UFO's : Fact or Fiction?


Judging by the number of web pages devoted to UFO's, let alone magazines, associations, newsletter groups etc, it would appear that there are a great many people who believe in the existence of UFO's. By UFO's I am referring of course not to unidentified flying objects, of which there are many, but to "flying saucers"- spacecraft from another planet. So why is it that so many people believe in them, when the vast majority of us have never seen one? One of the reasons perhaps is because of the huge volume of reported sightings from around the world. With so much 'evidence' it is hard to ignore the possibility that we are being visited by 'flying saucers'.

So what actual proof do we have that UFO's exist? None whatsoever! So why do so many people believe that they have actually seen them, or that others have? Let's examine the 'evidence': Let's first though take into consideration that lots of people claimed to have met Elvis recently, have seen the Loch Ness monster, receive telepathic messages from Venus and know for a fact that the Moon landings were shot in a film studio. See Did we land on the Moon? People are funny. All unusual reports need to be viewed with a fair dollop of caution.


Taken from a popular UFO web site.

Eye witness sightings.

Many people claim to have seen a UFO. This is not surprising. For over thirty years I have been a keen amateur astronomer and I have spent a great deal of time looking at the sky, both during the day and at night. I have come to know what I am looking at, I have gained a lot of experience of observing objects in the sky. I have not seen a single UFO, but I have seen plenty of things that less experienced observers would classify as a UFO.

People tend to scoff when you tell them that the huge, bright, flickering object they saw hovering near the horizon was not in fact a UFO but Venus. The same goes for Sirius and other very bright stars when see low in the sky. Under certain conditions they do look like UFO's, as do some cloud formations. Lets also not forget satellites arcing across the sky, and the International Space Station. I was watching the ISS a couple of months back, it appeared from nowhere, arced across a perfectly clear sky for about a minute or so and then just disappeared! (It had in fact entered the Earth's shadow). I wondered at the time how many people witnessing that would believe it to be a UFO accelerating into hyperspace!

Our local police helicopter operating at night with a powerful searchlight and weaving about all over the place and at varying heights is also an impressive candidate. I was once fooled for a time by rotating laser beams reflecting off low level cloud, it was really impressive and had me going for while. It was just a disco putting on a laser show. Even meteorites and comets have been mistaken for UFO's, not to mention 747's with their landing lights and strobes illuminating low level clouds. I could go on but I won't. You see my point, being human we are prone to error, and sometimes we see what we want to see.

Quite obviously the vast majority of so called UFO's can be explained away by natural phenomena, but that still leaves a small percentage that can't be explained away, and it is this small percentage that ufologists believe may be 'flying saucers'. However, because an object is classified as 'unidentified' it does not automatically become a spacecraft from another planet. That is wild speculation. Why not just accept the obvious, that although we can't be sure what it is, because of poor video or photo quality, conflicting eyewitness accounts, vague descriptions etc. making identification impossible, it does not mean that it is an alien spacecraft. It could be a secret test flight of an advanced fighter jet, or just a hot air balloon.

Photographic and video 'evidence'

I have yet to see a convincing video clip of a UFO. Most of them are downright ludicrous. I have even seen a video that claimed to be of a flying saucer that was nothing more than an out of focus shot of Venus through a wobbly hand held video filming through a window. (I have looked at Venus through my own camera enough times to recognise it as easily and instantly as you would recognise your own face in a mirror). Anyone who has tried to video - or photograph - a dark sky at night through a glass window from an illuminated room will know that the automatic setting on the focusing goes crazy, It 'hunts' back and forth and causes the star or planet to 'pulsate', add on hand wobble, multiplied by the magnification factor, and there you have your classic, flickering UFO, zooming about the sky performing impossible manoeuvres. Really impressive, but it's just Venus and it's not doing anything. The same goes for the planet Jupiter, if I had a dollar for every video clip of Jupiter that was held to be a UFO, I would be a very rich man. If you want to watch videos of Jupiter that claim to be UFO's there are lots of them on the Net, just go to any search engine and type in "UFO". Some are so bad they are really funny, well they would be funny if it didn't take 10 minutes to download the rubbish. On one particular site I was able to immediately identify, Jupiter, a lens flare from a street light and a lens flare from the Moon, (all fantastic shots of UFO's) and was subsequently proved correct when the hoax was revealed. Unfortunately, a great many other people who visited this site were convinced (and no doubt still are knowing the way they yearn to see UFO's) that they were genuine UFO's, and will point to this as yet more 'evidence'. Going back to 'how can you ignore so much evidence?' Easy, an ounce of knowledge and common sense is worth a ton of extreme speculation and wishful thinking.

