UFO image collection issues

TopBunk

New Member
A couple of days ago I was laying on a trampoline in North West London looking at up at the early evening sky. The sun was setting and the area of sky I could see was framed by the oval shape of the safety netting on the trampoline. I’d noticed recently that after a few moments of staring up into the sky, from the same position, I can often make out birds cruising around very high up that you’d never usually notice. The trampoline netting does a good job of blocking some unwanted light across your field of vision. The birds are difficult to spot at first but when you’re eyes adjust you can clearly make them out.

On this occasion I noticed a single bright spot which was unmoving. It looked like a star, (possibly Jupiter) but I was surprised to see it at just after 8pm and that sky was still very blue. It was very small about the size of the smallest gap you can see between a pinched forefinger and thumb when held at arms length but contrasted sharply with the blue sky. I watched it for a while and in doing so noticed more single points of white light and one slightly orange one they were all of a similar size.

The three points of light were to the left of my field of view and were in a triangle about 1cm held at arms length. They didn’t move but stayed pretty much in relation to each other. It reminded me immediately of these balloons seen over NYC.

(Source: https://youtu.be/Wh-tCAY0u7I).

Coincidently the points of light I saw were in almost exactly the same arrangement seen in the NYC video at around the 6 minute mark. (See screen grab) but where the left point of the two was orange tinged and slightly fainter. (Was it Mars?), and the bottom point of the triangle was slightly closer to the other two.

CACBF5DB-6736-4C91-8A6A-F03E9607C6AB.jpeg

The one orange point was to the right of a white point to the center of my field of view and over the span of a few minutes they slowly changed positions as if rotating around each other.

I watched them for over 5 minutes and was considering how best to record what I could see. To give an idea of how small the points were I asked my 5 year old to look up and see what I could see and she, distracted, bored, not attentive, couldn’t see anything at all!

I assumed my phone camera wouldn’t be able to pick them up (it’s a 1st gen iPhone SE) and so I decided to watch a bit longer before going to get a better camera. After considering that I wouldn’t miss anything if I went indoors I got my old Canon 20D with a 17-85mm lens and tried to take some photos. I thought including the trampoline netting would be helpful for scale but I struggled with the settings and focus and just couldn’t seem to get a decent image of what I could see with my eyes.

Here's a link to the a RAW image of my viewpoint which to my eye should include the light points mentioned above. (although I can’t see anything at all in it!). Source: https://drive.google.com/file/d/18en4mzzGk8Oj7tU94aentM2JPnICPQ87/view?usp=sharing


After another 5 mins or so the all the points of light had faded and were imperceptible. My thought is they were balloons highlighted by the setting sun that just eventually drifted out of view, but what was interesting is the apparent lack of motion of most of the points of light from the beginning to end of what was probably around 10 minutes.

So this seems to point to a real problem of data collection when people see things they can’t easily explain (Jupiter) when seen possibly in combination with mundane objects (balloons) forming a “triangle”. If someone can see something clearly with the eye, but virtually not at all using a fairly decent camera and lens from a static position what hope is there of recording something truly extraordinary?
 
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antiwesley

New Member
Ok, I set my Starry Night Pro to 8pm local, July 8th, 2021, and the general location of "London, UK"
The only things that would reasonably be showing are actually Venus and possibly Mars, as you'll see.
Mars was dim enough that the focusing of the light through the trampoline mesh could make spotting possible.

It's been shown that you can use something as simple as toilet paper or paper towel tubes held together like binoculars that can work with your eyes to bring out some dimmer objects, even during the day to a point. I've used the method to spot Mercury during the day, but it can be very very tricky.

None of the stars that would be visible, match up to the positions in the NY stills. (FYI, it's not letting me access your photos)
But for the brightness shown in the NY stills, yes, they would be balloons or possibly satellite flashes, but the satellite flashes wouldn't last 5 minutes long.
London20008-7-2021.jpg
 

JMartJr

Senior Member
Maybe I'm missing your point... are you saying that the difficulty in taking imagery of lights that are so faint and hard to see that it is difficult to even point them out to somebody else has some significance to capturing imagery of purported UFOs that are close enough and distinct enough to have a lot of evidentiary value? If so, I don't see how that would be the case. But maybe I'm totally misreading your post. Maybe a direct concise statement of the issue you want to discuss here woukd help me.
 

