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UFO Spotting by Paul Wheeldon According to research done by the UFO foundation 95% of all UFO sightings have a mundane explanation. My objective here is to set out some guidelines for identifying these objects. After all it's probably not a good idea to contact http://www.ufosightingsuk.co.uk/ stating you've seen an exceptionally bright crescent shaped object blinking low in the horizon. If it was possible for an email to scream VENUS back at you it would. The Planets Keep in mind: - Planets move! They will be in a slightly different position each night. Venus is singularly responsible for more UFO sightings than any other object. It is after all 'really' bright. At certain times it has been know to cast shadows. Venus: How to know its Venus: get a pair of binoculars. Venus appears white and has phases just like the moon. It is closer to the sun than us and is only visible in dusk/just after and dawn/just before. Mercury: Mercury is appears like a brightish star. It often appears red or orange in colour but this is an optical illusion (q.v.) It has phases like Venus and will appears only at dawn and dusk. Mars: Second only to Venus in producing UFO sightings Mars is easily identifiable as it is very red no matter where it is in the sky. Its brightness varies with its proximity to earth but normally it is brighter than all stars. Jupiter: Even though Jupiter is an awful long way off it is so massive it reflects a huge amount of light. Again it will be brighter than all the stars. Meteors There are many meteor shows through out the year. A meteor appears as a small streak of light across the sky lasting no more than a few seconds. Meteorite A meteorite is a meteor that gets through the earths atmosphere normally exploding above the ground or impacting upon it. Atmospheric effects Atmospheric density and content can create some unusual visual effects. Heavy air pollution can cause a reddening effect this is more noticeable at the horizon where the atmosphere is at it thickest. High levels of particular matter will cause objects to twinkle or even blink. Man made objects in space Once an object is put into near earth orbit its speed relative to the earth is very fast, normally some 17,000mph. Satellites, the space shuttle and the international space station are all visible as a small white dot moving rapidly across the sky. Man made objects in the upper atmosphere This section is pretty much confined to weather balloons but can include some very high flying aircraft. No British planes however can fly at over 70,000ft. Man-made objects in the atmosphere New military hardware is constantly being developed. There were many sightings in northern Scotland in the late 70's of triangular shaped objects moving exceptionally quickly. These later turned out to be the F117 Stealth fighter being tested by the US. It is extremely unlikely that a prototype airplane would be sighted near densely populated areas. Test areas in the UK are mid/south Wales and Northern Scotland. All the above should help you to rule out the causes of most UFO sightings, however if your sighting isn't explained by the above it just might be an unidentified flying object!
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