As for other videos, they are generally either out of focus, nothing to judge scale and distance by, too much camera shake, poor lighting, it could be just about anything, and so on. The only really good shots are obvious fakes, even obvious to ufologists. And that's another problem, it's just too easy to fake. No video or photograph can be accepted as proof simply because it isn't PROOF, it could have been faked. Take for instance the picture of a 'UFO' that I have included at the top of this page. It was obviously included in the UFO web site because it was considered to be one of the better ones. It could be a gents gold wedding ring reflecting a light source for all we know, or it could be a genuine 'flying saucer'. As for people that present fakes as the genuine article, they muddy up the water and give serious ufologists a bad name.

So what do we need as hard irrefutable evidence. We need something we can touch! Isn't it strange that with so much UFO activity around the globe for so long, at least 60 years, not one teeny tiny piece of hardware has turned up. Not so much as a single rusty screw from a flying saucer gangway! Not one has landed, or crashed, in an area where it could be 'seen' by more than one or two people. And please do not tell me that there is a complete UFO tucked away in Area 51. Yes, of course there is, we all know that, its been a big secret for years. This from a nation where even its last President, the most powerful man on the planet, was unable to hush up a minor indiscretion involving just one other person! But the entire military personal of an air force base can be persuaded to keep their mouths shut for years. I don't think so!


If, despite all of the above, you still believe in UFO's, why do you think that the visiting aliens are not revealing themselves? Why do you suppose that they have travelled across light years of space just to skulk around? Or do you think they have made some sort of deal with the government? Why? They hop across light years of space, have mastered gravity, acceleration and inertia, and heaven knows what else, and need to make a deal? And why are they happy to be seen buzzing planes and so forth but not want to contact us? I just can not bring myself to believe that any sufficiently advanced civilisation that can hop between the stars would behave in such a ridiculous manner.

Imagine the day when we finally make it to the stars and find a planet populated by a technologically inferior species. Do you think we would secretly contact the governments of that world and then spend the next sixty odd years hopping about from one place to another, hiding from the general population, while at the same time allowing them to see us coming and going? For what purpose? It would make no sense. As for those who claim to have been abducted by aliens...........no comment. No, sorry, I will comment.

Alien Abduction

These stories tend to fall into two main categories. 1) "they examined my body" 2) "they give me a tour of the spaceship"

1) The 'kidnapped' were strapped/tied down onto a form of operating table and powerless to resist. They were naked and vulnerable. The aliens stare at their exposed bodies and explore them with their hands. Probes are inserted into various orifices. Some even claim the aliens forced sex onto them. The aliens tried to remove this incident from their minds but failed as it all came out under hypnosis. All very surreal. Just the sort of sexual fantasy some people would pay good money for. I believe that's all it is, a fantasy. Maybe for kicks, perhaps for a few minutes of fame, perhaps to make a little money. Maybe they live in a fantasy world, or perhaps it's just to brighten up an otherwise dull, boring and very average life. Reality it isn't. But that's just me expressing my opinion, I could of course be wrong ( I don't think so though to be honest). Problem: Why do they do it? They could learn all they need to know from us, or the government they are supposed to be secretly working with, or just some poor old tramp they pick up and then kill. An alien race that is prepared to abduct perfectly innocent people to experiment on would surely not balk at killing them, they obviously see as us nothing more than lab rats. To release these people after bringing them into their ship is far too risky, they must know by now their memory erasing technique is badly flawed.

