If some British tabloids are to be believed, UFOs have been lighting up the British skies these days, as if the night skies were an immense Christmas tree.
As reported in The Express, “thousands of people across the globe are seeing mysterious shape-shifting UFO.”
Of course, an unidentified flying object typically turns out to be something other than an ET spacecraft once we take a closer look. In this instance, on March 12, Rob Wheatman, a resident of Gloucester, captured an odd aerial phenomenon on video, as seen below.
“I saw it as a sparkling ‘star’ from the garden in Elmbridge, due south,” according to GloucesterLive. “What alerted me was an orange light that came from it and traveled at speed north east. I grabbed my video and luckily it has a 40x zoom and that’s when I got the images of the bizarre light you saw.”
While there doesn’t seem to be any outward appearance of fakery going on here, there tends to be an immediate attitude either on the part of individuals who offer alleged UFO videos or from media sources that have a tendency to stretch the idea of credulity with descriptions like “[t]his apparently intergalactic lightshow was filmed above Gloucester last night, and it’s got us, and the cameraman, baffled. What it shows is anyone’s guess...We’re pinning our money on aliens. Definitely aliens.”
Once again, let’s offer this reminder: The vast majority of UFO sightings are eventually explained as natural or man-made objects.
We consulted a photo analyst who was unimpressed with the sightings.
“In this Gloucester video, I noticed first that the object was not in focus. That’s why it looked like a diamond shape. This is a common appearance of out of focus objects with some cameras,” according to Marc D’Antonio, chief photo and video analyst for the Mutual UFO Network.
“In that video, the cameraman stated he was looking ‘due south.’ I believe that, due south at some point during the night, you will see Sirius, the brightest star in the northern sky. Because a star is ever only a point source, the slightest disturbance to the air between the camera and edge of the atmosphere in the direction being imaged will cause the image to dance around. This is called atmospheric scintillation,” D’Antonio told The Huffington Post.
In addition to his work as a video analyst, D’Antonio is CEO of FX Models, where he builds miniature versions of classified objects for his clients that include the U.S. Navy, Congress and the joint chiefs of staff. He knows a thing or two about things that are real, faked or simply misidentified.
HuffPost asked D’Antonio to look at another reported UK UFO video from January. This video begins with an object over Liverpool looking remarkably like the object in the first video above from Gloucester:
”In the second video, I noted that the object was out of focus at times. The cameraman stated that the object didn’t move, yet it absolutely did, moving over time from a position to the right and above a branch to a position just off the tip of that branch,” D’Antonio said.
“It had changed direction to reveal its nature ― it was an aircraft, landing lights on when it turned on final approach to a nearby airport. Landing lights can be seen up to 90 miles away and will persist for up to 4-5 minutes, then fade out as the aircraft makes its final turns. In my opinion, the first video showed an astronomical object ― likely Sirius ― and the second video showed a likely aircraft on landing approach.”
Incidentally, the objects in question in these two videos are quite similar to a diamond-shaped “UFO” videotaped in 2015 over another UK town, Tynemouth. In that case, it was determined that the object was, in fact, the bright star Sirius.
If you happen to spot something in the night sky that, at first, seems out-of-this-world and tempts you to consider that you’re lucky enough to witness visitors from far away, remember that you’re more than likely seeing something that is truly astronomical in nature.