Tuesday, July 17, 2018

That classic 1957 Mt Stromlo observatory sighting - explained?

Astronomers and UAP

Those who haven't bothered to conduct any research, often state that astronomers never report seeing UAP. One of the sightings which is used to counter such arguments is from November 1957; by astronomers at the Mt Stromlo observatory, near Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia.

UAP periodicals as sources for the account

The APRO Bulletin, January 1958, page 3 carried the following:

'Canberra, Australia, 9 November. Four astronomers of the Commonwealth Observatory, Mount Stromlo, observed a bright pink object in the sky at about 3am. The object was observed for about 8 minutes as it moved across the western horizon, then disappeared. No aircraft in the sky at the time. Astronomers could not identity the object. Sputniks, meteors and the like were ruled out as possible explanations by the astronomers themselves.'



My comments:

1. The Bulletin cites no source for their information, and places the date of the sighting as 9 November, presumably 1957.
2. The time of observation is stated to have been about 3am. 

Flying Saucer Review, January/February 1958, page 3:

'Astronomers see pink UFO

The London Times , of November 7 reported that...hundreds of people at Bathurst, near Sydney, Australia...saw a metallic object over the town...on the previous day...However, on the same day, four astronomers at the Commonwealth Observatory, at Mt Stromlo, near Canberra, Australia on "sputnik watch" reported a strange object moving across the sky which was neither a meteorite nor one of the Soviet space satellites. The object was a vivid pink and unlike anything seen before, it was stated. It remained in view for about two minutes and disappeared under the Moon. "The strange thing is that it should disappear after passing under the Moon as it was a perfectly cloudless sky," said Dr Przybylski, who saw the object just after having completed observations of the passage of the two Russian satellites.'



My comments:

1. The date of the Mt Stromlo sighting as deduced from the above article is 6 November, presumably 1957.
2. The correct spelling of the main observer's name appears to be Przybylski. 

UFO researchers as sources

A number of books by UAP authors have mentioned this sighting; with one of the earliest being Jacques and Janine Vallee's 'Challenge to Science' (1966. Henry Regnery. Chicago. Page 19.

'The case of the Australian professors.

On November 8, 1957, the wire services (Reuters, AFP) - which are here the only available sources - carried information pertaining to an observation made by three astronomers in Mount Stromlo Observatory, of an object brighter than Venus, which crossed the western part of the sky at 5.02pm on November 7.

Dr Przybylsky (sic) saw the object, which was bright red in color, moving slowly, and remained in view for about two minutes. Its velocity was too small for it to be a meteorite, and the two Soviet satellites had already made their passage. The object in question was also seen by two colleagues of  Dr Przybylsky. No scientist at the observatory had previously observed such an object.

The press release added that Professor Przyblsky was impatiently awaiting word from other observatories that might have observed the same object. An exceptionally detailed series of observations were made the next day by French astronomers; these were never brought to the attention of scientists.'

My comments:

1. The date of the sighting, here is given as 7 November 1957.
2. The time is given as 5.02pm. However, note that 5.02pm 7 November French time is 3.02am on 8 November at Mt Stromlo (Canberra being UTC + 10 hours.)

Newspapers as sources for the account

I went searching for newspaper accounts of the sighting, and firstly, in the Dr Michael Swords' digital collection found the following; apparently from an unattributed New Zealand newspaper with a hand written note "NZ 1957."



"Australian scientists puzzled.

11.30   Canberra, Nov 8.

Scientists at the Commonwealth Observatory at Mt Stromlo are puzzled by a sighting there soon after 3am today of a strange object moving across the sky that was neither a meteorite nor one of the Soviet planets.

The object was seen by Dr Przyblski (sic) who had just completed observation of the passage of the two Russian satellites. It was sighted long after the observations on the eclipse of the moon had been completed.

Dr Przyblski who went to bed after sighting the strange object reported it this afternoon.

He described it as a vivid pink object which moved slowly across the sky, and which was visible to the naked eye for about two minutes. 

It appeared in the southern sky just above the horizon at 3.03am, moved in a westerly direction, passed the Moon and finally disappeared.

Its speed was far too slow for it to have been a meteorite, and it was not one of the satellites which had already passed.

Dr Przyblski said that the object, which was seen also by two colleagues, was completely unlike any object which the Stromlo scientists had so far observed.

There is speculation that the object might have been some new Russian space vessel, but there is still an element of complete uncertainty about its character."

My comments:

1. The item is datelined 11.30 Nov 8 and states that the sighting was "today." Thus placing the date of the sighting as 8 November (1957). 
2. Time is given as 3.03am.

Also in the Dr Michael Swords' electronic collection I found another newspaper account, from of all places Malaya. It was from the Penang 'Straits Echo and Times of Malaya' dated 12 November 1957 and datelined "Canberra Nov. 11."



'Mystery object still unexplained.

