September 15, 1960
Ihad briefly mentioned this case in a “Who’s blogging” comment in SUNlite 5-4becauseTedMolczanhad“solved”it. However,Ithinkitwasimportant to elaborate on the case in this issue.
The UFO evidence document describes the case as follows:
A Professor of Engineering, Central University, reported a UFO September 15, 1960. Prof. German Alvarez, in Carrizales, Miranda State, watched a luminous object sweep across the sky for about three minutes, after 7:30 p.m. The UFO accelerated in a curved course. Before disappearing behind mountains, it ap- peared as two objects. 1
This is based on a NICAP report that had on file so it is difficult to determine how accurate the details were. It was not published in their UFO investiga- tor.
What is not mentioned is that it was just one observation of a wide-spread sighting seen across the Caribbean. The Fort Pierce News Tribune carried a minor article on page 3 of their September 16, 1960 issue, which describes a bright fireball seen from Georiga and Florida.2
The January-February 1961 issue of Flying saucer review (FSR) seems to have
recorded the same sighting. However, they appeared to have confused the dates. In one instance they stated it was September 15th and in another they stated it was the 16th. The time given was 8PM local time and the description of the object was:
According to reports the object was round and as large as the full moon and brilliantly luminous. It seemed to be carrying three or four colored lights separated from the main body; it left a slightly luminous trail which vanished immediately. It was completely silent and flew at supersonic speed and at a relatively low altitude over the city of Caracas.3
FSR then added the following commentary:
The newspaper account then surveyed all the possibile the explanations and was obliged to rule out the usual conventionalisations. Its intelligent conclusion that here was a true Unidentified Flying Object and one witnessed by so many independent observers that there was absolutley no room for sceptism.4
It is also interesting to note that the same issue of FSR had a report from the Virgin Islands on the night of the 15th5, which is consistent with the description given in the Venezuelan sighting. FSR added that the Federal Aviation Administration could not identify that object either.
Project Blue Book’s answer
Project Blue Book received many reports from various military bases in Puerto Rico, Georgia and
Florida. Civilian reports (not the particular one found in the UFO evidence document) came from Venezuela, Aruba, and ships at sea.6 Many of the observers in Puerto Rico and Venezuela reported the object moving in a south to north direction. Observers in the United States saw the event in the eastern sky. The USAF concluded it was the break up of the “1960 epsilon vehicle” because it had an inclination of 64 degrees and parts of it reentered in September and October 1960. This appears to be a reference to 1960EPS, which was launched by the Soviet Union on March 15th. Due to an error, it did not re-enter the earth’s atmosphere and it broke up into several pieces. While, the main part reentered in 1965, other pieces came down in September and October of 1960. It seemed logical but none of these pieces came down on that specific date. The correct designation appears to be Discoverer 14 as identified by Ted Molczan.7 It had an inclination of 79.6 degrees and was recorded as burning up on the 16th of September (UTC).
I performed a check of Molczan’s identification using the Two-Line Elements (TLEs) from Johnathan’s space page for the satellite.8 The last set of TLEs appear to have been for at the time of re-entry and did not work properly in Orbitron (the eccentricity of the orbit was “0”) so I used the TLE’s for September 10th. The result shows the following position for Discoverer 14 on the 16th of September at 0045Z (1945 EST and 2015 VET on the 15th):
This position is not precise because it was not the exact TLE for re-entry but it is reasonably close. It demonstrates that the space- craft was passing over this region at the general time in question and in the direction reported by the witnesses.
The times listed in the Blue Book files were between 0006 and 0030Z, which was between 1936 and 2000 Venezuela time (VET = Z - 4.5 hours). The observer in the UFO evidence document was described as having seen the object AFTER 7:30 PM local time. The FSR article gave a time of approximately 8:00 PM Venezuela time. Considering the potential for errors in time noted by the witness, the observations appear to be a reasonable match to the space debris re-entry.
NICAP’s inclusion of this report seems to be a case of not making a connection with all the other reports that night. Either they did not link the sightings to this one or were completely unaware they existed. Failure to follow-up and see the link demon- strated they did not bother to investigate the story. In my opinion, this one is solved as a satellite re-entry. It is not evidence of “manifestations of extraterrestrial life” 9 as the document suggests.
Quelle: SUNlite 6/2013