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Why is Venus mistaken for a UFO?

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posted on Feb, 22 2009 @ 03:41 PM
reply to post by Majorion

I agree Majorion, we should look at the circumstances surrounding the situation.

I also agree that it is a hugely unlikely scenario, however, given enough chances, even the most unlikely scenario can occur. Look at the recent satellite collision for example. The odds of it happening must have been billions to one, but given enough orbits/time, and enough other satellites in the same altitude range, it's only a question of 'when' rather than 'if'.

Same thing with the Jimmy Carter UFO incident, and keep in mind he was 'only' governor at the time, not that that makes any difference - it could have happened to almost anyone. If it had happened to anyone else (some random gathering of 10+ people), we probably would not have heard of this incident.

However unlikely the odds of the inexperienced sky watchers coming together, and IMO, it's not more unlikely than seeing an ET UFO, which is what everyone interprets this as, even if you did not say so in your post.

If that is all this is about - ie he did not understand what he saw, then I don't see what all the fuss is about. Even the most experienced astronomers see things in the night sky they can not identify from time to time.

Also if you consider the type of people who he was likely to be with at the time of the sighting, I don't mean to stereo-type, but they are probably upper-crust socialites/celebs., who are unlikely to be much interested in what goes on above their heads and have much knowledge of the sky (although no doubt there are exceptions).

I'm not saying that I or anyone else can explain every aspect of this case, even though I have put forward suggestions that try to do that, but I am just attempting to explain that most aspects of this case can be explained by well known phenomena, and under the right circumstances, unusual coincidences can mislead us, not all the time, but it *can* happen.

It's impossible to say what they saw for sure since we were not there, but we should also keep in mind that there may well still be natural-terrestrial phenomena that are quite rare that might account for this (and other sightings). We are still learning about the world around us, and because we see something we do not understand in the sky from time to time, it does not mean to say that we should immediately jump to any conclusions about what it is.

To emphasize the point, that there are probably many 'possible' although perhaps 'improbable' possibilities, here's one possibility: The drinks may have been spiked with something.

Do we even know if all the other witnesses reported the same effects as Carter? Perhaps they saw he was going places, and decided to stand by his version of events in order to further themselves.

I think it's an interesting case for sure, but since some of the details are quite sketchy (time and supporting accounts for starters) and many of the characteristics of the object in question could be accounted for, I doubt it's anything more than a coincidence involving Venus or perhaps even the moon which was low on the horizon at the supposed time of the event, although quite frankly, I think that's less likely than Venus being misidentified.

FWIW I do think that there is other intelligent life out there, but for various reasons, I also think that it's unlikely they would visit (or even be able to find) us here. It is possible, but I have yet to see any real proof of it.

[edit on 22-2-2009 by C.H.U.D.]

posted on Feb, 22 2009 @ 04:17 PM
reply to post by nablator

I think a picture is worth 1000 words :


Agree with what you said about the atmosphere in your reply, but I think it still remains a distinct possibility as a contributory factor in this case.

My point with posting those illusions was to demonstrate that you can't always believe what you see. Not only involuntary eye movement, but our ability to judge size/distance of objects under circumstances like these is severely diminished.

I'm no expert in the way the brain interprets signals from our optic nerves, but I do know it is not an infallible system, and that is all I am trying to say, and something that many seem to dismiss as inconsequential to the field of UFOs, when it is actually quite important IMHO.

posted on Feb, 22 2009 @ 05:21 PM

Originally posted by C.H.U.D
I'm no expert in the way the brain interprets signals from our optic nerves, but I do know it is not an infallible system, and that is all I am trying to say, and something that many seem to dismiss as inconsequential to the field of UFOs, when it is actually quite important IMHO.

I respect your opinion C.H.U.D, and am in agreement with you; that 90-95% of documented/investigated UFO cases were explained in conventional terms, in most of these cases.. it was astronomical phenomena and so on. But there is a big 5-10% of worldwide sightings, that have remained unexplained to the public..the governments claim insufficient data, and or that they don't have the answers.. but for those of us who've watched all the whistle blowers come out and talk over the years, in addition to the countless eye witness testimonies, along with much evidence of cover up and denial for over 60 years, sometimes even trace evidence, and radar detections.. these 'unexplained' cases can be explained, and that someone has those answers, but they are refusing to let it out in fear of losing power, or panicking the public..especially the more conservative and religious folk. And with this global financial crisis, one could only imagine the effect of 'explaining' this phenomena now.

Personally, I've been researching UFOs for at least 10 years.. IMO there is definitely something to it, extraterrestrials are strongly related to the subject, and are the most probable out of all the hypothesis out there.. a French team of scientists and high-ranking officers formed a committee to investigate the issue in 1999, although some would argue that the 90 page report they compiled called 'Cometa' is 'unofficial' on a foreign or policy basis, they report is no doubt a credible one, and was never originally intended for the public. The conclusion of this report, after studying the phenomena and investigating all available evidence of this phenomena, was that UFOs are real, some of them represent extraterrestrial craft, they are evidently artificial, technological, controlled by entities with a high intellect.. and that this more than likely probability, can no longer be ignored.