The object seen in the north western sky near Canberra on Friday morning by four astronomers from the Mt Stromlo Observatory is still unexplained.

The Director of the Observatory, Dr B J Bok, said today that following the sighting of the object, which was seen a few minutes after 3am and which was much brighter than either of the Soviet satellites, scores of reports from the eastern states had been received from people who claimed to have seen lights in the sky similar to that observed at Canberra. None of the reports however, could be linked with the Canberra observation and many who made them had undoubtedly seen the lights of high flying aircraft.

Dr Bok said that whatever the nature of the object seen at Mt Stromlo, it seemed certain that it was far too bright to have been the capsule containing the space dog of Sputnik II which some scientists think has been ejected from the satellite and has been orbiting with it instead of returning as planned to earth...Reuters.'

My comments:

1. Note that Dr Bok states that none of the scores of reports could be linked to the Canberra observation.
2. The sighting date as deduced from the above, is Friday 8 November, and the time as around 3am. As this article is based on a Reuters release it may, perhaps, be regarded as the most accurate so far.

The Canberra Times

I thought that the most logical place to look for a newspaper account would be from Canberra itself. Fortunately, while most digitised newspapers in the TROVE collection of the National Library of Australia end in 1954, The Canberra Times goes through to 1995. I therefore retrieved the following from TROVE.

The Canberra Times dated Saturday 9 November 1957 carried a front page story of the sighting.

'Scientists see strange object over Canberra.

Speculation as to whether the Russians have launched a new space weapon increased yesterday when scientists at the Commonwealth Observatory Mount Stromlo observed a strange object in the sky over Canberra early yesterday morning.

The object was seen by the scientists after they had watched the eclipse of the Moon and had tracked the course of the Rusian satellites, Sputnik and Sputnik II.

Checks with civil aviation and the RAAF have shown that no aircraft were in the vicinity at the time, and the observers are so puzzled they would like to contact anyone else who saw the object.

The object first came into sight just above the horizon shortly after 3am yesterday.

One of the astronomers Dr A Przybyleski (sic) said the object, which was vivid pink and completely unlike anything ever sighted by scientists passed across the sky in a westerly direction under the Moon and disappeared.

He said he saw the object for about two minutes with the naked eye and after it passed out of his sight other astronomers picked it up in their line of vision.

Dr Przybyleski said he and the other scientists, having tracked the path of the two Sputniks were amazed when the new object came into sight.

It bore no relation to either of the satellites, but a further watch would be made in case it was some sort of satellite circling the globe.

"What we saw certainly was not a meteor, as they can be seen for only a few seconds, but it could be a special rocket which will not reappear," he said.

One puzzling aspect of the object was that it travelled towards the Moon, passed under it and disappeared, although it was a perfectly cloudless sky at the time.

Dr Przybyleski said he was surprised there had been no reference to the object in reports from overseas.'

My comments:

1. The date of sighting is clearly Friday 8 November 1957 and time shortly after 3am.
2. Interestingly, no one overseas had reported a similar object. The reference to overseas reports is presumably if it were an Earth orbiting object then it should have been visible from parts other than  Canberra. 
3. Although there is reference to Mt Stromlo Observatory intending to keep a watch for it again, there is no mention I have seen that it was ever observed from Mt Stromlo again.

Searches for accounts in other places

I wondered if the sighting had been reported to the RAAF who were the official body of the Australian government tasked with looking at such sightings. An inspection of various UAP files in the National Archives of Australia, failed to locate any documents about this sighting.

An additional note from Dr Michael Swords' electronic collection, is that he has an uncited item which states that 'Astronomer A R Hogg saw a UFO with 3 colleagues at Mt Stromlo.' No other source cites the names of any of Dr P's colleagues who observed the object.

Can we explain the sighting in conventional terms?

What could be the stimulus for the sighting at 3.03am in the morning, cloudless sky, of a vivid pink object, seen for between two an eight minutes, tracking from one horizon (southern?) to the north west and then disappearing? 

It wasn't one of the two Soviet satellites; and seemed not to be a rocket, or debris from those satellites. It wasn't a meteor as the duration it too long. There is no tail or trail described. It is referred to as "an object" but actually appears to have simply been a bright light. Its astronomical magnitude is not stated; nor is any angular size given. The Vallee reference states it was brighter than Venus.

What was in the sky at that time? A check using the Stellarium software program shows that the Moon was at 22 degrees elevation at azimuth 310 degrees (north west as mentioned in some reports.) There were no bright planets above the horizon. Sunrise was at 4.55 am. There was a total Lunar eclipse on the evening of 7 November 1957. 

What was the weather like at the time? November is Springtime for Australia. A check of The Canberra Times dated Saturday 9 November 1957 provided the weather details for Friday 8 Novermber 1957. At 9am the wind was from the south west at 2 miles per hour.

