Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Bendigo UFO Event Reviewed

UFO Over Bendigo Photographed
A 22 year-old UFO mystery studied again

By Jonathan Ridnell and Jo Printz
ABC Central Victoria
10-24-05

     22 years ago, Russell Henthorn took some photos of mysterious lights in the sky.

     The Royal Australian Air Force has taken a look at them, as have various UFOlogists: now, the book's being reopened on those still-unexplained photos as the Bendigo and District Astronomical Society hosts a meeting about them. Russell Henthorn will be at the meeting.

     "It was a pretty interesting time," Russell says of the time when he took the photos - May, 1983.

     "There'd been quite a few sightings in the area, lots of lights reported throughout the Bendigo district. I was out playing table tennis with my brother, and spotted a fairly impressive light that was extremely bright and appeared to be quite shimmery.

     "Initially, I thought 'it's probably just a bright star', but given that there was such a lot of activity in the area, I thought I'd take a closer look. I got my father's binoculars out, had a closer look and it was pretty impressive.

     "What I saw through the binoculars initially was pretty much like a colour and light show - again, very brightly coloured reds, greens, blues, which did appear to spin. It was quite impressive at the time.

     "I went and grabbed my camera - I was an amateur photographer at the time - and set her up and took some photos."

     Russell's set of photos wasn't the only one, he says.

     "A local radio announcer had also taken some pictures a couple of days before, but my particular photos showed a form in the light that hadn't been seen before.

     "It certainly did create some interest. We had the RAAF come up and interview me, and the media was quite excited about it at the time; we had a number of research groups inquire as well."

     The RAAF came up with their own conclusions, Russell says, saying that the object he photographed was a star. The brilliant, shifting colours were due to a temperature inversion, they said.

     Russell won't commit himself one way or another: he just doesn't know.

     "To be honest, I'm probably my own worst sceptic," he says.

     "I think it was probably a star, because of the way it tracked - it did tend to go in a straight line. But the impressive part about it was the colour - particularly in my photo anyway - the colour and the shape.

     "It is a mystery. I can honestly say that this is an out-of-the-world and there's not another one like it anywhere in the world."

     Russell says he doesn't often talk about the photos but, when he does, he usually gets a response.

     "When I do [talk about the photos], a lot of people do come up and say 'I've got a story to tell' and 'I've seen lights'. It's incredible, most people are quite open and a lot of people do have a story to tell, so it makes you wonder."

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1 comment :

  1. Former RAAF Officer Brett Biddington (now working on the Square Kilometre Array Telescope in W.A.) paid a visit back to Bendigo some years ago, and presented on this case at a meeting of the Bendigo and District Astronomical Society. BDAS members also invited Russell Henthorn along, to display his famous photos. Russell also brought his old SLR camera, to which BDAS arranged to fit a digital back, allowing instant results from some new test images. A light source was photographed using the modified set up. It revealed the camera, triggered to time expose by a cable release, moved enough on it's mounting to distort a circular light source and produce an image identical to the original. Brett then researched historical records to show the light source as Venus (I think, from memory), viewed through a temperature inversion, which occurred on the evening Russell took the images. We were all thrilled to see the results, and none more so than Russell who had spent years wondering about his photograph. Brett was very thorough and spent a good deal of time and effort to learn the truth. A great detectives outcome which will be remembered by BDAS members and Russell, for many years to come. mb

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