Ukraine UFO on Thermal Camera Footage

This is footage from a DJI Mavic 3T, manual attached.

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1 - Attitude indicator.
2 - Aircraft orientation in respect to magnetic North in degrees.
3 - Direction of movement and speed magnitude (short line = slow).
4 - Vertical speed.
5 - Altitude in respect to take off point and display units, [m] in this case.
6 - Altitude in respect to sea level.
7 - Distance to home landing pad.
8 - Position of home landing pad.
9 - Distance to next pinpoint.
10 - Gimbal tilt angle in the vertical plane.
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11 - Movement speed.
12 - Wind speed and direction.
13 - Distance to next waypoint.
14 - Vertical obstacle proximity.

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1 - Palette - Automatically adjusts range based on the maximum and minimum temperatures detected in the field of view.
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Several modes are available, including customised modes created by the user:
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2 - Temperature range (default is -20°C to +150°C)
3 - Display mode. SBS = Side-by-Side, meaning both Thermal and TV are shown side by side (press SBS to activate).
4 - Thermal camera calibration (press FFC to calibrate)

Now it's possible to read the HUD with a bit of squinting:

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Camera in Black Hot mode, temperature mode -20°C to 150°C, range of scale -30°C to -6°C (temperature in Kherson this week between -5°C and 12°C, overcast, foggy, low winds from 0m/s to 6m/s https://www.timeanddate.com/weather/ukraine/kherson/historic ), wind speed 0m/s, heading 127 degrees, altitude 105.3m in respect to take off point, altitude from mean sea level 155.9m, vertical speed 0.3m/s, speed 0m/s, gimbal tilt +5 degrees.

The footage was taken by the 406th Separate Artillery Brigade comprised of Ukrainian Marines, thus this footage was probably taken along the Dnipro river. By rotating the map to roughly match the drone heading, it aligns with several sections along the river.

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Example of cargo vessels in the Dnipro river:

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Attachments

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Example of cargo vessels in the Dnipro river:
Most of your red arrows point at the now empty reservoir, where due to that and the river's frontier nature no shipping is expected.

I don't know if there are ships that ran aground when the reservoir fell dry.
 
Most of your red arrows point at the now empty reservoir, where due to that and the river's frontier nature no shipping is expected.

I don't know if there are ships that ran aground when the reservoir fell dry.

If there is no proper motion, then it could be a capsize, or scuttled vessel, or partially submerged structure, or a vessel that ran aground; however, the location of the 406th is more likely to be around the city of Kherson, based on current OSINT published above.

On a side note, Ukraine used to operate tug-barges in the reservoir, but you would think it's more likely they were not operating anymore due to the high risks involved and were brought back to harbour:

47.230242° N, 33.918469° E
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Just to point out that if the altitude of the camera is 53 meters above ground, the horizon would be about 40 km away. It doesn't look to me like there is 45 km of dry land in view, so anything beyond it has to be water. But I'm not experienced in this kind of thing, and I don't know what a dried-up reservoir bed would look like. As this is IR, it would presumably depend on temperature, which I would guess is similar to that of surrounding land (cold, at this time of year in Ukraine). Are we sure the footage is Black Hot? Also, the on-screen data seems to suggest the direction of view is to the south-east, and on a map I don't see a suitable area of open water stretching out to the horizon in that direction, unless the drone is actually closer to Odesa, and looking towards the Black Sea.
 
