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Why is Venus mistaken for a UFO?

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posted on Feb, 20 2009 @ 10:49 AM
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In this period of very high luminosity of Venus, there are many UFO reports every day that can be easily explained with the help of the excellent Stellarium software.

However some reports are surprising. Sometimes Venus is not only the brightest light in the sky after the Moon, it also appears to change color and/or shape. I am very much interested in understanding weird aspects of Venus, often reported. I could post my own pictures, but they don't display any curious shape or color.

The picture below, taken last month in New Mexico, shows interesting "dark rays" above and below Venus:

(Credit: MUFON)

Comparison with Stellarium:


Event description in MUFON database

The alien face in the description, I know what it is.
But these "dark rays", what are they? Atmospheric effect, dust on the lens, or something more subtle or exceptional?

There are many other interesting cases, for example how could President Carter mistake Venus for a UFO, moving towards him and then retreating? Can atmospheric distortion alone explain this, a hot bubble of air acting like a magnifying glass? I have never seen anything like that. I hope someone more knowledgeable than me about planetary observations can explain some of these cases.




posted on Feb, 20 2009 @ 11:01 AM
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Please note: I know weird shapes can sometimes be explained by the type of aperture. This video, by our resident expert depthoffield (thanks for the excellent video) explains it perfectly:


I'm curious about other artifacts.



posted on Feb, 20 2009 @ 11:07 AM
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Those dark rays are most likely just photographic abberations. If it was a digital camera then they are notorious for producing all kinds of noise issues. I use 2 ccd cameras with my telescopes and experience this all the time. Many variable can cause these...from apeture issue, shutter speed, exposure time, etc.

I can also refer to something that I call "observers bias". If you're not a regular viewer of the night sky you'll see a bunch more "anomolies" than someone who does regular observing. I don't mean this as a slight against anyone but just an opinion.


[edit on 20-2-2009 by griffinrl]



posted on Feb, 20 2009 @ 01:23 PM
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reply to post by nablator
 


to be blunt - the ` masses ` are utterly clueless when it comes to astronomy , or for that matter even being out at night



posted on Feb, 20 2009 @ 07:15 PM
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I remember the first time I saw Venus, it was really really bright in the night's sky.. since it doesn't appear 'in full brightness' very often, at that time.. I didn't know that it was the second brightest object in the night sky after the moon. But I never once thought of it as something extraterrestrial or paranormal.. I just didn't know what it was exactly; be it a star,or a planet, etc..

It certainly could be 'unidentifiable' or misinterpreted as a 'UFO' to someone with no basic knowledge of astronomy.

That said, I don't believe that Jimmy Carter misinterpreted/mistook his sighting for Venus, nor did the other 20 or 30 people with him that night.



posted on Feb, 20 2009 @ 08:10 PM
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Originally posted by Majorion
I don't believe that Jimmy Carter misinterpreted/mistook his sighting for Venus, nor did the other 20 or 30 people with him that night.


More like 10 or 12.

IMO, if the police can mistake Venus for a UFO and chase it at speeds of up to 100 MPH, it would not surprise me.



posted on Feb, 20 2009 @ 08:36 PM
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reply to post by C.H.U.D
 


Then tell me why he was denied access to information pertaining to ufos, and subsequently broke his promise of getting the answers out.

[edit on 20/2/09 by Majorion]



posted on Feb, 21 2009 @ 09:25 AM
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Originally posted by Majorion
Then tell me why he was denied access to information pertaining to ufos, and subsequently broke his promise of getting the answers out.


If you can show me some proof that any answers existed in the first place, I might be willing to reconsider my stance.

For all we know, the government knows no more than the public about UFOs.

Now, I'd love find out that UFOs were real also, but over the years, all I've come across are rumors, conjecture and mis identifications (not to mention hoaxes and faked 'evidence').



posted on Feb, 21 2009 @ 12:52 PM
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Why is Venus mistaken for a UFO, because the uninformed are not aware of the characteristics of the planet, or are being misled and falsely reported by those that do know into believing it is the planet when, in fact, it actually is some unidentifiable object in space.

The planet Venus has a diameter of 7520 miles and at a distance of roughtly 25 million miles from Earth, can only appear to the naked eye as a speck of bright light, which is reflected from Sun and gets distorted as the light travels through the Earth's atmosphere. It's quite visible and not all that unusual for viewing.

If one could actually observe Venus with their naked eye, but with no distortion from Earth's atmosphere and as clear as we can observe the moon, it's size would be such that you could fit 32 Venus', side by side, across the face of a full Moon.

