Explained: Student in Teignmouth, Devon sees UFO [Moon Obscured by Clouds]

DavidB66

Active Member
Update: Solved - a low quality photo of the Moon behind some clouds.

Source: https://twitter.com/ufoofinterest/status/1412117603611557891


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Original First Post follows
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

There are several news reports today of a student in Devon, on the coast of England, who claims to have taken a photo of a UFO. Here is a report from the Independent newspaper. ( If for some reason you can't access this, searching Google News for 'student Devon UFO' should produce other links. )

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/devon-ufo-photo-tidmouth-sea-b1878124.html

The student describes the object, with several bright lights, as moving slowly, hovering for about 10 minutes [correction: 10 seconds!], then quickly vanishing. The description does not sound like a regular airplane, and the location (Teignmouth, not 'Tidmouth' as shown in the link) is not near a major airport, so I thought the most likely explanation (assuming it is not a hoax) would be a helicopter, perhaps from the police, coastguard, or air-sea rescue services. These might be showing bright lights for search purposes as well as standard recognition lights. The photo seems to have been taken in late evening. There is nothing in the photo to give a clear scale for the object, so if it is not a helicopter it might be smaller drone relatively close to the camera.

But the report itself mentions another possibility which may be attractive to Metabunk readers: that the object is not in the air at all, but on the sea. As the sea horizon seems at first sight to be well below the object, this could be a 'false' horizon. In the uncropped version of the photo there is in fact a slight difference of colour in the 'sky' coinciding with the level of the object, which could be the true sea horizon. The object would then plausibly be a boat with lights on, and the rapid disappearance of the object might be due to lights being switched off. Teignmouth has a harbour, and numerous boats moor in the estuary of the River Teign.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Matt33

Member
A false horizon sounds like a good explanation. Playing around with brightness and contrast seems to reveal the true horizon with a faint shoreline.
close-encounter-701917.jpeg
 

Ravi

Active Member
Teignmouth, that's where I witnessed the 1999 solar eclipse, on the beach. It was surreal!

Anyway. Indeed this looks like a false horizon. There seems to be a bigger light source behind some clouds? The moon?
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
The full photo is shown in a different newspaper report:

1625503663832.png

Looks very much like a simple case of a reflection from the bright streetlight in the foreground to me. Could be that the story was made up or embellished to fit the photo.

It looks like it's behind a window so is it actually an internal light?

Actually maybe not there is a light outside the window as per the rain drop refractions, is it the same light though..

Hmm I'm torn between the light being inside the apartment or outside, it being outside doesn't seem to fit with the size and viewpoint.
 
Last edited:

Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
Just working out where the photo was taken from in Teignmouth.

A couple of buildings to identify:
1625505345788.png

This is the Courtenay pub seen at the left here from a similar direction

1625505375105.png



And the distinctive pointed turret on the roof in front must be this one:

1625505601728.png

Looking at Street View up Clampet Lane:1625505852798.png

So probably taken from this building in this direction:

1625506082509.png

Hard to tell if there is a light in the relevant place from Google images.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Hard to tell if there is a light in the relevant place from Google images.

I thought maybe this one, which looks like alarm light.

2021-07-05_10-46-24.jpg

I think though if it's a reflection, then that's a pretty bold hoax. I suspect it might be something out there.
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
I thought maybe this one, which looks like alarm light.

2021-07-05_10-46-24.jpg

I think though if it's a reflection, then that's a pretty bold hoax. I suspect it might be something out there.
I would not put it past a bored student in Devon to take the the pic accidentally and try their luck.
 

Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
Edited to say I agree with Mick as I had just posted exactly the same floodlight. It is hard to work out the perspective from the high-level photo, it looks more kike it is coming from the building to the left (Vision Express) based on matching the rooflines, but this could well be it.
 

DavidB66

Active Member
Wow, great work from everyone!

The reflection theory is tempting, but I don't see how an external light below the window could be reflected into the room at the necessary angle (by the usual incidence/reflection rule). Maybe if the window is double-glazed there could be some odd combination of reflection and refraction? If the window was partially open and tilted upwards a light below might be reflected inwards, but nothing in the larger photo supports that suggestion. Also, although windows of that kind are fairly common in the UK, especially for kitchens and bathrooms, where good ventilation is wanted, the building is almost certainly in the Teignmouth Conservation Area, where the external appearance of buildings is strictly regulated. In the photos above the windows are mainly traditional sash windows, or faked to look like them.

