIZE to no wat we c with our own to eye’s….!!!!
    No, you don’t. I don’t think kunigget is one and I’m not either. However, when a UFO is in an expected position for an expected event, it is only a fool that will persist in nay-saying.

    Incidentally, if that last post of yours was supposed to give away a Poe, you should really have ended it !!!!11!!!one.

  127. justsayupyours

    Man I hate those spelling Nazi’s. Makes me think of school yard bullies and how annoying they are. Every one has a right to free speech. And to storm, I understood perfectly what you were saying.
    Okay I checked out the space track site:
    http://www.space-track.org/perl/login.pl
    Now look at the User Agreement, you can’t miss it.

    CBC website – Canada’s #1 national media:
    http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2010/06/04/falcon-launch.html

    falcon 9 wiki:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falcon_9

    I’m sure you’ll find everything you requested in those links. I have more if you need them.
    The Canadian spiral happened on May 21, 2010 and there were also other videos and pictures of the spiral, than the one you feel is a hoax. Oh what a big surprise that the UFO website used the Vandenberg video to discredit the Canada spiral as a hoax. Does the disinformation never end? And what, Vandenberg had nothing to say about it, just let them believe that? The time line on that was interesting:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EO0VDcYsGTs
    So if you want to go on that first link I posted and let us know the coordinates, that would be awesome. Since you think you can.

  128. Mark Hansen

    You see, kuhnigget, if you don’t say that it was definitely a UFO, then you’re one of them. Or perhaps yer one a them thar gummint spooks!!!!!111!!!one.
    OK, so what does the space-track user agreement say? Essentially, unless you get prior permission from the DoD, no, you can’t redistribute data. Quick, quick, get on the ‘phone and let Uncle Sam know that a godless commie is redistributing data. Better put Celestrak in too; they’re doing it as well!

  129. Mark Hansen

    And in closing justsayupyours, asking for coherent communication isn’t being a spelling Nazi. But if you feel an ad hominem adds strength to your argument, then go for it.

  130. Sigh. Once again, from the spacetrack website:

    The user agrees not to transfer any data, including, but not limited to,
    the analysis of tracking data, or other information received through
    this website or any services described herein to any third party without
    the prior express approval of the Secretary of Defense or his delegatee.

    Any unauthorized use of this website will terminate the permission
    granted by the U.S. Government.

    See, Upyours, that’s the benefit of knowing how to read English. If you’d bother to actually sign up to SpaceTrack, you will note that permission is granted to use the data for educational purposes. That is why it is there. Thus, by using the data to create informational graphics for amateur satellite trackers and educational blogs, you are not in violation of the user agreement, and…ONCE AGAIN…you are not violating federal law. Nobody is going to prosecute Jetborne! His data was legally obtained and legally used. GOT IT?

    CBC website – Canada’s #1 national media:

    I understand now that you have difficulty reading, but even so…could you please point out where in that article it is stated that SpaceX rocket engines “incorporated energy from a vacuum”?

    I’ll wait.

    In the meantime, here’s a hint. Posting random links that don’t support your argument, and in fact negate the very points you were trying to make, isn’t the best debate tactic. But then cranks don’t really want debate, do they? They just want to be cranks.

    youtube yadda yadda

    THAT was the “event” you were talking about? Jeebus in a bucket, Upyours! I had no idea. That video is so obviously a product of Lightwave animation software it’s silly! I work in the entertainment industry, amigo. I produce videos for science museums. We use CGI all the time. Visit the science fiction museum in Seattle and you’ll see some great examples.

    And ONCE AGAIN, you are changing your story! Where in ANY of those “canadian spiral” stories is there mention of the “military shenanigans” you keep claiming is your primary interest? They are ALL UFO NUTTERS! So once again, where’s the evidence that backs up YOUR CLAIM? Remember, YOU were the one who said this wasn’t about UFOs. So why post videos from UFO nuts?

    C’mon! Post some evidence…since you think you can.

  131. @ Mark Hansen:

    Yeah, I don’t know why I always let myself get drawn into the “debates” with the cranks. I guess I always hope there’s a chance I can get them to start thinking critically for themselves, but it never turns out that way.

    It’s the same pattern every time:

    •crank shows up, makes a comment implying everyone else is stupid and only they, the crank, have the true answer
    •others ask for evidence to back up crank’s statement
    •crank gets belligerent, fails to produce evidence
    •others ask again for evidence
    •crank starts posting links to random websites and quotes various articles that either have nothing to do with the subject or actually contradict what the crank is saying
    •others point out these inconsistencies
    •crank gets more belligerent, posts more random links, and starts dropping even more wacked-out nuggets of his wisdom
    •yet again, the inconsistencies and irrelevancies are pointed out
    •crank snorts something about “poor misguided fools, I’m too smart for you” and goes away, happy to pursue his crankdom

    I figure we’re about one step away from the end.

