Strange lights in the night sky over Blue Springs [Missouri] have UFO investigators interested.
Neighbors say in the past two weeks they have seen multi-colored lights in the sky, and the Missouri UFO Network is now conducting its own investigation. The video of these orbs hovering is causing quite the debate in Blue Springs and is the topic of discussion in the quiet suburb.
Source: KCTV 5 News
The TV station didn’t bother to talk to an astronomer. The MUFON (Mutual UFO Network) investigator doesn’t know about atmospheric scintillation and dismisses the star explanation because someone in another part of the state said it was pure white while the investigator said she saw red and green in one object and “this one behind me has red, green, and blue”.
Here’s a tip that UFO investigators might keep in mind: atmospheric scintillation, what the lay person calls twinkling, is greatly magnified when you look through high power optics. The investigator failed to key on the fact that if an object in one direction from you is in the same direction as seen from another part of the state then the object is very far from you.
This would appear to be the first time this UFO investigator has ever looked at a star through a telescope. How does one become a UFO investigator for MUFON? Here’s how: 4 Steps to becoming a MUFON Field Investigator which states, in part:
* Self study the MUFON Field Investigator Manual or attend a training class conducted by your local chapter (if available).
* “Attend a training class” (“a” as in singular?)
* Then you take an open book exam.
The exam consists of onehundred questions in twelve specific areas: light and optics; sound; electromagnetic properties; measurements; physical traces; photography; radio and radar; celestial objects; atmosphere and
It says “atmosphere and” then cuts off. Atmosphere and what? Atmosphere and atmospheric effects? Atmosphere and atmospheric scintillation? Atmosphere and known atmospheric phenomena? Maybe if they had completed that sentence this investigator would have known what to look for.
UPDATE: (25-May-2012) The Huff Po has picked up this story and repeated it in the same ignorant way. Here is a video clip.
UPDATE: 1-Aug-2012) Margie Kay, the MUFON investigator who investigated the Blue Springs, MO UFO was interviewed by Topic: UFO, a YouTube channel. This video was uploaded 8 days after the initial sighting.
At 0:15:50 the host says, “And some of these are very good witnesses, so to say ‘trained observers’, right?” and Margie says, “Well, yes, me, for one.”
This is the investigator who didn’t know about atmospheric scintillation. She just lowered the bar down to sea level for what qualifies as a trained observer. Remember this post and the attached video the next time someone plays the “trained observer” card.
About 0:16:30 in Margie says, “”And as it’s fading away my second daughter arrived with her 12″ telescope. And we aimed it at the object and the computer on the telescope said that what we were loooking at was Arcturus, which is a star. However I believe that at that point this thing had faded away and was just actually sitting in front of that star.”
A few minutes before saying this she said she was watching it and it made a 90° turn.
So where was Arcturus during this maneuver? Surely the fourth brightest star in the sky would have been noticeable in the background as this “object” was maneuvering? If it was maneuvering then Arcturus would no longer be behind it and would easily be visible.