So do I have any thoughts as to what was seen? Actually, I do. Given that:

(1) there were no other sightings of a vivid pink object traversing the sky from other observatories who were out watching the Sputniks;

(2) there were no other reports from around Canberra that matched the Mt Stromlo sighting;

(3) the wind (albeit six hours later) was from the south west at 2 miles per hour, ie almost still; 

(4) the observation time was between two and eight minutes;

(5) the observatory, despite stating they were to keep a watch for the object didn't report seeing it again;

(6) it simply disappeared from view in a dark, cloudless sky below 22 degrees elevation in the north western sky. 

I would propose that the sighting might have been of a fire balloon.

If this was a modern sighting these factors would certainly make me suggest this as a likely explanation. During my research into Australian sightings pre 24 June 1947 I came across examples of such fire balloons being launched, from as early as 1920. Perhaps some local decided to prank the scientists at the Observatory knowing they were watching for things in the sky? 

Of course, we will never know for sure just what the stimulus for this sighting was, but the above is my best guess.

Update: 19 July 2018

The Vallee reference in part stated:  'An exceptionally detailed series of observations were made the next day by French astronomers; these were never brought to the attention of scientists.'

Today, while browsing electronic copies of old Australian UAP publications I came across the following reference.

'A young astronomer at the National Observatory at Toulouse on Friday night, November 8th sighted in the sky a mysterious, elliptical, brilliant, canary-yellow coloured object.

The astronomer M Chapuis, followed it for five minutes with a small telescope when it appeared west-north-west of Toulouse. He said it sped west, made two sweeping turns, then sped in the opposite direction. It disappeared for 30 seconds, descended almost vertically in a clear sky, and vanished again in shadow.'

['Australian UFO Bulletin,' Vol 1 No 3, December 1957, page 5.] 

Monday, July 16, 2018

Project Blue Book; Roswell, UK government files and more

Introduction

From time to time, documentation turns up "out of the blue," which assists us with aspects of the subject. Although we may have known or suspected the existence of such documents, when they turn up in this manner, it is very much unexpected.  Three recent examples come to mind.

Project Blue Book documentation

In late 2013, UFO researcher Rob Mercer, who lives in Springfield, Ohio, came across an advert offering Project Blue Book documents. It turned out that a former USAF officer, assigned to Project Blue Book, named Lt Carmon Marano, had kept some material. Mercer eventually located Marano and then spoke to him. Ultimately, Mercer was able to obtain boxes of files; photographs; films and documents. Some of this was the original material, some copies. Mercer has now made scans of this material available.

Roswell

In July 2018, an announcement was made that the family of the late Major Jesse Marcel, of Roswell fame, had gathered together "...historical documents, military records, photos and a personal journal" of the former Intelligence Officer. This material is now being processed before being publicly revealed. Whether or not it will provide some corroboration of details already know is yet to be determined. However, without the family's efforts this new material would not have become available for UFO researchers.

UK government files

Over several years, the UK government has released thousands of pages of documents relating to the British government's investigation into UFOs in that country. However, though the efforts of US researcher, and Rendlesham Forest 1980 incident witness, John Burroughs, more was revealed.

In 2015, the Openminds website stated:

"Burroughs has submitted several Freedom of Information Act Requests in the UK and US. He has already been able to get the UK government to admit that they have more UFO files to release, even though they had previously claimed to have released all of the UFO files."

This ultimately led to the release of 15 such files in 2017. These 2017 files contained for example, information on the UFO interests of the Italian Department of Defence; a 1982 observation from a USAF spy flight; UK Defence Intelligence thinking; and more on the 1990 UK Tornado jet incident.

In 2018, three more such files emerged and these are currently under study by UFO researchers. To take a look at Dr David Clarke's analysis of these three files, click here.

What of Australian documents?

In 2015, I wrote a blog post about UAP sightings in Papua New Guinea, which had been an administered external territory of Australia between 1949 and 1975. The post advised that I had found UAP sightings on a number of files which belonged to the Department of the Army; the Department of Civil Aviation; the CSIRO; and the RAAF. The contents of some of the documents on these files were previously unknown. 

Also in 2015, research by Dr Stuart Hatch revealed the, until then, unknown existence of a file belonging to the Western Australian police force, detailing many UAP sightings that were either reported to them or via the RAAF. This turned out to by only a partial copy of the file. Further research by myself, located the full version of the file, which I discussed in this post. 

Little known sets of documents

Moving on now, to sets of documents which have been around for decades, but which, today, are little known.

Richard C Doty

US UFO researcher Larry Bryant submitted an FOIA request to the Office of the Secretary, USAF, in late 1987/early 1988 for copies of Richard C Doty's USAF service records. In October 1988, Bryant received some records. At around the same time Bryant also obtained further Doty service records, again under the FOIA, from the 1606th Air Base Wing. A limited number of people ever saw these records.


In mid 2018, Melbourne based researcher Paul Dean acquired a copy of these 25 pages of Doty's USAF service records, and on 13 June 2018 published a blog post about them , which provided images of all 25 pages.

