The UFO that appeared in the sky over a Canadian minor league baseball team, leaving many scratching their heads over its identity, has turned out to be an unlikely hoax.
Unlikely because it wasn't anything perpetrated by an individual or a group of kids flying a sophisticated kite or build-it-yourself remote controlled device. This one involved a planetarium deploying a drone, not quite like the armed unmanned aircraft deployed by the military, but a drone nonetheless.
Here's the video that started it all.
The incident unfolded in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Sept. 3 in the sixth inning of a game between the Vancouver Canadians and the Everett AquaSox at Scotiabank Field's Nat Bailey Stadium.
In the sky above the right field section, an object resembling a flying saucer was spotted and videotaped. It appeared to be ringed by a row of bright lights.
Part of what made the video questionable was its short duration. If the person filming the incident truly spotted what might be an alien visitation, why does the camera zoom out quickly? The entire clip ends in 20 seconds. One would imagine that the videographer would zoom in as much as possible, if he or she were actually witnessing a genuine phenomenon.
Now it turns out that the nearby H.R. MacMillan Space Centre was behind it all.
The Space Centre says it built a drone shaped like their new planetarium and flew it around Vancouver. Working with a local ad agency, they developed an "extreme teaser campaign" to try and draw more people to the new building.
Watch this Globalnews.ca video where the UFO drone is finally revealed.
"The goal of the faux UFO was to create a buzz about the new planetarium viewer experience... The Planetarium Theatre at the Space Centre underwent a half million-dollar upgrade this summer," according to their press release.
The ad agency that worked with the Space Centre informed Alejandro Rojas at Open Minds that the UFO campaign didn't involve the distribution of any hoaxed images or videos to UFO bloggers or media sources. They "simply flew the drone and posted a few images and clips. The Internet did the rest."
The promotion crusade includes the following public service video depicting a UFO-shaped building flying to the Space Centre site and landing permanently where the old building stood:
While one video of the Space Centre drone reportedly received more than 200,000 YouTube hits, how did it affect attendance at the new planetarium?
"The buzz we are creating seems to be working as attendance is up 65 percent compared to this time last year," said Space Centre's executive director Rob Appleton in the official press release."
Whether or not this drone drew more people to the Space Centre, it opens up an even larger issue.
For years, UFOs posted to YouTube have been under close scrutiny by skeptics and believers. The big problem has been the ease by which certain software has made it possible to create phony UFOs that look extraordinarily real. And now, a new wrinkle is thrown into the mix: Do it yourself kits and materials easily purchased at the local hardware or consumer electronics store that allows anyone to build their own, remote-controlled, maneuvering drone.
More and more videos are showing up, portraying alien-looking craft created not just by the clever manipulation of a few computer buttons -- now they're being built incorporating good old fashioned techniques in model-making.
When will it become obvious that we've entered a new, more difficult phase of sifting through the mountain of UFO videos in search of that one, credible piece of visual evidence that might be the smoking gun believers have been seeking for decades?
It's too soon to tell.
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Kentucky UFO -- Oct. 16, 2012
Amateur astronomer Allen Epling captured video and images of a cylindrical object in the sky above his Virgie, Ky., home on Oct. 16, 2012. This is one of the images he took, which led many to believe the object was a high-flying solar balloon.
Sky Lanterns Mistaken For UFOs
Chinese or sky lanterns are often misidentified as UFOs. These three were part of a large group of lanterns that was the main event of the 2013 Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival in Taiwan on Feb. 24, 2013.
More Chinese Lanterns, aka UFOs
These candle-lit Chinese lanterns can rise high into the sky and are often mistaken for UFOs.
Melbourne, Australia, Feb. 2013
This is a composite image of how three alleged UFOs maneuvered about in the sky over Melbourne, Australia, in early February, 2013. The final verdict isn't in yet on whether they're birds, aircraft, balloons, bugs or something truly unidentified.
Exploding Weather Balloons, Not UFOs
On Dec. 20, 2012, a bright, circular object (pictured at the top of this composite image) was videotaped exploding in the skies above Sacramento, Calif. It wasn't immediately identified, resulting in speculation that it was either an alien spacecraft, military top secret weapon, runaway planet, North Korean satellite, among others. Within a short period of time, it became apparent that this was a weather balloon. The bottom part of this image shows such a balloon as it ascended over Tampa Bay, Fla., on July 2, 2012, and exploded in an identical manner as the Sacramento object, probably much to the dismay of all true ET believers out there.
