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How To Identify UFOs In Thirty Minutes Or Less

Contrary to what the leading skeptics and debunkers will tell you, it is possible for anyone to easily identify or distinguish UFOs from any man-made objects and natural phenomena in the sky. Once you've had your first sighting of an Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) and you've familiarized yourself with the night sky, you'll quickly become a good observer and you'll know exactly what to look for, the next time you're skywatching.

Even when you've had as many sightings as I've had, you can still make mistakes! But you learn to make very few of them because you can't afford to look like a fool in front of your family members, friends...and especially, the public - if and when you decide to report your sighting to the media.

The only mistake I made was embarrassing, to say the least. One particular night, I stood in a field and waved my flashlight at what looked to be a cluster of three lights coming head-on...one large white light flanked by two smaller lights. They were completely silent...until, that is, a few minutes later when they got closer and I heard the distinct sound of a motor. I then realized I was looking at a small plane coming in for a landing at our local airport. It took a few more seconds or so for the aircraft to pass right over my head and I could finally see the flashing wing-tip lights and the anti-collision light on the vertical fin...not to mention hearing the loud roar of the engine!

So before jumping to any conclusions as to what you're seeing, I would suggest that you stay put, look carefully at the object(s) and watch for any tell-tale signs of an earthly origin. Through trial and error, it may take as much as fifteen to thirty minutes to identify a true unknown and set them apart from all the other aerial - and celestial objects in the sky. If the sighting lasts longer than an hour, and it has reached the "level of high strangeness", then you've truly witnessed something out of the ordinary. For the purpose of helping in identifying a true UFO, I created the following checklist of characteristics as a guideline:

1) Shape
2) Color(s)
3) Sound
4) Size
5) Speed
6) Behavior
7) Level of High Strangeness
8) Duration of Sighting

Click here for Theories and False Explanations for UFOs

1) Shape

All flying saucers are UFOs but not all UFOs are flying saucers. A UFO's appearance may vary because there are as many models of them as there are of man-made vehicles. Eyewitnesses have reported a number of shapes: cigars, footballs, triangles, rectangles, ovals, balls of light, and so on. The following image contains a large number of these reported objects of unknown origin.

Click on images to enlarge

Commonly reported UFO shapes. (Courtesy ICUFON/NICAP)

A selection of UFOs (some of which are proven hoaxes). (Courtesy ICUFON)

In the less interesting sightings, the object may appear as a bright, white star, preventing you from discerning any specific shape...even if you were to zoom in with binoculars, a telescope or a video camera.* And when it moves away from you, it looks exactly the same as when you first spotted it...a single pinprick of light as bright as Jupiter (at its brightest) or a faint star.

Some objects will have an extended apparent diameter, or "fuzzy" luminosity. Some star-like objects will be motionless for extended periods of time, or will be seen rapidly crossing the sky, possibly with peculiar trajectories.

* When you zoom in for a close-up of any light source with a video camera, you may end up with what is known as the "batman emblem" - a circle with one or two bites taken out at the top and one at the bottom. This is an artifact of the camcorder because the automatic focus of the camera is unable to compensate for the brilliance of the object you're looking at, and as a result, you get a distorted image of the UFO.

"Batman emblem"

2) Color(s)

At night, some UFOs will display very unusual light patterns, as well as shades of colors not typically found on conventional aircraft. You may see a dark oval shape with multicolored lights around its perimeter, or the object itself can be one large, blinding light of one color or another.

The colors may be so vivid that the observer is able to make them out...even in the darkest of night skies. Some of the more commonly reported colors are: red, lime green, sky blue, yellow, amber...and sometimes, pink.

Another good example of these brightly-colored flying objects are the Green Fireballs.

"This is a scrupulously accurate eyewitness painting of a mysterious
green fireball rushing through the night sky over New Mexico . . . by Mrs.
Lincoln LaPaz," LIFE magazine, April 7, 1952.


In cases where the witnesses remember the type of colors the UFO(s) displayed during the observation, they can turn to the chart below for reference.

