Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A voice from the past

Hi all,

One of the intriguing Australian cases from the past, is the one which occurred in 1972 near Frankston, in Victoria, and involved Mrs Maureen Puddy.

In 2012, I wrote a series of blog posts detailing what both civilian UAP groups, and the RAAF, knew of the events ; click here, here and here to read these. They provide perhaps the best summary of our knowledge of the incidents.

Now, thanks to the estate of former VUFORS sightings officer, Bill Stapleton, I have acquired an original, short, reel to reel tape recording of an interview between Mrs Puddy and Bill Stapleton. I look forward to digesting its contents.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Satellite re-entries and UAP over South Australia

Hi all,

A while ago, amateur astronomer Ted Molczan sent me a list of visually observed satellite re-entries from around the globe. Interestingly, Ted was using UAP sightings as a source of some of these observations.


South Australian catalogue

I have just finished checking Ted's extensive list against my own lengthy catalogue of South Australian UAP sightings. Of Ted's ten known satellite re-entries over my home state of South Australia, I found six matches to existing sightings in my collection, which now allow me to change their status from "unknown" to "satellite re-entries."

For historical interest, I will list below, details of these sightings and their causes. Of some note are the estimated heights of the UAP above the ground, of a couple of these, now known to be satellite re-entries. In the 22 July 1981 Whyalla instance, the witness estimated that the object was just 300 metres up in the air. In the 31 July 1992, Port Pirie Sighting, the witness thought his UAP was only 60-100 metres above the ground.


The sightings

Firstly details from my catalogue and then the explanation.

1. 20 January 1968 Adelaide 0257hrs local time
White and red lights in the sky. Round ball of light. Vapour trail. Lost over horizon.
(National Archives of Australia file 580/1/1 part 9, p.170.)

1968 Jan 19 1729 UTC
1967-083B Biosatellite 2 r seen over SA, NSW, debris found near Mudgee.


2. Not found in my catalogue.
1973 Apr 9 1957UTC
1973-017D Russia Salyut 2 r debris.
Reported from aircraft over Outer Harbour, Adelaide plus Queensland.
(NAA A703, 580/1/1 part 21, pp35-43.)


3. 20 July 1981 Adelaide 0105hrs
Number of calls about a white rocket-like object travelling east to west.

1981 Jul 19 1537UTC
1981-021D Russia Cosmos 1249DU. Adelaide and Iron Knob.
AUFORN 1981 sighting reports.


4. 22 July 1981 Whyalla 1930hrs
Two fishermen reported a massive dark red/orange object about 300m up. No wings nor tail. Silent. Moved slowly for 30 seconds then accelerated out of sight.
"Whyalla News"" 24/7/1981.

1981 July 22 0957UTC
Russia 1981-060C Molniya 150B Seen over SA.
AUFORN 1981 sighting reports.


5. 31 July 1992 Port Pirie 0310hrs
To his south, a man reported an object at 60-100m altitude. Estimated angular size 20 degrees. Cigar shaped. Green colour. Silent. Three amber lights at the left hand side, plus pulsating lights on it.

1992 Jul 30 1744UTC
1992-047D Russia Cosmos 2204 r. Seen over Port Pirie.
AUFORN sighting reports.


6. 1 Oct 1992 Broken Hill and various South Australian locations Ca 1900-1907hrs
Multiple lights travelling west toe east in formation. No noise.

1992 Oct 1 0936UTC
1992-063B USA Mars Observer r.
AUFORN sightings listing.


7. Not in my catalogue.
2001 Feb 8 1915UTC
2000-071B USA GPS 11 R - 6 r 1. Seen from Robe.
Seesat-L.


8. 27 Sept 2008 Adelaide 0015hrs
12 lights, white, with long comet-like tails travelling north to south. No noise.
Another observer said silent red object with 5-7 smaller ones, travelling north to south.

2008 Sep 26 1447UTC
2008-046E Russia. Xosmos 2242 casing.
Seesat-L AUFORN sightings listing.


9. Not in my catalogue.
2008 Nov 21 1702UTC
2008-058B Russia Cosmos 2445 r Seen from Elliston.
Seesat-L AUFORN sightings listing.