Boomerang UFO composite images -- 10-5-12
This is a composite of images shot by two eyewitnesses of a boomerang-shaped UFO they reported seeing over their Burbank, Calif., home on Oct. 5, 2012. Mutual UFO Network photo/video analyst Marc Dantonio concluded the object was likely "a balloon, floating on the wind that has collapsed in half."
Changing UFO Pattern -- Warren, Mich. 1-10-13
This four-image series of lights in the sky was recorded over Warren, Mich., on Jan. 10, 2013. The lights were seen changing into several patterns. The most logical explanation for these types of UFOs is a series of balloons or lanterns.
UFOs Over Earth
This composite image shows four different times that alleged UFO were photographed above Earth by either space shuttles or the International Space Station. The big question is whether or not they are truly unidentified objects or if they are more likely reflections from spacecraft windows, meteors or fast-moving spacecraft-generated debris.
Pink UFOs Or Lens Flares?
What appear to be pink-red UFOs are actually lens flares from the Google Earth street view camera as it snapped images in Texas (left) and New Mexico (right).
Lens flares Arizona
These two flying saucer-shaped, pink-colored lens flares were created by the Google Maps camera as it drove through locations in Sedona, Ariz. (left) and Flagstaff, Ariz. (right). The images were snapped in April 2009. Submitted to HuffPost by trenna.
Lens flare Whiteriver, Ariz.
This skybound lens flare was created by a Google Maps camera in June 2008 over Whiteriver, Ariz. Submitted to Huffington Post by Cheryl Weeks.
Lens flare Gulfport, Miss.
This very Earthbound lens flare was created by a Google Maps camera in November 2007 at Gulfport, Miss. Submitted to Huffington Post by Jenni Parker.
Lens flare Eureka Springs, Ark.
This seemingly grounded lens flare was created by a Google Maps camera in January 2008 at Eureka Springs, Ark. Submitted to Huffington Post by SE.
Lens flare Escanaba, Mich.
This lens flare appears to be following a car. The Google Maps image was created in October 2008 at Escanaba, Mich. Submitted to Huffington Post by Mary Robinson.
Cincinnati Skydivers NOT UFOs Sept. 28, 2012
On the night of Sept. 28, 2012, a group of strange-looking lights appeared in the sky near Cincinnati, Ohio. First there was one, then, two, then three lights, slowly descending. It turns out, however, that these lights were originating from a group of skydivers performing a pyrotechnics jump at the La Salle High School homecoming event.
Some UFO sightings may be due to a natural phenomenon known as sprites, like this one shown from 2006. "Lightning from [a] thunderstorm excites the electric field above, producing a flash of light called a sprite," said geophysicist Colin Price.
Clouds: Saucer-shaped or "lenticular" clouds that form at high altitudes have been confused with UFOs.
Blimps or Advertising Balloons
Blimps or advertising balloons: These can look like flying saucers from some angles, especially at night.
Sunken Ship in the Baltic Sea
On June 19th the Swedish-based diving company Ocean Explorer discovered something they've never quite seen before. They were exploring in the Baltic Sea between Sweden and Finland looking for sunken treasures when a very unusual image suddenly appeared on the sonar. A 197 feet diameter cylinder shaped object was discovered at the depth of approximately 275 feet which resembles the Millennium Falcon from the movie Star Wars.
Baltic Sea UFO 1
An image released on June 15, 2012, shows a close-up view of the unidentified object sitting on the bottom of the Baltic Sea.
Baltic Sea UFO 2
Close-up of rock bed that forms the Baltic Sea UFO, which still mystifies researchers.
Baltic Sea UFO 3
One of several odd stone circle formations, sitting on top of the unidentified object at the bottom of the Baltic Sea.
Antarctic UFO -- Aug. 10, 2012
A circular UFO hovers above the Neumayer-Station III research facility in Antarctica on Aug. 10, 2012. Theories ranging from a simple weather balloon to a more elaborate ship from another planet have run the Internet gamut. The next slide shows a closeup of the object.
Antarctic UFO Closeup -- Aug. 10, 2012
This is a closeup of the UFO from the previous slide. No official explanation has been offered about the object.
Manufactured UFO -- 2011
Pictured is a quad copter -- a deliberately manufactured UFO created by special effects wizard Marc Dantonio for a National Geographic special, "The Truth Behind: UFOs," which aired in December 2011. On the left is what the small device looks like resting on the ground, measuring 4 feet in circumference. At right, is how it appeared behind a tree in the night sky.
Meteors: Space debris can create a spectacular light show when it burns through the Earth's atmosphere, and sometimes reported as UFOs.
Civilian or Military Aircraft
Civilian or military aircraft: Planes can look mysterious at night or in certain light conditions, thus confusing an observer.