Jesse A Marcel

I reported above, that members of the Marcel family have recently brought together family held records relating to Jesse A Marcel. These include some of his military records.

However, what it little known, is that way back in the 1990's,  the late US researcher Robert Todd acquired some 200 pages of Marcel's service records. In the 8 December 1995 (Vol 1 No 3) issue of "The KowPflop Quarterly" he described the contents of the records, and compared and contrasted them to the facts about Marcel, presented elsewhere in the UFO literature. On 20 December 1996 in "The Spot Report" (Issue 6 of the Cowflop series) Todd described the process by which he obtained the records.


Other sources have discussed the contents of Marcel's military records, with acknowledgement of Todd's work. 

Australian examples

Disclosure Australia, a project which ran between 2003 and 2008, was aimed at examining UAP files originating by a number of Australian government agencies; using both the Archive Act and the Freedom of Information Act. The project's Newsletter Archive reveals numerous examples of material which was long lost to civilian researchers.

Later work by this author, located such fascinating documents as a file full of material between 1974 and 1996 originating with the Defense Science Technology Organisation. I documented the contents of this previously unknown file here, here, and here

In summary

You just never know when documents from the past, will reemerge. 

Saturday, June 30, 2018

That 2009 AATIP letter from then US Senator Harry Reid


KLAS TV

In a new story by George Knapp and Matt Adams, dated 28 June 2018, titled "I-Team exclusive: Nevada Senator fought to save secret UFO program," the authors reveal that they possess a copy of a 2009 document, sent by former Senator Harry Reid, to the Department of Defense, in which Senator "Reid made the case for protecting and expanding the project." I further quote from the story:

"The letter is not classified but a footnote says it is exempt from disclosure under FOIA because of what it contains...Only 14 people were copied, all of them with security clearances."

Black Vault

John Greenewald of the Black Vault website, mentioned this letter in his ongoing case file on the AATIP. In a section titled "The Official Line," John mentioned that he communicated with a Major Audricia Harris, at the US Department of Defense. One email to John from Major Harris contained the words:

"AATIP was funded in the July 2008 Supplemental Appropriations Bill (a Sen Harry Reid add). Its mandate, as outlined in a 2009 letter from Reid to DSD was to assess "far-term foreign advanced aerospace threats to United States..."

http://www.theblackvault.com/casefiles/to-the-stars-academy-of-arts-science-tom-delonge-and-the-secret-dod-ufo-research-program/#

Roger Glassel
 
Swedish researcher Roger Glassel, also communicated with Major Harris. Her reply to him included the following:
 
"AATIP was funded in the July 2008 Supplemental Appropriations Bill (A Sen Harry Reid add). Its mandate as outlined in a 2009 letter from Reid to DSD, was to assess "far-term foreign advanced aerospace threats to United States, including anomalous events (such as sightings of aerodynamic vehicles engaged in extreme maneuvers, with unique phenomenology, reported by U.S. Navy pilots or other credible sources)."
 
Back to the KLAS TV story
 
 
The Knapp/Adams report included the still shot shown below:
 
https://www.lasvegasnow.com/news/i-team-exclusive-nevada-senator-fought-to-save-secret-ufo-program/1272272877
 
An examination of the actual KLAS TV news item reveals a rolling shot of the initial page of the 2009 letter which faded to out of focus as it scrolls. However, it is possible to read the first portion of this first page.
 
"United States Senate
June 24, 2009
 
Honourable William Lynn III
Deputy Secretary of Defense
1010 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1010
 
Dear Secretary Lynn:
 
Beginning this past September, the U.S. Senate has mandated that the Defense Intelligence Agency assess far-term advanced aerospace threats to the United States. The scope of program intent covers from the present out to forty years and beyond. In order to further our effort in recognising emerging disruptive aerospace technologies, technical studies (word missing) conducted in regards to advanced lift, propulsion, the use of unconventional materials (missing words) controls, signature reduction, weapons, human interface (...)"
 
Knapp and Adams report that former AATIP program manager Luis Elizondo confirmed that the letter was genuine.
 
How do we get a full copy of this letter?
 
George Knapp's story indicates that the letter will not be releasable under the US FOIA. Naturally, this can be tested by submitting an FOIA request. Failing that, is there a possible secondary source? There may well be one.
 
I came across a 29 September 2015 story that The University of Nevada, Reno, will be receiving "...more than 2,000 boxes of documents chronicling Senator Harry Reid's decades-long career in Washington."
 
I therefore checked the current online digital collections service of The University of Nevada, Reno to see if they had commenced work on publishing documents from Senator Harry Reid online.
 
Indeed there is some online material, but I failed to locate mention of the 2009 letter I was seeking. I have therefore dispatched an email to the collections staff inquiring about access to the 2009 letter. 

