Tuesday, June 15

I study UFOs, and I don’t believe in extraterrestrial hype. Here’s why | Mick west


THere’s a wave of interest building around an impending Pentagon report on the subject of UFOs, or, as they are now known, UAPs (Unidentified Aerial Phenomena). A heady sense of excitement has gripped the UFO community, whose members, after suffering years of being marginalized as harmless eccentrics, finally feel a sense of vindication and excitement for the upcoming revelation.

I am a science fanatic and a science fiction fanatic. I grew up reading Arthur C. Clark, Poul Anderson, Eric Frank Russell, Robert L Forward, and Larry Niven. The idea of ​​contact with aliens has always fascinated me, and I would like nothing more than to find evidence of extraterrestrial life. But this current flap is not.

In 2017 I helped solve a UFO case. Using a high-tech infrared camera, the Chilean Navy had recorded video of a mysterious object in the distance. The black-and-white images showed a strange black shape flying through the sky, and at one point it seemed to emit plumes of hot gases. A special group of military personnel, scientists, and other experts was formed. For two years they carefully studied the case, eliminated all worldly possibilities, and finally concluded that this object was a “true stranger.” A real UFO, certified by a national army.

The research group released its findings and published the enigmatic video. Writer Leslie Kean wrote a effusive article in the Huffington Post praising the development as an “innovative” and “exceptional” discovery based on videos and stories from, according to Chilean government sources, “highly trained professionals with many years of experience” and the “full participation” of academia and the armed forces. cash. The UFO community rejoiced.

Three days later me and others identified the plane such as Iberia flight 6830, departing from the Santiago airport. The “hot gases” were just contrails, and the strange movement was the result of a low angle of view and a powerful zoom factor in the infrared camera. The glow from the engines darkened the plane and created the unusual shape. Radar data confirmed that the exact location of the plane matched the UFO. Case closed. UFO enthusiasts were upset.

Something similar seems to be happening with the current situation of the US Navy UFO enthusiasts claim that there is astonishing evidence for UAP, that they represent something incredible, and that a task force has been investigating this for years. As in the Chilean case, we are shown blurred video from military-grade infrared cameras as very compelling evidence that has apparently withstood analysis.

But again, when the alleged evidence is subject to public scrutiny, the claims made about it disappear. I, along with many others, have done an in-depth analysis of the black and white videos that have served as the backdrop for hundreds of media stories about UFOs. One video, codenamed “Gimbal,” looks particularly impressive: it shows what looks like a real flying saucer gliding over the clouds.

But my experience with the Chilean UFO immediately suggested a more mundane explanation: the infrared glow from the engines of a distant plane. Some research confirmed that this was a very likely hypothesis. I looked for the camera’s patents; These revealed a de-rotation mechanism used to correct for “gimbal roll” which would inevitably mean that the gazes would rotate the way it is seen in the video. This is probably also why the navy codenamed it “Gimbal”, rather than, say, “Flying Saucer”.

Other less impressive videos (which UFO fans also describe as remarkable) have quickly succumbed to analysis. “Go fast” wasn’t actually going fast and was consistent with a balloon floating in the wind. “Tic Tac” did not show a ship moving like a ping-pong ball, but rather looked more like a distant airplane with the apparent movement caused by camera switching modes and performing gimbal rolls. “Green Pyramid” looked like “the best UFO footage of all time” for two days, then I pointed out that it looked exactly like an out of focus airliner filmed in night vision with a triangular aperture.

The evidence is overwhelming. We are told that there is classified and secret data that we cannot see that proves something. But the people who tell us this are the same people who effusively promoted these videos as compelling media evidence. (Several of the New York Times much discussed recent UFO pieces they were co-written by Leslie Kean, who was very impressed with the Chilean case). T.V. series Unidentified: Inside America’s UFO Investigation took a similar approach, bringing up “experts” to express amazement and perplexity at what was ultimately quite explainable.

I hope the next UAP report from the Pentagon will be more of the same. It’s a government report, but without actual funding, the report will likely build on work done previously as a pet project of former senator and UFO enthusiast Harry Reid, something the Pentagon doesn’t want to talk about because it’s a bit of a goof. .

This is not to say that there is nothing for the military to worry about. There are real problems regarding unidentified sightings, with drones being one of the main ones. A distant drone, even a domestic one, is difficult to identify, and we know foreign adversaries have a keen interest in developing and using novel stealth drones to spy on and probe our defenses. There are other genuine problems as well, such as anomalous radar returns and unexplained eyewitness sightings, but no evidence of aliens. There is not even good-quality evidence of flying objects showing amazing technology. However, there are many people who want UFOs to be “real” and who feel that promoting the story will make it come true. They present weak evidence as solid evidence. Do not be fooled.


www.theguardian.com

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