A reflection of a light inside the room would not raise these problems, but it would surely have been obvious to the photographer.

Another point is that the larger photo (from the Sun newspaper) shows another bright light out to seaward. This one is just inside the apparent (false?) horizon, and certainly looks like a light on a boat. I wonder if there is night-time fishing in the area? Fishing boats sometimes use strong lights to attract squid.

Added: I just saw Rory's post. Of course he is right about the time (10 seconds, not minutes).

Second added: the identification of the object as the moon behind clouds seems definitive. Here is the Facebook page of the photographer Matthew Blythe, not to be confused with the student, coincidentally also called Matthew [Evans], who took the UFO photo. See the series of photos from June 25. It is remarkable how much more detail is visible. Note for instance how the boat, which in the other Matthew's photo appeared little more than a blob of light, has a definite shape and more than one light.

https://www.facebook.com/matthewblythephotography/
 
Last edited:

Rory

Senior Member.
Thanks to @twilightbarnowl who found the high def photo.

I don't know if that's just a slip of the fingers or a mistake, but they're two different photos, most likely taken at the same time.

Perhaps adding to the confusion is that the photographer of the clearer pic and the "mature student" who took the 'UFO' pic are both called Matthew.

Probaby wasn't student pranks (he's a mature student in his mid-thirties) but you never know.
 
Last edited:

flarkey

Active Member
I think the possibility of a similar high-def picture taken at the same time and seen on Facebook was mentioned earlier on the Twitter thread, hence the "Thanks to @twilightbarnowl who found the high def photo". I don't think they are suggesting it's exactly the same photo.
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
Wow, with the bright light in the window that sure was confusing, amazing there was a high res photo of the exact same scene a really good case study.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
I'm just having a chat with the student who took the OP photo right now. He says he took the photo "a couple of nights ago around 11.30pm".
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Probaby wasn't a student prank (he's a mature student in his mid-thirties, and a dad) but you never know.
based on matthew blythe's photos, (which he labels "the Supermoon") i would say he had to know it was the moon as it turned pink after the OP shot vs just flying away.
Source: https://www.facebook.com/matthewblythephotography/photos/a.110855340721305/315384906935013



edit add: apparently it's called the Strawberry SUpermoon. no wonder it is pink :)
Article:
Rare Strawberry Supermoon will appear huge TONIGHT ...https://www.thesun.co.uk › tech › strawberry-supermoon-...
June's full Moon is called the Strawberry Moon and it will be at its fullest on. ... 9:15, 24 Jun 2021; Updated: 9:16, 24 Jun 2021
 
Last edited:

Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
I'm just having a chat with the student who took the OP photo right now. He says he took the photo "a couple of nights ago around 11.30pm".
The Devon Live story posted yesterday (4 July) says "last week". Which if you count the week as running Monday to Sunday is correct, as 24 June was the Thursday of the previous week.

Moonrise was 9.45pm BST that day. The direction looks right too based on the location I found above.

1625516966464.png
 
Last edited:

Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
based on matthew blythe's photos, (which he labels "the Supermoon") i would say he had to know it was the moon as it turned pink after the OP shot vs just flying away.
Source: https://www.facebook.com/matthewblythephotography/photos/a.110855340721305/315384906935013

If they were on the same day then that photo must have been taken before the one that matches the OP, as the moon was rising out to sea in the southeast. (Moonrise was 9.45pm.)

The quote in the OP about the light "zooming off" is clearly incorrect. From Matthew Blythe's photo it looks as though the moon would have been visible for quite a while before disappearing behind the "higher" (ie closer) bank of cloud.

The series of photos he posted on Facebook show that a short time after the "UFO" appearance, the moon would have looked obviously like the moon:

1625517633492.png

The photos were posted on Facebook at 10.10am on 25 June but must have been taken on the evening of the 24th.
 
Last edited:

deirdre

Senior Member.
If they were on the same day then that photo must have been taken before the one that matches the OP
i had the higher full moon photo originally, then edited my post as i thought i was backwards. so even when i check my tendency to be backwards, i end up being backwards! oy.
 

Rory

Senior Member.
There's maybe a slight difference in the news stories and what the photographer told me, which was:

It started on one end of the horizon and very quickly moved across my field of view from one side to the other. It then stopped for a brief moment and then at an extreme speed zoomed up and out of sight.

