Any resources for debunking a 'cold case' UFO sighting?

Veronica!

New Member
Hey all,
I have a friend who recently mentioned that she saw a UFO once in the late 80s. It was a pretty uneventful sighting, as far as these things go. No probes, little green men, lost time or mutilated cattle. Just a large light that seemed to hover over them for a few seconds and meander off. It was too big for a satellite, too fast for a plane, too silent for a helicopter, etcetera. There were two witnesses, both experienced stargazers. By all accounts it was unidentified.
My friend and I are both curious now what kind of aircraft or natural phenomena it might have been. I definitely know that the chances of us determining what it was are incredibly low, as does she. We're really just doing it for fun.
She's currently working on finding the exact date of the sighting through her old journals and I'm trying to hunt down a database of UFO sightings that goes back that far. So far I've only come up with MUFON's and NUFORC's, both of which don't strike me as particularly science-based. The mindset there seems to be "aliens until proven otherwise, and then still aliens probably".
I suppose they could be useful in some way but if there was a less bunky database, perhaps through the government or the FAA or something of that caliber. That way I could see if it was seen whether it's been identified.
Any other tips would be appreciated too!
 

Chew

Senior Member.
About the only reliable data you can expect to find from so long ago would be astronomical in nature (i.e. Venus is often mistaken for a UFO) or re-entering space debris. Let's us know if your friend finds the exact date, time, and location and details in regards to compass direction and elevation angle.
 

Veronica!

New Member
Okay, here's what I've got:
The sighting happened in Sutter Creek, California. Exact date is still up in the air, so for now what we know is spring--warm enough to lounge in the back of a pickup truck. Time, around 10 or 10:30. She's on the date, still slogging through journal entries. Had her try to pinpoint an approximate location, she gave me this latitude and longitude, gauged from looking at satellite images from Google Maps. The coordinates she gave me, accurate to within "a few miles", are the following: (38.439986, -120.738454)
More details on what she remembers seeing: A large bright light moved quickly and soundlessly above her and her partner from an unknown direction, stopping at the zenith, brightening and dimming before speeding off.
It was a nice try I suppose, but chances are we won't be getting answers as to what nifty aircraft/space stuff it was.
I'm putting my astronomy course to good use and getting out the planisphere and star charts and am hunting for a skygazer's almanac online for the years 1986, 1987, 1988, and 1989, looking for Venus, other planets in transit, or some event. At the very least I can get some real-world practice out of this. :)
 

Gridlock

Senior Member.
Usually it's a lighthouse reflecting off clouds, but a bit far inland for that.

Any nearby government facilities, specifically training ranges or airbases? None obvious from Google Maps (but then they don't go back to the 70s either). A flare dropped from an aircraft (bright white - magnesium) could be a theory that fits.

Why didn't she take a picture with her telephone? :D
 

cloudspotter

Senior Member.
I'm putting my astronomy course to good use and getting out the planisphere and star charts and am hunting for a skygazer's almanac online for the years 1986, 1987, 1988, and 1989, looking for Venus, other planets in transit, or some event. At the very least I can get some real-world practice out of this. :)
Stellarium seems quite happy with dates that far back
 

Veronica!

New Member
Usually it's a lighthouse reflecting off clouds, but a bit far inland for that.

Any nearby government facilities, specifically training ranges or airbases? None obvious from Google Maps (but then they don't go back to the 70s either). A flare dropped from an aircraft (bright white - magnesium) could be a theory that fits.

Why didn't she take a picture with her telephone? :D
Beale AFB is always an option, and quite a few UFO chasers locally claim that the aliens are targeting it. God bless this area.
Wouldn't clouds not be an option if they could clearly see stars? Maybe some sort of really high cloud or moisture layer? If only there was a person on this site that knew about clouds... Knew how to spot them... Hmmm...
Stellarium seems quite happy with dates that far back
I have a program called Starry Night, it's pretty fabulous. I'll look into it and see what kind of data I can scrounge up until my friend finally finds the damn journal.
 
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