Just to point out that if the altitude of the camera is 53 meters above ground, the horizon would be about 40 km away. It doesn't look to me like there is 45 km of dry land in view, so anything beyond it has to be water. But I'm not experienced in this kind of thing, and I don't know what a dried-up reservoir bed would look like. As this is IR, it would presumably depend on temperature, which I would guess is similar to that of surrounding land (cold, at this time of year in Ukraine). Are we sure the footage is Black Hot? Also, the on-screen data seems to suggest the direction of view is to the south-east, and on a map I don't see a suitable area of open water stretching out to the horizon in that direction, unless the drone is actually closer to Odesa, and looking towards the Black Sea.
Please, take the time to read all posts. ~53m is not the altitude above ground, it is in respect to the take off point, which had an unknown elevation. From the posts above, the reservoir has been initially excluded, Kherson is the most likely location, see example of possible geolocation above. There's no artillery brigade in Odessa for obvious reasons. The display is fully explained in the attached manual and summarised in a previous post, thus it was defined as black hot and the hottest temperature registered was -6°C when the object was zoomed in, the coldest is capped to -20°C.
 
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searching... a new article came up 5 minutes ago
Article:
'I use this [infrared, heat vision] filter very often,' the unit drone operator said, 'and just got experience so I can differentiate how bright an object should be according to what temperature.'

Based on that experience, Vadym stated that the UFO was 'was very hot. I'm guessing 20 to 30 degrees [Celsius] hotter than other objects.'

Vadym estimated that the roughly 1,300 ft (400 meters) long UFO was also about 328 feet (100 meters) tall.

It caught on the camera of a commercial DJI brand thermal-imaging drone on February 23, 2024.

The possible craft, spotted around 9:02pm local time, appeared to be approximately 37 to 40 miles away from the soldiers, he said, towards Donetsk Oblast, the southeastern Ukrainian province that has been most dominated by Russia's forces.


at the now empty reservoir,
how long has the resevoir been empty?
 
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Please, take the time to read all posts. ~53m is not the altitude above ground, it is in respect to the take off point, which had an unknown elevation. From the posts above, the reservoir has been initially excluded, Kherson is the most likely location, see example of possible geolocation above. There's no artillery brigade in Odessa for obvious reasons. The display is fully explained in the attached manual and summarised in a previous post, thus it was defined as black hot and the hottest temperature registered was 4°C when the object was zoomed in, the coldest is capped to -20°C.
Sorry - I made a double error. Your post said

altitude 105.3m in respect to take off point

I entered the 105.3 meters altitude into the calculator (which gives refracted horizon of 39.56 km) but somehow I had a 'senior moment' and put 53 m for the altitude in my post. You are right also to point out that take off point is not the same as 'above ground'.
 
Vadym stated that the UFO was 'was very hot. I'm guessing 20 to 30 degrees [Celsius] hotter than other objects.

The display in the drone automatically adjusts the highest temperature in the range in accordance with the highest temperature within the scene at that moment. When the object is zoomed in, the display registers -6°C and moments before it reads -7°C.

1709315247733.png

Example of scale varying (watch the first 8 seconds, the scale in this example is defined as red hot and the maximum temperature varies from 91°F to 102°F for a deer hide that is at 89.9°F):

 
I entered the 105.3 meters altitude into the calculator

In the video, the highest altitude in respect to mean sea level was 156.2m. However, knowing the distance to the horizon does not exclude the ability to record an object close to the shore, because it's just a matter of vertical field of view, i.e. depending on the optics, it's possible to see the beach and far into the horizon simultaneously. You are also assuming it was not foggy, but based on the historical meteorological data I linked in my first post, it was foggy in the region in the past couple of weeks.
 
The display in the drone
i tend to get abstract spatial issues backwards...

the compass on the display, if we take his word he was looking toward Donetsk means the drone would have to be well north of Kherson, right? or am i backwards? (a minor point but it's messing with my head)
 
If the gimbal tilt angle is reading a positive value doesn't that mean it has to be pointed above the horizon? Which would seem to rule out that it's looking down at water on the surface. Am I missing something?
 
searching... a new article came up 5 minutes ago
Article:
'I use this [infrared, heat vision] filter very often,' the unit drone operator said, 'and just got experience so I can differentiate how bright an object should be according to what temperature.'

Based on that experience, Vadym stated that the UFO was 'was very hot. I'm guessing 20 to 30 degrees [Celsius] hotter than other objects.'

