Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

Shiny metal "UFO" photo analysis


On December 7, 2006, we received an email with a very interesting photograph attached. The image was captured in Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil. According to the message, the photographer was Roberto Di Sena, Masonic Master, between 9:30 and 10 AM, November 25, 2006, on the Alagamar near the back of the ABC Soccer Club Stadium. (…)

Continue reading for the full analysis done by Reinaldo Stabolito and Rogério Chola.

According to the EXIF information attached to the image, it was taken on July 5, 2006, at 17:51:24 (the time stamp were probably not correctly set up), the exposure time was 0,0017 seconds (automatic mode), the flash was not fired, the focus was on infinite (we can verify that the houses and clouds are in focus), the aperture opening was small (FNumber – 6.70) and the camera used was a PENTAX Optio 60.

At first sight, it seems the image is not a crude montage since the shadows in the object are coherent with those of the background. We point below the shadows in the object and in the background.


Another important verification is done on the pixels. … If we compare the pixels of the object with another part of the image, we notice they are indeed similar, further suggesting that it isn’t a montage.

shinymetalufo03a shinymetalufo03b



This image provoked much debate on Brazilian ufology discussion groups, as many researchers claimed to have found a square frame around the object, which would be evidence of a hoax. This square however couldn’t be seen on the image we received from the author. We then found that the image with a square frame around the object was a low resolution version shared on a photo album on the “Orkut” website. …

As the original image, in high resolution, didn’t show any square around the object, we dismissed this possibility and understood that it was simply the result of resaving the image to a low quality version.

Another element that was subject of discussion was a white halo on the bottom of the object, that could be evidence that the image was cut and pasted. But if we enlarge any other image in the background, we will notice that this white hale also shows up. It was quickly realized that these “anomalies” are produced by [the camera processing] and the sharp contrast of the object and the background sky.

Below we present an image extracted from the original photo, with parts of a tree and a television antenna. See as there’s a white halo around the objects in contrast with the sky.


But even with these arguments, there were still some debate about this feature. It was claimed that the white halo only appeared below the object, and there were also dark contrasting areas on the upper part of the object without them, pointing to a hoax.

To solve this question, we made an experience with a model. The model is a small circular, metallic disc.

The model:


The model attached with a string to a broom:


The broom was fixed to the last step of a ladder:


We then placed the ladder next to a wall:


The model was photographed against a blue sky, as with Roberto Di Sena’s image. We can see that the white halo is visible only below the disc. There are also many dark parts above the disc. This effect is the result [of the camera processing unit, with an unsharp mask automatically applied]:




The object is very well focused, as we can see its shape and borders:


Digital cameras can correctly focus objects starting from a 5 m distance when set to infinite. The small aperture (6.70) suggests the place was very wll lit, and this aperture further enhances the depth of field (around 3 to 5 m at most). In these conditions, the focus could have been obtained for objects as close as 1 to 2 m (5m – 4m).

The object is also more defined than the background houses, which suggests it is actually close to the camera and a small object! If the object was large and far away, it would have a sharpness similar to the background objects. …

The photographer guarantees that it was something flying over his house and that the photo was spontaneous. The paradox here is that the object is very well centered and extremely well focused. (…)

Searching for indications of a possible photo trickery, many resources of image analysis were used. The first technique applied was the Gaussian processing, aimed in removing the “super-exposure” of light as well as treating the maximum and minimum contrasts of an image:


In this first processing, we can observe that there’s no sign of photo trickery. This filter also shows the correct position of the light source, in this case the Sun. Using a density filter, we can visualize the proportion (density)of the pixels formed from the various elements in the scene. In this case, we can verify if the object was actually on the scene and its approximate dimensions:


Using a “high-frequency” filter we can verify if there are manipulations on the image, as the following image shows:


Below a close in the object, using the previous filter. We can notice an indentation below the object, as if it was bent inwards. This is a very significative evidence:


To this moment, we couldn’t detect any kind of photo trickery, which however doesn’t allow us to completely dismiss the possibility. We are still studying the image.

In our understanding, given the information of the close proximity and small size of the object, which don’t agree with the witness testimony, there remains the hypothesis that it was something thrown in the air and photographed. …

It’s important to note that the object bears a striking resemblance to a car hubcap, specifically the type used on a Volkswagen “Beetle”, as can be verified below. These hubcaps also have a bottom indentation:

shinymetalufo15a shinymetalufo15b shinymetalufo15c

On the image below, we enhanced the borders on the objects in the scene:


The same filter with a close-up on the object:


Preliminary conclusion: the absence of other photographs that could allow further analysis means that we can only focus on the features on this single image. We therefore conclude that it’s something relatively small, flying in front or simply thrown in the air, in close proximity to the photographer.

[Originally published on “Painel OVNI“. Reinaldo Stabolito is an IT consultant and president of the Brazilian Center for Ufological Research – CBPU. Rogério Chola is a network consultant and president of the Institute for Scientific-Military Research – IPECOM. Translation graciously authorized]

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Posted in UFO photos,UFOs | 5 comments

5 Comments so far

  1. OM forum member October 7th, 2007 7:45 pm

    Take another look at the enlarged parts of the image, as there is something missing after all. The camera in question is obviously susceptible to purple fringing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purple_fringing) and you can see it clearly showing on edges of houses and trees, but none is present at the object edges.

  2. star October 7th, 2007 8:25 pm

    I captured some pictures like this one,
    but almost are invisible…….
    see my pictures from


  3. Brésil : Photo d’un disque argenté | ufofu November 2nd, 2007 11:24 am

    […] 02/11/2007 : Une analyse de la photo est disponible chez Forgetomori. L’objet montre de nombreuses caractéristiques similaires à […]

  4. walid ghazal September 9th, 2009 4:03 am

    I saw somthing near the moon that was huge. i took a picture with my blackberry by default of another camera. It was coming in and out of existence for about 15 seconds. it wasn’t moving. It didn’t have any lights, the moonlight was doing the job. this happened according to my cellphone at 1:10 am on september 8th.
    I was in my summer village in Lebanon, but i think anyone who happened to be looking at the moon at this exact moment could of seen it. it was considerably big next to the moon.
    I don’t know what to do with that picture, who do I send it to? can u guys just give me an answer? just to get it of my mind…

  5. Mori September 9th, 2009 5:00 pm

    I’m always glad to receive UFO photos, though I can’t guarantee an analysis, much less an explanation to each and every one. My email: [email protected]

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