TopBunk

New Member
Thanks Antiwesley. To clairfy it was July 7th at 20:10. Because the sky was as bright, or brighter than it appears in the NYC film I'm now doubtful they were stars or planets. (i'm a noob astronomer but i'm assuming it's not possible to see stars with the naked eye in such conditions). I also should have mentioned that the triangle of stars did shift in position slightly during my watching it. But very much like the balloons in the NYC video they held their relation to each other for minutes at a time.

JMartJr, my point is that I think it's surprisingly difficult - despite a lengthy observation with decent equipment - to even get to the point of evidence that could be analysed by others. In this case it was something that I could clearly see but not definitely identify with the naked eye. This would appear to have significance to many purported UFO sightings because there's a yawning chasm between eyewitness recollection and what most people can capture.

For example here's a shot taken today with my iPhone from the same position at roughly the same time of a plane heading West. On an evidentiary scale it's total garbage. Yes you can just about see that it's a plane but with my eyes I could distinguish the tail and engines and probably hazard a guess at the airline without resorting to a flight tracker. The points of light I saw a couple of days before appeared to be about a quarter of the size of that plane so were essentially impossible to capture.

I think this kind of thing must happen all the time which I why I'm interested in others opinions and examples.

IMG_3875.jpg
Plane.jpg
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
I think this kind of thing must happen all the time which I why I'm interested in others opinions
opinions about whether it's a bummer you cant capture a UFO if you dont have a good enough camera? My opinion is it is a bummer.

and examples.
you dont need UFOs for examples. There's a hawk that always hangs in a tree outside and i can certainly see more detail with my eye then with my phone camera.
 

JMartJr

Senior Member
So if I'm up to speed, the issue here is that with things that can be seen but not really close enough or well enough to tell what they are, it is also difficult to get good imagery, especially with a cell phone camera? I'd not be surprised -- I know I carry a better camera than my phone when I am going to events where capturing a distant-but-interesting tethered object in the sky is going to be a goal for me. But on the other hand, that sort of sounds like the sort of sightings where even if captured in as much detail as the eye can make out, you'd still have a distant unresolved more-or-less point light source or distant dot that shows no detail anyway. I'm not sure the loss of more such images than we already have is all that significant -- though I understand why it will be frustrating to somebody who sees something like that and would like a picture.
 

antiwesley

New Member
Astronomically, Venus would be bright enough to see as a dim naked eye object.
Photographically, the light sensor on the camera averages the light coming in the lens and automagically sets the exposure time to catch _something_ but not always what we want it to. Stability is the big issue. I could go out right now at 11:46 Central with my phone, and easily 'create' UFO footage. This is why cameras or telescopes on tripods can go for longer exposures. I have some good examples somewhere. I'll post them when I find them.

But the whole point is, if you're not out there with some serious, or at least modern photographic equipment, nothing will be what your eye sees.
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
I am an amateur wildlife photographer I am often walking around in less populated areas with camera with 45MP sensor and 560mm of focal length.

Often I will see things at distance that I don't know what they are, in all cases using the camera to take a photo at max "zoom" and then looking at it on the screen zoomed in again will reveal what it is usually a plane/helicopter/bird, sometimes a balloon.

I would imagine most UFO phone videos that I see would be solved if I had happened to be there with my camera.

Sometimes I see something else even further away when I'm zoomed in that is not at all visible with the naked eye, these are likely the same things just further away, there's always likely something further away..
 
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TopBunk

New Member
JMartJr – I think that’s it. With a like-for-like capture of what someone can see you’d at least be able to start a conversation and probably quickly resolve it. With better instruments and the identifying process would probably be even quicker. Instead, like in my example above, all I have is a decaying recollection and something similar I found on the Internet to point at as somewhat similar.

So yes Deirdre, it’s a bummer. (Also, to your point, you know it’s a hawk, like I knew it was a plane - it’s precisely the unidentified things that I’m interested in examples of.)

The issue it seems is that with more sensors, (See the “crowdsourcing” argument

Source: https://twitter.com/neiltyson/status/1409607786628014089?s=20
)
instead of better data there’s simply an expanding ontology of image capture defects that are combined with a lot of bad journalism (and commercial opportunism) which “bunkifys” the social imaginary.

