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UFOS


Unidentified Flying Object


An unidentified flying object, often abbreviated UFO or U.F.O., is an unusual apparent anomaly in the sky that is not readily identifiable to the observer as any known object, often associated with extraterrestrial life or government-related conspiracy theories.

   
 

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a UFO as "An unidentified flying object; a ‘flying saucer’." The word was first used in print by Donald Keyhoe in 1953.The acronym "UFO" was coined by Capt. Edward J. Ruppelt, who headed Project Blue Book, then the USAF's official investigation of UFOs. He wrote, "Obviously the term 'flying saucer' is misleading when applied to objects of every conceivable shape and performance. For this reason the military prefers the more general, if less colorful, name: unidentified flying objects. UFO (pronounced Yoo-foe) for short." Other phrases that were used officially and that predate the UFO acronym include "flying flapjack", "flying disc", "unexplained flying discs", "unidentifiable flying object", and "flying saucer".

The phrase "flying saucer" had gained widespread attention after the summer of 1947. On June 24, a civilian pilot named
Kenneth Arnold reported seeing nine objects flying in formation near Mount Rainer. Arnold timed the sighting and estimated the speed of discs to be over 1,000 mph. He described their movement like "a saucer skipped across water," leading to newspaper accounts of "flying saucers". see Kenneth Arnold UFO sighting for details.
In popular usage the term UFO came to be used to refer to alien spacecraft. and because of the public and media ridicule associated with the topic, some investigators prefer to use such terms as unidentified aerial phenomenon (or UAP)or anomalous phenomena, as in the title of the National Aviation Reporting Center on Anomalous Phenomena or NARCAP.
 
 

Studies have established that the majority of UFO observations are misidentified conventional objects or natural phenomena most commonly aircraft, balloons, noctilucent clouds, nacreous clouds, or astronomical objects such as meteors or bright planets with a small percentage even being hoaxes. After excluding incorrect reports, however, most investigators have acknowledged that between 5% and 20% of reported sightings remain unexplained, and therefore can be classified as unidentified in the strictest sense.

Many reports have been made by such trained observers as pilots, police, and the military; some have involved simultaneous radar tracking and visual accounts.Proponents of the extraterrestrial hypothesis suggest that these unexplained reports are of alien spacecraft, though various other hypotheses have been proposed.While UFOs have been the subject of extensive investigation by various governments and although some scientists support the extraterrestrial hypothesis, few scientific papers about UFOs have been published in peer-reviewed journals. There has been some debate in the scientific community about whether any scientific investigation into UFO sightings is warranted.The void left by the lack of institutional scientific study has given rise to independent researchers and groups, including NICAP the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena in the mid-20th century and, more recently, MUFON (Mutual UFO Network)

 
 

Unexplained aerial observations have been reported throughout history. Some were undoubtedly astronomical in nature: comets, bright meteors, one or more of the five planets that can be seen with the naked eye, planetary conjunctions, or atmospheric optical phenomena such as parhelia and lenticular clouds. An example is Halley's Comet, which was recorded first by Chinese astronomers in 240 BC and possibly as early as 467 BC. Such sightings throughout history often were treated as supernatural portents, angels, or other religious omens. Some current-day UFO researchers have noticed similarities between some religious symbols in medieval paintings and UFO reports though the canonical and symbolic character of such images is documented by art historians placing more conventional religious interpretations on such images.

  • On January 25, 1878, The Denison Daily News noted that John Martin, a local farmer, had reported seeing a large, dark, circular object resembling a balloon flying "at wonderful speed." Martin, according to the newspaper account, said it appeared to be about the size of a saucer, the first known use of the word "saucer" in association with a UFO.
  •  
  • On February 28, 1904, there was a sighting by three crew members on the USS Supply 300 miles west of San Francisco, reported by Lt. Frank Schofield, later to become Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Battle Fleet. Schofield wrote of three bright red egg-shaped and circular objects flying in echelon formation that approached beneath the cloud layer, then changed course and "soared" above the clouds, departing directly away from the earth after two to three minutes. The largest had an apparent size of about six suns, he said.


