Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Update on the Chinese Airport UFO

A lot has happened in the Chinese UFO case.  At least, a lot has happened in the media and the blogoshpere - in China the story's pretty much the same.  The story has gone in a few different directions, so I'll go over them briefly.

Naturally, the Venus Argument has been introduced.  Every skeptic likes to blame the planet Venus for UFO sightings.  I've seen Venus and lots of other things in our solar system while looking up at the sky, and even when I was a child I never thought those bright lights could be anything more mysterious than a planet or a star.  Still, someone who wants to debunk UFO stories will handwave every single one of them by saying the word "Venus."

It's hard for me to believe that air traffic controllers could mistake Venus (at right) with an unusual aircraft.   Still, Forgetomori.com thinks this is the answer and, amazingly, points to an story from Russia where the sight of Venus on the horizon does appear to have confused an air traffic control group and caused them to close their airport.  What Forgetomori.com doesn't mention is that the Chinese air traffic controllers did not see the UFO in question - they recorded it on their instruments.  Venus would not be picked up by air traffic control instruments as an object close to the airport.

A number of pictures emerged along with this story but, unfortunately, they appear to be fraudulent.  The air traffic control group said they couldn't see the object without their instruments, but some people took pictures, anyway.  Some of these photos show a UFO doing things (like shining lights on buildings) that were certainly never part of the original descriptions.  The pictures being shown by the news should be ignored.

Ghost Theory has a video of a spokesperson from the Chinese Airport.  He basically says that they don't understand what they saw and he fears they never will.  Nothing new, but it's good to hear that from an official source at the airport rather than a newspaper.

A video of a rocket taking off has been linked to this UFO sighting and someone from MIT has looked it and declared it to be real footage of a Russian rocket (link).  However, nothing in the original description of this sighting has anything to do with a rocket, so I fail to see how this relates to the story.

When a UFO is in the news, pictures and videos from previous stories somehow end up being broadcasted along with the actual story - this leads to mass confusion on the part of the investigator.  It's tough to pick through the articles to find out which ones refer to real reports from the Chinese airport, and which ones are jumping on the bandwagon without checking the details.

In conclusion, the airport is sticking with their story: something unknown to them was in their airspace that evening and they shut down all flights for an hour.  There's no explanation and no one seems to be coming forward to help out.  There don't appear to be any trustworhty photographs or videos of the UFO which is in keeping with the statements of the air traffic controllers who claimed it was too far away to be seen without their instruments .  (Or, perhaps it runs without lights?)

I hate to say it, but this may be all we ever learn about this interesting incident.

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