Friday, June 29, 2018

Unusual isotopic ratios in alleged UFO samples

To The Stars Academy

In a blog post dated 26 April 2018 I started looking at statements which had been made by various members of the To The Stars Academy about samples allegedly from UFOs. In this post, I will further explore the issue of unusual isotopic rations from such sources.

During a 28 January 2018 "Coast to Coast" interview between Hal Puthoff and George Knapp, Puthoff said "I had a chance to look at some material." It is complex. There are no new elements. There are layers of material that you would not expect to be layered.

In the 25 February 2018 "Coast to Coast" radio interview between Luis Elizondo and George Knapp, Elizondo stated that these material displayed unique characteristics. From the BAASS perspective, they had very unusual properties, isotopic ratios that were very unique, and not found naturally on this planet.

In a May 2018 MUFON Journal based interview between Chase Kloetzke and Luis Elizondo, when discussing media mentions of unusual metal alloys, Elizondo  stated that it was actually about "...the potential discovery of certain metamaterials in which their isotopic ratios at the molecular level are so unique and so precise that they are not found naturally on this planet..."

Finally, in his June 2018 speech at the Las Vegas Society for Scientific Exploration conference, Hal Puthoff, speaking of unusual materials, referred to what has come to be known as the Art Bell sample. "It was multi layered bismuth and magnesium sample...supposedly picked up in the crash retrieval of an Advanced Aerospace Vehicle." However, in this particular speech there was no mention of unusual isotopic ratios.

For further reading on TTSA's claims about samples, take a look at Jason Colavito's blog post here.

What are isotopes?

They are a form of an element which contains equal numbers of protons and electrons; but different numbers of neutrons in their nuclei. For example, the element Hydrogen has three isotopes; namely Hydrogen; Deuterium and Tritium.

Why is an unusual isotropic ratio significant?

The solar system, including the Earth formed from elements which had specific isotropic ratios. If an element comes from outside the solar system you wouldn't expect it to have the same  isotopic ratios.

Some back history

The Art Bell sample

In 1996, Linda Moulton Howe conducted some research on a sample which had come in through the late Art Bell. This was an alleged piece of material from Roswell. A professor at a major Midwestern University is said to have looked at the material and showed it to be 99% aluminum. I have been unable to find any investigations conducted on its isotopic ratios

Dr VernonClark

Another so-called Roswell sample, this one came via the late Dr Roger Leir in 1995. The analysis results were announced at a meeting in Roswell, New Mexico on 4 July 1997.

A Dr Russell VernonClark, a Chemist at the University of California at San Diego presented some apparently startling results of his analysis of the sample. He concluded that "From the tests that have been completed ...we have determined that this material shows significant variations from the normal isotopic composition found on the Earth and should be considered extraterrestrial in origin."

Unfortunately, on this occasion there was no chain of evidence of where the sample came from, and their was no peer review of the analysis results.

Various scientists were consulted about the results and their considered view was that while the isotopic ratios of the sample were not natural, the manufacture of the material could have been undertaken in a laboratory. So, not natural; and manufactured, but no evidence to show the origin of the material. Later, VernonClark backed off from his conclusions about an ET origin.

Since 1997, there had been no independent analyses conducted on this sample, and Dr VernonClark's claims have almost been forgotten with the passage of time.

The Kimbler sample

A July 2011 article on the Open Minds TV blog told the story of one Frank Kimbler, a high school level teacher of Earth Sciences and a college level teacher of Geology, at the New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, New Mexico.

Using satellite imagery he explored an area said to have been where the Roswell crash occurred, went there and located some metal samples, plus buttons seemingly from military uniforms. The fragments he found were said to be of a "silvery metal that looked aluminum."

Examined at New Mexico Tech in Socorro, the sample consisted of aluminum, silicon, manganese (magnesium ? -KB); and copper. Kimbler then approached the University of New Mexico's Institute of Meteoritics, but no isotopic ratio tests were conducted there.

"Bigelow Aerospace showed some interest in helping too with his analysis, but after spending months with little results, he had to go elsewhere."  For further detailed comments about the link between Kimbler and BAASS by Jack Brewer, author of "The UFO Trail" blog click here. 

So, Kimbler had a lab undertake isotopic ratio analysis. Their findings, dated 8 April 2011,  are shown below:

Isotope Magnesium 24 Standard % 78.6 sample 78.6-79.6
Isotope Magnesium 25 Standard % 10.1 sample 9.6-10.6
Isotope Magnesium 26 Standard % 11.3 sample 10.3-11.3

However, contrary to the assertions by Kimbler, that there is something unusual about the magnesium isotopic ratios, the above information shows that the sample's magnesium isotopic ratios were within the standard ranges.

I can find no further details of any isotopic ratio analysis on the Kimbler samples. Indeed, in a further Open Minds TV blog dated 22 June 2018 there is "An initial isotope ratio test done in conjunction with the Roswell International UFO Museum and Research center was inconclusive, but suggested the material maybe of unearthly origins."

