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Thursday, May 12, 2011

My UFO photograph by William C. Treurniet

My UFO photograph

by William C. Treurniet

The photograph below was taken in the mid-afternoon of April 19, 2007, with a Nikon Coolpix 2500 digital camera. The exposure time was 1/2506.2 seconds. It shows a small aircraft, probably a Bombardier Dash 8, on its approach to the nearby airport. Above the airplane is another object that appears to be a typical flying saucer.
The focus of the shot was the aircraft, and the object above it was not noticed until the photo was displayed on the computer screen. Such an object is sometimes labelled a UFO when it is, in fact, nothing more than a bug or a bird that was in the field of view precisely when the camera shutter was open. An object that is incorrectly labelled a UFO is called a BLURFO. The name refers to the fact that such objects are usually blurry, hence the contours are not clearly defined.
In this particular instance, I would argue that the object is not a BLURFO but a UFO.
  • If the object was visible, it likely was not seen for two reasons. Attention was focused on the airplane, and the brightness of the sky induced squinting and reduced visibility.
  • The object in the photo appears to be in focus, so it must have been a considerable distance away from the camera focused at infinity. The lack of blur also means that the object's angular velocity relative to the camera was small. This seems more likely for a distant UFO than for a nearby bird or bug.
  • The object has a shape often seen in other photos of UFOs.
  • The object, when it is enhanced, appears to be superimposed on a toroidal shape often seen in other photos of UFOs.
Click on the images below to see larger versions of the photos.
 
The photo was processed with the Gradient Map option in Adobe Photoshop, and the resulting false colour image is shown below. The contour drawn around the supposed saucer confirms the visual impression that it has a well-defined, ellipsoidal shape.
 
The saucer diameter can be crudely estimated if we make the following assumptions.
  • The airplane is a Dash8 which has a wingspan of about 26 m.
  • The Dash8 has a typical landing approach angle of about 6 degrees. It was likely about 5 km from the airport, so it was probably at an elevation of about 500 m.
  • The saucer is near the Dash8 at roughly the same altitude of 500 m or directly above as high as 6000 m. The cloud ceiling was around 6000 m (information provided by the Weather Underground).
On the photo, the Dash8 measures about 10 mm across the wingspan while the saucer measures about 2 mm along the widest diameter.
The apparent width of the saucer is about 2/10 of the width of the airplane, so if it were at 500 m, it would actually be (2/((500/500)*10)) x 26= 5.2 m across. Similarly, if it were at 6000 m, the saucer would have a diameter of about (2/((500/6000)*10)) x 26= 62.4 m.
Therefore, given the assumptions, the saucer diameter could have been anywhere from 5 to 62 m.

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