10. Not in my catalogue
2014 Jul 10 1142UTC.
2014-037j Russia Meteor M 2r. Seen over SA, Tas, Vic, NSW, ACT and Qld.
Reentrywatch, Youtube, Seesat-L.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Australian university theses on UAP

Hi all,

US researcher Barry Greenwood, has kindly been sending me copies of academic theses dealing with the subject of UAP.

Italian researcher, Paolo Toselli, in 2012, compiled a 231 item data base titled "University UFO Theses & Dissertations, 1950-2012."

I thought I would take a look at how many theses, partly or wholly, have been undertaken in Australia,  on this subject. My research ended up with a total of eight. Naturally, I would be pleased to hear details of any others.

The list:

Mathews, Gerard.
"UFOs and landscape dimensions of the paranormal."
2000. University of New South Wales. B.L. Arch.
To locate a copy.

Harvey-Wilson, Simon.
"Shamanism and Alien Abduction: A comparative study."
2001. Edith Cowan University. Faculty of Community Services. Perth, Western Australia.
To download a copy.

Carthew, Stephen.
"Fred Robinson, theory and me: a methodological meandering with an Australian Hippie guru and his former 'alignee.'"
2005. University of South Australia. School of communication, Information and New Media." Adelaide, South Australia.
For further details.

Couacaud, Zoe.
"How the alien invaded the American mind: a history of experts, entrepreneurs, story-tellers, and a love of the alien in modern American culture."
2006. University of Sydney. New South Wales. Faculty of Arts. Department of History.
For further details.

Bertram, Dean.
"Flying Saucer Culture: An Historical Survey of American UFO Belief."
2006. University of Sydney. New South Wales. Faculty of Arts. Department of History."
For further details.

Goretzki, Monika.
"The Differentiation of psychosis and spiritual emergency."
2007. University of Adelaide. South Australia. School of Psychology.
Download a copy.

Plowman, Martin.
"High strangeness: a Lacanian cultural history of UFOs and Ufology."
2007. University of Melbourne. Victoria. Dept. English and Cultural Studies.
Plowman's thesis was later published as a book.

Carthew, Stephen.
"A world within a world with 'The World.'"
2012. University of South Australia.
To download a copy.

Update 10 August 2015.

Thanks to Italian researcher Roberto Labanti, who drew my attention to the following additional theses, which mention in part, Unidentified Aerial Phenomena.

Holman, Brett.
"The Gathering Cloud of Rumour": Phantom Airships and the British Fear of Germany, 1909-1913."
2004. Postgraduate diploma (4th year) thesis. University of Melbourne. Department of History.
For further details.  Also Holman presents some of the material which was used in the thesis.

Holman, Brett.
"The Next War in the Air: Civilian Fears of Strategic Bombardment in Britain, 1908-1941."
2009. University of Melbourne. Faculty of Arts. School of Historical Studies.
Download a copy.

 



Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Videos - field work is important

Hi all,

A while ago, I wrote a post about the large number of Australian "UFO communities" on Facebook.

Since then, I have been visiting a number of these "UFO communities", in order, with the permission of the individual concerned, to collect sightings.

These sightings, which may be a video, together with others submitted by UFO groups, are then compiled into the monthly Australian national level sightings listings. July 2015, will see the publication of the tenth of these listings. After the twelfth, a review will be conducted of their value to the Australian research community. A survey has already been conducted of the individuals who receive the listings by way of an e-mail distribution list.

Are videos of any real value?

One question which was recently directed at me, was "There are numerous individuals in these Facebook communities who go out, with video cameras, take videos and then post them to Facebook or Youtube. Are these of any real value to research?" The person who posed this question then provided their own view by stating "No, they are not. They are frequently out of focus, fail to include any reference points, and often lack details of what was seen visually."


I beg to disagree!

I recall the many nights, years ago, that I spent in the countryside outside Adelaide, watching the skies. I still go out most nights to take a look at what's around.