  132. justsayupyours

    You two are so funny. Is that all ya got? LOL
    The manual reads – attack the poster who makes the most sense.
    As you both well know everything I posted can be found in those 3 links, so quit playing dumb. Btw the energy from a vaccuum is in the wiki link, but I’m sure you knew that.
    Come on kuknigget, post the coordinates, I dare you.
    You want military shenanigans? Right here (but I’m sure you’ll just attack the source instead of looking at the catalogue this man has produced for posterity).
    http://projectcamelotproductions.com/interviews/michael_schratt/michael_schratt.html

  133. Oh, sorry, one more thing, Upyours:

    I suspect this is where you’re getting your “energy from a vacuum” idea. From your wikipedia article:

    The upper stage is powered by a single Merlin engine modified for vacuum operation…

    Once again, it would be nice if you actually understood what you are trying to argue about. Modifying a rocket engine for flight in vacuum DOES NOT mean it is getting free energy from the empty vacuum of space. It just means the engine has been reconfigured to maximize its performance.

    Here, try reading this one for yourself. From yet another easy to find wikipedia article (isn’t learning fun?):

    Merlin Vacuum
    On March 10, 2009 a SpaceX press release announced successful testing of the Merlin Vacuum engine. A variant of the 1C engine, Merlin Vacuum features a larger exhaust section and a significantly larger expansion nozzle to maximize the engine’s efficiency in the vacuum of space. Its combustion chamber is regeneratively cooled while the niobium alloy[1] expansion nozzle is radiatively cooled. The engine delivers a vacuum thrust of 92,500 lbf (411 kN) and a vacuum specific impulse of 342 seconds.[13] The first production Merlin Vacuum engine underwent a full duration orbital insertion firing (329 seconds) of the integrated Falcon 9 second stage on January 2, 2010.[14]. It was flown on the second stage for the inaugural Falcon 9 flight on June 4, 2010. At full power the Merlin Vacuum engine operates with the greatest efficiency ever for an American-made hydrocarbon rocket engine.

    Honestly, man. Honestly. I’m trying to help you out here, but can’t you at least read up on the subjects you inject yourself into, or are you just happy stumbling along making yourself appear ignorant?

  134. Sighhhhh…

    You two are so funny. Is that all ya got?

    Well, given that you haven’t countered any of it, I guess that would be enough, wouldn’t it?

    The manual reads – attack the poster who makes the most sense.

    Yup. That would be the final step of crankdom! Claim righteous victory even though you’ve lost every round. Glad to know you’ve studied at least one book.

    As you both well know everything I posted can be found in those 3 links, so quit playing dumb.

    No, Upyours, it is not. The spaceTrack site contradicts what you claimed. The user agreement simply states you have to register. Registered users can do what they want with the information, so long as it’s for educational purposes. YOU ARE WRONG AND YOUR OWN LINK PROVES IT.

    The wikipedia article on the Falcon 9 rocket does not say the rocket “incorporates power from a vacuum.” It says nothing of the kind. I even quoted from the damn thing to show that to you. YOU ARE WRONG AND YOUR OWN LINK PROVES IT.

    Btw the energy from a vaccuum is in the wiki link…

    No it is not. The wikipedia article correctly explains that the Merlin engine was adapted for flight in vacuum. Wikipedia further explains what this means. I quoted it for you. YOU ARE WRONG AND YOUR OWN LINK PROVES IT.

    As for the last bit, you claim you’re not a UFO nut. I asked you, if that’s the case, then post some evidence that doesn’t come from a UFO nut. And what do you do? You post yet another link to a UFO nut! Michael Schratt is a draftsman who draws airplane parts. He is only an “aviation historian” for the countless UFO websites his blather can be found on. So yeah, I guess I will attack that source, given that YOU CLAIMED YOU HAD EVIDENCE THAT DIDN’T COME FROM UFO NUTS!

    Does any of this sink in, Upyours? Or is the crankcase too thick?

    All you’ve done, repeatedly, is prove how incapable you are of understanding the most basic aspects of the very topics you are claiming to be knowledgeable about. If you are going to post breathtaking statements on science blogs, the very least you could do is educate yourself a little bit about science.

    Now, continue on with the remaining step of crankdom, and go away. It’s okay, you can go off with your fellow cranks and brag about how you stood your ground to the bad ol’ skeptics. We won’t mind. There’s far too many really cool things in the real world to get excited about.

  135. Andrew

    I saw this light at 5.52am AEST, while fishing in Hervey Bay, QLD. my first thought was ‘this is not a ufo, this is the suns rays hitting something up high in the atmosphere’. But….30 mins later, the sun had still not risen, so I was confused. Sunrise was at 6.28am local time.

    Q- what altitude would an object have to be at, to reflect the suns rays 36mins before sunrise?

  136. @ Andrew:

    I’m sure one of the more mathematically inclined regulars could give you a precise answer if they were still following this long-past-interesting thread. But while outside with my telescopes I routinely see satellites overhead several hours after sunset, and that’s from the relatively low latitude of Southern California.