NOTE: This color chart may not display every color in existence, but it should be useful in determining the color(s) of a particular object or objects seen by witnesses.

3) Sound

UFOs, in general, are extremely silent. But there are some cases when an audible sound is heard either before, during or after the sighting of a UFO. What follows is a list of some of the sounds that have accompanied these rare sightings:

A beeping sound - or series of beeps
• sound of a diesel engine
• sound of a washing machine
• a whistling sound
• a whooshing sound
• a humming sound

A Southern Ontario researcher by the name of Lindy Tucker has not only gathered information on such cases, but has been a witness to it, as well.

4) Size

Determining the size of an unknown object is not always easy, especially if the object itself is located quite a distance away from your eyes. But if the object is close enough to the witness, figuring out its approximate size may not be a problem...especially if you have other objects of reference nearby, such as a tree, a house, etc.

In most instances, the object is reported to be the approximate size of an aircraft or larger.

During World War II, pilots would report seeing small balls of light nicknamed "Foo Fighters" which maneuvered around the fighter plane formations and kept pace with them as they flew over Germany during their bombing runs. Similar objects were seen in the Japanese theater as well, witnessed by both pilots and gunners. These objects were small in size, and yet flew as if they were under intelligent control.

But in cases where a "mother ship" is spotted, the reported size of the object is gigantic. One such case took place in the Yukon Territory on December 11, 1996. A very large object was seen by at least 31 people near Fox Lake.

After several calculations in triangulation, and considering the best six estimates that researchers came up with, the object appears to have been the size of several football stadiums!

Another good case that comes to mind is The Phoenix Lights UFO case which occurred over the State of Arizona on March 13, 1997. Ten thousand eyewitnesses from across the state looked on as large boomerang and/or V-shaped formations of lights moved across Arizona, that evening. The sightings took place as people were getting ready to observe the Hale-Bopp comet as it made its way across the evening sky.

The tremendous size of the objects - estimated to be about a mile and half wide, from tip to tip - and the complete lack of sound indicate that something out of the ordinary maneuvered over Phoenix, and was witnessed by a large number of people, including pilots, doctors and engineers. This was probably the most important case of mass sightings on record, thus far.

These two charts are available to anyone who cares to demonstrate how large an object appeared to be to them as they hold them up at arm's length. In the past, this would have cleared up a lot of confusion when an eyewitness would describe having seen something about the size of a washtub or a saucer by simply adding "if you held one up at arm's length".

5) Speed

Not so well known is the fact that a good number of Unidentified Flying Objects have been tracked on several types of radar instruments which, in turn, have recorded these objects travelling at speeds in excess of 10,000 miles an hour or more.

August 1967 UFO Incident -
Copper Cliff, Ontario, Canada.

One particular event that took place in the Sudbury area happened in late 1967 over the INCO complex in Copper Cliff. Twenty witnesses stood and watched in awe as a UFO maneuvered twice around the middle stack, then proceeded to pass in front of them, travelling at an estimated speed of 15 miles an hour. Shortly thereafter, the object angled up at a 45° angle and sped up into the sky in seconds! The next day, one of the men who worked there contacted the Falconbridge Radar Base and was told that the object had been clocked travelling at the incredible speed of 22,000 miles an hour!

Another perfect example of the incredible acceleration performed by UFOs took place on September 15, 1991 and was captured on film by the crew of Space Shuttle Discovery:

Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-48) films UFOs
September 15, 1991, between 20:30 and 20:45 GMT

On September 15, 1991, between 20:30 and 20:45 Greenwich Mean Time, the TV camera located at the back of Space Shuttle Discovery ’s cargo bay was trained on the Earth’s horizon while the astronauts were occupied with other tasks.

A glowing object suddenly appeared just below the horizon and "slowly" moved from right to left and slightly upward in the picture. Several other glowing objects had been visible before this, and had been moving in various directions. Then a flash of light occurred at the lower left of the screen; and the main object, along with the others, changed direction and accelerated away sharply, as if in response to the flash. Shortly thereafter a streak of light moved through the region vacated by the main object, and then another streak moved through the right of the screen, where two of the other objects had been. Roughly 65 seconds after the main flash, the TV camera rotated down, showing a fuzzy picture of the side of the cargo bay. It then refocused, turned toward the front of the cargo bay, and stopped broadcasting.