In that context, one can understand how small it actually is in the Heavens and not be duped by those that try to tell you 'Oh, it's only Venus' when you've seen something unexplainable and much, much larger in the sky.



posted on Feb, 21 2009 @ 01:29 PM
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reply to post by nablator
 


I don't think the "dark rays" are a camera or lens artifact, but the brighter area around Venus (except on those darker areas) is the real artifact.

It makes the "dark rays" look dark, but if you look (and unless I am mistaken) the "dark rays" have the same brightness as the surrounding sky.



posted on Feb, 21 2009 @ 03:15 PM
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ArMap, you're absolutely right. I've been asking around, on other forums too without definite answer. There's a similar optical weirdness that I noticed a few days ago. At night, even when the weather is not especially foggy, all sodium street lights are surrounded by a nearly circular halo of light extending several diameters from their source. However, there is a clear glass underneath the light, and a mirror and casing on top. How is this possible? Shouldn't the moisture in the air catch more light under the light than above? With Venus it is the opposite problem, why the anisotropy, why should two areas be protected from the general diffusion of light around the planet? It could be because of the crescent shape of Venus, but why don't other photos pf Venus or the Moon display the same "dark rays"?



posted on Feb, 21 2009 @ 03:21 PM
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Originally posted by Majorion
That said, I don't believe that Jimmy Carter misinterpreted/mistook his sighting for Venus, nor did the other 20 or 30 people with him that night.

Me neither, especially with the way he describes it. However Venus was very bright and exactly where he saw it, shortly after sunset. He couldn't miss it. So I don't know what to believe.



posted on Feb, 21 2009 @ 03:29 PM
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Originally posted by Majorion
Then tell me why he was denied access to information pertaining to ufos, and subsequently broke his promise of getting the answers out.

Do you know any source, other than Shirley McLaine, about this story that I've read many times, that President Carter was denied information about UFOs by George Bush, director of the CIA? Did Carter say so himself in an interview?



posted on Feb, 21 2009 @ 03:34 PM
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With respect, the title "Why is Venus mistaken for a UFO?" is somewhat misleading with a common misconception about the term "UFO" which actually means 'unidentified flying object' and not 'alien space craft'.

Regarding Jimmy Carter, perhaps Venus was there, but when we examine his description of the sighting.. well.. let's just say that; at least ..so far..Venus doesn't quite cut it as a reasonable explanation.

Here's Jimmy Carter describing the object;


4. How long did you see the object?:
"10-12 minutes."



12. Did the object(s)-:
a. Appear to stand still at any time?: "Yes."
g. Change brightness?: "Yes."
h. Change shape?: "Yes."
I. Change color?: "Yes."



19. Did the object)s_ rise or fall while in motion?:
"Came close, moved away, came close and then moved away."



23. How did the object(s) disappear from view?:
"Moved to distance then disappeared."


www.cohenufo.org...

Are there any instances where Venus can be seen in this manner?



posted on Feb, 21 2009 @ 04:19 PM
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reply to post by Majorion
 

Exactly my point, I don't know how Venus could appear to change shape, color and become bigger and smaller (move away is just an interpretation). That's why I created this thread. So that ATSers can share there experience. Griffinrl said he experiences photographic aberrations all the time. I'd like to compare photos and maybe understand what kind of aberrations can happen and what kind of atmospheric conditions can change the aspect of Venus to the naked eye. Why don't these weird things happen to me?



posted on Feb, 21 2009 @ 04:36 PM
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Originally posted by griffinrl
Those dark rays are most likely just photographic abberations. If it was a digital camera then they are notorious for producing all kinds of noise issues. I use 2 ccd cameras with my telescopes and experience this all the time. Many variable can cause these...from apeture issue, shutter speed, exposure time, etc.

Yes , I can imagine. However, with a simple digital camera, or to the naked eye, what can possibly go wrong and explain such odd observations?


I can also refer to something that I call "observers bias". If you're not a regular viewer of the night sky you'll see a bunch more "anomolies" than someone who does regular observing. I don't mean this as a slight against anyone but just an opinion.

I'm not a regular observer, I've never looked through a telescope. I'd love to see anomalies, but I never do.



posted on Feb, 21 2009 @ 06:25 PM
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Originally posted by Majorion

4. How long did you see the object?:
"10-12 minutes."



Consistent with a celestial object (ie. Venus) that is not very high above the horizon, and in the process of setting.


Originally posted by Majorion

12. Did the object(s)-:
a. Appear to stand still at any time?: "Yes."
g. Change brightness?: "Yes."
h. Change shape?: "Yes."
I. Change color?: "Yes."



a. Consistent with a celestial object (ie. Venus) - moves so slowly that it appears to stand still to the naked eye

g. Consistent with a fairly bright celestial object (ie. Venus) - the atmosphere is 'uneven' and this causes apparent changes in brightness ie 'scintillation' AKA twinkling.

h. The atmosphere is the cause here once again, and it distorts any object seen through it, especially those seen low on the horizon, where you are having to look though a huge amount of atmosphere.