     
  • The three earliest known pilot UFO sightings, of 1,305 similar sitings cataloged by NARCAP , took place in 1916 and 1926. On January 31, 1916, a UK pilot near Rochford reported a row of lights, resembling lighted windows on a railway carriage, that rose and disappeared. In January 1926 a pilot reported six "flying manhole covers" between Wichita, Kansas, and Colorado Springs, Colorado. In late September 1926 an airmail pilot over Nevada said he had been forced to land by a huge, wingless, cylindrical object.

  • On August 5, 1926, while traveling in the Humboldt Mountains of Tibet's Kokonor region, Russian explorer Nicholas Roerich reported, members of his expedition saw "something big and shiny reflecting the sun, like a huge oval moving at great speed. Crossing our camp the thing changed in its direction from south to southwest. And we saw how it disappeared in the intense blue sky. We even had time to take our field glasses and saw quite distinctly an oval form with shiny surface, one side of which was brilliant from the sun.” Another description by Roerich was of a "shiny body flying from north to south. Field glasses are at hand. It is a huge body. One side glows in the sun. It is oval in shape. Then it somehow turns in another direction and disappears in the southwest."

  • In the Pacific and European theatres during World War II, "foo-fighters" metallic spheres, balls of light and other shapes that followed aircraft were reported and on occasion photographed by Allied and Axis pilots. Some proposed Allied explanations at the time included St. Elmo's Fire, the planet Venus, hallucinations from oxygen deprivation, or German secret weapons.
  • On February 25, 1942, U.S. Army observers reported unidentified aircraft both visually and on radar over the Los Angeles, California, region. Antiaircraft artillery was fired at what were presumed to be Japanese planes. No readily apparent explanation was offered, though some officials dismissed the reports of aircraft as being triggered by anxieties over expected Japanese air attacks on California. However, Army Chief of Staff Gen. George C. Marshall and Secretary of War Henry Stimson insisted that real aircraft were involved. The incident later became known as the Battle of Los Angeles, or the West coast air raid.
  • In 1946 more than 2,000 reports were collected, primarily by the Swedish military, of unidentified aerial objects over the Scandinavian nations, along with isolated reports from France, Portugal, Italy and Greece. The objects were referred to as "Russian hail" and later as "ghost rockets" because it was thought that the mysterious objects were possibly Russian tests of captured German V1 or V2 rockets. Although most were thought to be such natural phenomena as meteors, more than 200 were tracked on radar by the Swedish military and deemed to be "real physical objects." In a 1948 top secret document, Swedish authorities advised the USAF Europe that some of their investigators believed these craft to be extraterrestrial in origin.
 
 

UFOs have been subject to investigations over the years that varied widely in scope and scientific rigor. Governments or independent academics in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, Peru, France, Belgium, Sweden, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Mexico, Spain, and the Soviet Union are known to have investigated UFO reports at various times.

  • Among the best known government studies are the ghost rockets investigation by the Swedish military (1946–1947), Project Blue Book, previously Project Sign and Project Grudge, conducted by the United States Air Force from 1947 until 1969, the secret U.S. Army/Air Force Project Twinkle investigation into green fireballs (1948–1951), the secret USAF Project Blue Book Special Report #14 by the Battelle Memorial Institute, and Brazilian Air Force Operation Saucer (1977). France has had an ongoing investigation (GEPAN/SEPRA/GEIPAN) within its space agency CNES since 1977; the government of Uruguay has had a similar investigation since 1989.
 
 

Project Sign in 1948 produced a highly classified finding see Estimate of the Situation that the best UFO reports probably had an extraterrestrial explanation; the private but high-level French COMETA study of 1999 reached a similar conclusion. A top secret Swedish military opinion given to the USAF in 1948 stated that some of their analysts believed that the 1946 ghost rockets and later flying saucers had extraterrestrial origins.

see
Ghost rockets for document. In 1954 German rocket scientist Hermann Oberth revealed that an internal West German government investigation, which he headed, had arrived at an extraterrestrial conclusion, but this study was never made public.