Vadym estimated that the roughly 1,300 ft (400 meters) long UFO was also about 328 feet (100 meters) tall.

It caught on the camera of a commercial DJI brand thermal-imaging drone on February 23, 2024.

The possible craft, spotted around 9:02pm local time, appeared to be approximately 37 to 40 miles away from the soldiers, he said, towards Donetsk Oblast, the southeastern Ukrainian province that has been most dominated by Russia's forces.
In this same article, the hypothesis that it could have been a mirage is mentioned

One potential explanation for the UFO was the well-known optical illusion phenomena called 'Fata Morgana,' a mirror-like atmospheric mirage produced by a 'temperature inversion' of hot air in the upper atmosphere.

But Vadym is adamant that what he saw was real.

'It wasn't a mirage,' Vadym told DailyMail.com, 'because in thermal vision you can't see a mirage. You can see it only with your naked eye.'

How true is it that mirages can't be seen in thermal vision?

I found this paper that compares inferior mirages in visible light and thermal infrared

Article:
5. Discussion and Conclusions
Examination of the refractive index of air in the VIS and IR leads to the conclusion that thermal IR mirages do occur with similar characteristics to VIS mirages, and without any noticeable dispersion effects that would give rise to spectral variation within the MWIR or LWIR bands. A telescopemounted LWIR camera was used together with VIS cameras to record similar mirages of airplanes landing and taking off. All the usual mirage characteristics that are familiar in the VIS spectral range generally appear in the thermal mirages, except the thermal features arise primarily because of temperature differences, and secondarily because of emissivity differences and reflections.


But I'm not sure if a mirage like the Fata Morgana would also be possible to appear on thermal imagery.
 
the compass on the display, if we take his word he was looking toward Donetsk means the drone would have to be well north of Kherson, right?

The 406th is currently operating in Kherson, not Donetsk.

The drone is facing 127 degrees (0 degrees is magnetic North, 90° is East, 135° is South-East).

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If you rotate Google Maps so the map's North-South compass line is parallel to North-South in the drone's compass (insert below), then the drone will be facing up in the map (vertical). Note from the map that is not possible for the drone to be facing towards Donetsk and at the same time be able to see the shore and the Sea of Azov, because it would need to be operating far behind the frontline. Even with a repeater and in-built mods for added resistance to EW, the shore is still over 100km away (the stock version of this DJI drone can cover 15km, maybe 30km with a repeater).

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searching... a new article came up 5 minutes ago
Article:
'I use this [infrared, heat vision] filter very often,' the unit drone operator said, 'and just got experience so I can differentiate how bright an object should be according to what temperature.'

Based on that experience, Vadym stated that the UFO was 'was very hot. I'm guessing 20 to 30 degrees [Celsius] hotter than other objects.'

Vadym estimated that the roughly 1,300 ft (400 meters) long UFO was also about 328 feet (100 meters) tall.

It caught on the camera of a commercial DJI brand thermal-imaging drone on February 23, 2024.

The possible craft, spotted around 9:02pm local time, appeared to be approximately 37 to 40 miles away from the soldiers, he said, towards Donetsk Oblast, the southeastern Ukrainian province that has been most dominated by Russia's forces.



how long has the resevoir been empty?

So the object seen is the size of a nuclear powered aircraft carrier and could be seen from 37 to 40 miles away?

So there must be hundreds or thousands of people who also saw it?
37 to 40 miles away there must have been people staring straight up saying "Holy Sh....!!!"?

With small fast moving UAP the likelihood that others would also have seen it goes down, especially if the area is sparsely populated.
In this case the area is crawling with people who are keeping their eyes on the sky looking for incoming explosive laden drones.
Not to mention radars looking for hostile flying things to shoot at.
And satellites above looking down to see what is going on.

If volumes of additional reports do not show up in the next few days I would have to assume this is a video of something on the ground, not in the air.
 
If the gimbal tilt angle is reading a positive value doesn't that mean it has to be pointed above the horizon? Which would seem to rule out that it's looking down at water on the surface. Am I missing something?

