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28th September 2009 WORLD OF THE STRANGE
ODD LIGHTS IN THE SKIES ABOVE GARWAY
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I would like to make one thing absolutely clear before continuing with this article. I do NOT believe that the earth has been visited, or will ever be visited in the future by extra-terrestrials. I have enough knowledge of astrophysics and the known universe to realize that, although not absolutely impossible due to gaps in our knowledge, it is highly unlikely that this will ever happen, either now or in the future. Although I also think that it is equally highly unlikely that we are the only planet in the universe harbouring intelligent life. The distances involved for travel (or even discovery), and the universal speed limit of 186,000 miles per second are just far too great. I just wanted to make this point absolutely clear, although I do hope that I get proved wrong with the former point and right with the latter one day.

This is a strange story, and although it is told partly tongue in cheek, I do tell it absolutely as it happened. Following several local reports of lights in the sky, and also following my astronomer friend, Geoff and I seeing three aircraft making totally silent, strange zigzag manoeuvres overhead whilst we were under the darkish skies of Ross Sports Centre in October last year, which we said nothing about but I am sure Geoff would vouch for me..............

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The view from about half way up Garway Hill

It was an almost perfectly clear evening on Saturday, just some evening mist in the valleys below us. Tina and I had been on top of Garway Hill for several hours to film the beautiful views, time lapse film the sunset and later, the darkness falling and the stars emerging. We had left our coats in the van at the foot of the hill and were feeling chilly. We had finished the tea in our thermos flasks and we were hungry, so at 8.20pm, we decided that we would continue filming until 9.00pm and then head for home. As the camera clicked away, we sat watching the stars. We saw two meteors, several ordinary, noisy aircraft and quite a few satellites drift silently overhead.

At 8.56 pm I pointed out to Tina what I thought was a bright, red star rising, to the right of Ross-on-Wye from our perspective - looking at the photo, possibly over Cinderford. Having a pretty good knowledge of the night sky, I realized that it should not be there and wondered what it could be. At first, Tina suggested Mars but it was twinkling, and planets do not twinkle due to the fact that they are close enough to be discerned by the human eye as a disc shape. Anyhow. I was aware that Mars was not due to rise until the early hours of the next morning. We watched it for a minute or so, rising like any other star but then I noticed it had speeded up. I pointed this out to Tina and as we watched, it rose approximately twice as fast as the other stars. Puzzled by this, we were discussing, 'perhaps it's a Chinese lantern.' Suddenly though, its movement became rapid - very fast jet speed as it changed direction and headed silently towards the south west (to our right). I began to think, 'Police helicopter perhaps?'

It was as it reached just above the opposite horizon, below the moon in the south west that this theory was discounted. Its movements had become extremely erratic. It began to zigzag, in a way which was impossibly fast for any known aircraft. It was almost as it was being buffeted from right to left and back again, a considerable distance, by a gale force wind.

The camera was still taking 15 second exposure photos of the stars rising above Ross and Cinderford at the time but I decided I MUST try to capture this and turned the lens towards the object. Unfortunately, the exposure was still set to 15 seconds and as soon at I fired the shutter, the object vanished - suddenly. The scenery in the resulting photograph was lit like daylight as a result of moonlight and the long exposure. The camera captured a few star trails but I missed the strange flying object.

This is all I can say. I have no idea what it was other than a VERY strange aircraft. Can anybody identify it? See notes accompanying the photos...


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Photo sequence above: Looking towards Ross-on-Wye (centre) and Cinderford (right) on the horizon, these 15 second exposures caught the strange craft rising very slowly but much faster than the stars above what I am pretty sure is Cinderford. You can see by the fact that the stars are not trailing that it was rising several times faster than anything astronomical. The dotted line in the sky top and second photos are the navigation lights of a passing passenger jet, flashing during the 15 second exposures. As can be seen - even taking perspective into account, the passenger plane was travelling much faster towards us at the time the object was rising.

Photo below: This is where I realized that the strange craft's movements has become extremely fast and erratic. I turned the camera to the south west, where the craft was making zigzag movements in the sky but the exposure was still set to 15 seconds and at that point the craft vanished. There are some ordinary star trails in this photo - more than in the other because the apparent movement of the stars is faster, the further away from Polaris they appear. The moon (top left and just out of the field of view) lit the night sky like day - also due to the long exposure.

This has to be some kind of man made aircraft but, what kind, I cannot imagine!


A

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