1. If you don't go out and look, you certainly will not see anything unusual in the skies.
2. If you see something which appears unusual, why not take a video of it?
3. It is true, that some videos are shot without a tripod. It is true, that others have auto focus problems. It is true that some people simply zoom in on the object without including any reference points, such as the horizon. However, some videographers do use a tripod, do use manual focus, and do include reference points. These are of some evidential value.

So, I encourage those members of "UFO communities" who are getting out there to view and video objects in the sky, to continue to do so.

What do they show?

Well,there are a variety of images. There are nocturnal, pulsating lights which change colours. There are daytime, spherical, lights traversing the sky. At first glance they appear mysterious. The descriptions accompanying them tantalise the senses.

However, I need to come back to my investigatory experience. In non-video cases, my analytical experience tells me that, after a competent investigation, 95% of all sightings have a mundane, conventional cause.  I suspect that this is also the case for video sightings, that is, 95% of all videos show common objects, sometimes under unusual circumstances.

My own experience

I'd like to give a few examples from my own observations:

1. I saw and photographed a brilliant, white, spherical light in blue sky, in broad daylight. You couldn't tell what it was from the photograph. A video would simply have added another dimension, namely movement, but you still wouldn't have been able to identify the object. I could, for I had seen it at a closer range before taking the picture. It was a plastic bag.



2. Another time, at night, I saw a cluster of fast moving, lights travel across the night sky. A video would simply have recorded the same as my visual observation. I identified the lights, through binoculars as birds. Zooming in the video may or may not have revealed this.

3. I once saw a brilliant, white, light rise out of a cloud at 5am. A video would have shown just this. If I'd been vague in what direction I saw it, you would not have known it was the planet Venus. The cloud moved, the planet did not.

 I have a number of other such personal observations. If it wasn't for my "sky watching" activities I would not have the knowledge and experience that I have today.

Data

In most of the current crop of videos, as with visual observations, we need an analysis. In order to analyse, we need data. The basic sort of data we need includes:

1. Where was the video taken? Suburb, street etc.
2. In what direction was the camera pointing? East, north-west?
3. What reference points are on the video? For example, the roof of a known house; a street sign; the Moon?
4. Has the videographer also included images taken of stars, planets, the Moon, aircraft etc with the same camera/phone? These are useful for comparison purposes.
5. What are the equipment details? Camera make and model; was auto focus used; what magnification zoom?
6. What was seen by the naked eye. Provide a description of what you saw with your own eyes. Description; behaviour, trajectory.

Summary

So let me summarise, at this point. Individuals who get out and look at the sky, take videos and post them, are to be congratulated and encouraged.

However, these same individuals need to be willing to supply basic data along the lines above. If they do not, then people will continue to criticise them, and quite rightly so.

In future

In my opinion,. what is needed, in these video sightings, is publication of data, and then analysis. Who should do this?

Data publication can only be undertaken by the person who takes the video. If they want others to take their work seriously stop publishing videos showing what is said to be "an amazing ufo" and start publishing information!

Analysis could be provided by independent people, always working hand in hand with the videographer. After all, we are all after the same objective, namely identifying the object shown, and adding to our knowledge of them.

In conclusion

So to conclude this post; get out there; look up at the sky; take a video; document the sighting and help us analyse them.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Investigation report - Oakey, Queensland - 12 June 2015

Date: 12 June 2015
Time: Ca. 0630hrs EST (UTC + 10 hours.)
Location: Oakey, Queensland

Report:

The 12 June 2015 digital issue of the "Toowoomba Chronicle" newspaper carried an article by Meghan Harris. It read:

"FieldEquip employee Greg Young decided to capture the beauty of the sunrise by taking a photo and it wasn't until he zoomed in on his iPhone that he noticed the strange object.

"Mr Young said he looked back up at the sky and noticed the triangular object flying through the clouds followed by a dark blue trail.

"It was all a bit weird because a few moments earlier me and my co-worker saw some bright flashing lights from the East and we couldn't work out what they were," Mr Young said. 

"Then we saw this thing and it just made for a really odd morning. I didm';t believe in aliens or anything like that but it definitely looked like something" he said.