Clip from NBC broadcast on STS-48 UFOs

Diagram of Traced Trajectories

The distance from the Discovery to the Earth’s horizon is 2,757 kilometers.
The UFO's speed before accelerating into space is 87,000 kph (Mach 73).
Three seconds after the light flash, the UFO changes direction sharply and accelerates off into space at 340,000 kph (Mach 285) within 2.2 seconds.
Such an acceleration would produce 14,000 g of force.

One of the most spectacular video footage of a UFO encounter was taken by cameras on board the Discovery space shuttle, STS-48, on 15 September, 1991. The video sequence was picked up live by a number of amateurs who were directly monitoring the transmissions. The material has been shown in news broadcasts worldwide.

The video shows several small bright objects maneuvering on screen, apparently interacting with one another in a complex fashion. Skeptics have usually insisted these are merely shots of some of the many small ice particles which inevitably end up in orbit with every space shuttle.

UFO investigators were quick to dispute this interpretation, and US scientist Richard C. Hoagland soon conclusively demonstrated the objects were actually large in size and many hundreds of kilometers away from the shuttle.

One UFO in particular appears to rise up from below the Earth’s dawn horizon and can be clearly seen emerging from behind the atmosphere and the ‘airglow’ layers. It is certainly in orbit around the Earth, some distance out in space, and traveling quickly.

A sudden, bright flash of light is then seen to the left of the picture, below the shuttle. The UFO then turns at a sharp angle and heads out into space at very high speed. Two thin beams of light (or possibly condensation trails) move rapidly up from the Earth’s surface towards where the UFO would have been if it had continued in its original orbit.


The light flash and light beams (or contrails) that shoot into space have variously been described as a ground-based attempt to disrupt or destroy the UFO. Hoagland interprets the incident captured by the Discovery's video camera more specifically as a "Star Wars" weapons test against a Star Wars drone (the UFO). Other UFO investigators prefer to describe it as a Star Wars attempt against an extraterrestrial UFO. Whichever version you prefer, the technology implied is most certainly impressive - at least of Star Wars caliber.

More recently, from New Zealand, investigators have reviewed the video and corrected the actual time it was taken. They have found that the UFO incident was recorded over Australia and not the Philippine islands as was originally thought. Discovery's trajectory had already taken it across Surabaya in Java and above the Simpson Desert, Western Australia.

The UFO is first picked up coming over the horizon when the shuttle is close to Lake Carnegie, WA. Later, the light flash and one contrail can be tracked back to Exmouth Bay near the North West Cape military facility. A second contrail can be tracked back to the Pine Gap military facility in central Australia.

US investigators have been asking their Australian counterparts to provide further information which they don't have and which they probably can't get. All the information we have on this incident so far comes from the US or New Zealand.

And, of course, there are Australia's stringent secrecy laws to contend with. The scenario was probably captured on video purely by chance. Along with other UFO incidents recorded on video by NASA, this material has contributed significantly towards NASA's recent decision to discontinue live television transmissions from space.

Reprinted from the September 1995 issue of UFO REPORTER, the quarterly publication of UFO Research (NSW), P.O. Box Q95, Queen Victoria Building, Sydney, NSW 2000, Australia). The video footage itself (including a detailed investigation of the incident) can be found on the tape "Hoagland’s Mars Vol 2: The UN Briefing (Extended Version)."

* Diagram & text based on/borrowered from: http://www.mufor.org/sts48.htm

6) Behavior

Usually, UFOs behave in ways that are not consistant with man-made aircraft. Having the ability to reverse direction without turning around, for instance, is a good example of their technological prowess.

UFOs can also travel at supersonic speeds without causing sonic booms! Others can hover for extended periods of time, then suddenly blink out in the wink of an eye, only to reappear further away, either at a higher altitude or in another part of the sky.

