High Strangeness: Investigation -- Part I

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Investigation -- Part I

Because I have not heard back yet from anyone regarding the mass double UFO sighting that took place on October 29, 2011 at the site of the Burlington Vortex, so once again I'm going to undertake my own damned investigation.

The first time I filed a sighting report, back in August, the friendly folks at MUFON asked me to download this nifty free planetarium program called "Stellarium." Using Stellarium, I was to recreate the night sky at the moment of my UFO sighting to see if there were any objects up there that I might have mistaken for an alien space ship. I played with the software a bit and didn't find any planets, stars, galaxies or nebulae in the sky that my wife, daughter and I could have mistaken for the object we saw. We were already pretty sure that the glowing orange object we saw floating a couple hundred feet off the ground wasn't a planet, star, galaxy or nebula, but it was nice to be certain, I guess.

I realize that I need to more thorough and exacting with The Big One, however. So I've gone back to give Stellarium another try. I punched in the coordinates for Burlington, WI, on October 29, 2011 at about 10:30 pm, looking east, and here's what the program gave me:

The night sky looking east from the Vortex on October 29, 2011

Now, the first thing that looks wrong to me is the huge red letter "E" on the horizon. That was not there. The second thing that looks wrong is all those little orange starbursts with labels like "NGC 2281" and "M 35." Those are distant galaxies that were not actually visible to the naked eye that night. They appear on this map because I was trying out all sorts of buttons on the Stellarium control panel and kind of lost track of what I had turned on and what I had turned off. I left them there because they look cool and because I forgot which button would turn them off.

But now, down to business. What does it all mean? Well, I have to say that I find it most interesting that the constellation of Gemini had just risen, because, you see, I am a Gemini! I also find it most interesting that the two brightest stars due east at 10:30 pm were the red giant star Aldebaran ("The Follower") and the red "supergiant" Betelgeuse ("The Armpit of Orion"). I'm not sure what to make of it all, but I will never look at Orion the same again.

The two UFOs seen that night appeared in the sky somewhere in the vicinity of Aldebaran and floated quickly and quietly towards us, through the constellation of Taurus, until they were almost directly overhead. This is the overhead view:

The night sky directly above the Vortex on October 29, 2011
The UFOs both passed close to Jupiter and then flickered out in the vicinity of the constellation of Triangulum, which is, as constellations go, shockingly unimaginative. Which just goes to show you that even Ptolemy could have an off day.

But I digress. Has my little astronomical experiment shed any light on the Burlington Vortex UFO sighting? It could, in time, once I've gone through the MUFON sighting archive to see how many other flaming orange objects have ever appeared near Aldebaran, passed Jupiter and then disappeared near Triangulum. I will share my theory with you: perhaps Triangulum was named Triangulum precisely so that no one would ever pay attention to it....

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