Today, the US Department of Defense published three infrared recordings (FLIR) of US Navy aircraft, which, however, had leaked on the Internet several years ago. They show rapidly flying objects of unusual shape: without wings, engines and other familiar parts. Previously, this was called “unidentified flying objects”, but now, in order to avoid associations with speculation about aliens, the US government calls objects in the video “unidentified aerial phenomena.”
Before commenting on this publication, it must be said that the US authorities have taken reports of UFOs very seriously since the mid-20th century. Thorough investigations were organized with a survey of witnesses and experts. Their results can be divided into two unequal groups.
Most of these reports were easily disproved. Sometimes it was hallucinations or an obvious lie – people were constantly confused in the story. Often, UFOs took well-known but unusual aircraft, such as balloons, or complex mirages, such as Fata Morgana.
On the other hand, it’s not so simple.
At about six o’clock in the evening on April 24, 1964, police officer Lonnie Zamora pursued the offender near the town of Socorro in New Mexico. Suddenly he heard a roar and, looking around, he noticed a pillar of flame that was leaving nearby in the sky, in which blue and orange tongues flickered. Going to its source, he saw on the ground a bright, as if an aluminium object the size of a car, from which flames burst out. The object resembled a football in shape, stood on two supports and had neither doors nor any other distinguishable details, except for a small arrow-shaped sign on board. After a short time, there was a roar again, the ellipsoid rose about three meters into the air and flew south-east.
The story sounds like a typical story, not worthy of attention, if not for the nuances. At numerous interrogations, the story of Officer Zamora did not change, and it did not seem that he was lying or not inside himself. In addition, many independent witnesses also saw the flight of a shiny oval object with an arrow on board, and police officers arriving at the scene reported burned earth and charred bushes in the place Lonnie pointed to.
Some have suggested that the policeman was a victim of a tech student rally. Others believed that Zamora, like other participants in the events, took part in a conspiracy to attract tourists to New Mexico. An official government report said that “the nature of events has not been clarified.”
The main conclusion that can be drawn by examining reports of unidentified flying objects is that you need to treat them with maximum scepticism. It is always wiser to assume our lack of knowledge about circumstances or the laws of nature, rather than speculate about extraterrestrial intelligence.
In this regard, the phenomenon in the Pentagon video can be explained as follows.
The image of the camera is formed by a matrix capturing the light incident on it, which, in turn, is collected and focused by the lenses of the lens. The problem is that in addition to images of real objects, false reflections, defects that arise as a result of complex optical processes in the lens can appear on the matrix. There is no universal way to distinguish glare from a real object. As a rule, we don’t have any problems with this: we usually well understand what is happening in the photo and what objects are really there and what is just a glare or reflection.
But sometimes the image shown is so atypical, and lens defects give rise to glare, so similar to real objects that a person (or even a computer) takes them for real.
In the case of FLIR recordings, the situation is complicated by the fact that they were shot in the infrared range. In addition to the fact that IR optics is much less studied than usual, a fundamental problem is associated with it. The image captured on the camera, the better, the more wavelengths fit into the diameter of its lens. And if visible light has a wavelength of from about 400 to 800 nanometers, then the thermal imagers used by the military to recognize targets operate in the range of three to eight thousand nanometers. In addition, a large number of magnifying lenses installed in FLIR contribute to the appearance of spurious reflections.
Most likely, the source of these reflections is the sun, as in most photographs taken in the visible range. The rarity of phenomena such as those that we see on published videos can be explained by the coincidence of many conditions at once:
- the height of the sun above the horizon
- direction of flight
- camera angle
- weather conditions
- operating mode FLIR,
- technical condition of the lens.
The idea of an optical defect in frames published by the US Department of Defense arises for the following reason. It is impossible to establish the exact speed of the “unidentified flying phenomena” (for this you need to know the exact distance in addition to the angular velocity), but according to the pilots who can be heard on one of the records, it is very high (“They go against the wind, the wind is 120 knots to the west” ).
At the same time, at the end of another video (at 1:13 ), the visible object is accelerated so much that the target’s auto-tracking system no longer has time for it.
If it were a real physical object, its speed would have been many swings, more than five. At such speeds, a loop of red-hot plasma forms around the object – similar to those that spacecraft are leaving. This loop should be clearly visible in the infrared, but in the video behind the object is absolutely clean.
In addition, the sky in the training area can be seen by many radars, and an unidentified object in the training area would trigger an alarm that was not there.
Another possible interpretation of what was observed would be a “difficult weather phenomenon”, but it is absolutely empty: in it, one unknown phenomenon is explained by another unknown, such as ball lightning, about which it is still not clear whether they are hallucinations.
The U.S. Department of Defense hopes that with more recorded incidents, it will be able to give them a scientific explanation.