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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 in Rixheim, on November 5, 1990:

Case number:

ALSACAT-1995-11-05-RIXHEIM-1

Summary:

Sure that on November 5, 1990, there was a UFO wave over France, ufologist Franck Marie noted a letter of November 8, 1990, with two witnesses of a sighting in "Mulhouse", "rue du Chardonnet", on November 5, 1990, at 07:05 p.m.

In the letter, a witness report that as he or she was closing the bedroom shutters, at night, his or her glance was attracted to the sky where there was a lumineous trail moving at slow speed, on a "precise trajectory", horizontal.

Looking better, he or she saw two luminous spots, "one at the right, one at the left" that resembled stars, but moved at the same constant speed than the trail of light.

The report is illustrated of this sketch:

Scan

Franck Marie adds that the witness dad dreamed of "UFO" during the night and talked about it at diner 10 minutes before the sighting.

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: 07:05 p.m.
Duration: ?
First known report date: November 8, 1990
Reporting delay: 3 days.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Rixheim
Place: From behind windows on Chardonneret street in Rixheim, UFO in the sky.
Latitude: 47.747
Longitude: 7.396
Uncertainty ratio: 100 m

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 2
Number of known witnesses: 1
Number of named witnesses: ?
Witness(es) ages: ?
Witness(es) types: ?

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Letter.
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: ?
Witnesses interpretation: ?

Classifications:

Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Space junk reentry.

Sources:

[Ref. fm1:] FRANCK MARIE:

07:05 p.m. 68 MULHOUSE (Rue du Chardonnet)

47°4545n -7°21e 2 witnesses (Letter of 11/08/90)

"As I was about to close the shutters of my bedroom at about 7:05 p.m. (it was night), my eyes were drawn to the sky when I saw a streak of light that moved at slow speed ... on a precise trajectory, horizontal. I looked more closely and saw two bright dots (one right, one left) which reminded me of stars, but moved at the same constant speed as the trail of light..."

  • Transit: W/E, passage zenith-N(800)
  • seen BS(13), EM(36), PW(flight)
  • Had dreamed of ufo during the night, talked about it at diner 10 mn before!

The report is illustrated of 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

________________________________________

68D;MULHOUSE; 47.75;-7.35
07:05 p.m. +-;;E;N
80;; 935/-93
Ball with luminous trail surrounded of 2 small lights

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.

As for this case, although it is vers poorly documented, everything matches the rentry of the Russian rocket debris. I note that there is no "rue des Chardonnets" in Mulhouse, and that it was probably seen from the rue des Chardonnerets in Rixheim, a Mulhouse suburb.

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 30, 2015 Creation, [fm1], [ra1].
1.0 Patrick Gross May 30, 2015 First published.

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This page was last updated on May 30, 2015