I. As above - 'scintillation' is also responsible for the light being split into it's constituent parts, just like a rainbow, except that you can not see all the colors at once. The atmosphere acts like a prism that constantly moves/changes shape. Try holding up a prism in the sunlight, and moving it about till you can see colors.


Originally posted by Majorion

19. Did the object)s_ rise or fall while in motion?:
"Came close, moved away, came close and then moved away."



It's simply an optical illusion. Under certain conditions the eye can be fooled into believing things that are not really there, or create apparent movement where there is none, and celestial objects in a dark sky are prime candidates for this:


Source: wikipedia

A scintillating grid illusion. Shape position and colour and 3d contrast converge to produce the illusion of grey dots at the intersections.




Source: wikipedia

Simultaneous Contrast Illusion. The horizontal grey bar is the same shade throughout



Source: wikipedia

appears to move both clockwise and counter-clockwise



Source: wikipedia

An optical illusion. The two circles seem to move when the viewer's head is moving forwards and backwards while looking at the black dot.


Can you see how easy it is for the eye to be fooled yet?

It's not uncommon to see a satellite making it's way across the sky, and as we all know, they travel in a 'straight' line across the sky, but from time to time they can appear to zig zag from side to side as they travel across the sky.

They don't really move from side to side, it only looks that way because there are very few visual cues in the sky, and your brain is unable to take into account your bodies motion. The motion you see is you swaying back and fourth as you look up to the sky directly over head - try it one night! Then try with your head supported with a solid object like a wall and see if that makes a difference.


Originally posted by Majorion

23. How did the object(s) disappear from view?:
"Moved to distance then disappeared."



Quite easily explained by Venus setting, and as it disappeared behind whatever object was obstructing the view of the horizon, it would have dimmed (appeared to get smaller or even "disappear off into the distance"). It may seem unlikely, but keep in mind he's just seen what he thinks is a 'UFO', so chances are he's in shock and not thinking 100% rationally.


[edit on 21-2-2009 by C.H.U.D.]



posted on Feb, 21 2009 @ 07:33 PM
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C.H.U.D,

You provided individual explanations for each possible instance where someone may have been unable to discern what they were seeing.. but let's analyze this situation as a whole.. put all the pieces together (figuratively speaking):

We're talking about an object that changes brightness, changes shape, changes color, appears to stand still at any time, then comes close, moves away, comes close and then moves away again. Jimmy Carter described the object's size to be as large as the moon.

Isn't rather far-fetched to say that at least 10 people.. saw this object.. and none of them interpreted it correctly?.. If it really were Venus, surely someone might have said.. 'oh don't worry, that's just Venus'.. but none of them believed this object to be Venus.

Might I add, that Jimmy Carter never said that he saw an 'alien ship', he said that he saw a 'UFO' and again I'll say.. that UFO actually means 'unidentified' certainly not 'alien spaceship'.

I just find the probability of all the witnesses having allegedly misinterpreting the object, to be fairly low.

Thanks for the optical illustration, but I myself already knew about these illusions and have studied them many many times before.. chances are.. that at least one of the people with Jimmy Carter, would have known to distinct between Venus or otherwise something else.



posted on Feb, 22 2009 @ 04:27 AM
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Originally posted by C.H.U.D.
Consistent with a celestial object (ie. Venus) that is not very high above the horizon, and in the process of setting.

30° above horizon is not very close.


g. Consistent with a fairly bright celestial object (ie. Venus) - the atmosphere is 'uneven' and this causes apparent changes in brightness ie 'scintillation' AKA twinkling.

I never saw planets twinkle, especially Venus at magniture -4.2 is too big and bright to twinkle.

I found this quote:

There's always an exception though. In very turbulent air, even planets can appear to twinkle. The air is moving so rapidly and so randomly that even something as large as a planet can twinkle.

Source: www.badastronomy.com...

So maybe with exceptional atmospheric humidity and some help from a nearby power plant or above a stove pipe? This was in January 1969...


Can you see how easy it is for the eye to be fooled yet?

You are pushing the analogy with these optical illusions a bit too far. Involuntary eye movement is the main cause for apparent motion.



posted on Feb, 22 2009 @ 04:34 AM
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I just noticed a thread with pictures posted by CavemanDD:
"I'll show you the pictures I took that blew my mind. The object had a halo just like the moon, and was much brighter and profound then the picture shows."
www.abovetopsecret.com...

A thin layer of clouds makes Venus look a lot bigger.



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