ALSACAT -> Homeclick!
Cette page en françaisCliquez!

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 Carspach, on November 5, 1990:

Case number:

ALSACAT-1995-11-05-CARSPACH-1

Summary:

Ufologist Franck Marie published in his 1993 book about what he thought was a UFO flap on November 5, 1990 in France, a narrative by a witness apparently in Carspach, who had written a letter on November 9, 1990, after the call to witnesses he read in the newspaper L'Alsace.

He wrote he was the impressed witness of the display of that Monday, November 5, 1990, at about 7 p.m.. Looking at the sky by chance, he saw coming in his direction, from the west-southwest, lights.

He first thought it was shooting stars, and then realized it was something else:

"Following the call for witnesses published in the newspaper L'Alsace, I hasten to inform you that I was the (impressed) witness of this apparition. So this Monday 11/5 in the evening, around 7 pm, scanning the sky by chance, I saw coming towards me, coming from the west-southwest, lights. Believing I was seeing shooting stars. I realized immediately that this was something else. This resembled a huge triangle with its lights at the ends (reddish) and amidst a great light (rather white). There were no contours to see of the whole set, but it could be assumed, according to the geometry of the bright spots, it was indeed a whole set. So this set was flying horizontally to the east-northeast, without any noise. The altitude was supposed to be 200 to 300 meters. The central light (white) resembled more to a lighthouse, which was leaving a white trail, in the rear view. I did not see the same phenomenon seen from the front."

His report is illustrated with this sketch:

Scan

He explained: "My opinion is worth what it is worth. This could not have been a meteorite or satellite fragments due to the horizontal flight. Anyway, it was awesome..."

This was, of course, one of the numerous sightings of what was absolutely not a "UFO", but the flaming debris of a Russian Proton that crossed the sky of France from the South-West to the North-East on that day and time.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: November 5, 1990
Time: ~07:00 p.m.
Duration: 1 minute.
First known report date: November 9, 1991
Reporting delay: 4 days.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Carspach
Place: ?
Latitude: 47.616
Longitude: 7.210
Uncertainty ratio: 2 km

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 1
Number of known witnesses: 1
Number of named witnesses: ?
Witness(es) ages: ?
Witness(es) types: ?

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Witness letter in answer to call for witnesses in the Press.
Type of location: ?
Visibility conditions: Night
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: ?
Entities: No
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): Yes.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): Yes.
Witness(es) feelings: Impressed.
Witnesses interpretation: Not shooting stars, not meteorites, not space junk, but a huge triangle.

Classifications:

Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Space junk reentry.

Sources:

[Ref. fm1:] FRANCK MARIE:

KA 07:00 68 CARSPACH (Altkirch) (1 mn)

47°36n -7°13e 1 witness (Letter of 11/09/90)

"Following the call for witnesses published in the newspaper L'Alsace, I hasten to inform you that I was the (impressed) witness of this apparition. So this Monday 11/5 in the evening, around 7 pm, scanning the sky by chance, I saw coming towards me, coming from the west-southwest, lights. Believing I was seeing shooting stars. I realized immediately that this was something else. This resembled a huge triangle with its lights at the ends (reddish) and amidst a great light (rather white). There were no contours to see of the whole set, but it could be assumed, according to the geometry of the bright spots, it was indeed a whole set. So this set was flying horizontally to the east-northeast, without any noise. The altitude was supposed to be 200 to 300 meters. The central light (white) resembled more to a lighthouse, which was leaving a white trail, in the rear view. I did not see the same phenomenon seen from the front. My opinion is worth what it is worth: this could not be a meteorite or fragments of satellite due to the horizontal flight. Anyway, it was awesome..."

  • Transit: WSW/ENE, passage at the zenith, 300 m from the ground at most
  • A HUGE TRIANGLE with red lights at the angles
  • A big white light with a trail behind
  • Perspective effects from the front view to the rear view
  • The witness rejects the official explanation for this precise case.

The report is illustrated with this sketch:

Scan

[Ref. ra1:] ROBERT ALESSANDRI:

OBSERVATIONS FILE NOVEMBER 5, 1990

Reference;Place;Latitude;Longitude
Time;Duration (sec);Heading;Passage at the closest
Angular elevation;Dimension(m/km);Distance Atmospheric re-entry (origin/passage at the closest)
Description
Remarks

________________________________________

68M;CARSPACH; 47.6;-7.22
07:00 p.m.+-;60;ENE;
90;; 918/-103
Red lights in a triangle formation and big white with trail white in the center

Discussion:

On 5 November 1990, one or two minutes after 07:00 p.m., a very commonplace phenomenon occurred, explained, and devoid of any actual strangeness, but it nevertheless started a UFO delirium of some of the French ufologists.