Which, if that's what actually happened, is hard to imagine someone mistaking in a slowly rising moon. Not to mention that he says it was from "a couple of nights ago" (I've asked for an original photo to see the exif).

So I guess it is either "student high jinks" after all - or a truly remarkable coincidence that a UFO showed up in the exact same spot as the previous week's moon, and looking just like it too.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
This has been debunked as the moon by our friend @ufoofinterest on twitter (although he initially thought it was an internal reflection of the streetlamp)..
Darn it, I was going to look into the sun or moon, but I didn't take the plunge!

Good lessons here. And something that has come up several times before - enough that it deserves a TLA, like MOC (Moon Obscured by Clouds)
 

Rory

Senior Member.
with the same clouds around. and boat.

Exactly. Must be a very small probability indeed. ;)

So what's the hypothesis? Art student takes photo of some big moon loads of people are going on about and then a week or so later notices in the news that UFOs are a big deal and thinks, hm, I wonder if anyone would fall for this pic I took and a little story to go with it?

What's that thing called? Occamaramic's Explanation?
 

DavidB66

Active Member
I'm just having a chat with the student who took the OP photo right now. He says he took the photo "a couple of nights ago around 11.30pm".
I'm struggling a bit with that. The Matthew Blythe photos were taken on 24 June (not 25 June as I stated earlier), shortly after moonrise, which was at 21:45 on that day at Teignmouth The sun would have set at 21:30, which seems consistent with the amount of residual daylight in the photos (by both Matthews). 24 June is not 'a couple of days' ago, and by 11:30 p.m. the sun would have set about two hours earlier, whatever the exact date. More importantly, comparing the photos by the two Matthews, it is difficult to believe that they were not taken at almost exactly the same time and place. The viewpoint in the Blythe photos is a bit lower, as they were probably taken from the sea front (some of them certainly were), which means that the horizon is closer to the camera and the boat to the right of the moon is closer to the horizon, but apart from that they are extremely similar. The best comparison is between the photo at #4 above and the third photo in the full series in Matthew Blythe's Facebook post of 25 June. I note five points of close similarity:

1. the appearance of the mystery object itself, with a bright patch at the top and three 'lobes' at the bottom
2. the strip of cloud passing across the object and extending beyond it on both side. This is very clear in the Blythe photo, but also faintly visible in the Evans one.
3. the position of the boat with the light, which is about the same angular distance to the right of the object in both photos - not exactly the same, but as close as could be expected when the photos are not taken from exactly the same position and distance.
4. in both photos there is another thin strip of cloud visible higher up and slightly to the left of the object.
5. in both photos there is a band of low cloud reaching from the horizon up to the bottom of the object, and extending across the width of the photos.

I can't remember how many 'points of similarity' are needed for a fingerprint match - probably more than five - but it is still pretty good. Admittedly some detail - notably the reflection of the object's light on the surface of the sea - is present in the Blythe photo and not the Evans one, but that can be explained by the much better quality of the former.

Added: Deirdre beat me to it, and did it better. No surprise there. The clincher, for me, is the lower right photo in Deirdre's post (at #23 above). This is the only version I have seen of the Evans photo which shows the upper bank of cloud for comparison with Blythe. The lighter bands visible within the cloud bank are so similar that it is nearly a perfect match.
 
Last edited:

deirdre

Senior Member.
Exactly. Must be a very small probability indeed. ;)

So what's the hypothesis? Art student takes photo of some big moon loads of people are going on about and then a week or so later notices in the news that UFOs are a big deal and thinks, hm, I wonder if anyone would fall for this pic I took and a little story to go with it?

What's that thing called? Occamaramic's Explanation?
we have gotten college students here before that were assigned to do something with conspiracy theories. so maybe he is trying for an experiment on bunkum for one of his classes, but accidentally picked a supermoon night.. not realizing others might be taking photos as well.

edit: or its a journalism class and they are investigating how bad internet 'news' is at fact checking anything :)
 

JMartJr

Senior Member
One possibly subtle take-away from this. In this case, a not particularly exciting view attracted at least two people to post photos to the Internet, the second of which was found remarkably quickly when the other one was posted as a UFO. Something to keep in mind when other pics of purported UFOs near urban or suburban settings turn up -- searching for other pictures not labeled UFO is probably worth a go, and maybe a big bright UFO only seen and photographed by one person may be somewhat suspicious (though not definitively ruled out) on that basis alone.
 

Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
I'm struggling a bit with that. The Matthew Blythe photos were taken on 24 June (not 25 June as I stated earlier), shortly after moonrise, which was at 21:45 on that day at Teignmouth The sun would have set at 21:30, which seems consistent with the amount of residual daylight in the photos (by both Matthews). 24 June is not 'a couple of days' ago, and by 11:30 p.m. the sun would have set about two hours earlier, whatever the exact date. More importantly, comparing the photos by the two Matthews, it is difficult to believe that they were not taken at almost exactly the same time and place. The viewpoint in the Blythe photos is a bit lower, as they were probably taken from the sea front (some of them certainly were), which means that the horizon is closer to the camera and the boat to the right of the moon is closer to the horizon, but apart from that they are extremely similar.
One of Matthew Blythe's pictures shows the Grand Pier

1625561239770.png

So was taken from somewhere around the blue circle here. Matthew Evans's photo was taken from around the red circle.

1625561458582.png


Clearly the one replicating the UFO pic wasn't taken from exactly the same spot as the pier is not visible. The pier photo shows a navigation buoy with a light on it just to the right of the moon reflection, which looks like the buoy that is visible to the right of the boat in the first picture. If it is the same one then the vantage point must have moved quite a distance to the right to take the pier photo, which would put the first one further north along the seafront. That would also account for the boat being out of frame, as the perspective would move the buoy left relative to the boat.

(Actually on closer inspection I think the lights of the boat are still just visible peeking over the pier, just to the right of the pole sticking up near the end.)
 

DavidB66

Active Member
Just a small point about timing: the angular diameter of the moon is about half a degree, so that can be used as a 'yardstick' to measure the angular distance of the moon above the horizon. On that basis, at the critical moment the Moon was not more than 2 degrees above the horizon. As the moon moves through the sky by about 15 degrees an hour due to the earth's rotation, plus/minus a bit due to orbital motion, I don't think the critical moment can have been more than about 20 minutes after moonrise, even allowing for the fact that the moon does not rise 'straight up'. That puts the time at around 22:00 or very shortly after.
 

DavidB66

Active Member
We thought it was amazingly good luck that someone else took photos of the moon at almost exactly the same time and place as the original UFO claimant. Surely nothing could be better, except maybe a video showing the whole transition from weird-looking lights to obvious moon. Well...

https://www.devonlive.com/news/devon-news/supermoon-over-teignmouth-put-bed-5616532

The linked article above contains an embedded video showing exactly that! Unfortunately I can't get the video to play smoothly on my computer, and others may have the same problem, but I found that I got a good-enough view by clicking at various points on the progress bar. [I tried again and left a long time for the video to load, and it worked OK. I'm not sure quite where the video was taken from. Not the 'Old Town', but there is newer housing on the hills above Teignmouth. I have been to the area a few times myself.]
 