You are correct. However the camera is reading the horizon as being 3° up AND -2° down, so it's not clear how accurate this tilt is.2024-03-01_11-21-12.jpg
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And halfway above that, still -2°
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And at about the same spot, +5°

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So highly unreliable.
 
Is it relative to the drone or the horizon?
Hard to say from the documentation. The variation would suggest that (if accurate) it's drone relative, and the drone is tilting, perhaps to move, or perhaps because of wind. But we can see it's not reliable by itself.
 
he display in the drone automatically adjusts the highest temperature in the range in accordance with the highest temperature within the scene at that moment. When the object is zoomed in, the display registers -6°C and moments before it reads -7°C.

1709315247733.png

Example of scale varying (watch the first 8 seconds, the scale in this example is defined as red hot and the maximum temperature varies from 91°F to 102°F for a deer hide that is at 89.

So:
  • The screen is in BLACK=HOT mode.
  • The darkest part of the screen would be ~-6c (21F).
  • The lightest part of the screen would be near -30c (-25F).
  • The background appears to be mid-gray? That would be around -18c (0F)?
  • The object is roughly 12c (20F) warmer than the background.
  • But still below freezing.
And not 20 to 30 degrees hotter than the background as claimed:

Based on that experience, Vadym stated that the UFO was 'was very hot. I'm guessing 20 to 30 degrees [Celsius] hotter than other objects.'
Content from External Source
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-13142223/ukrainian-soldier-ufo-donetsk-sighting.html

It doesn't seem that much hotter than the ground that is visible, though it's a video of a video on a screen:

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And from the beginning of the video, it sure looks like there is a horizon and this is in the air in front of gray overcast skies or a fog bank as mentioned above.

If the thermal camera is just seeing temperatures, could this be some bit of residual "heat" from something else? I saw this picture of AA missiles over Kiev and if just part of that were captured by the thermal camera:

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The variation would suggest that (if accurate) it's drone relative, and the drone is tilting, perhaps to move, or perhaps because of wind. But we can see it's not reliable by itself.
From the information on the display, there was no wind (the historical meteorological data for the past couple of weeks corroborates) although suspiciously zero at the decimal place, and movement was slow towards the forward-left (<1.8m/s, ~64° with the longitudinal axis, i.e. <0.8m/s fwd, <1.6m/s left) and climbing slowly (<0.7m/s), so it's possible the drone tilted slightly forward and aft as the speed varied.

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The gimbal has a stabilisation system but it's normally off (it's activated when using the "follow me" mode). The gimbal position is in respect to the drone (fixed at -35° in the video example below as the drone oscillates, watch from 1:45 until it lands):

 
Assuming my geolocation from above is correct, I tried to work out where the UFO would be in google earth. It appears to be too high to be in the Dnipro river....

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I put a point in Google earth to try and work out exactly where this was.....

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....which puts it right in the middle of these greenhouses. Could we be seeing a reflection from a glass greenhouse?

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The background appears to be mid-gray? That would be around -18c (0F)?
The thermal system is capped to -20°C, thus the -30°C in the range is purely for plotting purposes. It is assigned the colour white but nothing in the scene is expected to be coloured white or too close to white due to the cap. With that said, it's possible that light grey areas are colder than -20°C or even -30°C but the sensor cannot register, thus only temperatures between ~-18°C and ~-5.5°C (~-6°C when the ground is in view) are accurate. The system will also add a margin to the maximum temperature detected in the scene for plotting purposes, perhaps 10% or 15% for the black colour, so the object is probably at most -5.5°C plus the error bar for the sensor, and with the assumption it was calibrated properly.
 
