From: Bruce Maccabee <brumac.nul> Date: Sat, 14 May 2005 09:29:35 -0400 Fwd Date: Sat, 14 May 2005 12:11:29 -0400 Subject: Re: How To Crack Weird Space Cases - Maccabee >Source: MSNBC Interactive >http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7822879/ >May 12, 2005 >How To Crack Weird Space Cases >Lone sleuth uses the Internet and his wits to solve UFO >mysteries >By James Oberg >NBC News space analyst >Special to MSNBC >HOUSTON - When a space station astronaut made an offhand remark >about an unusual formation of lights he saw passing in front of >him during a spacewalk, the report had all the earmarks of an >unsolvable space mystery. But it didn't take long to crack the >case, thanks to the power of the Internet and one amateur space >sleuths passion to find out. >It turned out that the case of the formation-flying lights was >only the latest in a string of spooky space effects with >perfectly natural explanations. >The investigation began when NASA astronaut Leroy Chiao told >Aviation Week & Space Technology about "something interesting" >he saw during a March 28 spacewalk with Russian crewmate >Salizhan Sharipov. >"As the sun started rising after the first dark period, I looked >out in the opposite direction of the sun and saw a line of five >lights," Chiao said. The lights seemed to be flying past fairly >quickly "in an echelon formation, except that 'No. 2' was >offset," he said. <snip> >Smith knew that the place to go for images of bright lights on >the night side of Earth was the home page of the Defense >Meteorological Satellite Program, a military weather satellite >network now closely integrated with the National Oceanographic >and Atmospheric Administration. >After a day's worth of research, Smith came up with a solution >to the mystery. >"A little research on the Internet shows that the area has a >fleet of squid fishing boats which are the ones that use bright >lights to attract the squid," he reported by e-mail. "These >unusually bright zones are the result of fleets of fishing >vessels using powerful electrical lights at night to attract >squid. The fleets regularly show up in images from weather >satellites and from space stations." <snip> This time it _was_ the squid fleet. Way back in December, 1978, when there were famous sightings and a movie of unidentified lights off the coast of New Zealand the only one of numerous proposed explanations to last more than a few weeks was the "squid boat" explanation. An officer of the New Zealand Air Force was quoted as saying that the squid fleet must have played a role in the sightings because it was so bright. However, the fleet was over 100 miles from the coast of New Zealand, as proven by the satellite (!) imagery. The squid fleet image looked as bright as Christchurch, NZ, a large city. Subsequently the squid fleet hypothesis was modified to become a single such boat, near the coast. However, a search revealed no such boat - and the satellite image didn't show one near the coast, either. >Smith believes that Internet resources have provided a solution >to yet another famous UFO case: the "Mexican UFO Fleet" >encounter of March 5, 2004. Smith did a video analysis using >Landsat and DMSP data, found other images of the apparent source >of the mystery lights, and concluded that the UFOs were actually >burn-off flares from oil platforms off the Mexican coast. He >laid out the evidence last July in Skeptic magazine. This may be true... or it may not. I have been told that the AF has flown through the same area during surveillance flights many times before, and since March 5th 2004, and never saw the oil fires. If they ever do the experiment I have proposed, they will prove it one way or another. On the other hand, no one has offered a logical explanation for the radar target which began the whole 'UFO surveillance' flight.
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