Airplanes and meteors and UFOs, oh my

Contributed by
Apr 28, 2008

What's better than a story about a blurry, grainy, out of focus overly-zoomed in photo of a UFO?

Stories that don't even have pictures.

We have two -- yes, count e'm, TWO -- stories of UFOs seen with no footage, just eyewitness reports. The first comes from Texas, where two women describe what they saw a few nights ago: a bright light moving across the sky, that suddenly disappeared after making a sharp turn.

It sounds like what they saw was an airplane in the distance, reflecting the Sun (the article says they saw it "at night", but doesn't specify early evening or any specific time). When an airplane is so far away it appears as a point of light, it can dim very rapidly -- making it disappear -- as it turns and changes its aspect to a viewer. I've seen this effect many times. I'm not saying this is what they saw for sure, but it sounds likely.

The second story is, if anything, worse than the first. This time it was in Alabama, and the descriptions make it sound pretty much like they saw a meteor heading toward the horizon. One witness said:

"When it was coming through the sky, I really thought it was an airplane that lost control so I came to a complete stop on the road. When I got out and looked at it was no sound coming from it."

No sound, and he says it didn't appear to be an aircraft.

"It speed up to maybe two hundred miles per hour it went straight to the ground and disappeared."

Remember, when anybody gives a distance, size, or speed, you can almost be 100% positive they are wrong. Without knowing the distance, you cannot judge the size or speed, and if you don't know the size, you can't know the distance. So the witness was just guessing; this happens all the time in such reports. But this report sounds precisely like a meteor, and most people have little or no experience with bright bolides, so they can be fooled easily.

Let em say this clearly, too: I have no issue with people who think they have seen UFOs. What bugs me are credulous news stations that report these things without talking to someone who actually knows anything about this! In both cases, that would have helped immensely.

As usual with tales of UFOs, tip o' the tin foil beanie to Fark.

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