From the information on the display, there was no wind (the historical meteorological data for the past couple of weeks corroborates) although suspiciously zero at the decimal place, and movement was slow towards the forward-left (<1.8m/s, ~64° with the longitudinal axis, i.e. <0.8m/s fwd, <1.6m/s left) and climbing slowly (<0.7m/s), so it's possible the drone tilted slightly forward and aft as the speed varied.
It's interesting that there was no wind, because in the daily mail article the soldier is apparently quoted as saying there were high winds

'There was a very strong wind,' Vadym said. 'The wind was flowing into the same direction as we were flying basically.'
 
t's interesting that there was no wind, because in the daily mail article the soldier is apparently quoted as saying there were high winds 'There was a very strong wind,' Vadym said. 'The wind was flowing into the same direction as we were flying basically.'
That's interesting because the drone was not registering any wind, suspiciously not even a decimal place, and the historical meteorological data for the past week shows 0mph to 7.5mph. Even if the wind was blowing in the direction of travel of the drone, the sensors would pick it up.
 
I put a point in Google earth to try and work out exactly where this was.....
i think you may be too far left.

i see this as the edge of the field
3-1-2024 8-15-13 PM.jpg

and this as that land bump before the river (red arrows) and orange arrow pointing to the river behind the land bump ??
3-1-2024 8-16-56 PM.jpg
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I tried superimposing a frame on Google Earth for the proposed geolocation, it's a good match and it looks like the object is on land. The opposite margin of the Dnipro river is roughly aligned with the perceived horizon. The viewpoint was set to ~155m elevation to match the drone altitude in respect to mean sea level, a satellite image from 2019 was loaded on Google Earth. The vertical angle was tilted and the position moved back and forth until the T junction aligned with the frame. It's still possible the frame will align with other locations along the river, though.

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The thermal system is capped to -20°C, thus the -30°C in the range is purely for plotting purposes. It is assigned the colour white but nothing in the scene is expected to be coloured white or too close to white due to the cap. With that said, it's possible that light grey areas are colder than -20°C or even -30°C but the sensor cannot register, thus only temperatures between ~-18°C and ~-5.5°C (~-6°C when the ground is in view) are accurate. The system will also add a margin to the maximum temperature detected in the scene for plotting purposes, perhaps 10% or 15% for the black colour, so the object is probably at most -5.5°C plus the error bar for the sensor, and with the assumption it was calibrated properly.
If this thing is in the river, that would make sense in "black=hot" mode, because the water surface would be colder than the land, thus the river would appear nearly white and thus easily mistaken for "sky".
Could we be seeing a reflection from a glass greenhouse?
If it were visible light, maybe, but I'd think that greenhouses would look darker in thermal response because glass is not a perfect insulator for the warmer air on the inside. Please correct me if I'm wrong, as I'm not completely sure about that.
 
....which puts it right in the middle of these greenhouses. Could we be seeing a reflection from a glass greenhouse?
I tried superimposing a frame on Google Earth for the proposed geolocation, it's a good match and it looks like the object is on land. The opposite margin of the Dnipro river is roughly aligned with the perceived horizon.

A greenhouse that is active? It certainly has the shape of a greenhouse. Giving the war going on, maybe there was only one greenhouse in operation and it showed up on a thermal camera through the haze/fog/overcast?
 
Some tidbits:
In the video, the highest altitude in respect to mean sea level was 156.2m. However, knowing the distance to the horizon does not exclude the ability to record an object close to the shore, because it's just a matter of vertical field of view, i.e. depending on the optics, it's possible to see the beach and far into the horizon simultaneously. You are also assuming it was not foggy, but based on the historical meteorological data I linked in my first post, it was foggy in the region in the past couple of weeks.
There are many ways an apparent horizon (looks like sky meets land) can be different from the actual horizon (edge of the globe). Fog would be one of these ways. Lack of waves on part of the water is another, see https://www.metabunk.org/threads/debunked-hovering-ship-fata-morgana-or-mirage-false-horizon.9112/ .
A bright radiation source could be "punch through" a fog that would obscure its surroundings, exhibiting considerable glare that would obscure details of its shape.

