Date: April 24, 1949
Location: White Sands Proving Ground , New Mexico, United States
"The object was an ellipsoid about 2-1/2 times as long as it was wide. It had a length of about .02 degrees subtended angle and was gleaming white in color. It did not have metallic or reflected shine. Toward the underside near the tail, the gleaming white became a light yellow. The object was seen under conditions of a cloudless sky and no haze. It left no vapor trail or exhaust.
White Sands Proving Ground
Type of Case/Report: StandardCase
Hynek Classification: ND
Shape of Object(s): Oval
# of Witnesses: Multiple
Special Features/Characteristics: Military, Sound, Group Sighting, Scientist/Engineer
Source: Richard Hall, The UFO Evidence, 1964 (NICAP - National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomenon)
[go to original source]
Skeptics have often claimed in public forums that "no astronomer has ever seen a UFO," sometimes implying that this proved UFOs do not exist. Astronomers, other scientists, and experienced observers of many types have often made reports [Section V, VI].
One detailed report by trained observers, describing a maneuvering elliptical UFO, has been reported briefly in the literature. The full, copyrighted story is here reproduced, with permission of the publisher.
[J. Gordon Vaeth, "200 Miles Up - The Conquest of the Upper Air," Second Edition, Revised Printing. Copyright (c) 1956, The Ronald Press Company, N.Y., ppg. 113-116.]
The General Mills, Inc., balloon personnel, who launched and tracked most of the large plastic research balloons during the 1940's and 1950's took little stock in UFO reports until April 24, 1949,
"On that date, a balloon crew was at the White Sands Proving Ground in New Mexico, together with personnel from the U.S Navy Special Devices Center for a special Skyhook flight to be undertaken for that Office of Naval Research activity. The author was present as Navy representative in charge of the ground handling and balloon phases of the operation.
"As part of this particular project, a balloon launching site had been established three miles north of Arrey, New Mexico. Charles B. Moore, Jr., an aerologist, graduate engineer and balloonist, and four enlisted personnel from the Navy Unit, White Sands Proving Ground, had set up facilities there to observe and record local weather data preparatory to the Special Devices Center Skyhook operation. Instrumentation on hand consisted of a stop watch and a ML-47 (David White) theodolite, a tracking instrument consisting of a 25-power telescope so mounted as to provide readings of vertical (elevation) and horizontal (azimuth) bearings.
"At 10:20 A.M. on April 24th, this group of five released a small 350-gram weather balloon for observation of upper wind velocities and directions. The balloon was followed by Moore with the theodolite until immediately after the 10:30 reading, when he relinquished the tracking instrument to look up to find the balloon with the naked eye
"Searching the sky for the balloon, he thought he had found it when he saw a whitish spherical object right along the direction
the theodolite was pointed (45 degrees elevation and 210 degrees azimuth). The object was moving east at a rate of 5 degrees of azimuth change per second.
"When the difference in angle between the theodolite and the supposed balloon became apparent, Moore took over the theodolite and found the true balloon still there, whereupon he immediately abandoned it and picked up the unidentified object as it came out of the sun. At the time, the sun was at a computed bearing of 60 degrees elevation and 127 degrees azimuth. The object was moving too fast to be kept in the scope through cranking the theodolite around; one of the men, therefore, had to point the theodolite while Moore observed the object through the telescope.
"The object was an ellipsoid about 2-1/2 times as long as it was wide. It had a length of about .02 degrees subtended angle and was gleaming white in color. It did not have metallic or reflected shine. Toward the underside near the tail, the gleaming white became a light yellow.
"The object, readily visible to the naked eye and seen by all the members of the group, filled the field of the theodolite's 25-power scope. Its rapid movement, unfortunately, prevented Moore from obtaining a hard or clear focus, and no good detail was observable.
"The azimuth angle decreased as the object continued on a north heading (it originally came out of the southwest). Becoming smaller in size it moved to an azimuth reading of 20 degrees to 25 degrees, at which point the azimuth held constant. Coincidentally with this constant azimuth, the elevation angle suddenly increased from 25 degrees minimum to 29 degrees, at which point the object was lost to sight. It disappeared in a sharp climb after having been visible to Moore and his group for about 60 seconds.
"Fifteen minutes after the object had disappeared, Moore sent up another pibal weather balloon to check wind values. This balloon burst after an 88-minute flight to 93,000 feet and traveled only 13 miles in a southerly direction during that time. This was positive proof that the object could not have been a balloon moving at such angular speed below 90,000 feet.
"The object was seen under conditions of a cloudless sky and no haze. It left no vapor trail or exhaust. It was observed from an isolated mud flat in the New Mexico desert where there was extreme quiet; no noise of any kind was heard in connection with the sighting, and there were no cars, airplanes, or other noises nearby which might have blotted out sound coming from the object.
"As the day progressed and airplanes flew over and near the balloon launching site, Moore's group was able to identify them by appearance and engine noise. They saw nothing again that day which bore any resemblance to the white elliptical, unidentified object.
"Moore's sighting was an extremely fortunate one in that tracking instrumentation was set up and a weather balloon airbourne at the time. It represents one of the best substantiated and authentic unidentified object sightings on record.
"The foregoing discussion of 'flying saucers' does not represent any desire by the author to become involved in this controversial subject. The saucers have been mentioned because there has been in a number of cases a close relationship between reported sightings and the flight trajectories of Skyhook balloons. The description of Moore's instrumented sighting of an unidentified object has been included because it is authentic, details have not been previously published, and it occurred during a Skyhook operation.
"The author, and indeed Moore himself, make no claim that the unidentified object was a 'flying saucer.' The details have been set forth. Let the reader take the sighting for what it is worth and evaluate it for himself!" [l.]
Case ID: 1095
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