Jacques Vallee

UFO researcher Jacques Vallee gave a fascinating talk titled "What do we know about the material composition of UFOs?" at the 2017 Contact in the Desert conference in the USA. Specifically, he talked about analyses of material ejected from UFOs and more specifically about isotopic ratios.

"Even if the elemental compositions are similar, a change in the ratio of the various isotopes, might indicate that the material was manufactured in a sophisticated fashion, possibly outside Earth."

Vallee went on to list fifteen known examples of ejected material, between 1897 and 1996; including Maury Island 1947; Ubatuba, 1957; and Bogota in 1975/1976.

To me, the most interesting was a sample he referred to by a codeword, "Sierra." Vallee presented details of some preliminary results of the sample's titanium and iron composition. He stated that he is still researching the background to the case, for which he provided no date or location, or details of the UFO connection.

Looking at the titanium in the sample, there was 99.35% by weight titanium, with traces of ten other elements in it. However, what was of interest were the isotopic ratios, namely

Titanium 46  Standard % 8.25 sample 8.70 and 7.66 (two runs)
Titanium 47  Standard % 7.44 sample 5.33 and 3.83
Titanium 48  Standard % 73.72 sample 73.91 and 76.56
Titanium 49  Standard % 5.41 sample 6.30 and 6.70
Titanium 50  Standard % 5.18 sample 5.76 and 5.26

Note the Ti47 and Ti49 deviations from the standard.

The isotopic ratios of the iron component of the sample had not then been tested.

The other interesting samples were two new pieces of material from the 1957 Ubatuba, Brazil event. While in Argentina in September 2016 Vallee visited a UFO museum in Victoria. There he found two Ubatuba samples, one from the late Dr Olavo Fontes and one from an Argentinian sailor named Hercente. Vallee named the samples Muestra A and Muestra B. In the lab the Muestra A sample looked at Magnesium isotope ratios which turned out to be very close to the standard percentages.

However the results for the Muestra B sample were as follows:

Magnesium 24 Standard % 78.9 sample 1 66% sample 2 67%
Magnesium 25 Standard % 10 sample 1 15%  sample 2 16%
Magnesium 26 Standard % 11 sample 1 20% sample 2 17%

As Vallee stated the "Ratios are significantly different."

In summary

Research into the origin and composition of a number of samples alleged to have come from UFOs, has been full of claims and counter claims over the years. However, provided that there is a chain of custody between the initial finding of something which appears unusual, and abnormal findings once a competent analysis has been conducted, with peer reviewed analysis and full disclosure of the entire findings; future research on isotopic ratios does give some sense of a direction to be taken. 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

New US congressional hearings on UFOs?

Introduction

In their 21 December 2017, I-Team report, titled 'Pentagon UFO study catches attention of Congress,' George Knapp and Matt Adams, reported that:

"Former Nevada Senator Harry Reid thinks it might be time to hold Congressional hearings into the mystery surrounding UFOs."

Politico Magazine

"Politico Magazine," one of the two December 2017, US mainstream media sources to almost simultaneously publish the original story about what was then called the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP), recently launched "Politico Space." "Politico Space, the weekly must-read briefing on the policies, programs and personalities shaping the second Space Age in Washington and beyond."

On 12 April 2018, Bryan Bender and Jacqueline Klimas of Politico, hosted a panel which included House of Representatives, Representative Ami Bera, and Representative Randy Hultgren, both members of the Space Subcommittee of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee.

The following is my transcription of a video recording of the panel.

Bryan Bender: "I thought I would get all of you to weigh in on something that's a little bit out there, but we reported, as others did, late last year that the Pentagon for a number of years had run a UFO research office, that Senator Harry Reid got funded. Something he thought was important. Reports from military pilots of - they don't call them UFOs anymore. I think the term is unexplained aerial phenomenon. But I am curious of your take. I mean, you hear these reports. We have been hearing them for decades. From many credible people. Other countries take it more seriously. They have dedicated researchers in government who in the open, not in secrecy, try to explain the unexplainable. Maybe all three of you. Should we be doing more? Or is this just crazy sci-fi stuff that is a waste of time?"

Representative Bera" "Certainly piqued my interest, and I mean, I think it piques a lot of the public's interest. So yes, I got to talk to the Chairman of the subcommittee Brian Babin, as well as Lamar Smith, Chairman of the full committee. I said we ought to have a hearing on this. We ought to bring some folks in. Look, if we want to boost our C-SPAN ratings - a lot of people would be really interested, and since Lamar is retiring this year. This, this would be a great hearing to go out on.

Representative Ami Bera
I think its fascinating. We don't know what these phenomena are. Obviously, it was important enough to allocate some funds. We ought to talk about what we can talk about openly."

Representative Hultgren: "I agree. It definitely piques interest. It gets people engaged. I don't think it should be the priority of our focus, but certainly we want to get answers. There's a lot of things we don't understand and this is one of those areas we don't understand."