"FieldEquip operations manager Darren Mauger said he did not believe in aliens but he was intrigued by the object. 'I completely disbelieve in aliens and UFOs but I did find it strange," Mr Mauger said. 'Greg came in to show me the photo and by the time I went back outside it was gone.' He said 'it wasn't travelling very fast and was flying silently but it had disappeared within a minute,' he said "

The photograph:

As I could not contact Greg Young to obtain his permission to reproduce his photograph, the best I can do, so blog readers can view the picture, is provide a link to the newspaper article and photograph here:

http://www.thechronicle.com.au/news/ufo-spotted-flying-over-toowoomba-region/2670301/

I would ask that you view the picture, before reading further.


Investigation:

1. I visited the Toowomba Chronicle digital website and viewed the "comments" section which followed the article. Suggestions as to the cause of the image in then photograph included "...probably a dirty smear on his phone camera lens," and "...it's a cloud formation." A person named J. stated "I've got a photo of it and thought it was a cloud too!"

I left my own comment seeking contact with anyone who had any further information.

2. Oakey, Queensland is north-west of Toowoomba. Its latitude is 27.45 degrees south. Its longitude is 151.7 east.

3. Sunrise that day for that location was at 0640hrs EST (UTC + 10 hours.) It rose at azimuth 26 degrees north of east.

4. The nearest weather station is station number 041359 at Oakey (6.6kms away.) At 9am the weather was:
Min 10.6 deg C; max 19.5 degrees C; 0mm rain for the day.
The wind was coming from the ESE at 28km/hr. Pressure 1030.7. Temp was 17.8 degrees C. Relative humid was 59%. Cloud cover was 8/8.

5. I revisited the Toowoomba Chronicle website and submitted a "Letter to the editor" seeking contact with anyone who had information about the photograph.

6. On 12 July 2015, I received an email from the individual named J. She advised that she had two photographs which she herself had taken at about 0625hrs on 12 June 2015 from Oakey, Queensland.

J. duely sent me copies of the photographs and I took the opportunity to ask her the questions below. I have added her responses.




 
Q1. May I ask the name of the street from which you took the shots?
A1. J. provided this, but I am choosing to keep this confidential.

Q2. Did you notice the object in the sky when you took the 2 photos?
A2. Yes.

Q3. At the time what did you think it was?
A3. That it was a cloud shape.

Q4. Did you move between taking the pictures?
A4. Taken about a minute apart. Stepped back to take second photo.

Q5. What was the time interval between the photos?
A5. 1 minute.

Q6. How long did the "object" remain in view to you, or did you go indoors/to work and leave it still visible in the sky?
A6. It was there all the time but had dispersed when I saw it on the way to work a couple of minutes later further down the street,

Q7. Was there any sound associated with the "object."
A7. No sound.

Q8. Have you been in contact with Greg Young?
A8. Never met Greg Young. Sorry.



7. I made efforts to contact Greg Young, through his employer FieldEquip; and through the Toowoomba Chronicle. I was unable to do so. He did not respond to the "Letter to the editor," nor to my comment on the digital site. I did not find a Facebook account nor any other social media contact for him.


Analysis and discussion:

1. I now believed it to be possible to analyse this report on the data available.

2. I now had the location of both photographers that morning.  J. was to the south-west of Young. Both were looking north-east at the time. J and Young were only about two streets apart. This explained why the  "object" is in the same position in all three photographs relative to the background cloud formations, and patches of blue sky.

3. What about the dark blue trail mentioned by Young? It is not visible in his photograph. However, it is clearly visible in both of J."s photographs. It is to the left of the "object." In the Chronicle article, Young is stated to have said " he noticed the triangular object flying through the clouds followed by a dark blue trail." My impression from this is that the suggestion is, that the trail was behind a flying object.

In J's photographs it extends from the left hand edge of each photograph and ends at the "object."

What is this blue line? The trail behind a flying object? Perhaps not. Another better possibility occurs to me. I noticed that if you extend an imaginary line from the trail, and take this line to the right of the photograph it would cross the exact position of where the Sun was rising, still below the horizon at the time the pictures were taken.

So, what do I propose this blue line is? I think it is the shadow of the "object" which is a cloud, thrown to the left of the cloud by the still to rise Sun. This is, of course, a completely different interpretation to that ascribed to Young.

