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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Jul > Jul 18

Re: The 1952 Tremonton Utah 'Seagulls'

From: Michael Tarbell <mtarbell.nul>
Date: Wed, 18 Jul 2007 06:40:08 -0600
Archived: Wed, 18 Jul 2007 11:01:16 -0400
Subject: Re: The 1952 Tremonton Utah 'Seagulls'

>From: Martin Shough <parcellular.nul>
>To: <ufoupdates.nul>
>Date: Tue, 17 Jul 2007 14:02:58 +0100
>Subject: Re: The 1952 Tremonton Utah 'Seagulls'Confirmation?

>>From: Michael Tarbell <mtarbell.nul>
>>To: ufoupdates.nul
>>Date: Sun, 15 Jul 2007 10:01:53 -0600
>>Subject: Re: The 1952 Tremonton Utah 'Seagulls' Confirmation?


>>It is notable that the objects
>>apparent diameters diminish smoothly by ~30% during the film,
>>indicating that they are traveling _away_ from the camera, such
>>that the raw angular rate data would underestimate the actual
>>speed at range.

>This is an interesting point, Mike. I recall seeing this 30%
>somewhere. Do you have the reference?

See page 3 of the Baker photogrammetric analysis report (Douglas
Aircraft Co., Inc., 16 May 1956):


Baker notes that the average angular velocity of the objects
(relative to an arbitrary reference) decreases during the film,
and that the "average image diameter decreases about 30% over
the entire film". It's not clear whether the latter refers to
individual objects or the entire group, but in either case the
conclusion is the same: under the simplest assumptions (constant
intrinsic object size, constant average velocities of
individuals, constant average diameter of the group), both the
angular rate and diameter data indicate that the objects are
receding from the camera.


>Another point that concerns me about the overall diminution of
>angular size is Hartmann's suggestion (citing Al Chop and an AF
>report) that the objects are unresolved and flared due to
>overexposure. If so then the image size becomes to some unknown
>extent a function of brightness as well as distance, and in fact
>one of the official documents (NPIC analysis I think) pointed
>out that changes in object brightness correlated with change in
>size. Notice that about a third of the way into the film
>Newhouse stopped down from f/8 to f/16 (because he feared he
>might be overexposing). This could in itself reduce the image
>size. So I'd like to know that the 30 % size reduction is indeed
>"smooth" and is a figure arrived at after subtracting the
>reduction in flare.

I was presumptive to say "diminish smoothly"... specifically, I
was presuming that a sudden or sporadic such diminution would
have been noted in the analysis (particularly since it would
suggest extreme accelerations, certainly noteworthy in the UFO
context). The switch from f8 to f16 was visually obvious, and if
this were the source of the change in angular diameter, Baker
would almost certainly have identified it as such.

Hartmann's suggestion that the objects are "unresolved" seems at
odds with Baker's observation (same reference as above) that,
based on microscopic examination of the film, the camera was
well-focused: "...the edges of the images are sharp and clear
on many of the properly exposed frames".


>If Newhouse saw the objects as 0.5 degree wide gunmetal discs
>before turning the camera on them then obviously they weren't
>gulls. But does this description appear in the original AF
>reports? In his original Blue Book letter of 11 Aug 1952 he only
>described them as unrecognisable "objects". He does not say that
>their appearance to the eye differed in any way from what
>appears on the film. Other than saying that they were "milling
>about" and didn't look like anything he had seen before his only
>description is "it was impossible for me to make any estimate of
>speed, size, altitude or distance". He offered the film "for
>whatever value it may have in your investigation of the so-
>called 'Flying Saucers'", which as Hartmann points out does not
>hint at extraordinary large metallic discs. But to be fair he
>might have assumed that the film would speak for itself,
>especially if the original had more dramatic frames at the
>beginning which were later "lost" (see below) and maybe in his
>covering letter he _would_ be careful not to sound like a

>Had this been the case then he would presumably have made good
>the deficiency later in the September AF Intelligence interview
>or in letters or in some other place soon afterwards. But Baker
>stated in a letter to Hartmann that the description of gunmetal
>discs the size of B29s at 10,000 ft dated from interviews Baker
>had with the witness at the time of his own investigation in
>1955, three years after the event. The Green-Rouse film
>interview giving the same description was made in 1956. Ruppelt
>also records this description in 1956. There don't seem to be
>any earlier versions.


I am also troubled by the lack of contemporary provenance for
Newhouse's claim that the objects were initially full-moon-
sized, gun-metal gray 'saucers', directly overhead. This would
obviously dash the seagull theory outright: if we adopt a 'gull-
like' linear diameter of 3 ft, then the objects were no more
than 350 ft away when overhead, and would have been unmistakable
if seagulls.

Such a large initial angular diameter has additional
implications. Let us assume that the objects maintained constant
velocity and altitude, and that they passed directly overhead.
Under the simplifying assumption that the object's linear
diameter is much smaller than its altitude, the ratio of the
angular diameter at a given elevation angle A to the angular
diameter directly overhead is just sin A. Baker gives a range of
0.02 - 0.09 deg for object angular diameters in the film. If we
adopt a mean initial (start of filming) angular diameter of 0.05
deg, the implication is that the objects were less than 6 deg
above the horizon at the start of the film. This result changes
very little if the initial sighting was at 70 - 80 (rather than
90) deg elevation.


>So, seagulls or not? Don't know, it's a 50/50 for me. Hartmann
>claimed to have seen identical seagull flocks in sunlight near
>Tremonton. Baker said he'd never seen seagulls like this. NPIC
>didn't believe they were gulls. The character and rate of the
>changes in brightness weren't right for wing motions, they were
>too bright for too long, etc. But it is a bit concerning to see
>the way the witness narrative seems to have firmed-up over time
>and it would be nice not to have to rely on it for interpreting
>the film.

I agree with your assessment, while making the awkward
confession that I have not actually seen the film myself (but
would certainly like to). Don Ledger has indicated that he owns
or has access to a good copy. If you are still following this
thread Don, can you point me in the right direction?

A point that still bugs me (I am clueless about film movie
cameras, so bear with me): The film is described in various
places (and by Newhouse himself) as 16 mm, shot at 16
frames/sec. He claims to have shot ~30 ft (9144 mm) of film,
which would seem to imply (9144/16) or ~572 frames, and an
elapsed time of 572*(1/16) or ~36 sec. But Baker clearly states
that the film consists of ~1200 frames with an elapsed time of
~75 sec, which would seem to correspond to 8 mm frames, not 16
mm. What is eluding me here?


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