Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

UFO Best Evidence: The El Yeso Reflection?


It’s been called the world’s best UFO photo. Of course, some national pride may have been involved since the claim was made by Chilean Ufologists about this Chilean UFO photo, captured on February 14, 2010 near the El Yeso reservoir, high in the Andes Mountains. Besides an interesting image, complete with a “possible shape of the UFO” reconstruction you see below, from a local UFO group, the case is interesting because it was also investigated by the official Chilean group CEFAA, which forwarded it for analysis abroad.


As a cooperation between CEFAA and the American NARCAP, Dr. Richard Haines evaluated the series of images and issued a report, translated by CEFAA to Spanish, and also reproduced by Leslie Kean in English.

The image was part of a series of photos captured by a family in holiday interested in registering the colorful iridescent clouds that can be seen. It was only afterwards that they noticed the apparent UFO in the sky. That is, point one, they didn’t actually see the UFO. And, as Haines himself notes, “the UAP was not visible in any of the other photographs taken of the same location in the sky”. It only showed up in one image. Point two.

Here’s one additional. extremely relevant point. As local UFO group CIFAE comments on, quoting the direct statement by one of the witnesses, Doris Hermosilla, some of the photos in the series were taken from inside an utility vehicle. Hermosilla states that the image with the UFO was taken outisde the car, but the UFO group comments that both the previous and the photo in question actually have fuzzy reflections suggesting otherwise.

Indeed, in the upper left corner of area number 12, following the reference areas marked in the full photo by Haines, one can clearly see an out of focus light blob.


Now, that could be either a flare, or an internal reflection on a car window or windshield. It could also be another UFO, but then, and here is the point, so could the UFO be… a flare or internal reflection.

A flare is not a very good candidate since the image does appear in focus with definite features, but a reflection looks like a very good hypothesis. It would not be the first of its kind.


The three points we remarked are all compatible with a reflection on a window or windshield, not noticed by the witnesses, recorded only in one photograph where the angles were just right, and taken from inside a vehicle. Something very much like this mysterious yellow UFO in the sky:


Which is just a GPS antenna reflected on a windshield. Notice in this other photo how reflections of objects at different distances from the glass may appear in and out of focus, just as on the El Yeso photo we have a more sharply defined “UFO” and an out of focus blob.

Additional elements supporting the idea of a reflection can actually be found in Dr. Haines considerations. He notices how the geometry of the illumination does not match if the assumed UFO was reflecting sunlight. Indeed, it’s backwards. Haines then suggests that “the UAP’s surface was not reflecting sunlight but (perhaps) emitting its own reddish luminance”. Perhaps, but then perhaps it was reflecting sunlight, and then being reflected once again through a windshield.

The ‘UFO’ is a reflection in a window”, promptly explained to me Chilean researcher Andrés Duarte. “Obviously, an image like that is very easy to recreate. The reflected object seems to show a woven pattern and stitching”. Amazingly, Haines also noticed that “the UAP looks remarkably like a woven, canvas shoe with threaded thong stitching around the sole”.

So, if the “UFO” was a reflection, what it actually was? Probably not a shoe. CIFAE published an image from one of the seats of the vehicle in question, noting some similarities, but also some differences:

RECORTE camioneta 003

So, especially if the photo was taken through the side window, part of one of the seats illuminated by the Sun could be what many are interpreting as an UFO.

From my part, if the photo was taken instead through the windshield, then as with the previous GPS UFO example, the object may appear much larger than it actually is. It could even be, instead of a disc or part of a larger object, in fact a hole in the dashboard, similar to the best “UFO” photo ever.


If it was a hole, then this case would be fascinating, among many other reasons, for combining the illusion of a convex object where it was actually concave, with the appearance of a large hovering object in the sky where it was in fact a small reflection.

An examination of the vehicle and further interviews with the witnesses could possibly identify the object and make this yet another one of the “best” UFO photos for their interesting story and unexpected identification rather than a great unexplained mystery.

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Posted in UFO photos | 7 comments

7 Comments so far

  1. ksu March 23rd, 2011 3:45 pm

    Stitching appears to be visible on the left border of the object. Leather?

  2. t'mara March 24th, 2011 11:23 am

    i think we should be discussing the chemtrails in this photo (the glowing clouds).

  3. Bob Couttie March 28th, 2011 6:28 am

    Then’d we’d be discussing why people still believe the chemtrail hoax instead of a far more interesting phenomenon, regardless of whther its a shoe or not..

  4. Craig York March 28th, 2011 6:53 pm

    *Sigh* …and it was a classic daylight disc, too… 😉
    A reflection does seem likely, especially in the abscence
    of any other images.

  5. Scott Hamilton April 17th, 2011 5:57 pm

    It really does look like a shoe, some sort of loafer. But what’s making it a red reflection like that? Tail lights from a car going the other direction? Or were more than one vehicle stopped off the side of the road when this was taken?

  6. Craig York April 20th, 2011 3:23 pm

    It could also ( and more plausibly ) be the light from the dash
    instruments. I’ve seen an increasing number of cars that use
    a red backlight for their speedometers and tachs.

  7. Lance Moody May 12th, 2011 1:36 am

    The funny thing is how the Haines paper never even considers a reflection or a camera artifact. It’s the trappings of science without the any actual science behind it.


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