So unfortunately the dilemma here seems to be to either rely on (available) triangulated sensor data from non-civilian or exclusive private frameworks. Or simply opt-out and trust personal experience.
 

JMartJr

Senior Member
Or recognize the pattern that the better the camera, the further away any UFOs are, and that this tends to indicate there is not much "there" there.

There is not a solution to the fact that there will always be something that is just a bit too far away to see what it is. But I'm not seeing that as a huge problem, either.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
(Also, to your point, you know it’s a hawk, like I knew it was a plane - it’s precisely the unidentified things that I’m interested in examples of.)

There's a whole forum of such things. just type UFO or UAP into the search nd choose "titles only"
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
Took an opportunity on a walk last night to demonstrate what I mean

Here's a photo I took on my Google Pixel 3a uncropped, could I have witnessed the tictac! Look at the antigravity aura!

PXL_20210715_183057978.jpg

Let's take a video, look at the amazing movement, truly extra-terrestrial.



Oh wait what's this heavy lump over my shoulders making really hard for me to hold my phone steady, it's a 45MP Canon EOS R5 (~£3500 and a Canon EF 100-400mm IS II L with a Canon 1.4x III extender (£~1700)

Giving us 560mm focal length and 45MP

Here it is in all it's 2kg+ glory with an iPhone for size comparison

PXL_20210716_124947533.jpg

Surely we'll be able to see the whites/grey/blacks? of the aliens eyes with this? Oh..

_J2A5724-2.jpg
 
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TopBunk

New Member
Thanks for sharing jarlrmai. So what you’re saying is you have a very expensive version of this? ;p

IMG_3890.jpg

I don’t think I quite nailed the subject heading for the original post. I had a number of things on my mind:
  • The more sensors = better evidence argument. I feel it’s kind of weak given the confusing evidence above. While more sensors can’t hurt they also seem to be producing their own category of “UFO”.
  • Some general ideas about perception and recollection being malleable especially when you can’t stand it up against your own evidence but find some other piece of evidence which kind of looks like what you saw.
  • Being right next to someone and seeing a totally different thing (think Necker Cube) also, my 5 year old wasn’t the best best example but you can imagine it happening just as easily with an adult.
  • The coincidental occurrence of known things creating one strange observation. (I’m hoping to come across the holy grail of insect, balloon, plane, planet, star in a single focused capture, maybe a project for you jarlrmai?)
 
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@jarlrmai Nice camera!

Odd that people with gear like that never seem to snap UFOs, eh?

OT - I'd be interested to see some of your pictures (I've been chasing the local Kingfishers with my own much less impressive gear).
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
  • The coincidental occurrence of known things creating one strange observation. (I’m hoping to come across the holy grail of insect, balloon, plane, planet, star in a single focused capture, maybe a project for you jarlrmai?)

Interesting concept that tells us a bit about peoples understanding of the concepts of optics, just out of interest lets say all these subjects lined up, what problems do you think I might have capturing them all in focus and what do you think it might tell us?
 

TopBunk

New Member
Interesting concept that tells us a bit about peoples understanding of the concepts of optics, just out of interest lets say all these subjects lined up, what problems do you think I might have capturing them all in focus and what do you think it might tell us?
Can I throw in Bird also just to make it interesting? Isn't this in principle doable as a deep focus long exposure or wide angle still with a very narrow aperture? Maybe the insect is a butterfly with a pin through it (so stationary)...or a glow fly. Some kind of elaborate night time setup? This has been done already surely?
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
Can I throw in Bird also just to make it interesting? Isn't this in principle doable as a deep focus long exposure or wide angle still with a very narrow aperture? Maybe the insect is a butterfly with a pin through it (so stationary)...or a glow fly. Some kind of elaborate night time setup? This has been done already surely?
You need to give it more thought. Remember an insect and a planet have to be in focus in one shot.
 

FatPhil

Active Member
Thanks for sharing jarlrmai. So what you’re saying is you have a very expensive version of this? ;p

IMG_3890.jpg

Is that your photo, it's hilarious - can I use it occasionally to make an irreverent point? I'd hate to have to construct my own, as that would require buying a potato, and it wouldn't be original.
 
