I don't think tricks of the eye can explain all reports over eons.
I agree 100% that optical illusions don't explain all UFO reports, and have stated that on at least one or two occasions in this thread before now.
However (and I think most here will agree), it may explain certain cases, so is it not worth investigating the possibility that it may play a part in
I wasn't searching for anything the night I saw mine. I wasn't thinking of UFO's.
As I'm sure is the case with most peoples first UFO (including mine - on both occasions).
It was a familiar drive - isolated and very dark. The "star" looking thing was so bright it simply caught my attention as it was too low to be a
star, and was just impossible to not see for the direction I was heading. Even then I didn't think UFO.
How exactly were you able to tell what altitude the object was at?
Was the object seen in a clear sky?
Did the object pass in front of a fixed terrestrial feature?
If you don't know what an object is (ie a UFO), or what size/or what intrinsic brightness the objects has (A), or roughly how far away it was (if
your answer to my last question was "no", then how could you?) (B), and the answer to my second to last question is "yes", then how can you tell
the difference between an object that is within our atmosphere, and an object that is outside the atmosphere and possibly many light years away?
If you know the value of A or of B, then you can use that information to work out the altitude, right?
If you know the value of A or of B, or the altitude, then you have no information at all to go on in the case of "point-source lights"(or star-like
lights)... except for brightness, but that's not much use since:
1. An extremely bright light a long way off but "next to" a much much dimmer light that is very close to an observer (just the right distance),
could easily appear
to be exactly the same brightness, right?
2. Hypothetically - If you were to look up into an extremely dark/black sky, and all you saw was an extremely faint and tiny light all on it's own,
what would be your first impression/guess of how far away that light was? A long way, right?
3. Hypothetically (again) - If you were to look up into an extremely dark/black sky, and all you saw was an extremely bright and huge light all on
it's own, what would be your first impression/guess of how far away that light was? A lot closer than the light in #2, right?
#2 and #3 are naturally "hard-wired" in our brains, because in most situations these "rules" hold true and are useful to us in our every-day
lives, however, because we all naturally expect these rules to hold true, it can be a bit of a shock to the system when/if they don't!
If you read up on illusions, you will see that it is in situations where there is little meaningful information (a nondescript point light source, in
a dark sky near to/or devoid of any features AKA "visual cues", that could be any distance/size/brightness), or there is conflicting information (it
looks like a satellite, but satellites can't be this big, bright, and seemingly close!?), that the brain effectively say's "it's had enough",
gives up, and we get an illusion. Or it tries to fill in the gaps where info is missing using "hardwired" rules, even though in some situations this
might be of less value than leaving the gaps empty. Don't believe that at times the brain "fills in gaps" with information that does not exist?
see the "disappearing ball" illusion in my previous post.
Here's a bit more of an extreme example - false memories
Human memory is created and highly suggestible, and a wide variety of innocuous, embarrassing and frightening memories can be falsely created
through the use of different techniques, including guided imagery, hypnosis and suggestion by others. Though not all individuals who are exposed to
these techniques will develop memories, experiments suggest a significant number of people will, and will actively defend the existence of the events,
even if told they were false and deliberately implanted.
Now, go back to #1, and consider a case where you have a surprisingly
bright point-source light which happens to be a long way off...
In fact, I believe my mind was still processing it when it took off at lightning speed, making maneuvers that could in no way happen at that speed
with anything I've ever heard of (and would not - due to the mountains).
Ok, so we have a fairly (surprisingly even perhaps?) bright and eye catching light in the sky. That suggests it was close, right?
Now, given my points above, what if that light suddenly dimmed till it was tiny/faint, and then disappeared? Tiny/faint suggests it got further away,
So we have a bright (close) light that fades (far off, into the distance), which just happens to precisely match the description of a
, which sometimes can be surprisingly bright. It also matches the description
of a slow moving meteor, although exactly how much better (or worse) than the flare hypothesis is difficult to say unless you can give more details of
Ranging up to -8 magnitude (rarely to a brilliant -9.5), some of the flares are so bright that they can be seen in the daytime; but they are most
impressive at night. This flashing has caused some annoyance to astronomers, as the flares occasionally disturb observations and can damage sensitive
When not flaring, the satellites are often visible crossing the night sky at a typical magnitude of 6, similar to a dim star.
So they can go from being about as bright as a half moon, to being almost as dim as the dimmest stars you can see with the naked eye under a
near-pristine dark sky, that is "effectively invisible" unless you had got out of your vehicle, turned off your head lights, and sat in the dark for
at least 10 or 20 minutes to allow your eyes to adapt to the low light.
I'm guessing you've never observed a very bright confirmed Iridium satellite flare, or knew that they could be so bright?
Here's a fairly bright -8.2 magnitude flare from Iridium 34 which I photographed last year. The image is a composite of a few short (around 10 or 12
seconds) exposures, hence the gaps in the trail which are due to the camera being in between exposures:
There are simply some things we cannot explain - that cannot be debunked without a repeat exposure to show the person that what they saw was natural
That may be true in some cases, but just because an obvious explanation can not be found at a particular time does not mean that someone might not
come along with an explanation at some point in the future. In some cases an explanation may not be possible simply because there is not enough info
to come to a definitive conclusion either way, but that does not necessarily mean the only other explanation is aliens.
For example, in your case, if you had recorded the date, the time, the location (to within a km or two), and what part of the sky you saw the light,
it would be possible to work out with software or even using heavens-above.com
if there might have been a
flare that matches.
If people took a moment to record every possible detail (positions in the sky relative to stars, cloud cover, wind direction, precise
timings/location, etc), then I think many more cases might be solved. I realize people might be too shaken at the time to remember to do these things
in many cases, but it should be the first priority for those who already have a little experience. Better yet get some photos of the area of sky (with
a bit of horizon if possible) - even just afterwards can be useful.
Please don't take me the wrong way here, I'm not trying to fault you in any way, I'm just suggesting what I think would be the best way to do
things, when/if possible in an ideal world.
Sorry for the quite lengthy reply, but it's the only way I can get across concepts like these. There is no easy/simple answer, and a little bit of
extra reading might still be needed, and/or performing your own experiments (like trying to photograph the same phenomena if you see it again with
reasonable quality gear).
The beauty of facts/experimenting for yourself is that you can prove to yourself that they are true - you don't have to take my word for it.
The irony is, that if half the passion and effort that goes into defending the "aliens are probably here" position here on ATS went in to actually
trying the "experiments" I suggest, it could go a long way to explaining some reports... and leaving the field a little more clear to concentrate
on the most inexplicable of cases.
Some related links (in addition tho those posted in my first post in this thread):
Almost all your decisions are made by your unconscious mind
What is an Illusion?