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ALSACAT:

As its name suggests, ALSACAT is my comprehensive catalog of UFO sighting reports in Alsace, the region is the North-East of France, whether they are "explained" or "unexplained".

The ALSACAT catalog is made of case files with a case number, summary, quantitative information (date, location, number of witnesses...), classifications, all sources mentioning the case with their references, a discussion of the case in order to evaluate its causes, and a history of the changes made to the file. A general index and thematic sub-catalogs give access to these Alsatian case files.

Case of Fellering, on March 19, 1977:

Case number:

ALSACAT-1977-03-19-FELLERING-1

Summary:

In his 1978 book about UFOs, journalist Robert Roussel stated that the newspaper "L'Est Republican" wrote that a dozen people in Saint-Amarin observed dots of moving lights on Saturday, March 19, 1977, at 09:30 p.m.

But the regional press had mentioned debris from the satellite balloon Pageos. This would have caused an "epidemic of UFOs" in the Vosges mountains and especially in the Thur valley where ten people were intrigued during the week by luminous objects. The phenomenon usually lasted about thirty minutes.

However, a last sighting made by a family in St. Amarin, the press said 2 days after, could eliminate the hypothesis of the balloon, since the UFO observed on Saturday night, March 19, 1977, from 09:30 p.m. on in Fellering "had moved below the line of ridges. if it were a balloon envelope, it certainly was not lit at this low altitude, and would probably not have remained in the air for half an hour. Strange... "

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: March 19, 1977
Time: ~09:30 p.m.
Duration: ?
First known report date: March 21, 1977
Reporting delay: Hours, 2 days.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Fellering
Place: ?
Latitude: 47.895
Longitude: 6.987
Uncertainty ratio: 5 km

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 2 or more
Number of known witnesses: 0
Number of named witnesses: 0
Witness(es) ages: ?
Witness(es) types: A family from St. Amarin.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: The regional Press.
Type of location: Valley.
Visibility conditions: Night.
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: ?
Entities: No
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: ?
Witnesses interpretation: ?

Classifications:

Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Unidentified, insufficient information.

Sources:

[Ref. la1:] "L'ALSACE" NEWSPAPER:

The UFOs: probably a fragment of the "PAGEOS" satellite

"UFOs". They were called "flying saucers" not so long ago.

But then, the craft that people thought they saw in the sky were shaped like saucers. The craft that are currently reported in the firmament of the day and night, have odd shapes that are disks, but more often cubes, trapezes, cigars or triangles. A young scientist, Dr. D. K. was an observer at the Meudon Observatory, satellite service, and this is uniquely qualified to speak. He says:

"The sightings which appeared in "L'Alsace" may refer to the passage of the balloon-satellite "Pageos" in orbit since 1966; which exploded in July 1975, leaving about 80 fragments, some of which are falling presently. The object currently visible in the sky is a piece of the big shell (mylar), turning on itself and clearly visible to the naked eye at times, this until mid-April. revolution period 178.8 minutes.

Current schedule: 03/17 -21h13 (standard time) in the east at 60 degrees up; 03/18 -21h03 at 58 degrees 03/19 -20h54 at 56 degrees.

These passes take about 25 minutes from horizon to horizon. Direction: South to North, at times invisible to the naked eye.

Many features described by your readers (in Sausheim and in Riedisheim) can be explained by the satellite pass (stellar aspect, variable brightness). The altitude is a fantasy because it cannot be determined directly. The different aspects (bananas, trapeze ...) can be explained by chromatic aberrations common to binocular."

[Ref. la2:] "L'ALSACE" NEWSPAPER:

Epidemic UFO in the Vosges?

Thann. -- A UFO epidemic appeared in the Vosges mountains and especially in the Thur valley where about ten people were intrigued during the week by luminous objects. This phenomenon, which usually lasted about thirty minutes, would have been caused, according to some opinion, by fragments of a balloon satellite that exploded and which currently falls back to earth.

However, the last observation made by a family in St. Amarin, could invalidate the hypothesis of the balloon. Indeed, the UFO observed by these people on Saturday night from 21:30 on in Fellering would have evolved below the line of ridges. If it were a balloon envelope, it would certainly not have been lit at this low altitude, and probably would not look have stayed in the air for half an hour. Strange...

[Ref. rr1:] ROBERT ROUSSEL:

From L'Est Républicain.

In the valley of the Thur, in the south of the Vosges, a dozen people from Saint-Amarin (Haut-Rhin) observed moving luminous dot, on Saturday, March 19, 1977, at approximately 09:30 p.m.. Shortly later, near Longuyon (Meurthe-et-Moselle), a witness photographed a "UFO" above the city of Viviers-sur-Chiers.

The phenomenon; which was followed by a light sometimes red, sometimes orange, blue, or green - was followed during several minutes.

Discussion:

A balloon satellite, also referred to as a "satelloon", is a satellite fitted with a balloon that is inflated with gas after it has been put into orbit.

The Pageos balloon was specially launched by NASA in 1966 for the "global network of satellite geodesy", which occupied about 20 full-time observing teams all over the world until 1973. They recorded 3000 usable photographic plates from 46 tracking stations. The coordinator of this project was Professor H. H. Schmid, from the ETH Zurich.

PAGEOS in test inflation.

The Pageos satellite partly disintegrated in July 1975, then again in January 1976. This resulted in the release of a large number of fragments. Most of these re-entered during the following decade, but at least one piece is still in orbit in 2016.

Pageos had been mentioned as a potential cause for future UFO sightings in ufology magazines such as "SkyLook" (MUFON) and "Phénomènes Spatiaux" (GEPA) in the 1960s.

There is little information about this sighting. I need to rely on L'Alsace newspaper and the reasons they give to indicate that this was not caused by Pageos debris.

Evaluation:

Unidentified, insufficient information.

Sources references:

* = Source is available to me.
? = Source I am told about but could not get so far. Help needed.

File history:

Authoring:

Main author: Patrick Gross
Contributors: None
Reviewers: None
Editeur: Patrick Gross

Changes history:

Version: Create/changed by: Date: Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross March 22, 2016 Creation, [la1], [la2], [rr1].
1.0 Patrick Gross March 22, 2016 First published.

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This page was last updated on March 22, 2016