San Diego Silver Sphere Videoed By Rick Ybarra, 2014

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bUSxQwt4x0


Metabunk 2020-09-05 18-52-39.jpg

This one has been around for a while, the original YouTube video is from 2014. But it seems to have gotten renewed interest.

My initial observation is that it's pretty consistent with a balloon tethered with fishing line. It also strongly resembles the Sputnik 1 satellite.
tdih-oct04-HD.jpg

So my first guess would be someone, maybe school kids, making a sputnik model out of a large sliver helium balloon, and then flying it.
 

Woolery

New Member
Thank you. My first thought was balloon as well. And it appears To have a crooked seam that runs just under the row of black rectangles, like the top and bottom halves are mismatched. It has a high-school-project look in that respect.

What initially caught my interest, however, was how genuinely weathered it looked. Given how shoddy it’s construction appeared, if the weathering was an intentional touch, I wouldn’t expect it to look so genuine. And the position of the rods was odd. It almost looks as though it’s a smaller piece of a larger industrial framework, within which the rods served as struts.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Here's the NUFORC report:
http://www.nuforc.org/webreports/137/S137140.html
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
And the MUFON report
https://mufoncms.com/cgi-bin/report...=f1_submitted_datetime+DESC&case_number=59799

Attached is the file from MUFON. It is edited, but seems to have the original EXIF data.

EXIF data:
ApertureF6.3
Body Serial Number3016583
Color Filter Array Pattern2 0 2 0 1 2 0 1
ContrastHard
Custom RenderedNormal process
Date and Time (digitized)2014:09:10 18:35:52
Date and Time (original)2014:09:10 18:35:52
Digital Zoom Ratio1.0
Exif Version2.30
Exposure Bias0 EV
Exposure ModeAuto
Exposure ProgramNot defined
Exposure Time1/100 s
File SourceDigital still camera
FlashNo flash
FNumberF6.3
Focal Length270.0 mm
Focal Length In 35mm Film405.0 mm
Gain ControlLow gain up
ISO Speed Ratings640
Lens Model18.0-270.0 mm f/3.5-6.3
 

Attachments

  • 59799_submitter_file1__DSC0004Edit.jpg.zip
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Woolery

New Member
Why doesn't the video continue at the 9:29 mark when it looks like it is being pulled back down to the ground but no more video after this starts to happen. Hmmm, Very fishy.
I posted the moment the balloon is being pulled back to the ground...
Source: https://youtu.be/5bUSxQwt4x0?t=569
I think what you’re looking at may not be the full length video. At one point he stops filming because trees interfere with his line of sight and then resumes filming from another area of his home. He continues until darkness forces him to stop. I’ll include the link to the full video on YouTube (which includes his audio), but I’m new here and afraid I’m not linking the video properly. I apologize ahead of time. Mods: can you help me with formatting this correctly?

Source: https://youtu.be/W6B48Eb6Fno
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
And regarding that ring of black squares:

Metabunk 2020-09-06 16-15-37.jpg

It looks like one of the rings around Telstar, the first telecommunication satellite.


Which all makes me think even more that it's something like a school science or art project. "Build a helium balloon that looks like a satellite"
 

jarlrmai

Active Member
The extended EXIF data is really useful
  • The camera is a Nikon D80 with a 1.5x crop factor and a sensor resolution of 3872 x 2592 pixels (10MP.)
  • The lens appears to be a Nikon fit Tamron 18-270mm which has a full frame equivalent focal length of 405mm on this 1.5x crop camera. The maximum focal length of 270mm is used for the shot.
  • The size of the Nikon D80 sensor is 23.6 mm × 15.8 mm.
  • The image is cropped in Lightroom to 634x528 (it's unclear if any resizing has been done.)
  • The object pictured is a sphere/circle and is approximately 170 pixels across.
  • The most interesting EXIF data is the presence of the <aux:ApproximateFocusDistance> tag which is a calculation inside the camera based on lens and AF position to provide a distance in to the subject, this value is given as '944/10' which is 94.4 metres. This value is an estimate by the camera however in my experience as a wildlife photographer the value is fairly accurate at least to within a few metres.
If we assume no image resizing was performed and the camera was used at it's maxiumum resolution and use the calculator at https://www.scantips.com/lights/subjectdistance.html with the known properties of the camera and use the estimated focal distance, we get an estimate object size of 55 centimeters. Whilst this is not 100% certain it provides a ballpark figure.

Also if something is at "infinity focus" (very far away stuff like planes) then you get something like:

<aux:ApproximateFocusDistance>4294967295/1</aux:ApproximateFocusDistance>

Can anyone check my working here?
 
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Rocky

New Member
I think what you’re looking at may not be the full length video. At one point he stops filming because trees interfere with his line of sight and then resumes filming from another area of his home. He continues until darkness forces him to stop. I’ll include the link to the full video on YouTube (which includes his audio), but I’m new here and afraid I’m not linking the video properly. I apologize ahead of time. Mods: can you help me with formatting this correctly?

