Thursday, January 10, 2013

Cold case investigation - Coogee, NSW - 13 Jan 1962 - a hovering balloon?

Hi all,

I am continuing to mine the newspaper collection on the website of UFO Research (NSW) (click here to view the collection.)

A clipping from the Daily Mirror dated Wednesday 13 Jan 1962 caught my eye, as one explanation for the UAP was a hovering RAAF balloon!

"Strange object over Coogee"

This was the headline for the newspaper article, which read:

"A mysterious object is hovering over Coogee.

The object which is like a brilliant star, was still visible at noon, high in the southern sky.

It was sighted at 9am today by two Randwick Council employees, Mr J Lynche of Matraville and Mr R Brown of Maroubra.

"We saw it while we were having our tea break," said Mr Lynche, "It hasn't shifted since."

Viewed through the Daily Mirror's special 600mm telephoto lens the object appeared almost round.

A spokesman for the weather Bureau said it might be one of the experimental balloons released by the RAAF at Mildura. The balloons were fitted with a device which made them hover."

A hovering RAAF balloon?

This is quite an interesting explanation, if it were true.

Now Coogee is a seaside suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, some 8kms SE of the CBD. A long way from Mildura, Victoria (click here to see where Mildura is.)

The object is said to have been visible in Sydney between 9am and 12 noon on 13 Jan 1962.

I searched the net for information on any RAAF balloon program based at Mildura. I found nothing. However, there was a large scale high altitude balloon program running from Mildura and operated by the Department of Supply, from 1960. It was operational in 1962. I have previously posted on this program, named HIBAL ( click here, here , here , here and here for details.) These balloons ascended to high altitudes, then hovered, or maintained a level altitude for up to several hours collecting radioactive particle in the atmosphere. So hovering balloons are possible.

I checked my records of the dates of HIBAL flights and there were two scheduled to fly, one  on 12 Jan 1962 and another on 13 Jan 1962. The balloons were launched from Mildura and usually landed close by. However, on a number of occasions they drifted over areas of South Australia, Queensland and New South Wales. So it is possible that one was over Sydney on 13 Jan 1962.

Just to be sure that the object wasn't a planet such as Venus, which is visible under some conditions during daylight, I went to a web based star chart program. This shows that at 9am on 13 Jan 1962 Venus was at an elevation of 41 degrees in the eastern sky. By 12 noon it was at 75 degrees east. Certainly, not in the southern sky.

I also checked National Archives of Australia file series A703 control symbol 580/1/1 Part 3 , the RAAF's UAP file to see if the event had been reported to the RAAF. It wasn't.

In conclusion:

So, could the mystery Coogee object of 13 Jan 1962 have been a "hovering" balloon? It is possible.

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