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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2011 > Aug > Aug 6

Re: Report From Lumberton NJ Witness 07-30-11

From: Martin Shough <parcellular.nul>
Date: Sat, 6 Aug 2011 15:06:45 +0100
Archived: Sat, 06 Aug 2011 10:31:07 -0400
Subject: Re: Report From Lumberton NJ Witness 07-30-11

>From: Peter Davenport <director.nul>
>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <post.nul>
>Date: Fri, 5 Aug 2011 11:29:29 -0700
>Subject: Report From Lumberton NJ Witness 07-30-11

>To the List Members:

>190 Description: On Saturday July 30, 2011, I was out walking
>my dogs shortly before 9pm EDT.  It was a very pleasant evening
>with clear skies, calm winds, temperature in the low 70 s with
>a dew point in the lower 60s.....


>......  I observed a very bright "fireball" looking
>object on the northern horizon. The object was a brilliant red-
>orange color. I would rate its apparent magnitude as -4 --
>comparable to Venus at its brightest or the International Space
>Station. The fireball had a distinct circular shape to it. Its
>apparent size was 4 times the size of Venus. This object
>proceeded on a southerly course and flew directly over top of
>me. It took approximately 45 seconds for the object to track
>from the Northern horizon to a position nearly overheard. At
>the closest approach, I would approximate the altitude to be
>between 1500-2500 feet. I was able to approximate altitude
>because I live a few miles from a small airport (Flying W
>Medford, NJ). Single engine craft on approach must adhere to a
>600 ft flight level. The fireball appeared to be 2-3 times

No, he was _not_ able to "approximate altitude" in the sense of
approximately _judging_ the altitude. He was able to _guess_
altitude based on certain _assumptions_ about the nature,
absolute brightness, true size and speed of the object. But he
had no information about any of these factors for the obvious
reason that the object was unidentified and unfamiliar to him.

His eyes provided _no_ stereoscopic distance information about
an object thousands of feet away. Neither did he have any other
indirect distance cues such as the object passing in front of a
target at known distance - not even a cloud, the sky being
"clear". The true brightness, size and distance could _not_ be
reliably estimated, no matter that he formed a strong subjective
impression that it "appeared" to be 2 or 3 times higher than a
single-engine plane approaching Medford.

He had no logical or physical basis whatever for making such a

>This first object, after passing over me, vanished.
>Within 10 seconds of the first object vanishing, I noticed a
>second object, exact same characteristics; once again appear on
>the northern horizon.

This successive passage of identical lights on roughly the same
course, bright red-orange in colour and described as "fireballs"
which then "vanish", is typical of fire balloons or 'Thai
lanterns' as anyone familiar with investigation or even casual
reading of large numbers of  reports ought to know.


>... I firmly believe that the
>object that was witnessed by my wife, daughter and me was not
>something that I have ever seen before. It was certainly
>extraordinary. I think I am most puzzled by the way the object
>immediately cut out its light when I focused a spotlight on it.

Actually the light did not "immediately cut out". He says he
shone the lamp at it three times before it went out. And notice
what he does not draw attention to - that the first light also
went out when it passed over him, although he didn't switch the
spotlight on at all.

If the lights were travelling roughly horizontally from low on
the N horizon over the top of the witness at the altitude he
guessed, then the ratio of distances is in the region of 10 mi
to 1/3 mile, and ratio of brightnesses of the same light seen at
these two distances would be about 1 to 900. In other words, a
light which was already comparable to the brilliance of Venus at
maximum magnitude when first seen on the horizon would be
dazzling by the time it approached overhead.  The witness
neither explicitly describes nor implies any such dramatic
increase in brilliance. One explanation for this would be if
part of the angular motion from the horizon to the zenith was
due to the lights _rising_, in which case the slant range is not
reducing so fast and the inverse-square brightness does not rise
so steeply. A pair of orange lights on the same rising
trajectory which then go out would be typical of Thai lanterns
or fire balloons.

>It certainly took my breath away to see the shape, color and
>rotation of the solid object as I illuminated it from below.

A two-foot paper balloon 400 ft away would appear a little over
1/4 degree across, as reported by the witness. It seems quite
possible that his spotlight might illuminate it as it continued
to drift away from him to the south until its internal air

Both objects were travelling from north to south at a steady,
not great, angular rate, about 2 deg/sec or less (45 sec from
somewhere above the N horizon to almost overhead). Some of this
rate would be real climb, some residue would be forward motion
in a N-S direction. This suggests slow true speed. As does the
fact that the second object was still within range of his
spotlight after 3 minutes.

The forecast for the New Jersey area that Saturday night,
7/30/2011, was as described by the witrness - clear with a low of
66 deg, and the forecast wind - which he does not mention - was
light, from North to South.  See


Saturday nights are statistically the most popular nights for
the release of these balloons at garden parties, barbecues etc

Based on the established pattern of behaviour I have zero
expectation that Director Davenport will even acknowledge these
arguments, let alone attempt sensible debate about them. But
possibly others on the List may find these thoughts at least
cogent enough to be falsifiable.

Martin Shough

[Shooting the 'messenger', Martin? --ebk]

Listen to 'Strange Days... Indeed' - The PodCast



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