 
 
Project Sign was dismantled and became Project Grudge at the end of 1948. Angered by the low quality of investigations by Grudge, the Air Force Director of Intelligence reorganized it as Project Blue Book in late 1951, placing Ruppelt in charge. Blue Book closed down in 1970, using the Condon Commission's negative conclusion as a rationale, thus ending official Air Force UFO investigations. However, a 1969 USAF document, known as the Bolender memo, along with later government documents, revealed that non-public U.S. government UFO investigations continued after 1970.
  • The Bollender memo first stated that "reports of unidentified flying objects that could affect national security . . . are not part of the Blue Book system," indicating that more serious UFO incidents already were handled outside the public Blue Book investigation. The memo then added, "reports of UFOs which could affect national security would continue to be handled through the standard Air Force procedures designed for this purpose."

  • In addition, in the late 1960s a chapter on UFOs in the Space Sciences course at the U.S. Air Force Academy gave serious consideration to possible extraterrestrial origins. When word of the curriculum became public, the Air Force in 1970 issued a statement to the effect that the book was outdated and that cadets instead were being informed of the Condon report's negative conclusion
 
 
The study of UFOs has received little support in mainstream scientific literature. Official studies ended in the U.S. in December 1969, following the statement by the government scientist Edward Condon that further study of UFOs could not be justified on grounds of scientific advancement. The Condon report and its conclusions were endorsed by the National Academy of Scientists, of which Condon was a member.
  • On the other hand, a scientific review by the UFO subcommittee of the AIAA disagreed with Condon's conclusion, noting that at least 30 percent of the cases studied remained unexplained and that scientific benefit might be gained by continued study.
     
  • Critics argue that all UFO evidence is anecdotal and can be explained as prosaic natural phenomena. Defenders of UFO research counter that knowledge of observational data, other than what is reported in the popular media, is limited in the scientific community and that further study is needed.

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    • No official government investigation has ever publicly concluded that UFOs are indisputably real, physical objects, extraterrestrial in origin, or of concern to national defense. These same negative conclusions also have been found in studies that were highly classified for many years, such as the UK's
      Flying Saucer Working Party, Project Condign, the US CIA-sponsored Robertson Panel, the US military investigation into the green fireballs from 1948 to 1951, and the Battelle Memorial Institute study for the USAF from 1952 to 1955 (Project Blue Book Special Report #14).

Some public government reports have acknowledged the possibility of physical reality of UFOs, but have stopped short of proposing extraterrestrial origins, though not dismissing the possibility entirely. Examples are the Belgian military investigation into large triangles over their airspace in 1989–1991 and the recent 2009 Uruguay Air Force study conclusion .Some private studies have been neutral in their conclusions, but argued that the inexplicable core cases call for continued scientific study. Examples are the Sturrock Panel study of 1998 and the 1970 AIAA review of the Condon Report.

 
 

US investigations into UFOs include:The Interplanetary Phenomenon Unit (IPU), established by the US Army sometime in the 1940s, and about which little is known. In 1987 British UFO researcher Timothy Good received from the Army's director of couunter-intelligence a letter confirming the existence of the IPU. The letter stated that "the aforementioned Army unit was disestablished during the late 1950s and never reactivated. All records pertaining to this unit were surrendered to the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations in conjunction with operation BLUEBOOK." The IPU records have never been released.
 

  • Project Blue Book, previously Project Sign and Project Grudge, conducted by the United States Air Force from 1947 until 1969
     
  • The secret U.S. Army/Air Force Project Twinkle investigation into green fireballs (1948–1951)
     
  • Ghost rockets investigations by the Swedish, U.K., U.S., and Greek militaries (1946–1947)
  • The secret CIA Office of Scientific Investigation (OS/I) study (1952–53)
  • The secret CIA Robertson Panel (1953)
  • The secret USAF Project Blue Book Special Report No. 14 by the Battelle Memorial Institute (1951–1954)
  • The Brookings Report (1960), commissioned by NASA
  • The public Condon Committee (1966–1968)
  • The private, internal RAND Corporation study (1968)[40]
  • The private Sturrock Panel (1998)
Thousands of documents released under FOIA also indicate that many U.S. intelligence agencies collected (and still collect) information on UFOs. These agencies include the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), FBI, CIA, National Security Agency (NSA), as well as military intelligence agencies of the Army and Navy, in addition to the Air Force.
.The investigation of UFOs has also attracted many civilians, who in the U.S formed research groups such as National Investigations Committee On Aerial Phenomena (NICAP, active 1956–1980, Aerial Phenomena Research Organization APRO, 1952–1988), Mutual UFO Network MUFON, 1969, and Center for UFO Studies CUFOS, 1973.