Representative Randy Hultgren

To The Stars Academy drops hints

In more recent times, Tom Delonge of To The Stars Academy has been dropping comments that TTSA member shave been talking to various Congressional committees, about this topic. (See update below.)

Which Committee?

So, is it likely that a Congressional committee, in 2018, will call hearings on the subject of UFOs, or perhaps, more specifically on the 2004 USS Nimitz series of incidents? If so, what committees would likely be involved?

Perhaps the most relevant are:

1. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee - Chair - Mac Thornberry.

2. House of Representatives Science, Space and Technology Committee - Chair - Lamar Smith.

3. Senate Armed Services Committee - Chair - John McCain.

Past history

Blog readers of a certain age, may recall that the US Congress previously held Congressional hearings on the subject of UFOs, way back in 1966 and 1968.

In 1966, the House Armed Services Committee convened a hearing. [5 April 1966. House Armed Services Committee (89th Congress, 2nd session.) Committee Print No. 55. "Unidentified Flying Objects."]

In 1968, the House Science and Astronautics Committee held a hearing. [29 July 1968. House Science and Astronautics Committee (90th Congress, 2nd session.) Committee Print N. 7. "Symposium on Unidentified Flying Objects.]

Update: 29 June 2018

Thank you to Paul Scott Anderson who sent me a screenshot of one of Tom Delonge's communications which, in part, read: 

"To The Stars Academy has proudly been working behind the scenes for weeks briefing hi-level staff in the US government to help inform new National Security Policy dealing with the UFO subject..." 

Friday, June 22, 2018

AATIP and Project Prato


Dr Hal Puthoff's recent speech

One aspect of Dr Hal Puthoff's recent speech at the Las Vegas, Society for Scientific Exploration conference, was his reference to the AATIP work concerning the 1977 Brazilian Air Force's major study - Project Prato. In part, Dr Puthoff, stated:

"We as part of this program looked at some cases that were really good from Brazil. In 1977, 78, it was like Close Encounters of the Third Kind. A thousand pages of documents all done by the Brazilian Air Force investigation team, 500 photographs, 15 hours of motion film, a lot of medical injuries. This is a list of the different kinds of medical injuries that occurred when people encountered these craft at close range, and it has some overlap with cases that we've investigated during the program, of injuries occurring."

How does the topic of "medical injuries" relate to the AATIP? The DIA's solicitation for firms to submit a tender for the AAWSA program, in August 2008, HHM402-08-R-0211, has, at attachment one, paragraph 3a) the words "the contractor shall complete Advanced Aerospace Weapon System technical studies in the following areas ...9. human interface, 10 human effects."

January 2018

Earlier, on 28 January 2018, during an interview with George Knapp, Puthoff referred to a Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies (BAASS) archive of data - such as the 1977 Brazilian Air Force study with 1000 pages of documents; 15 hours of movie film; 500 photographs amd then states that the data base was BAASS proprietary.

 I wanted to find out more about what happened to the Project Prato data. The Internet contains much information about the project itself, but almost nothing about the disposition of material beyond Brazil itself.  However, I did find a mention in one of Jacque Vallee's works.

Vallee's Brazilian research trip

In July 1988 Jacques and Janine Vallee visited Brazil on a research trip. (Forbidden Science Vol. 3.)There I found much about what the Vallees knew, about Project Prato.

The Vallee's met with a Colonel Hollanda of the First Air Force region, which covered most of the Amazon. Jacques Vallee writes: "He led the team sent to the islands at the mouth of the Amazon during project Prato to observe and photograph the objects that flew over the area for three months from July to September 1977. " (p.336.)

The Vallee's were shown a file by Hollanda which "...held the military photographs, detailed aerial maps, trajectory analysis by the staff of Project Prato. Every page was stamped "confidential" on top and bottom." Vallee was told that the originals of some of the photographs had been sent to the Brazilian capital city of Brasilia.

Yet another Brazilian Air Force colonel met with the Vallees and told them " When Colonel Hollanda and his team installed their cameras on the beach at Bahia do Sul, I was head of security for Primeiro Comar,  he went on "And when our superiors and the damm politicians from Brasilia confiscated out best data, my team got very frustrated...so we made our own copies" He pulled out the real thing, including pictures of objects emerging from the water." (p.337.)

Vallee reports that following the official Brazilian Air Force investigation, news media visited the same area and took their own photographs. "And all the negatives taken by the newspaper teams have left Brazil, purchased from the publishers by an unnamed American firm. "

In summary

In summary, the vast amount of material gathered by Hollanda and his team, went in a number of directions, with copies being kept by Hollanda and the other, unnamed Colonel; and some went off to Brasilia and Brazilian Air Force headquarters. It was also reported that newspaper photographs of the phenomenon was bought by an unnamed American firm. However, we do not have a date for the latter action.