What is interesting is that although Young is cited as thinking the blue line is a trail caused by the object, he only took one photograph. Why didn't he take several photographs, if the object was moving, which would have shown it in different positions,and hence proved it was moving, we will never know. J. did take two photographs one minute apart and the object is clearly stationary.


Conclusion:

1. J's photograph shows that the object was stationary over a minute.
2. J. watched the "object" dispersing, just like a cloud.
3. In J's opinion it was a cloud.
4. My hypothesis is that the "trail" was simply a shadow of a cloud cast by the Sun.
5. Unless additional witnesses or photographs are located, which disprove the above, I conclude that it was a cloud.
6. Naturally, I welcome comments from blog readers, provided they have taken the time to investigate the case.

Note added 26 July 2015.

My Sydney research associate has taken a look at these photographs and offers the following comment:

"I took another look at the photos. I saved J’s UFO 2 photo (which shows more than her other one)
and zoomed it up. Didn’t do any processing with it. I just took another look at GY’s photo as is.
 
I think what might be considered to be a trail is merely the extension of the sunlit reflected pattern of
the cloud layer above it. The more I looked at K’s photos and particularly GY’s photo the more that’s
what it appeared to be. It’s just the positioning of the ‘object’ in relation to it the cloud pattern above it,which is at higher altitude,  that makes it look like the ‘trail’ is from the object itself. The wavy pattern that seems to indicate it is even more apparent in GY’s photo. Sunlight is falling though at some angle though on the right hand side of the ‘object’ as can be seen in both GY’s and J’s photo(s).
 
I couldn’t see how the shadow from it could be from the sun considering the low angle the sun was. The shadow if there was one is pointing in the wrong direction, due the very low position of the sun. But it’s true that the appearance and direction of the ‘shadow’ is influenced by the sense of perspective as seen from the ground so that’s a consideration nonetheless.
 
The only way I can see it being at the downward angle it is as if the sun light was refracted through the cloud (the ‘object’) That might be possible. (?) Alternatively, it’s from sunlight reflection from the base of the cloud above it,but from looking at the photo even that doesn’t look likely. So I think that one  can be eliminated.
 
On that basis I don’t see how it could be a shadow from the sun directly. The angle looks all wrong. So that leaves the ‘shadow’ must be merely an extension of the sunlit reflection of the cloud above it. It’s just the positioning of the ‘object’ in relation to it that makes it look like it’s from the ‘object’ itself. Note the ‘shadow’ doesn’t extend entirely from the entire length of the base of the ‘object’. It is from the right hand end but stops short of the left hand end. That detail to my mind tends to convince me the trail is merely an extension of the sunlight reflection of the cloud above it, and not related to the ‘object’ itself.
 
I don’t think there’s any doubt the ‘object’ is a cloud, the same as J thought and you did as well."

UAP and satellite re-entries

Hi all,

One of the reports on the recently obtained Western Australia Police Department file (click here) occurred in October 1974, and caught the eye of Ted Molczan, an amateur astronomer. Ted is particularly interested in artificial satellites, and the observations of satellite re-entries.



Over the past three years Ted has been compiling a table of sightings of natural re-entries of orbiting objects. Interestingly, as Ted pointed out to me, "UFO reports have proven a goldmine of previously unknown re-entry sightings. For example, UFO sighting reports in Australian government archives yielded more than a dozen previously unknown re-entry sightings."

As mentioned above, Ted was specifically interested in the October 1974 sighting, dated 14 Oct 1974 on the file which was "...exactly 24 hours earlier than a re-entry I previously identified that had been reported as a UFO from Fitzroy Crossing, WA and Katherine, NT. The object was the Agena D upper stage (1966-110B/2609)from the launch of ATS1..."

I forwarded Ted a copy of the Police Department file in order that he could read the original documents. He later replied that he found evidence on the file that the 14 October date was incorrect and that the UFO sightings probably happened on 15 October. Ted ended his thorough analysis with "Despite the noted imperfections, the overall agreement with the known re-entry trajectory and the appearance of a re-entry fireball is strong."