Oh wait what's this heavy lump over my shoulders making really hard for me to hold my phone steady, it's a 45MP Canon EOS R5 (~£3500 and a Canon EF 100-400mm IS II L with a Canon 1.4x III extender
You did carry it with you on purpose, right? I'm wondering because I used to have the same lens and lugging it around with me got really old and annoying after roughly five metres of walking! And I didn't even fit an extender most of the time.

  • Being right next to someone and seeing a totally different thing (think Necker Cube) also, my 5 year old wasn’t the best best example but you can imagine it happening just as easily with an adult.
Little anecdote this reminds me of. Couple years ago I walked down the street in my neighbourhood and happened upon an elderly couple that was intently looking at the sky. When they noticed me they asked what I thought about the 'strange birds over there.' Looking in that direction I didn't see anything at first but as my eyes adapted to the glare of the cloudless noon summer sky I could indeed spot something - a couple of weird small shiny objects, seemingly hovering in the sky, some vanishing, then reappearing a short time later. Odd, right? Well I was walking home so when I got there I got out my binoculars to have a closer look. Turns out these 'birds' were actually a couple of sailplanes, presumably from the local field on the other side of town, soaring together in circles in an area of updraft to gain altitude. They were painted entirely white, as most gliders are, and as they went through their orbits they would briefly become hard to see, if not invisible, whenever a plane's fuselage was lined up with my line of sight and it only presented its thin wings to me.
I wonder if the couple ever worked out what it was. I reckon it would also serve nicely as a source for frantic reports of 'white tic-tacs shifting in and out of our dimension' if people were less, uh, bird-inclined. Plus to cap it off, there's a former NATO special ammunition storage site in that same area, so the tic-tacs aren't just hovering, they're circling a former nuclear weapons facility. Spooky!
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
You did carry it with you on purpose, right? I'm wondering because I used to have the same lens and lugging it around with me got really old and annoying after roughly five metres of walking! And I didn't even fit an extender most of the time.

I've done 12 mile walks with it... It's not too bad if you have a good strap and sling it over your shoulders.

I regularly walk around carrying it when I'm bird watching.

I rented a 600mm f/4 once, now that was a hefty lens.
 

TopBunk

New Member
Is that your photo, it's hilarious - can I use it occasionally to make an irreverent point? I'd hate to have to construct my own, as that would require buying a potato, and it wouldn't be original.
Yes it's my photo and yes you can use it.
 
I've done 12 mile walks with it... It's not too bad if you have a good strap and sling it over your shoulders.

I regularly walk around carrying it when I'm bird watching.

I rented a 600mm f/4 once, now that was a hefty lens.
Yeah it gets a bit bonkers past 400 mm, doesn't it? I did some event/motorsports photography on the side in my uni days and through it got to know some people who were doing it (semi-)professionally. Sometimes they'd lend me an EF 800, which felt like a monstrous piece of equipment. Also quite mad they'd let me wander off with one of those and trust me to not bring it back smashed and ruined!
 

JMartJr

Senior Member
Yes it's my photo and yes you can use it.
It might interest you to know that I have already seen your photo reposted on a paranormal discussion board, in a thread about Bigfoot. You may be on the verge of having created an immortal meme, which shall live forever on the InterTubes.
 

TopBunk

New Member
It might interest you to know that I have already seen your photo reposted on a paranormal discussion board, in a thread about Bigfoot. You may be on the verge of having created an immortal meme, which shall live forever on the InterTubes.
Step one of my NFT retirement plan (rubs hands).
 

TopBunk

New Member
This news report from 2014 describes almost exactly what I saw and has a number of the same features and issues of data collection.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgEEiziUfFI


  1. Tiny white objects reflecting sunlight visible for minutes at a time in a clear blue sky.
  2. Mostly stationary, occasionally drifting. (it's funny that they say three points formed a triangle or a straight line - I don't think it's possible for any three points to be in any other state, they either appear to be a triangle of a straight line).
  3. Cameras failing to get a decent image. (bummer!)
  4. People squinting into the distance just barely able to see the points of light.
What's different is the reporter is in an elevated position looking across toward mountains. I was in a looking virtually straight up but in both cases the sun is off to one side. I'd say that occasionally I did lose track of one point and then find it again giving the impression that it had suddenly moved.
Maybe there's a kind of super light urban airborne debris which appears much larger than it really is when catching the sunlight. There are a LOT of spiders around this time of year and we know they can do pretty amazing things with their webs.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrS0igctMi0
 
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