Some observers have reported seeing UFOs moving erratically through the sky in a wavy or zig-zagging fashion. Others have said that the aerial objects they saw would interrupt their continuous flight, hover momentarily, and then continue on their trajectory.

Some UFOs seem to abruptly alter their trajectory during continuous flight to fly slowly above a certain area, circle, or suddenly change course. In other cases, the objects seemed to hover between two periods of motion with "falling-leaf" descent or pendulum motion.

Some UFOs seem to alter their appearance while hovering or accelerating at great speed - e.g. change of luminosity, generation of secondary object(s), etc.

UFOs have been seen flying in formation or swarming among several objects.

On occasion, a UFO's trajectory is affected by nearby conventional aircraft. Pilots have reported that UFOs have performed evasive maneuvers just as their aircraft would get within visual range of the unknown object(s). These reported sightings have led researchers to believe that UFOs have purpose and are under some type of intelligent control.

UFO formations and maneuvers. (Courtesy ICUFON/ACOM)

In some of the daytime observations, a UFO will appear to be traveling at the same speed and elevation as a small aircraft without displaying any of the usual attributes that normally distinguishes a UFO from any man-made devices. Sometimes, the object is described as a pure white oval or cigar-shape, moving along in a straight path, and keeping a steady pace until it disappears from sight. I have been a witness to a few of these sightings, including one which I video-taped back in May 1992.

Blind River, Ontario - February 16, 2019

Hanmer, Ontario - May 2, 1996

Some observers of daytime UFO sightings have also reported seeing a dark object instead of a light-colored one, such as in this case from Scotland, June 2, 2018.

Scotland, United Kingdom - June 2, 2018

7) Level of High Strangeness

In the category of High Strangeness, you will find characteristics associated with UFOs that are way outside of the performance envelope of any conventional aircraft. Once you've reached that point of High Strangeness, you can only come to one conclusion: UFOs are extraterrestrial in origin!

As early as the 1950s, UFOs have been captured on infrared cameras! One recent case took place on March 5, 2004, in the Campeche region of Mexico. The video, filmed by pilots using an infrared camera, shows 11 bright objects moving rapidly in the sky. The objects were reported to be invisible to the eye - the pilots turned on the infrared camera to track them after three of them were picked up by the radar.

Some of the objects were reportedly
picked up by air force radar.

There are many other cases when UFOs were visible to the naked eye, and yet, totally undetected by radar instruments!

UFOs have the ability to split in two or more parts. In some rare cases, the object is stationary and produces secondary objects (sometimes referred to as "satellite objects"). In other cases, small lights of various colors have been seen merging with the main object!

It has also been reported that UFOs have the ability to switch themselves off like a light bulb when intercepting military jets would approach them. Once the jets have left the area, the object would then switch itself on again!

UFOs also have the ability to change their shape or camouflage themselves as conventional vehicles, which would make it easy for them to perform their "job" without attracting too much attention. Shape-shifting UFOs are a fascinating aspect of this phenomenon because it demonstrates an ability that our own man-made aircraft cannot do!

UFOs have the ability to make 90° right angle turns without slowing down, which is something conventional aircraft cannot do.

UFOs have the ability to submerge into lakes and oceans with ease, becoming USOs or Unidentified Submerged Objects. Incredibly, they have been tracked on sonar at depths of 20,000 feet, which is impossible for man-made submersibles because the crush depth of submarines is at 7,000 feet! After being under the water for a certain period of time, they re-surface and fly off at great speed. No power on Earth has this kind of technology!

UFOs also have the ability to "suck" or drain electrical power directly from high voltage lines, which sometimes results in power interruptions or power blackouts. Several such incidents have taken place in the Sudbury area and elsewhere!

UFOs that have been seen on or near the ground have left behind physical traces of various kinds: burn rings, flattened grass, unusual oil-type residues, total dehydration of the soil, landing gear marks that are deep enough to indicate something of tremendous weight. In cases of Close Encounters, UFOs have had physiological effects on witnesses, as well as plants and animals in ways that do not conform with any natural phenomena or man-made devices.