Ted kindly sent me the latest version  (27 pages) of his "Visually observed Natural Re-entries of Earth Satellites" table. The table contains numerous examples of UAP reports caused by satellite re-entries over Australia. I am currently cross checking this table against my catalogues of Australian UAP.

Update 10 August 2015:

I asked Ted whether or not the following sightings might be of a re-entry?


19 July 2006 Wirrabara Forest to Quorn and Hawker SA 1330hrs DO/IFO?
“So was it a meteorite or space junk falling to earth? No one knows. But at 1.30pm in the afternoon of July 19, many people across the Mid North of South Australia - from Wirrabara Forest to Quorn and Hawker saw a large object moving across the sky. One witness, John Teague was at Hawker in the Flinders Ranges. He was pumping tyres when something caught his eye. "I thought it was a flare. It was the colour of mercury and had a tail and there were sparks coming from it. Then it seemed to break up and disintegrate." He said it was large, not as large as a full moon, "more like a cricket ball," he said. About four minutes after it disappeared, John heard a "sonic boom". He said, "It was really loud, like thunder". The seismographs at Hawker and Wilpena registered the boom as a disturbance. David Love, seismologist with the Department of Primary Industries and Resources in Adelaide confirmed that equipment "at Hawker and Wilpena recorded the same thing". "What we've recorded is a soundwave coming somewhere south of Hawker, whether its south west or south east is a bit hard to tell." He said they haven't got enough case studies to compare this sound with a sonic boom from a jet. And this is complicated further because the disturbance detection instruments are in the ground. So will property owners in the area during the weeks and months ahead find space junk or meteorite fragments? From what the seismographs indicated, David Love concluded, "If anything did hit the ground, it wasn't large". So what was it? The United States Space Command in Colorado said "there was no scheduled re-entry of any spacecraft or satellite." The CSIRO, the Civil Aviation Authority and the Australian Air Force at the Keswick Barracks, all said they knew nothing about it. The Astronomical Society in South Australia is keen to hear from any witnesses so they can determine what it may have been.” (Source: Annette Marner http://www.abc.net.au/sa/stories/s1692314.htm?backyard.)

Ted's response was as follows:


"Probably not a re-entry. None were expected at the time and I have yet to find a confirmed credible daylight sighting of a re-entry. Typical objects reach about mag -8 at 100km which might be detectable to the naked eye if the observer knew where to look, but not by chance sighting. A huge object like one of the space stations, would be visible."

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Investigation report - Chinderah, New South Wales - 10 July 2015

Date: 10 July 2015.
Time: 1850-1900hrs. EST (UTC + 10 hours.)
Location: Chinderah, New South Wales.

Account:

A woman, her brother, three friends of the brother, and her mother, were travelling in one vehicle, southwards from Tweed Heads on the main highway.

They spotted "...two very large orb lights in the sky to our right...At first I thought it was Venus and Jupiter, then realised they were too big and moving...They were moving diagonally  down, then started moving horizontally looking like they were flying right towards us. They then moved across the highway and behind Chinderah petrol station.

"Myself and my brother's friend were the only ones who could view them while they hovered and moved slowly behind the trees on our left hand side of the highway. There were several cars who seemed to view it also and they all pulled into the petrol station at once and stopped on the turn off at the highway.

"The orbs then headed south again travelling the way they were and then they were right in view on the left hand side of the car about 100-200 metres above us (mine and my brother's friend's side.)

"They started to cross back over to the right side of the highway and hovered directly above our car whilst we were going about 70km. The first orb manifested itself into a craft that I have randomly found a hand drawn picture that was posted 5 days ago that describes what Dane and I saw exactly. The other people in the car did not see the full craft because it was hovered over the car more on our side.

"It moved very slow, and the second orb light was about 100 metres behind the craft. The craft then manifested into the orb again and both of them continued in the direction they were currently flying."

"We drove to Pottsville (20km) and dropped off one of the kids off and decided to go back to the petrol station on the coast road to ask if anyone else saw what we saw. On the way, I'm Cabarita Beach. I noticed there were many planes in the sky at once and they weren't moving like planes. They were in a triangle shape with blue white and red lights at each point and there were 7 at the sky at once.

