Andy Fleming, UFO Sighting

Astronomer Witnesses Black Triangle Flying Again


Fox_Mulder_under_UFOSo what did it look like, this object over my home area of Teesside in north east England? Well, I’ve made a graphical representation for illustration purposes using free Stellarium Planetarium software, a favourite tool for amateur astronomers.

It was about 11.30pm local time on April 25th, 2009. The weather was coming in cold, and I’d just packed up my large Newtonian reflecting telescope and deposited it, along with its eyepieces in the garden shed. The ‘seeing’ in fact had been excellent, a wonderful clear night with few clouds.

I was finishing my astronomical observations and sketching early as I was at work the next day. In politically correct fashion before I retired into the house, I stood in the back porch doorway enjoying a late cigarette.

All of a sudden above the apex of next door’s roof I noticed a large V-shaped formation of five orange- red lights evenly spaced slightly east of zenith and moving extremely slowly in a north west-south east direction. Mesmerised, I began to realise that the lights were actually attached to a single object as they moved in an unchanging and even distance from one another.

With no noise the object crept at low velocity across the rest of the sky finally disappearing over the south eastern horizon in 10 to 15 minutes. The lights were fixed on the object’s periphery, which was black and solid, blocking out background stars, so it couldn’t have been a high flying formation of RAF aircraft. Judging altitude and spatial characteristics in the atmosphere at any time is very difficult with the naked eye, especially at night but I would estimate height in thousands rather than hundreds of feet and size in a couple of football field dimensions.

Teesside Night-Sky-270409-with-UFO-courtesy of Stellarium Free Planetarium SoftwarePeople always ask witnesses why they don’t take photos with digital or phone cameras. The problem is that even really bright planets like Venus hardly show up.  Even fainter objects with low surface brightness stand no chance on cheap CCD devices. Long exposure DSLR cameras with large CCDs chips for high resolution and tracking motors if necessary are required. Only a lucky small minority of the population possess such sensitive equipment. The other problem is psychological. You’re quite simply stunned and shocked at seeing something that most scientists will say doesn’t exist. Finally, if these two things don’t stop you publicising your sighting then usually the public ridicule factor will. After that, well, you just ‘double think’ your sighting away. You actually start to believe it didn’t happen.

There were anonymous sightings of this object from Durham City down to Middlesbrough in the south according to the internet (about 30 miles), and to this day I cannot confirm what the object was. Some have suggested a stealth blimp, the mystical stealth ‘Black Manta’ TR-3A black ops aircraft or similar… or even an alien spacecraft. The fact is I really don’t know.

The only person I told the next day was my wife and it would be three years before I told anyone else (Martin of Podcast-UFO). I toyed with the idea of blogging it for a while but my site was trolled and it wasn’t worth the hassle. At that point I wanted my identity keeping anonymous anyway. Providing witness testimony of UFO sightings, you put yourself in the court of public and scientific opinion, cross examined by debunkers instead of lawyers (like I used to be, and there is a major difference between debunkers and sceptics).

All of the usual explanations are trotted out in blog post replies: planets, swamp gas, satellites, meteors, aircraft, blimps etc., but as an amateur astronomer I know the night sky. Before I even mentioned the alien hypothesis someone had already written “well they can’t get from there to here because of the distances” as though both ourselves and other speculative intelligent species will be limited to human 2014 propulsion technology forever. What an anthropocentric view. Have we not learned, even now that mankind and its technology is not the centre of the cosmos?

Albert Einstein and Nils Bohr were the science geniuses of their day in relativity and quantum mechanics. As ‘out of the box’ thinkers did they honestly ever think that theirs was the last word in physics? I doubt it. Certainly Einstein suffered the same ridicule amongst the scientific establishment of the day as ‘out of the box’ thinkers today… scientists or ufologists. Science moves forward when practitioners remove their self-imposed strait-jackets and move us forward into new paradigms.

The Ancient Romans probably though they were at the top of mankind’s technological game by 100AD, they were after all superb engineers and physicians. However, what would they have thought of one of our Stealth aircraft flying over the Colosseum whilst watching gladiator fights? They would probably have been told by the priests that it was magic or down to the gods.

Physics (including its sub branches of cosmology, astrophysics and astronomy) is often referred to as the ‘queen of the sciences’. And there is no doubt that in society generally scientific subjects have much more kudos than the humanities. A firm proponent of science and science literacy and having science qualifications, I am in the fairly rare position of also being a Sociology graduate.

Can science and physics explain everything about the cosmos of which we are part? Or do other disciplines such as psychology, history, sociology, philosophy and religion have their part to play too. It could just be that scientists possess a little too much self-importance when it comes to their views on all aspects of the unexplained and indeed the cosmos generally. My hobby of astronomy and physics may not necessarily be the only or indeed the best way of explaining UFOs.

I’ll conclude with one final thought. In a court of law, corroborated multiple witness testimonies are enough to convict an individual of homicide. The expression is that the defendant committed the crime “beyond reasonable doubt”.  Why is the same legal gold standard not used by science and society when it comes to the witnessing of UFOs?


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