UFOs often misidentified - astronomer

2012-07-17 11:30
The Large Magellanic Cloud photographed at the site of the South African Large Telescope, Sutherland. (Dr Stephen Potter)

The Large Magellanic Cloud photographed at the site of the South African Large Telescope, Sutherland. (Dr Stephen Potter)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories


VIDEO: UFO following space shuttle

2012-07-17 10:41

This YouTube video purports to show an alien spherical craft following the space shuttle.WATCH

Cape Town - Astronomers say that people often misidentify known astronomical objects for UFOs.

"I get lots of phone calls. Quite often people have spotted a planet - often Jupiter and Venus - and they don't realise it. I ask them which direction they were looking at; what time it was and I can go check and see what was up at that time," Dr Nicola Loaring outreach astronomer at the South African Astronomical Observatory told News24.

She said that members of the public often call or send pictures of objects they have photographed and identified as Unidentified Flying Objects.

"There're also the UFOs which people see and sometimes I get photos sent to me and it's quite difficult from the photos to work out what it is," said Loaring.

Orthodox scientists do not recognise that aliens from other worlds or dimensions are regularly visiting Earth, but there are aerial anomalies that have been observed both at night as well as during the day.


Loaring said that some of the photographed anomalies may be errors on recording equipment.

"It could an aircraft; it could be Chinese lanterns. Apparently people confuse them with UFOs and I got one picture once where there was a smudge - a greenish smudge - but that was from the camera. It was a reflection in the lens."

Astronomers have expanded their field to include observations from the public and it has helped identify previously unknown objects.

In 2007, Dutch school teacher Hanny van Arkel discovered a massive gas cloud about 650 million light years away from Earth and around 16 000 light years across.

The object, known as Hanny's voorwerp has become the subject of much research by professional astronomers.

"That [Hanny's voorwerp] was something they weren't aware of and they found this and they got a whole lot of people to carry on in Galaxy Zoo to look for more of them. And they've written papers on it now," Loaring said.


She added that with the wealth of current data available, there wasn't enough researchers to do a proper examination and the public could get involved in early stage analysis.

"That was something they just weren't expecting. There're quite a few citizen science projects out there and people can contribute because there's so much data; there're not enough [professional] people to look at it."

Still, despite the best efforts of researchers, some observations, particularly by credible witnesses such as pilots leave astronomers baffled.

This is especially true when an observation of a UFO cannot be explained by clouds, tricks of light or known aeroplanes.

"Other times you really can't tell what it is. And you're just... 'I don't know'," said Loaring.

- Follow Duncan on Twitter

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    saao  |  astronomy

linking and moving

2015-04-22 07:36

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Wallabies win, Boks to face Wales
LIVE: England v Uruguay
As it happened: Australia 15-6 Wales
Scots beat Samoa, end Japan's dream
Traffic Alerts

The phrase for today is:”Out of the blue.” Expect the unexpected and work with the changeable energy. Your intuition is heightened...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.