2) They stumble across a flying saucer, in a dark wood for instance, usually after their car has mysteriously broken down, along with the radio, and taken aboard by the aliens. They are given a guided tour round the ship, see screens showing the stars etc, and sometimes even given a little joy ride where they look out the window and see the globe beneath them. How nice. The ship lands again. They have the entire episode erased-but not very well- from their minds and are then politely shown the door. All is revealed under hypnosis, just as in case 1). (They still haven't perfected this memory erasing trick yet). Problem: What on Earth is the point of being invited on board, given a guided tour and free joy ride, only to have the entire incident removed from their minds ten seconds later? It really makes a lot a sense doesn't it! As much sense as being invited on board in the first place. This just has to be complete and utter rubbish and as far removed from reality as you can get. It does their case nothing but harm to trot out this sort of obvious nonsense.

Just in case you think these stories must be true because they were 'dug out' of the 'victims' mind while under hypnosis, a study of psychology will explain all. Lots of people have, while under hypnosis, revealed details of their previous lives for example. They were typically Napoleon, Cleopatra, Joan of Arc, etc etc. If you belief abduction stories to be true because of this method, then I am afraid you will have to take on board a whole load of other stuff as well. Most of it even more bizarre then Napoleon being re-incarnated in hundreds of people at the same time! Not to mention those that can 'recall' coming from Pluto. Better just forget it.

If you believe I am wrong, and I know many people do, why then do you think the aliens do it? None of these abductions serve any useful purpose to the aliens whatsoever. They only serve to give us more information about them, which judging by their strange behaviour with the 'flying saucers' appears to be the last thing they want to do.

Give me just one good reason for these so called abductions.


Reasons to believe

Time and again people email me to ask how can I ignore so much 'evidence' for UFO's. My answer is always the same - THERE IS NO EVIDENCE! Typically they will refer to newspaper reports and so called 'sightings'. The following article is a typical example of how the media works. The headline for this story reads "A SUPER HIGHWAY FOR ALIENS? and appeared in a popular UK newspaper, The Daily Mail, on January 15th 2003. The story details how a Spanish businessman downloaded the images, using a satellite dish, direct from the SOHO satellite that is in permanent orbit observing the Sun. He claims to have collected many images of UFO's captured by SOHO. The story goes on to say that these UFO's are seen to change direction and must be controlled by some alien intelligence. It says that NASA was contacted and replied that the images may be due to camera faults or could be comets. UFO supporters claim these images are the most convincing proof yet of UFO's are that NASA refused to answer any more of their questions. Below is a copy of the image as shown in the newspaper.

My immediate reaction to the image of the 'UFO' is that it is a very over worked enhancement of the original white blob shown circled below, which is probably just a planet or comet. This is typical of the result that I can achieve very easily in Photoshop if I over work a planet or galaxy, you can create just about any effect you want. The result achieved here, transforming that fuzzy white blob into the clearly defined, and beautifully coloured finished image, is about as fake as it gets. The finished 'enhanced' image is nothing like the image captured by SOHO! Very often, a bright light source, such as a star or planet, will show 'spikes' as seen here, the image itself is just a dot.

I contacted the people at SOHO and asked for their views on the matter. Here is their reply:

>>>>Subj: Re: DR.SOHO:

Date: Tuesday, January 21, 2003 4:53:28 pm

From: thompson@orpheus.nascom.nasa.gov

To: Keithmayes123@aol.com

cc: drsoho@sohops.gsfc.nasa.gov


We also tend to find these claims amusing, although we find it a bit sad. Actually, although most of the SOHO imaging instruments operate in the ultraviolet and extreme ultraviolet, to observe the Sun in a wavelength regime that can't be seen from the ground, there are a couple of SOHO instruments which do operate in the visible. Most of the UFO claims are based on visible light images taken by an instrument called LASCO, which takes advantage of the airless conditions of space to observe the faint corona around the Sun. The other visible light instrument is MDI, which is studying the Sun through helioseismology, but I've never heard anyone claim to have seen UFOs in MDI images.

