Sunday, September 23, 2007

UFO Seen Over Town

UFO Over Sidney
By Christine van Reeuwyk
Peninsula News Review
9-21-07

Unexplained object under investigation

     Are we alone in the universe?

One Sidney resident always thought he’d wait until the aliens landed before he’d believe in little green men. The man, who routinely pops out to his suburban back yard for an evening cigarette and studies the night sky, was surprised when he saw an unidentified flying object recently. The UFO was a bright orange orb, which he later described as a jellyfish shape. He briefly wrote the unusual sight off as lights on a plane.

He quickly changed his mind.

It was too bright, too orange, and it cruised silently southward over the Sidney sky.

“I would expect a lot of people would have seen it if they looked skyward. It was very conspicuous,” he told the Peninsula News Review. “If it was a prank, it was a really good prank.”

The whole sighting took about three or four minutes he explained, pointing out the path the light cut across the Sidney sky, toward the airport. He quickly snapped off four photographs, but was disappointed with the outcome; the orange blobs against the black night sky shed little light on the origin or makeup of the UFO.

The story gets stranger as the Sidney man wasn’t alone.

He reported the sighting to an online website and shortly thereafter another report came in, also from Sidney.

“We were standing outside in the front of our house and suddenly there was a bright light that came over the trees,” the second witness reported. “I thought it was a plane at first, because it was so low, but there was no sound. It then curved around to the south moving very slowly and seemed to be getting higher and much further away … then it just disappeared.

“We knew it wasn’t a plane, it was moving way too slow. People everywhere were looking up at this thing. I don’t know what I saw, but it was pretty exciting.”

There were clear skies when the bright orange orb was spotted Sunday, Sept. 9, shortly after 9 p.m. with more than 43-kilometre visibility and gentle winds.

The sightings are being investigated by Ufologist Brian Vike, Director of HBCC UFO Research in Houston, BC.

A Ufologist studies ufology, the study of unidentified flying object reports, sightings, alleged physical evidence, and other related phenomena.

“It’s a little bit weird,” Vike said, noting the speed and shape make the sighting unusual.

“We’ve been getting a lot of this stuff out of the UK and that has turned out to be those Thai lanterns,” Vike said. “But this one, I don’t know.”

The BBC reported two years ago that the release of Thai lanterns during a wedding sparked a deluge of UFO sighting reports. Witnesses saw the group of about 30 lights Thursday, October 20, 2005 and described the red blobs as “not aeroplanes, nor helicopters”.

Traditional Thai hot air lanterns are made from thin tissue paper and bamboo. A burning paper wick provides the hot air the lifts the lantern into the night sky.

When investigating an unidentified flying object, Vikes said he begins with astronomy programs online and to confirm that it’s something unusual. Then he contacts local media, police, airports and other contacts.

“It’s basically just sort of run down the list, make calls and hopefully come up with something,” Vike said.

Little has been discovered about the recent sighting over Sidney. Despite the report of “people everywhere” looking up at it, there have been no more reports from eye witnesses. The strange, glowing orange globe also remains to be explained.

About 90 per cent of UFO’s are identified, Vike said, whether it’s weather experiments, military experiments or a host of other explanations.

“But 10 per cent remain unknown because it’s very hard to find information,” Vike said.

So far this year Vike has received about 100 reports of UFO from across BC.

“That doesn’t include all the other ufologists and there’s lots of them,” Vike said. “They’re coming in from pretty much everywhere.”

Ufologists across Canada have received more than 300 reports.”Then you try to distinguish what is real and what is not,” Vike said.

He uses his experience and little clues like lack of reply to a report, or bogus email address, to weed out false reports.

Unfortunately, he thinks the number of sightings is much higher, but people are reluctant to come forward.

“People are reluctant to report because, I think, they think their name is going to be splashed all over the place,” Vike said. He’s careful not to name witnesses on his web site, www.hbccufo.org, where he posts reports.

“It was very bright, brilliant even. It pulsated/flickered/jiggled slightly, the colour was not homogenous or static, it was very much like a glowing orange jellyfish,” the first witness said. “It continued due south over Sidney at a increasing rate of speed and appeared to move south towards Victoria and then south-west and out of sight dimming from view.”

Whether there’s an explanation or not, the Sidney man is glad there was another witness backing up his sighting, and hopes other witnesses will come forward.

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