This post continues my look at the possibility that some Australian UFO reports were due to stratospheric balloon launches.
In viewing digitised images of UFO reports made to the RAAF in 1961, I came across two reports which came from the same area of North Queensland only two days apart.
The first was made on 5 June 1961 at a place called Millaa Millaa, on the Atherton Tablelands, some 70kms South of Cairns. Senior Constable W Anderson was one of a number of people in the area who reported seeing an object in the day time sky. He stated that the object appeared as a dull star to the naked eye, but that through binoculars it was "... a cone shape with half of its surface coloured red..."
He first saw it at 12.55pm. In the cloudless sky he first saw it as a silver sphere which turned slowly to show a cone shape. It finally moved to the West and was lost to sight in the haze on the western horizon at 2.50pm.
From the data on the RAAF file, the object described by Senior Constable Anderson and others, could have been a balloon. It travelled some 45 degrees across the sky in 2 hours; was spherical to cone shaped (a cone being a perfect description for a large high altitude balloon); and appeared to be high up in the atmosphere. The RAAF sent up an aircraft which orbited the area between 4.20 and 4.35pm but found nothing to account for the sightings.
The second sighting came from the Cairns area on 7 June 1961. Many people sighted an object in the sky which was described as "...an oval shaped body glowing bright red, with three shining white triangular fins..." There was some talk of it possibly being a daytime observation of the planet Venus (it is possible to see Venus in broad daylight.) However, this was dismissed when a local photographer photographed both the planet Venus and and a separate object in the one shot.
Again, this second set of sightings could have been the same balloon.
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