In November 2011, the White House released an official response to two petitions asking the U.S. government to acknowledge formally that aliens have visited this planet and to disclose any intentional withholding of government interactions with extraterrestrial beings. According to the response, "The U.S. government has no evidence that any life exists outside our planet, or that an extraterrestrial presence has contacted or engaged any member of the human race." Also, according to the response, there is "no credible information to suggest that any evidence is being hidden from the public's eye."The response further noted that efforts, like SETI, the Kepler space telescope and the NASA Mars rover, continue looking for signs of life. The response noted "odds are pretty high" that there may be life on other planets but "the odds of us making contact with any of them especially any intelligent ones are extremely small, given the distances involved.
 
 

Following the large U.S. surge in sightings in June and early July 1947, on July 9, 1947, Army Air Force (AAF) intelligence, in cooperation with the FBI, began a formal investigation into selected sightings with characteristics that could not be immediately rationalized, which included Kenneth Arnold’s and that of the United Airlines crew. The AAF used "all of its top scientists" to determine whether "such a phenomenon could, in fact, occur." The research was "being conducted with the thought that the flying objects might be a celestial phenomenon," or that "they might be a foreign body mechanically devised and controlled."Three weeks later in a preliminary defense estimate, the air force investigation decided that, "This ‘flying saucer’ situation is not all imaginary or seeing too much in some natural phenomenon. Something is really flying around."
A further review by the intelligence and technical divisions of the Air Materiel Command at Wright Field reached the same conclusion. It reported that "the phenomenon is something real and not visionary or fictitious," that there were objects in the shape of a disc, metallic in appearance, and as big as man made aircraft. They were characterized by "extreme rates of climb [and] maneuverability," general lack of noise, absence of trail, occasional formation flying, and "evasive" behavior "when sighted or contacted by friendly aircraft and radar," suggesting a controlled craft. It was therefore recommended in late September 1947 that an official Air Force investigation be set up to investigate the phenomenon. It was also recommended that other government agencies should assist in the investigation

 
 

This led to the creation of the Air Force’s Project Sign at the end of 1947, one of the earliest government studies to come to a secret extraterrestrial conclusion. In August 1948 Sign investigators wrote a top-secret intelligence estimate to that effect, but the Air Force Chief of Staff Hoyt Vandenberg ordered it destroyed. The existence of this suppressed report was revealed by several insiders who had read it, such as astronomer and USAF consultant J. Allen Hynek and Capt. Edward J. Ruppelt, the first head of the USAF's Project Blue Book.Another highly classified U.S. study was conducted by the CIA's Office of Scientific Investigation (OS/I) in the latter half of 1952 in response to orders from the National Security Council (NSC).
This study concluded UFOs were real physical objects of potential threat to national security. One OS/I memo to the CIA Director (DCI) in December read, "...the reports of incidents convince us that there is something going on that must have immediate attention.... Sightings of unexplained objects at great altitudes and traveling at high speeds in the vicinity of major U.S. defense installations are of such a nature that they are not attributable to natural phenomena or any known types of aerial vehicles."
The matter was considered so urgent that OS/I drafted a memorandum from the DCI to the NSC proposing that the NSC establish an investigation of UFOs as a priority project throughout the intelligence and the defense research and development community. It also urged the DCI to establish an external research project of top-level scientists, now known as the Robertson Panel to analyze the problem of UFOs. The OS/I investigation was called off after the Robertson Panel's negative conclusions in January 1953

 
 

Canada

In Canada, the Department of National Defence has dealt with reports, sightings and investigations of UFOs across Canada. In addition to conducting investigations into crop circles in Duhamel, Alberta, it still considers "unsolved" the Falcon Lake incident in Manitoba and the Shag Harbour incident in Nova Scotia.