The incredible dimensions of the so-called "Mother Ships", and the way they hover and slowly navigate our skies, not to mention the lack of engine sounds or visible means of propulsion negate the possibility that these are super-secret, experimental aircraft developed by the U.S. military. The sophistication and highly advanced level of technology demonstrated by these otherworldly objects makes it impossible for us to deny their extraterrestrial origin.

If these extremely large and silent objects were truly the product of earth-based technology and development, the United States Air Force would be using these amazing vehicles instead of noisy jet fighters to fight their wars. They would attain absolute control of the air space and they'd have the power to attack any country in the world with impunity!

8) Duration of sighting

Most UFO sightings last only seconds or a few minutes, but there have been many instances when UFOs have remained in full view for an hour or more, giving eyewitnesses the opportunity to observe and "soak in" their observations for an extensive period of time. Then later, when they report their encounter, they can remember everything in great detail.

Unlike a three-second car accident, which is something we normally see and happens fairly frequently and where details can be easily forgotten over time, UFO eyewitnesses will recall every detail of their sighting because it is etched in their minds. When you see something that you are not accustomed to, you remember it forever!

UFO sightings are so much out of the ordinary that the witnesses remember the incident as if it happened yesterday. I've had recent cases where the witnesses have come forward to report things they saw way back in the 1950s! It is something they will remember until the day they die!



9. Description of Craft

Documented extraterrestrial craft (UFOBs) are classified in one of four categories based on general shape, as follows:

a. Elliptical, or disc shape. This type of craft is of a metallic construction and dull aluminum in color. They have the appearance of two pie-pans or shallow dishes pressed together and may have a raised dome on the top or bottom. No seams or joints are visible on the surface, giving the impression of one-piece construction. Discs are estimated from 50-300 feet in diameter and the thickness is approximately 15 per cent of the diameter, not including the dome, which is 30 per cent of the disc diameter and extends another 4-6 feet above the main body of the disc. The dome may or may not include windows or ports, and ports are present around the lower rim of the disc in some instances. Most disc-shaped craft are equipped with lights on the top and bottom, and also around the rim. These lights are not visible when the craft is at rest or not functioning. There are generally no visible antenna or projections. Landing gear consists of three extendible legs ending in circular landing pads. When fully extended this landing gear supports the main body 2-3 feet above the surface at the lowest point. A rectangular hatch is located along the equator or on the lower surface of the disk.

b. Fuselage or cigar shape. Documented reports of this type of craft are extremely rare. Air Force radar reports indicate they are approximately 2 thousand feet long and 95 feet thick, and apparently they do not operate in the lower atmosphere. Very little information is available on the performance of these craft, but radar reports have indicated speeds in excess of 7,000 miles per hour. They do not appear to engage in the violent and erratic maneuvers associated with the smaller types.

c. Ovoid or circular shape. This type of craft is described as being shaped like an ice cream cone, being rounded at the large end and tapering to a near-point at the other end. They are approximately 30-40 feet long and the thick end diameter is approximately 20 per cent of the length. There is an extremely bright light at the pointed end, and this craft usually travels point down. They can appear to be any shape from round to cylindrical, depending upon the angle of observation. Often sightings of this type of craft are elliptical craft seen at an inclined angle or edge-on.

d. Airfoil or triangular shape. This craft is believed to be new technology due to the rarity and recency of the observations. Radar indicates an isosceles triangle profile, the longest side being nearly 300 feet in length. Little is known about the performance of these craft due to the rarity of good sightings, but they are believed capable of high speeds and abrupt maneuvers similar to or exceeding the performance attributed to types "a" and "c".

Hangar 1 takes a look into the discovery of a top-secret Special Operations Manual.


Identification of Parts

Technical Overview - Brief overview of UFO parts and technical layouts
Tech Geek - out of this world photos for the true Parts Geek
Parts Surplus - Find parts of any kind
Parts Geek - automotive parts for the tech savy
Piper Parts - explore different parts of aircrafts

Sketches/Photos copyright of holders. No infringement intended. For educational purposes only.