It is unclear from Puthoff's reference to "A thousand pages of documents all done by the Brazilian Air Force investigation team, 500 photographs, 15 hours of motion film.." as to whether this was the data that BAASS acquired, or was a reference to the amount of data that the Brazilian Air Force itself gathered.

Further information on Proejct Prato

To read a very detailed summary of the contents of some of the documents click here.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Dr Hal Puthoff and the Soviet project "Thread-3"

Background

A constant part of the message, that Luis Elizondo has been spreading about what he refers to as the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP) is that, if the phenomena itself is not a threat; then a threat might exist if the Russians or Chinese learn the secrets of the phenomena, in terms of military applications that might follow this discovery.

This theme of a threat from the Russians was repeated in the recent speech by Dr Hal Puthoff at the  Society for Scientific Exploration's recent conference, in Las Vegas, Dr Hal Puthoff mentioned that "...the Soviet Union had a massive program also trying to get to the root of all this...of course they had the same concerns we did. Is there a threat from the phenomena or might the Americans make headway before us and that be a threat?" In his talk, Puthoff referred to a document about a Soviet research program named "Thread-3." I searched around to see what I could find out about this Project. 

Research


The October 1993 edition of the MUFON Journal carried an article titled 'Soviet UFO Secrets' authored by one Bryan Gresh (The English Flying Saucer Review, volume 39, number 2, Summer 1994 also carried a reprint of the MUFON Journal article.) It is a report based on a trip, undertaken in March 1993, to Russia with a view to seek out 'a new layer of information about Russian research into the phenomenon.'

They interviewed a retired Russian Colonel, Boris Sokolov, who between 1980 and 1990 ran a UFO study program. 'Solokov says the military was interested in UFOs for a number of reasons, including the belief if the secrets of the UFO could be discovered, the Soviets would be able to win the competition against prospective enemies by incorporating what extraterrestrials knew of velocity, materials - and stealth. Sokolov told us the search for stealth technology was prompted by the capabilities of UFOs.'

Gresh's article then moves on to 'The Ministry of Defense official who is in charge of the current program...we can give the name of the study 'Thred-3...' In the documents obtained by Gresh and Knapp, there is mention of sightings by Cosmonauts.

I reached out to the UFO community to see if anyone had a scanned copy of any 'Thread-3' documents. Researcher Mikhail Gershtein responded that in the 1994 MUFON Symposium Proceedings, there were three relevant pages, which he provided to me. I reproduce these below:






Relevant portions are:

'...we obtained several dozen pages of still-classified documents and managed to get these out of the country..'

'The documents outline a fairly specific timetable for the study to be concluded in 1995.'

Other highlights of the 'Thread-3' documents were:

* Information on the Roswell crash
* Another UFO crash in Nov 1950 on the Texas/Mexico border
* Contactees
* US government efforts to maintain a UFO cover up
* Sightings by cosmonauts and astronauts.

Open Minds TV

In a 30 November 2009 blog post on the "Open Minds" TV website, an article appeared titled 'Russian Cosmonauts' UFO sightings and statements.'

'Las Vegas KLAS-TV journalist George Knapp brought back from Moscow in 1992 a thick UFO dossier from the old Soviet Ministry of Defense, and a then recent project called "Thread-3" from the Russian Ministry of Defense.

A few of the "Thread-3" documents discuss some cosmonaut sightings, although it must be clarified that they are based on public statements by Marina Popovich and other Russian ufologists, and not on internal data obtained by the Ministry of Defense…Back to the "Thread-3" documents, it mentions an audio tape of the conversations at 0.14am on June 17 1978 between cosmonauts Vladimir Kovalenok and Alexander Ivanchenko on the Salyut-6 space station and Mission  Control outside Moscow..."

In a second "Open Minds" TV blog dated 26 January 2010, titled "Soviet Nukes and UFOs" is the following:

'The last category of documents obtained by Knapp are not part of the old Soviet Ministry records kept by Col. Sokolov, but part of the "Thread-3" project undertaken since 1991 by the current Ministry of Defense.

These documents were actually smuggled out of Russia by Knapp, and their style and contents are quite different from the previous project. They consist of a number of reports not so much on individual UFO cases, but on a variety of topics such as the history of UFO research in the USSR and Russia; propulsion and "non-traditional" engines and "the possible application for the creation of military and industrial technical devices;" a brief review of American documents and popular Western ufological research; analysis of the messages and philosophical outlook of some Russian contactees; reports and rumours of UFO sightings by Russian cosmonauts; and so on...'

Closing comment

It would appear that the Russian 'Thread-3' UFO study program probably ran between 1990 and 1995. Knapp/Gresh were able to secure 'several dozen pages' of the study documents. An image of only one page of these documents has been publicly released. It would appear that only Gresh/Knapp have a full set of these documents.

That classic 1957 Mt Stromlo observatory sighting - explained?

Astronomers and UAP Those who haven't bothered to conduct any research, often state that astronomers never report seeing UAP. One of ...