Tuesday, December 13, 2005

UFO Over Orland

UFO Over Orlando

UFO family saw in west could be Venus


ORLAND -- Members of the Martinez family spent the better part of four hours trying to identify the object hovering in the western sky Saturday night, alternately displaying red, green, blue and yellow lights.
Jessica Martinez said one of her sons first spotted it about 9:30 p.m. The family watched it for about an hour, then Martinez called over a neighbor, and an Orland police officer, to get their opinions.

No one knew what it was for sure. Martinez said she ruled out a rocket, an airplane and a blimp.

Police recommended she call a UFO hotline, which she located, but only got a recording asking her to describe the object.

She said one of the questions asked in the recording was "Did it land?"

She tried calling local radio and television news operations, but only got recordings.

Martinez and her boys, age 14 and 17, dragged out a telescope for a closer look, but even that didn't bring them any answers. However, she said lights from the object could occasionally be seen "flaring up" through the telescope.

Cold drove the family inside about 11:30 p.m., but Martinez said the object was still bright in the sky, and hadn't seemed to move.

Her sons stood vigil with the telescope Sunday night, but didn't spot it again.

Police concluded it could have been a helicopter.

Local meteorologist Anthony Watts said he's guessing what the family saw was the planet Venus.

He said it can appear suddenly in the western sky, and sometimes be extremely bright.

He said the colors may have been the planet catching refractive light from the Earth's atmosphere.

"This can actually bend the light to produce different colors," Watts observed, likely explaining the "side-to-side" movement Martinez and others recalled about the alternating lights.

Martinez said she and her sons were online until 1 a.m. Sunday trying to get information on anything that might explain the phenomenon.

"We don't get a lot of aircraft out here in Orland, so when something like this appears, it gets our attention," Martinez said.

After the sun and Earth's moon, Venus is the brightest object in the sky.

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