Thursday, August 16, 2007
A cider festival in Herefordshire, yesterday.
UFOs or Too Much Pimms?
Early Sunday morning, two weeks ago, various people across Britain - in Bristol, Herefordshire, Norfolk and elsewhere - saw UFOs. Some of them called into BBC Radio 5 Live to report their experiences.
All spoke of weird light effects. Some saw singular star-like objects. Others saw a parade of orbs. One eye-witness captured his sighting on camera
Already various theories are being advanced - and shot down. The first and most obvious answer is meteorites. This was the idea Radio 5 put to Patrick Moore, the veteran TV astronomer.
Moore was unimpressed by the theory. He thought the lights were unlikely to be "astronomical" - because the witnesses had not seen contrails, and other phenomena, closely associated with meteor storms.
Another theory doing the rounds is that the lights were "Chinese lanterns". This solution has a credible backstory. Early on Sunday morning partygoers at the Big Chill Arts Festival, at Eastnor in the Malverns, released a number of illuminated balloons into the sultry night sky.
The lights certainly look rather floaty on the video - and the Youtube video was shot in the Forest of Dean. That's quite close to the Malverns.
But this answer ignores the many eye-witnesses spread across the whole of southern England.
The same problem attaches to a third explanation: that the lights were fireworks. You'd need quite a rocket to get from Norfolk to Shropshire. Yet another idea - a satellite breaking up - doesn't square with the slow drifting motion described by observers.
A final theory is military experiments. This sounds ludicrous, but according to UFOlogists, a similar flap, in Ireland last year, was provoked by just that: a secret military exercise.
What is the real answer? Maybe midsummer madness - and too much cold beer. That weekend in England was the hottest of the year, by far.
Posted by sean at 11:26 a.m.