"I focused on one in particular, that then disappeared in front of my eyes."



The location - courtesy of Google maps.


Additional information:

I asked the main witness, the following questions. Her responses are below.

Q1. What colour were the orbs?
A1. "They were the colour of a warm light or torch. The same colour as the orb light in the picture from Byron Bay but much brighter because they were much closer."

Q2. What was the weather like at the time?
A2. "It had been raining on and off, that was also the strange thing. Upon both sightings it seemed that the whole sky cleared up out of nowhere. There appeared to be no clouds when it had just been raining seconds before. This happened both times in Chinderah and Cabarita and we all commented on that at the time. There was absolutely no sound coming off any of the flying objects even when the first  orbs (craft) were only 100-200 metres above our heads which made the weather and stillness even eerier."

Q3. Can you estimate how long it was between the time you first saw them and when they went behind the petrol station?
A3. Around 1 kilometre. The whole sighting went for approximately 3 kilometres. It felt much longer time wise. The orbs were also below tree height at this time."

Q4. Who was driving and who was sitting in which seats?
A4. "My mother was driving. I was in the front passenger seat. Dane, my brother's friend was in the back seat behind me. My brother Ryan in the middle back seat and Tom was in the back seat behind the driver's seat. There was also a girl named Alison in the back back seat, back of my mother's 4 wheel drive. She did not seem interested in the experience at all and just kept talking like nothing was happening and said they must be just planes."

Q5. Did the driver speed up or slow down from the 70km/hr?
A5. "Mum (Maree) slowed down from 110km to 70km upon first sighting and kept at that speed until we got to the petrol station turn off at the highway. She went to pull in so slowed down to around 30km and then decided there was too many people turning off and stopping on the road and it may be dangerous. She veered back onto the highway and sped back up to 70km, when I realised they were directly to our left of the car. So she was probably actually going slower than that but speeding up to 70km again."

The location, courtesy of Google Earth.
Q6. Can you describe the process by which it changed from orb (light) to craft?
A6. "It didn't really manifest I don't think, the orb lights were still there just on the 3 points of the craft like the picture describes. I think just because it was on the right angle for Dane and I to actually see the craft, we saw the portholes that looked like plane windows but it was too thick to be a plane and wasn't in the same shape ( we also had blimps in the area flying around that day, and that's what I kept referencing to people. It was like a medium 24 seater passenger plane/blimp/drone/small spaceship all of them put together.) It seemed to me to be open on the side, but the hand drawn picture paints a better picture of what it looked like then explaining it as the picture really does look completely identical.

A hand drawn sketch which the main witness found on the Internet, which she says shows what her "craft" looked like.


"It was dark but the orb lights gave off enough light to see the middle of it, and the portholes or windows had lights coming out of them too as a plane does, but brighter as they so turn the lights down on planes. These were brighter. All warm lights. If I had to say a colour of the craft itself it would have been white/silver/something but definitely not dark - that's why my brain kept going back to it looking like a plane."

Q7. What compass direction did they leave in?
A7. "When we last saw them they were going in the direction of north-west, or maybe south-west, I'm not exactly sure. But it was in a westerly flight path."

Q8. How did you lose sight of them? What was the last thing you saw?
A8. "I couldn't see the first one (that was the craft) while it was going over our car, was still in view of the second orb that was following it. Was concentrating more on trying to look out the right side window to see the craft once again but once it came into my vision again it was an orb again. Then the highway veers left so we lost view. The last thing I saw was the two orbs travelling slowly west heading towards the Tweed River."

"My mother Maree, said she never saw the craft but distinctly saw the orb lights the whole 3 kilometres. She was the first to actually say what's that although we were all looking at them anyway. Tom on the right hand side of the car in the back seat and Alison in the back back of the car were not looking up much and all us I think were quite frightened and just kept saying its a plane. It must be a plane (they were only 15.) While I explained to them that it defies physics. The only thing I could  come up with was maybe drones but have researched into that and purely by the size of the first one sighted (orb and craft) it was an equivalent of a bomber drone and I'm sure they wouldn't be flying them above civilians so low."