    The ISS and shuttle are frequently seen against a totally dark sky, and they are in relatively low earth orbit, slightly higher than the Falcon 9.

    Also, noctilucent clouds are up at about 70 km, just over a quarter the altitude of the Falcon 9, and they can be seen in deep twilight, up to about half an hour after or before sunset.

  137. Mark Hansen

    Andrew, can you give me the date that this happened please as well as approximately how high in the sky? So far, it could be Falcon 9 (4th June), X-37B (4th June), Lacrosse 2 (13th June), Radarsat (12th June), Cosmos 2322 booster (12th June), Cosmos 1869 booster (11th June), and others that I haven’t checked.
    These were all checked at heavens-above.com using the lat. and long. for Hervey Bay. If you would like to check them for yourself to see which satellite most closely matches the path yours took against background stars, then visit heavens-above.com. It’s a great site and registration and use are free.

  138. Mark Hansen

    justsayupyours, is that the best you can muster – we’re both ebil gummint spooks™ that use some sort of unspecified fictional “manual” for dealing with fools? You really are scraping the bottom of the barrel if you’ve got to make garbage up.

  139. andrew

    Mark, I saw the spiral light, the one being suggested as Falcon 9. It was 5th June in Australia, 4 th June USA time. Im happy enough with the F9 explanation, I was just wondering if the 36 min delay to sunrise was consistant with the height of the rocket at the time it drops its booster stage. I guess it probably is.

    I realise this is now an old thread to most people, but Ive been away a while, and am just chasing it up now. Thanks for answering to all who posted.

  140. SpartanCanuck

    Late to the party, I know. I just have to laugh at justsayupyours’ harping over the ‘Canadian spiral’. Being from Western Canada, when reports of this supposed phenomenon surfaced in UFO community chatter, one thing immediately struck me as strange: there was NO coverage AT ALL of the supposed event in Canadian media (and, near as I can tell no actual spiral in the sky), despite the event supposedly being so god damned huge. This event seemed to only exist on UFO enthusiast blogs, most of whom seemed to be linking each other as sources. Indeed, the only people who seemed to be talking about the Canadian spiral weren’t Canadians.

    Hmm!

  141. This all sounds fine and dandy reguarding the rocket launch n all but what about the fact that the spiral was still seen there in ausyville an hour later if the rocket was all ready in space within a few minutes of launch then it would have been shut down so it didnt keep going out into space and become unrecoverable right so what was really going on then and where’s the video/photo coverage of the event as it happened to confirm by the sat’s in space and like cnn or some news coverage from around the world as well (as it was happening)in realtime both here on earth and up there so we all can see the swirls as they were happening from a really good telescope/video camera combo. OH WELL

  142. sonia burlakov

    I saw this spiral Orb on the morning of 5th June 2010, and I have to say that there is no way in my opinion it could have been a rocket. This huge bright orb off light came down at me and just hovered above me with the spiral mist rotating for about 5 minutes with no movement at all. It then just changed it’s shape and flew off very slowly to the East. I can’t see how any rocket could do that? Also the spirl mist flew off with the orb and no mist exhaust off any kind was left behind. I couldn’t get this image out off my head ever since. Have no idea what the hell it was? All I know is it was no rocket or space junk because it just wasn’t a solid object….

  143. UFO sighting in Canoga Park, California 1972-1973

    Back years ago around 1972-1973 living in Canoga Park, California, I saw an UFO that slowly moved over the house. Because I was only 5 years old I thought it might have been a dream but I later confirmed this with my mother. Here’s exactly what happened. Late at night, I didn’t know the time, I saw a light shine through the window toward my mother. I slept away from the window but next to my mother. I called out “mom” but she didn’t answer and I wondered what that light was so I hopped off the bed and went to the window to see what was beaming that strong light. It was like a stage flood light. When I got to the window, I saw a very big circular object with three lights on the bottom facing me. Strangely though there was no sound from it. It moved over very quietly. When I was at the window, I called out my mother’s name a few more times but she didn’t move nor react. Then the object moved right over the house.

    Then years later, when I was 8, the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind came out and I told my mother that I thought I saw an UFO beam a light on her and slowly move over the house. My mother then told me she saw the same thing but when the light shined on her, she got paralyzed. She said she couldn’t move and afterward didn’t remember anything after that. So I figure it couldn’t have been a dream if my mother also saw the same thing at around the same time and place. Now that I’m over 40 years old, I still remember this whole situation very clearly and sometimes I wonder if it was all a dream, especially that the UFO didn’t make any sound. But my mother still confirms that this really happened so I guess I really saw an UFO. I still wonder what was done to my mother when the light beam froze her but nothing seems abnormal. Another strange incident happened that my brother and sister claimed they heard some strange noise they had never heard before of something flying nearby the house in Canoga Park. But I’m not sure if it was that same night that my mother and I saw something.

    Well, that’s my UFO story..

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