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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2004 > Feb > Feb 5

Re: Whittlesea Australia UFO Photograph - Maccabee

From: Bruce Maccabee <brumac.nul>
Date: Thu, 5 Feb 2004 00:23:50 -0500
Fwd Date: Thu, 05 Feb 2004 08:59:42 -0500
Subject: Re: Whittlesea Australia UFO Photograph - Maccabee

>From: Martin Shough <mshough.nul>
>To: <ufoupdates.nul>
>Date: Wed, 4 Feb 2004 14:50:00 -0000
>Subject: Re: Whittlesea Australia UFO Photograph

>A modest contribution to be ignored/jeered at (delete as

>Suppose the telephone pole is 15' high at 50' from the camera,
>so subtending somewhere around 20 degrees, then the angular size
>of the blurred object is order of 1-1.5 degree. (This sort of
>rule-of-thumb calculation is relatively insensitive to
>variations of a few feet/degrees/mph here and there. Exact
>trigonometry could easily narrow down the range of possible

Alternatively, one notes that the UO image width is comparable
to the width of the pole. Using Martin's estimated pole distance
one gets the angular width of the pole as 1/50 radian (approx)
which corresponds to about 1.1 deg (.0174 rad/degree; 57.3

Therefore if the object were (say) 30' from camera it
>would be approx. 6" - 9" long. A 6" - 9" bird travelling normal
>to the optical axis at a speed of 20 mph will travel 1/3 - 1/2
>its own length in a shutter time of 1/125 sec and will show
>significant lateral speed blurring. This is not inconsistent
>with the photo.

Multiply the angle in radians by the (assumed) distance and get
the length as measured perpendicular to the line of sight.
(1/50) x 30 ft = 0.6 ft = 7.2 "

>On the other hand, if it was (say) a 50' saucer speed-blurred by
>displacing 1/3 of its own length in 1/125 sec then it would be
>about 3000' from the camera travelling at about 1300mph. This is
>not inconsistent with the photo either.

(1/50) x 3000 ft = 60 ft.

>From the point of view of the photographer viewing the scene
>through the camera the two scenarios are equivalent. He would be
>no more or less likely to notice the saucer than a nearby bird.
>But for a companion, presumably not looking through a camera
>viewfinder, a 1300 mph 50' saucer flying by would be a very much
>more noticeable object. Given that the photographer was not
>alone, and that nobody noticed the saucer, the bird hypothesis
>has to be considered the more likely.>

>As to whether the image looks like a bird, I think it does. Its
>flight attitude would be tilted towards the camera, left wing
>up, right wing down, travelling L to R, light-coloured upper
>wing surfaces sunlit. The 'saucer' highlights are due to the
>dihedral of the wings caught in a raised position between

One of the most interesting aspects of the UO image is that it
appears to be more blurred at the left and right edges that at
the top and bottom edges, Simple defocus blur by itself, which
could happen if the UO were very small and close to the camera,
would make the edges of the image fuzzy or diffuse by the same
amount all the way around the edge, Since that does not appear
to be the case, one can say that the left-right edge blur was
caused by motion during the shutter time.

Given that there was motion, Mr. Shough proceeded in the correct
manner to determine what are the consequences of assuming that
the image blur was caused by motion. Since we don't know how far
away it was we don't know how big it was, only that it traveled
some fraction of its length during the shutter time. The farther
and larger we assume it to be, the faster it must have been
going. But the angular rate of speed (distance
traveled/distance/time) is the same.

If it were only 6-12 inches long it is not very interesting. If
it was 60 ft long and moved 1/4 of its length, i.e. 15 ft, in
1/125 sec, it is interesting and one can reasonably ask why no
one saw it. This corresponds to (15 ft)/(1/125 sec) = 1875
ft/sec = 1278 mph (1300 mph).

For how long a duration might it have been seen? Assume a
straight track from horizon to horizon (a UFO just "playing
through" or "passing by"). A 60 ft object might become barely
detectible at a distance 60000 ft (11 miles) (based on 1 mr
angular mnimum size needed to be detected). So, if it passed
relatively close to the observers (3000 ft or .6 mi away) then
it would have been visible over a distance of about 11+11 = 22
miles (from near the distant horizon in one direction to the
near distant horizon in the other direction).

Now. 22 mi/1300 mph = .017 hours = 1 minute!

It is not likely that any of the witnesses would happen to be
looking in the correct direction to see it appear. If they were
talking amongst themselves or looking in other directions while
the cameraman took a picture they might miss it.

ON the other hand, if one of them had seen this thing moving at
such a high speed he/she most likely would have paid attention
and he/she would have pointed it out to the others and we would
know that there were visual witnesses.

But what about the photographer. If it was there, why didn't he
see it? (Or, if he did see it briefly, why ddn't he recall it?)
He looked in the direction of the photo before the picture and
likely was still looking in that direction after the picture. If
the object had been 3000 ft away and traveling perpendicular to
the line of sight it would have been within the forward field of
view of the photographer, say within an angle of 90 degrees
centered on the direction of the photo, for a time determined by
the distance represented by 45 to the left and 45 degree to the
right and a nearest distance of 3000 ft. This distance is 3000x
tan 45 + 3000 x tan 45 = 3000 + 3000 = 6000 ft.

How long would it take for the object to travel this distance?
At a speed of 1875 ft/sec it would require about 3 seconds. That
means that if the photographer had his eyes "buried" in the
camera for more than 3 seconds (likely!) he might not have seen
the object as it sped through his forward field of view.

In other words, it is not improbable that the object could zoom
by without the cameraman seeing it, if briefly. Of course, he
could have seen in the viewfinder of the camera as he took the
picture, but he could easily ignore it as something not of
interest and probably a bird or bug. The point is, the failure
of the cameraman to notice it is not a major argument against it
being a real thing "out there."

(Note: a similar argument applies to a bug withing a few feet or
a bird 30 or so feet away... the angular rate of speed based on
distance and distance moved stays the same and so the likely
viewing time for the cameraman stays the same).

With a photo like this containing an image or what appears to be
an image of something that no one saw it is necessary to be
absolutely certain that no mundane object could cause the image
before advancing far out hypotheses. I think that in this case
one must be positive that the object was not some bird zipping
by, as suggested by Mr. Shough and others. Unfortunately the
photo does not have excellent resolution so it may never be
possible to determine exactly what the object was.

However, one might try photographing birds under comparable
conditions of daylight to see whether or not it seems possible
to obtain a similar image from bird.

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