But I'm not sure if a mirage like the Fata Morgana would also be possible to appear on thermal imagery.
From what I can tell, the refractive index of air for (near) infrared isn't too different from visible light. I would expect a metereological inversion causing a visible mirage to also be causing one in the infrared, though it might be offset a little.
how long has the reservoir been empty?
Since June 2023. See https://www.metabunk.org/threads/the-kakhovka-dam-collapse.12978/ .
 
Assuming my geolocation from above is correct, I tried to work out where the UFO would be in google earth. It appears to be too high to be in the Dnipro river....

1709333535700.png

I put a point in Google earth to try and work out exactly where this was.....

1709333675775.png

....which puts it right in the middle of these greenhouses. Could we be seeing a reflection from a glass greenhouse?

1709333775514.png
So if it is not ship, could it be a blimp?

1709443777096.png
 
So if it is not ship, could it be a blimp?

1709443777096.png
Your picture shows the LZ 10 "Schwaben", in commercial service from 1911 to 1912.

I found no evidence that airships are employed in the Ukraine war. It seems to me both they and their infrastructure (huge hangars!) would be easy targets.
 
I'm not clear on how the drone operators determined the distance from the drone to the UAP. If it is closer than they think, it is smaller. A smallish blimp of some sort. The Russians have been using balloons in this theatre of war.

If it is further away, it may be a reflection on the ground on the far bank of the river, possibly from greenhouses - but that seems to imply that the far bank of the river is obscured by mist. Is there a reasonable explanation for why that may be the case?
 
that seems to imply that the far bank of the river is obscured by mist. Is there a reasonable explanation for why that may be the case?
If the air is cold and the river atmosphere is moist, that happens often. I used to commute to work across a river valley, and it was quite common for there to be dense fog in the valley while it was perfectly clear at a slightly higher elevation.
 
If nothing else, I'm enjoying the discussion on Reddit that the Daily Mail is tabloid trash -- except for their (credulous) UFO coverage, which for some reason is rock-solid.
 
I'm not clear on how the drone operators determined the distance from the drone to the UAP. If it is closer than they think, it is smaller.
dont use this as fact...i need to move my drone higher to get the landmarks of the field and roads to line up exact..but i got sick of increasing my height so stopped here...if i go higher to get my lines to line up properly it would be even closer. (red dot is pretty close to ufo size). I dont understand what kind of lens they could be using to have their altitude read as 104 meters??, im ignoring all that and just lining up the video.

i dont know how much zoom was being employed at start of video so i cant measure the distance for you. but where i laced my camera in google earth to the ufo is roughly 3 miles.

also note: others have placed the ufo in different locations, so you should really try doing the placements yourself.

603dot.png


full603.png
 
I'm kicking myself for not having a camera with a real-ish zoom ready all the time.

Last night as the "big storm" fizzled around here, I looked out and saw the Ukrainian UFO in the distance. There was lots of clouds and mist, but in the middle of it was a long thin rectangular UFO, almost exactly like the one in the video, just inverted. Not being a black hot thermal image, the UFO was very bright compared to the surroundings. After watching for a few minutes, I tried to video it with my phone, but it was just too far away. I went for a camera with a zoom, but as it rarely gets used anymore the battery was dead. :(

My plan was to shoot a photo or video and then make it B&W and invert it. I really think it would have looked pretty close for being 1/2 way around the world.

Trust me bro, I know what I saw!

This morning, I did some more looking and I'm pretty sure what I saw was the setting sun hitting a building of some sort just right to make it shine/reflect through the mist and clouds. These buildings appear to be around 35 miles away:

1709519319952.png

With the main suspect being the Johns Manville insulation factory that kinda sits by itself in a sea of ag land:

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There is also a variety of ag buildings in the area.

No luck tonight with the same effect, but I've now got some morning photos of the area with a proper camera. Hopefully the scene will repeat, though it was very possible that like many UFO photos, it was the result of the clouds, sun, view and other things being just right for just a few minutes.
 
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