People also claim to see UFOs in EIT images, which are taken in extreme ultraviolet light. However, just because an object is visible in extreme ultraviolet doesn't mean that it couldn't also be seen by the eye. After all,the Sun glows in both wavelength regimes.

I completely agree with your description of the images being overworked. The people making these claims should at least have the courage to show the actual data, and not something which has been manipulated in Photoshop. The supposed UFO images that we've investigated tend to fall into several categories:

Planets: These always look very strange in LASCO images, because they're so bright that the image blooms, and the CCD pixels bleed along the readout rows. Some people try to claim that they're flying saucers, based on their appearance. I've also heard the claim that they're previously unknown Saturn-like planets with rings around them. You can see what I'm talking about at http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/hotshots/2000_05_03/

Cosmic rays: High energy particles from the solar wind, and from the galaxy as a whole, whip around the SOHO spacecraft and interact with the detectors. These produce spots and streaks on the detector ranging from a single pixel, to large streaks that span a large fraction of the image. These are most evident during a solar storm, as can be seen in at http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/hotshots/2001_11_26/ but are always present at some level. I know that some people have claimed that they've seen spacecraft-looking things that seem to be moving around, but which are obviously cosmic rays when examined by an experienced observer. People see a cosmic ray at one location in one image, and then another random cosmic ray hit nearby in the next image, and claim they're both the same thing moving between frames. Sometimes you'll see a cosmic ray seem to persist in the web images for two or more frames. This is because we lose a certain percentage of the data coming down from the spacecraft. In LASCO such losses appear as square blocks in the image. The software which puts the images up on the web will fill in these blocks from the last good image, and if there's a cosmic ray in that block from the previous image, it will appear in this image as well. The way to check for this is to look at the raw data files, which are also available on the web through the SOHO catalog interface at http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/data/

Software glitches: Occasionally we'll have some problems with the software which produce the images for the web, and strange artifacts will appear in the data. These glitches are usually corrected within a few days. In fact, we had a couple of instances of that recently.

Detector defects: There are defects which appear in the cameras from time to time, sometimes temporary and sometimes permanent. I remember seeing a web site which claimed that strange lights were hovering over the lower left limb of the Sun in EIT images, and thought to myself "You only just noticed that?". Those defects have been around forever, and were seen in the lab even before SOHO was launched.

That all said, it should be noted that we do see objects moving in SOHO images. Over 500 comets have been discovered in SOHO images, most by amateurs using LASCO data which have been downloaded from the web. That's more comets than from any other observatory, either from the ground or in space. People are looking for moving objects in these pictures all the time, and are highly motivated to find them. None of them have ever turned out to be anything other than comets.

William Thompson<<<

So there you have it, no UFO's. The thing to bear in mind is that as far as the general public are concerned, they have seen headlines, and images, claiming the existence of 'amazing evidence' of UFO's, and that NASA is refusing to answer questions on it. You can see what nonsense that is. The people at NASA, after politely answering all the questions put to them about the UFO nonsense, eventually have nothing more they can add. There is no conspiracy of silence, so beloved by the UFO brigade. The media, being in the business of selling stories, see the potential for using such wild headlines, it sells a lot of copy, but they don't print the official version next day explaining why it is all a load of nonsense, that doesn't sell newspapers.

As I keep saying, and will continue to keep saying, THERE IS NO EVIDENCE! Stop believing all the rubbish you read in newspapers, and on the weird and wacky web sites that are so popular on the Net, just try using a little common sense for a change. Just look at that 'UFO' image again, now I ask you, you think that is a simple enlargement of the original white blob? come on, be serious!


What do I think?