The sightings started with an explosive decay over the Bay of Biscay in France, resulting in combustion fragments seen from afar, and generally, as they approached, seen as a group of three main lights - hence it was called a "triangle" - of large angular size, and followed by trails of smoke and sparks.

Once over land, the thing was seen from different angles and at various distances by people on the ground, which gives a range of quite diverse descriptions.

The thing crossed France following a line approximately from Bordeaux to Strasbourg, in silence, in a straight line without any maneuver, in two to three minutes, reaching Strasbourg at about 07:06 p.m.

There were also sightings reported from the South of England, London, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland, but not beyond.

In the evening, several Gendarmerie brigades contacted the National Center for Space Studies to report what people told them. Gendarmes brigades of Angers and Tulle got the chance to see the display themselves. In the evening, the Press service of the armies, SIRPA, confirmed that military pilots had seen something without being able to formally identify it. Near Paris airports of Orly and Roissy, the luminous phenomenon was seen from the control towers. Hundreds or even thousands of civilians reported their sightings to the authorities, the Press and other media.

Radio stations, television channels, newspapers, talk of a UFO, then a meteor, and finally the correct explanation appeared through information given by NASA: it was the entering in the atmosphere of the remains of a Russian Proton rocket launched from the Baikonur space center to put a Gorizont 21 satellite in orbit. Calculations had predicted the fallout of the rocket debris at its 36th orbit, crossing France from the South West to the North East on November 5, 1990 around 07:00 p.m.. SEPRA, then officially in charge of such matters, provided this explanation to news agencies on November 9, 1990.

In November 5, 1990 already, an amateur expert in satellites and space debris impact trajectory calculations, Pierre Neirinck, had seen himself, and had also identified the phenomenon, independently of NASA, as space junk from the Proton rocket.

Any sensible ufologist should have understood what is was from the beginning, given the descriptions, and at least understand thereafter that it was a classical space junk case. But some ufologists refused to hear anything about a rocket and continued to talk and write about it as a "UFO flap", of "400 UFOs" or even "thousands of UFOs", often mixing other, unrelated sightings that were more or less of the same day, sighting who have other explanations. This resulted in the continuing presence of this explained case as massive UFO sightings in some of the UFO literature, and of course this includes observations made in Alsace.

Now, what about this report?

The place, date, hour is that of the re-entry of the Russian space junk. We also have directions indications from the witness, He said it came from the West-South-West and went to the East-North-East. This is what the Russian space junk did.

So if this was not what this witness saw, how come he did not also see the huge display of the space junk reentry?

The testimony shows a few interesting features:

The witness clearly states that he did not see the contour of an triangular object, he says he only assumed there had to be a triangular object. In most instances, people do not really "see" a non-existing triangle, they just assume there is; but sometinms they forget to clearly state they assumed the triangle shape. Some ufologists then believe there was a triangle shape when there was not, other ufologists then claim people see things that do not exist. Both are generally wrong.

What we see here with the [fm1] document is the first type of mistake: Franck Marie, in his comment, noted it was a "huge triangle". It was not, the witness did not see a huge triangle, he saw only a huge formation of lights in a triangular formation.

A number of witnesses of this space junk event claimed that the "official explanation" is false.

Some ufologist then conclude that what they saw is not what was "officially" told.

This is a big mistake. What happens is that witnesses do no exactly know what a space junk rentry is supposed to look like, they have one or more false ideas about it. Some of the witnesse of the November 5, 1990, space junk even did specify why they rejected the "official explanation", others did not specify that.

When the reason was specified, one can see it was an error they made due to the normal lack of knowledge on their part about such events. Here, the witness rejects the explanation because what he saw was moving horizontally. He just did not know that these space debris crossed more than the entire territory of France in diagonal and thus obviously appeared to fly horizontally. In his mind, space junk should "fall down" and this did not appear to do so.

His "supposed" 200 to 300 meters altitude of the phenomenon is of course in error. It is not possible to give an altitude when observing with the naked eyes an unknown phenomenon or object against the sky without any background or landmark. Human stereoscopic vision functions only for an average range of 50 meters. The idea that it was so low must have enforced his idea that it was not satellite debris, that it was not falling but flying horizontally. The real altitude was from 80 km to 60 km.

Evaluation:

Space junk reentry.

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 May 19, 2015 Creation, [fm1], [ra1].
1.0 Patrick Gross May 19, 2015 First published.

Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict



 Feedback  |  Top  |  Back  |  Forward  |  Map  |  List |  Home
This page was last updated on May 19, 2015