An image from a local newspaper which shows what the main witness says, the orbs looked like.

Q9. What was the total time duration from when you first saw them to when  you last saw them?
A9. "Approximately 3 kilometres."

Q10. At its closest approach when you saw the first orb as a craft, how big was it across, say compared to the full Moon?
A10. "The orb when it was at its closest was a lot bigger than a full moon probably three times the size of the moon that is rising. On first seeing it when they were further away, the first one was the size of a full moon then."

Q11. Was there any effect on the vehicle you were travelling in? For example, did you have a radio on?
A11. "No, unfortunately we didn't have the radio on and nobody thought to get their phone out, because we were too busy watching. All I know is outside was dead silent except the cars earlier. There was no sound at all, not even after effect sound."


Analysis and discussion:

1. Was the "craft" a blimp?

The main witness mentioned "blimps" in the area at one point in her account. I determined that there is one, and only one, blimp flying in Australia at the moment. I found that the Appliances online blimp transited the area, and actually passed over Chinderah on 10 July 2015.

The Appliances on line blimp.
This airship is 39 metres long and 11 metres wide. It is illuminated from within by two 1000 light globes. It usually travels at 1000 feet altitude, and its maximum speed is approximately 72km/hr, which would mean that if it was flying at this speed above a car travelling at 70km/hr, it would appear to be hovering over that vehicle. It would perhaps seem a contender for the "craft."

I contacted the owners of the airship and asked them if it had been over Chinderah at about 1900 hours on 10 July 2015. Their answer was no! It left Brisbane at 0720hrs; passed over Chinderah at 11226hrs and arrived for the night at Evans head at 1728hrs where it was moored. It did not fly that evening.

This blimp can therefore be excluded from the range of possible conventional explanations for the sighting.

2. Was any part of the sighting due to aircraft?

I visited the Air Services Australia WebTrak website for Coolangatta airport, to the north of Chinderah. It turns out that Coolangatta's secondary radar covers the Chinderah area. Only aircraft (including helicopters) fitted with a transponder, show up on secondary radar.

I ran the program between 1800 and 200 hours on 10 July 2015. The only objects visible on this radar were aircraft arriving and departing Coolangatta (no helicopters) and aircraft transiting the area.



The above two images are screen shots from WebTrak. Two different aircraft passed right over Chinderah at the times shown, at a height of about 2000 feet. These times correspond to the main witness' time of 1850 to 1900 hours.

These aircraft, of course, should have been showing the standard red and green navigation lights plus anti-collision lights. These aircraft colours are different to the colours reported by the main witness.

3. Was any part of the observation due to the planets Venus and Jupiter?

According to the "Heavens Above" website Venus was at an elevation of 14.5 degrees, azimuth 292.3 degrees. Jupiter was at elevation 10.7 degrees, azimuth 293.1 degrees.

Courtesy of the "heavens Above" website.
Both planets, during the estimated 3-5 minutes duration of the sighting would have only moved 0.75 degrees across the sky. This does not agree with the main witness' observation of the trajectory of the "orbs" or description of the "craft."

4. Could the sighing have been due to a combination of things?

For example, were Venus and Jupiter initially seen; then aircraft lights were behind the petrol station? Based on the main witness' description of trajectory and appearance, I suspect not.

5. Could it have been a drone?

One of my associates asked "Could it have been a drone?" The close-up observation of the "craft"; even if not as close as the estimated 100-200 metres stated by the main witness,  would suggest not. However, with today's technology one cannot be 100% certain.  I can say that I have not come across anyone claiming to have staged the sighting using a drone.

6. Any other ideas?
We seemed to have ruled out Venus and Jupiter; aircraft (including helicopters) with transponders; the Appliances online airship, and in all probability a drone. This leaves me bereft of suggested conventional explanations which fit the details provided.. Naturally, I would be delighted to hear from anyone who has a proposed mundane explanation, provided they can back it up with evidence.


Conclusion:

Based on the information provided by the main  witness, of the objects' trajectory, appearance, and behaviour, I cannot assign a conventional explanation, at the moment, to this sighting.