Early Canadian studies included Project Magnet (1950–1954) and Project Second Storey (1952–1954), supported by the Defence Research Board. These studies were headed by Canadian Department of Transport radio engineer Wilbert B. Smith, who later publicly supported extraterrestrial origins.

In the Shag Harbour incident, a large object sequentially flashing lights was seen and heard to dive into the water by multiple witnesses. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and many local residents also witnessed a light floating on the water immediately afterward, and a large patch of unusual yellow foam when a water search was initiated. Multiple government agencies were eventually involved in trying to identify the crashed object and searching for it. Canadian naval divers later purportedly found no wreckage. In official documents, the object was called a "UFO" because no conventional explanation for the crashed object was discovered. Around the same time, both the Canadian and US military were involved in another UFO-related search at Shelburne, Nova Scotia, approximately 30 miles from Shag Harbour.

France

On March 2007, the French Centre National d'Études Spatiales (CNES) published an archive of UFO sightings and other phenomena online.French studies include GEPAN/SEPRA/GEIPAN (1977–), within the French space agency CNES, the longest ongoing government-sponsored investigation. About 14% of some 6000 cases studied remained unexplained. The official opinion of GEPAN/SEPRA/GEIPAN has been neutral or negative, but the three heads of the studies have gone on record in stating that UFOs were real physical flying machines beyond our knowledge or that the best explanation for the most inexplicable cases was an extraterrestrial one.

The French COMETA panel (1996–1999) was a private study undertaken mostly by aerospace scientists and engineers affiliated with CNES and high-level French Air Force military intelligence analysts, with ultimate distribution of their study intended for high government officials. The COMETA panel likewise concluded the best explanation for the inexplicable cases was the extraterrestrial hypothesis and went further in accusing the United States government of a massive cover-up.

United Kingdom

The UK's Flying Saucer Working Party published its final report in 1951, which remained secret for over 50 years. The Working Party concluded that all UFO sightings could be explained as misidentifications of ordinary objects or phenomena, optical illusions, psychological misperceptions/aberrations, or hoaxes. The report stated: "We accordingly recommend very strongly that no further investigation of reported mysterious aerial phenomena be undertaken, unless and until some material evidence becomes available."

Eight file collections on UFO sightings, dating from 1978 to 1987, were first released on May 14, 2008, to the UK National Archives by the Ministry of Defence.Although kept secret from the public for many years, most of the files have low levels of classification and none are classified Top Secret. 200 files are set to be made public by 2012. The files are correspondence from the public sent to government officials, such as the MoD and Margaret Thatcher. The MoD released the files under the Freedom of Information Act due to requests from researchers. These files include, but are not limited to, UFOs over Liverpool and the Waterloo Bridge in London

On October 20, 2008 more UFO files were released. One case released detailed that in 1991 an Alitalia passenger aircraft was approaching Heathrow Airport when the pilots saw what they described as a "cruise missile" fly extremely close to the cockpit. The pilots believed that a collision was imminent. UFO expert David Clarke says that this is one of the most convincing cases for a UFO he has come across.A secret study of UFOs was undertaken for the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) between 1996 and 2000 and was code-named Project Condign. The resulting report, titled "Unidentified Aerial Phenomena in the UK Defence Region", was publicly released in 2006, but the identity and credentials of whomever constituted Project Condign remains classified.

The report confirmed earlier findings that the main causes of UFO sightings are misidentification of man-made and natural objects. The report noted: "No artefacts of unknown or unexplained origin have been reported or handed to the UK authorities, despite thousands of UAP reports. There are no SIGINT, ELINT or radiation measurements and little useful video or still IMINT." It concluded: "There is no evidence that any UAP, seen in the UKADR [UK Air Defence Region], are incursions by air-objects of any intelligent extraterrestrial or foreign origin, or that they represent any hostile intent." A little-discussed conclusion of the report was that novel meteorological plasma phenomenon akin to Ball Lightning are responsible for "the majority, if not all" of otherwise inexplicable sightings, especially reports of Black Triangle UFOs.


In August 2009 The Black Vault internet archive announced the release by the British government of more than 4,000 pages of declassified records.The records include information on the Rendlesham Forest incident, crop circles, a UFO attack on a cemetery and even reports of alien abduction claims

 




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