I would like to believe they are here, but I don't. Wishful thinking should never be allowed to get in the way of facts. I do believe there is extraterrestrial life out there, see Is there any other life in the Universe? but I am not convinced that we are being visited by beings from another planet, not now nor in the past. I consider that those people who honestly believe that they have seen UFO's are genuinely mistaken. We have absolutely no proof that these flying objects, although unidentified, are 'flying saucers'. They could be anything.

I am not convinced that we have ever been visited by a single UFO, even though there is so much 'evidence' There is also 'evidence' that we never landed on the Moon and that people can levitate, read minds and move objects by telekinesis, etc. etc. etc. Sure they can.

If you believe in 'flying saucers' and you want to argue your case, feel free to contact me, I will publish the best on this page. I continue to disbelieve the idea that they are here already, but the day may come,. See Is superluminal speed possible?


Date 10th April 2002. In case any of you are wondering if I have received any emails supporting the case for alien abductions, the answer is no, but lots supporting UFO's and visiting aliens. Most, nearly all, referring me to UFO web sites in support of their beliefs. Not one has claimed to have seen a 'flying saucer' or alien themselves. Interesting.

Here are three of the top recommended sites for 'proof' of government cover-ups, crashed UFO's, confirmed military sightings, top secret documents, etc.

The Majestic Documents and The Disclosure Project and The US National Archives

However, I think that you will find them all very disappointing and a waste of time.


UPDATE 21st January 2002

New Emmy Award photograph.

The picture on the left was taken with a normal digital camera at an Emmy award ceremony. The strange looking oval disk is just a normal bright light source in the background that the digital camera did its best to interpret. The original can be seen at Emmy award photo The article goes on to say "The apparent concentric internal geometry of the luminosity Ed and Kris have observed on other occasions to be an light artifact particularly prone to digital still and video cameras recording bright light sources, either out of focus, and/or not fully materialized."

The picture on the right is of a UFO over Derbyshire, England. You can decide for yourself what these images are. Either we have a very small uninvited UFO at the Emmy awards, or a normal bright light source over Derbyshire, England. Take you pick.

As a point of interest, I notice that the UFO lobby are now saying that in the face of this new evidence that they agree that it is not an actual image of a UFO over the Dales. Instead it is a very bright UFO causing the same effect!! I have no doubt that when it is shown to be no more than the landing lights of a passenger jet, they will claim that it is a UFO disguised to look like a passenger jet!

Just bear in mind that this Dales UFO photograph, and many others just like it photographed all around the globe, have been hailed as the best possible photographic evidence to date for UFO's, showing "amazing, intricate surface detail". It is now disproved. That is why when people ask me how can I possibly ignore so much evidence? I say "What evidence? There is NONE."

Believe me when I say I have looked at countless videos and photographs of alleged UFO's and have not yet seen ONE that is halfway convincing. For an example of what I mean, visit Rense.com and you can watch masses of little white dots in the sky. The ones that seem to follow the space shuttle are good, they are not ice particles or other debris that usually floats around with the shuttle, they are UFO's, miles wide. Hmmmm.

Please take the time to enter the poll on UFO's. It is NOT asking if you believe in UFO's, there are lots of things in the sky that we can't always identify, but asks instead if you believe that UFO's are aliens in 'flying saucers'. You are also invited to leave a comment if you wish.

UFO Survey

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Photograph submitted by Carl Rofe 25.01.2003. See message board


Carl submits this photograph and asks what it may be. Examination of the beam of light shows that it is narrower at the bottom than the top, suggesting that the source is on the ground. The way the light is diffuse at the top and spreads out over a fairly large area suggests it may be illuminating low level cloud.

I have seen a very similar effect myself which turned out to be laser lights from the roof of a building directed up onto the clouds. It acted as an advertisement when discos were in progress. My guess is that is exactly what we have here, a display laser, or powerful spotlight, reflecting off low level clouds. If the colour is genuine, and not an effect of enhancement, this would suggest a laser rather than a spotlight. The one I saw was from a source ten miles away, these things can be seen from quite a distance, and was ordered not to be used anymore as it was considered to be a hazard to aircraft using a nearby airport. Makes an interesting effect though.

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