Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

UK Channel Islands UFO Report

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More than a year ago, April 23, 2007, the sighting of two UFOs in the sky near Guernsey made the headlines. It was an event witnessed by multiple observers, including aircrew and passengers, on board not one but two civil aircrafts. Add to that the claims that they were “up to a mile wide” and were also confirmed by radar, plus illustrations like the one above, from The Sun, and you could be very excited.

Now, finally, a detailed and thorough report on the event has been published, a fine example of what ufology really is, or should be. Authored by Jean-Francois Baure, David Clarke, Paul Fuller and Martin Shough, it can be downloaded on UK-UFO.org, or you can check the conclusions and read it here too, after the jump.

Directly to the end (emphasis added):

In summary, we have tried our hardest to explain the observations but none of the theories we  have explored sits comfortably with all significant features reported.

An unusual mock-mirage of brilliant sun-glitter reflections from the sea near the French coast was considered, and might be worth the cost of discounting Capt Patterson’s sighting were it not for Capt Bowyer’s explicit description of lateral image motions. This feature is effectively impossible for mirage; even so, we put the theory in the category of “barely plausible” to acknowledge its other attractions.

We score two other theories as “somewhat plausible” because they seem to have potential to explain the lateral apparent motion as well as at least some, perhaps a majority, of the other significant features. These are:

Secondary scattering, by a haze layer, of specular sunray reflections from greenhouse glass on Guernsey

Earthquake lights

But a potential to explain is not an explanation. It may prove possible for other investigators to adapt these theories and so improve the fit with observation, or further work might thoroughly rule out one or both of them. 

And for the full report (6.47Mb PDF):

If you have the time, be sure to read it, as it surely is exemplary work on how things must be done. From evidence collection and presentation to thorough analysis of no less than 16 different hypothesis, up to careful and sober conclusions, European ufology is alive and very well.

In short, we still don’t know what the sighting was. Contrary to media reports, it was probably not a physical object nearly a mile wide, nor was it detected on radar, as far as any analysis conducted so far has been able to determine.

It has many elements that strongly suggest “an atmospheric-optical explanation”, but no theory explains perfectly all the features reported. Further study, and perhaps further cases, may help establish what was seen at that Monday more than a year ago.

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Posted in Science,UFOs | 4 comments

4 Comments so far

  1. Holger March 8th, 2013 9:40 pm

    Of course, and nobody took a picture! At least 7 passengers saw it along the flight crew but again, nobody took a pic!? Not that almost all phones had a camera back in 2007 already or that passengers had a digicam in their carry on luggage. No picture/film, no proof : DID NOT HAPPEN! period..

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