And forgive me, but I also believe IMO that Jimmy Carter was denied access to sensitive UFO information, and that's why he broke his promise of making every piece of information about UFOs available, he simply wasn't able, because the subject is surrounded with secrecy and denial.

posted on Feb, 22 2009 @ 08:01 PM
reply to post by Majorion

I didn't want to discuss the ETH in this thread, that's why it was posted in this forum. I wanted to discuss the possible optical aberrations that I haven't seen myself. Thank you all for the help. The title is not misleading, UFOs exist, many people see them every day. What they are is another matter entirely. Since you are a believer and a reasonable one, I would like to tell you my experience.

Two years ago, I would have agreed with you 100%, if you read some of my old ATS posts, I was just like you, I couldn't accept the possibility that all UFO reports have a mundane cause. The COMETA report is a big factor, and all the credible reports. I have had a curious sighting myself. But since then, after reading extensively on the subject I am not so sure any more. Some very good research work is never mentioned on ATS. People who are interested in finding out the dry facts always find them, eventually, about the Rendlesham forest incident, the Belgian UFO wave, the most famous abductions, the photographic evidence, and can draw their own conclusions. ATS taught me to trust no one, and doubt rumors.

Carter also rejects a common rumor spread on UFO websites that George H. W. Bush, then director of the CIA, restricted his access to classified UFO documents.

Source and interview podcast:

posted on Feb, 22 2009 @ 09:01 PM

Originally posted by Majorion
a French team of scientists and high-ranking officers formed a committee to investigate the issue in 1999, although some would argue that the 90 page report they compiled called 'Cometa' is 'unofficial' on a foreign or policy basis, they report is no doubt a credible one, and was never originally intended for the public.

Yes, but "not intended for the public" sounds like it was meant to remain secret. There are many myths about this report. It was not a classified report. It was not even confidential. It was published in a French weekly newspaper. No names were blacked out. The conclusions of the committee is their own, it's a private initiative. IHEDN did not endorse the report. Its impact was very limited in France, ufologists, scientists and the press criticized the factual errors and conclusions.

posted on Feb, 22 2009 @ 11:03 PM
I stand with nablator on this.

At first sight there is lots of evidence supporting ETH, but a bit of digging proves most of it to be flimsy evidence at best.

Most people justify the existence of ETH due to the sheer volume of evidence, but as stated above, it's not real evidence, so the whole house of cards comes tumbling down.

Congratulations on seeing through all the hype nablator, and for climbing out of a 'pit', which once you're in is actually quite hard to climb out of!

Anyway, it's nablator's thread and he didn't want it to be about the ETH aspect, so back to the topic at hand...

I think that part of the reason that Venus is so commonly mistaken for a UFO it because it is so bright and attention grabbing. I've said this before, but it's worth repeating here I think: I have been watching the stars/planets for the last 10 years (and even before that, although not as 'seriously'), and learning about them, and even so the sight of Venus in a clear sky occasionally startles and confuses me due to its sheer brilliance in the sky.

Also, the human brain perceives changes in brightness in point light sources as changes in size/distance, which is natural (works well on the ground), but does not work well when applied to celestial objects in the sky.

Once again we're back to the basic workings of our eyes/brain, which are simply not well designed/programed for interpreting what we see up in the air - after all, there is not much evolutionary need for man as a species to make sense of what he sees in the sky. It makes better evolutionary sense that mans eyes/brain are adapted to work best on the ground, since thats where all the real dangers tend to come from in everyday life.

And this has me thinking about the Carter case specifically... thin clouds (or just some other atmospheric 'hiccup') passing in front of Venus might make it appear to change in brightness/size, with perhaps even a halo contributing to the effect as was mentioned before.

I've only scratched the surface on this case, but if you ask me, something does not add up:

The timing and position of Venus seems suspect to me. When I plugged in the assumed time (taken from wiki) and approximate location (the state of Virginia I believe), Venus was displayed in my software at 30 degrees elevation, but (and as you stated before nablator) that is quite high for atmospheric distortions/scintillation and more importantly at that height, it would have been a while before it set (depending on the height of obstacles on the horizon) - at least an hour if it was a perfectly clear horizon.

In that respect, the moon , which was perhaps 5 degrees above the horizon and just to the west of Venus, might even be a better candidate for this event, although even I find it hard to believe that the moon could be mistaken for a UFO, but having said that, the moon can also appear quite distorted when close to the horizon, as can any celestial object in my experience.

Again, given that we are not 100% sure of the exact date, all of this speculation could be well off. I must admit I have only looked at one potential date/time (January as per wiki), but I'll have a look at the date which if I recall was in December if I get a chance tomorrow.

It seems strange that no one can settle on an exact date given how many witnesses there were - I think it also speaks volumes on the reliability of witness recollections of events of that night and in general.

posted on Feb, 23 2009 @ 03:38 AM
reply to post by C.H.U.D.

When I had a look at Stellarium two weeks ago, I noticed, as you say the pretty good match 30°, maybe not exactly at 7pm, but 7:30, I don't remember, in the direction of sunset (South-West). Bingo. Most people automatically assume the Sun sets in the West (the UFO's direction in Jimmy Carter's report), and it actually doesn't. The date was reconstructed from the documented visit of Jimmy Carter in Leary.

UFOsceptic Robert Sheaffer debunked the case rather convincingly here:

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