Source: https://youtu.be/W6B48Eb6Fno
You can see it wobbling like a tethered balloon at the end of the video.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
The most interesting EXIF data is the presence of the <aux:ApproximateFocusDistance> tag which is a calculation inside the camera based on lens and AF position to provide a distance in to the subject, this value is given as '944/10' which is 94.4 metres. This value is an estimate by the camera however in my experience as a wildlife photographer the value is fairly accurate at least to within a few metres.
That's very interesting, and useful. I was not even aware of this. With my own camera (Canon 7D, first generation), looking for that number, I discover it gives a range.

| | | | FocusDistanceUpper = 378
| | | | FocusDistanceLower = 286

Which is in CM, 2.86 to 3.78m this example is at F/32, which widens the range. The Sphere photo is a F/6.3, so a narrower range, and that 99.4 is probably accurate within 10%.
we get an estimate object size of 55 centimeters.
55cm, a bit over 20 inches. A perfectly reasonable size for a balloon.
 

Ravi

Member
This is perhaps one great example of the difficulty in judging distance, if the object is a little obscure looking (meaning unrecognisable as a well know object).
 

Max Phalange

New Member
Apparently the video footage was captured on "digital tape", which would almost certainly mean MiniDV unless the witness was using professional equipment. So the original resolution would have been 480p at worst. The version on YouTube has been through some horrendous compression too, the whole file is <20mb for 12 minutes.

If he provided the original video capture it would probably clear things up a lot.
 

Trailspotter

Senior Member.
Apparently the video footage was captured on "digital tape", which would almost certainly mean MiniDV unless the witness was using professional equipment. So the original resolution would have been 480p at worst. The version on YouTube has been through some horrendous compression too, the whole file is <20mb for 12 minutes.

If he provided the original video capture it would probably clear things up a lot.
In my old miniDV camera there is an SD card slot that allows a quick conversion of 720p DV tapes into MP4 files with a greatly reduced resolution. Perhaps, the original video has undergone a similar treatment.
 

jarlrmai

Active Member

Max Phalange

New Member
Is this the full res JPG from the Nikon camera, do we have the actual file?

The originals that have been made available can be found here https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1EujeQRTkGl7JnbsBAICTDRa34okql9rE?usp=sharing

The filenames suggest there are others in the sequence.

On the first two there's definitely a suggestion of some protuberance at the object's "south pole", could it be a balloon knot?

Apparently you can get a fair bit of paint onto helium balloons without losing their buoyancy.
 
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jarlrmai

Active Member
The originals that have been made available can be found here https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1EujeQRTkGl7JnbsBAICTDRa34okql9rE?usp=sharing

The filenames suggest there are others in the sequence.

On the first two there's definitely a suggestion of some protuberance at the object's "south pole", could it be a balloon knot?

Thanks those images confirm that they were taken at full res of the camera meaning the estimate of object size based on focus distance is at least not way off. The out of focus shots do not give a sensible value meaning the AF did not have a lock.

I saw the "knot" as well, it's in the right place so to speak.

Interesting there's no-one making commentary on the 2 photos taken a low shutter speed (0.8) sec there's a light trail in them both, is this possibly a reflection in a window that the photograph is being taken through. AF assist light? There's a red dot near the second one as well.

CROPPED_DSC_0018-2.jpg
CROPPED_DSC_0020.jpg

DSC_0018-2.jpg
DSC_0020.jpg
 

Max Phalange

New Member
Those a pretty long exposures, perhaps just an aircraft and a bit of camera shake? Even though it's tripod-mounted, with a long lens just pushing the shutter causes some wobble. An aircraft would explain the red light in one of them, if it's a strobe (since it doesn't form a streak like the white light).

Maybe those shots were just intended to illustrate an object passing behind it?
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member

jarlrmai

Active Member
Those a pretty long exposures, perhaps just an aircraft and a bit of camera shake? Even though it's tripod-mounted, with a long lens just pushing the shutter causes some wobble. An aircraft would explain the red light in one of them, if it's a strobe (since it doesn't form a streak like the white light).

Maybe those shots were just intended to illustrate an object passing behind it?

I doubt there was any attempt just the camera lowering the shutter speed in aperture priority mode, the max ISO on the camera is 1600 so the shutter speed had to go down to compensate for the lack of light.
 

JMartJr

New Member
Even though it's tripod-mounted, with a long lens just pushing the shutter causes some wobble. An aircraft would explain the red light in one of them, if it's a strobe (since it doesn't form a streak like the white light).

Depending on how good the tripod is, it would also not surprise me to get a bit of vibration even from the fairly gentle breeze we see in the leaves. It's been a bugaboo trying to take pictures of lighted kites at night with a lot of zoom, I know that!
 
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