Last edited:
Thread starter Related Articles Forum Replies Date
Mick West Explained: Mysterior Tower of Light in Shenyang, China General Discussion 3
N Explained: "Jellyfish object" video in Russia [Rocket Launch] Skydentify - What is that Thing in the Sky? 11
Oystein Debunked: Claim that Bobby McIlvaine's injuries ("lacerations") are best explained as result of glass shards and debris from bombs 9/11 20
W What exactly does “Explained:” mean in a thread title? Site Feedback & News 2
Mick West Explained: Birdwatcher's "Amazing UFO", Burwell Fen, UK. [C-130 Landing Lights] UFOs and Aliens 2
Mick West Explained: Tic-Tac UFO San Jacinto, Highway 62, California [Blimp] UFOs and Aliens 0
DavidB66 Explained: UFOs viewed from the ISS - Squid Boats UFOs and Aliens 16
A Explained: UFO Filmed from a Helicopter in Kamchatka, Russia. May 31, 2021 [Fake] UFOs and Aliens 2
R Explained: Video of Vandenberg UFO shooting down ICBM [reenactment] UFOs and Aliens 8
Q Explained: HomeSteadHow "UFO" Photos [Helicopter] UFOs and Aliens 53
Mick West Explained: Why Magnets Stick To Vaccination Sites (Or Your Nose) Conspiracy Theories 18
Mick West Explained: Odd Looking Bidens/Carters Photo - Not Fake, Just Perspective General Discussion 74
Mick West Explained: UFO Filmed With Telescope [Loon Balloon] Skydentify - What is that Thing in the Sky? 2
Mick West Explained: Sky Mapping at the Seattle Space Needle [Virtual, Not "Blue Beam] Conspiracy Theories 0
Patrick Gonzalez Explained: Why Biden is boarding C-32 instead of VC-25 Election 2020 35
TEEJ Explained: Inaguration Photos from Different Angles Show Different Backgrounds. Election 2020 9
P Explained: Exactly 5.55555556% (1/18) of votes for Trump across multiple precincts [Cherry Picked, Expected Ratios] Election 2020 20
DavidB66 Explained: Boris Johnson Photo With Confusing Reflection of Phone Cord Election 2020 12
Mick West Explained: Wingless Tic-Tac UFOs Moving Erratically Behind Trees UFO Videos and Reports from the US Navy 1
Mick West Explained: 9:33 AM ET Time on NPR Story about Storming the Capitol Election 2020 0
A.G. Explained: Covid-19 research with pre-2020 dates in Google search results Coronavirus COVID-19 4
Mick West Explained: "Disappearing needles" in Covid Vaccinations Coronavirus COVID-19 1
Mick West Explained: 82nd Airborne: "A Storm Is Coming" - Operation Devil Storm Conspiracy Theories 12
Mick West Explained: Fulton County, Georgia, "Suitcases" of Ballots being Scanned Election 2020 1
Z.W. Wolf Explained: Red Mirages, Blue Shifts, and Data Dumps in the 2020 Election Election 2020 21
Mick West Explained: Trump's Claim of Suspicious Early Morning Michigan Bump [It's Detroit] Election 2020 1
Mick West Explained: New Navy UFO Videos UFO Videos and Reports from the US Navy 210
Eleora Explained: "Quantum Dots" - Storing medical information below the skin’s surface Coronavirus COVID-19 13
Cassi O Polaris Height Perspective Explained (No math required) Flat Earth 1
Mick West Explained: RARE Video Footage of "Alien Space Craft" WATCHING ISS Astronaut! UFOs and Aliens 1
A Explained: astronaut's movement causes lunar flag to wave in Apollo 15 footage Conspiracy Theories 0
Mick West Explained: The "Many Faces" of Patrick Crusius, the El Paso Shooter Conspiracy Theories 22
Mick West Explained: "Beam of Light" in To The Stars Academy header images UFOs and Aliens 0
Mick West Explained: "UFOS" in Donald Trump's Crowd Photo on 4th of July UFOs and Aliens 3
D Explained: Photo of 747 with Contrails Only on One Side [Fake, April Fool] Contrails and Chemtrails 21
Qulaey Explained: 17.61 Mile Mirror Flash Supposedly Proves Flat Earth [Refraction] Flat Earth 5
Mick West Explained: The Navy's New "UFO" Reporting Guidelines UFO Videos and Reports from the US Navy 32
Mick West Explained: "It's photoshopped because it has to be" Flat Earth 3
Mick West Explained: Jet Chasing UFO: X-45A and F/A-18B Formation Flight Skydentify - What is that Thing in the Sky? 6
Trailblazer Explained: video of concentric circular "chemtrails" (E-3 Sentry AWACS plane, Feb 1 2019) Skydentify - What is that Thing in the Sky? 3
Rory Explained: How Mount Rainier helps demonstrate the shape of the globe Flat Earth 38
creatonez Explained: Why the Earth does not look oblate in photos from space Flat Earth 5
MikeG Explained: EU Army Deployed to Paris Conspiracy Theories 1
Mick West Explained: Unexplained Green Light During Thunderstorm [Water on Lens, Caustics] Skydentify - What is that Thing in the Sky? 7
Mick West Explained: Flashes of Light During the World Trade Center Collapse 9/11 5
Mick West Explained: House "Cut in Half", Tubbs Fire, Santa Rosa, Coffey Park Wildfires 0
Mick West Explained: Burnt Cars on California Beach [TV Set] Wildfires 1
Mick West Explained: Unknown Brewing Company UFO UFOs and Aliens 0
Mick West Explained: Why Kavanaugh's Calendar PDF looks Edited [OCR] Current Events 0
Mick West Explained: Mysterious Red Planet Like Object Filmed Next To The Moon. Atglen [Reflection] UFOs and Aliens 0
Related Articles


















































Related Articles

Top