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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 somewhere North of Strasbourg, on August 4, 2003:

Case number:

ALSACAT-2003-08-04-NORD-STRASBOURG-1

Summary:

On August 5, 2003, Christian Morgenthaler, of the SPICA Alsatian ufology group, informed the SPICA investigative team that a sighting was reported somewhere north of Strasbourg on August 4, 2003. The summary description was about a blurry cloud visible for six hours, from 00:00 to 06:00 a.m., to the North.

There were two witnesses, the youngest seemed impressed by what he saw, and photos were taken with a 4 megapixels digital camera.

Both witnesses had asked the newspaper Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace if there had been other witnesses.

Christian Morgenthaler and Dominique Schall of the SPICA met the witnesses on August 7, 2003, at 08:30 p.m.. They learn that the phenomenon was in reality observed for two hours, from 04:00 a.m. to 06:00 a.m., and to the south, at the approximate angle of 210°.

The photos showed the inevitable "shake". The two best ones, taken at 05:30 a.m. and 06:00 a.m., were shown to them as printouts by the witnesses. As they had thought to include a foreground, the phenomenon could be located respectively at 205° and 215°.

The youngest witness told them:

"I had decided, due to the heat wave, to spend the night from Sunday to Monday (the 3rd to 4th August) in the garden. About four in the morning I was awakened by the strange noise made by the pump of the pool. This happens from time to time and it is a technical problem. Waking up, I felt like something was just above the house standing still in the sky, just at the place where I saw the phenomenon. It had the form of a luminous ball of yellow / white color. Somewhat perplexed, I observed for a while before taking the first pictures and finally waking up my father. You can imagine his reaction!"

The father agreed to stand up and watched the thing too. His description differed somewhat from that of his son since he said he saw a luminous ball of yellow-white color, but with the impression that other smaller balls turned around it.

However, it was much less impressed than his sons, thinking that many other people see the same thing. Together, they took more photos, especially from the first floor of their residence.

With the photos, SPICA noted that the UFO was right on the ecliptic plane, so that an astronomical explanation could be fit. After having thought of the Moon, they determined that the UFO was Mars, who was then only 55 million kilometers from the earth. This was conformed by the ephemeris.

They enforced the explanation by the use of comparator for the two witnesses who give slightly overestimated values, but still correct, especially as the presence of haze had allowed the light from Mars to spread.

They thank the witnesses as well as a professional astronomer who helped them, suggesting mistakenly the Altair star.

The mother of the youngest witness had contacted the police by phone, SPICA thanks them for taking the affair seriously and SPICA concluded that all testimonials are important for a better knowledge of the UFO phenomenon.

The SPICA had published one of the pictures, it is visible below in this file.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: August 4, 2003
Time: 04:00 a.m.
Duration: 2 hours.
First known report date: August 5, 2003
Reporting delay: 1 day.

Geographical data:

Department: Bas-Rhin
City: ?
Place: From the garden somewhere North of Strasbourg, UFO in the garden.
Latitude: 48.657
Longitude: 7.767
Uncertainty ratio: 20 km

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 2
Number of known witnesses: 2
Number of named witnesses: 2
Witness(es) ages: ?
Witness(es) types: Father and son.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Reported to the regional Press, then SPICA investigation.
Type of location: ?
Visibility conditions: Night
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: ?
Entities: No
Photographs: Yes.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: Puzzled.
Witnesses interpretation: ?

Classifications:

Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Planet Mars.

Sources:

[Ref. sp1:] SPICA UFOLOGY GROUP:

Dominique Schall reported that the SPICA Tuesday, August 5, 2003, a message of Christian Morgenthaler (the SPICA also) inform the SPICA investigation team to a comment somewhere north of Strasbourg. There is a brief description of what would have been visible as a fuzzy cloud for six hours, from 0:00 to 6:00, heading north.

There were two witnesses whose youngest seemed impressed by what he saw, managed to take pictures with a digital camera.

The two witnesses have contacted the SPICA through the latest newspaper Nouvelles d'Alsace: they were first sent to this newspaper to see if there were other observers.

Christian Morgenthaler and Dominique Schall took an appointment with the witnesses for Thursday, August 7 at 8:30 p.m.. At the scene, they realize that the original description is to review: the phenomenon was observed for two hours, from 4:00 to 6:00, to the south, around the 210 ° angle.

Pictures taken with a digital camera four mega pixels, were interesting despite the inevitable "shake". The two most impressive, taken at 5:30 ET 6:00, they are submitted on paper drawing by witnesses. As they had the presence of mind to include a foreground, the phenomenon fear being located respectively at 205 ° and 215 °.

The main witness them described the conditions of his observation:

"I decided, because of a heat wave, to spend the night from Sunday to Monday (of the 3 to 4 August) in the garden. About four in the morning I was awakened by the abnormal noise made by the pump the pool. This happens from time to time and it is a technical problem. Therefore being waking up, I felt like something had just above the house stand still in the sky, just to the place where I saw the phenomenon. It comes in the form of a luminous ball yellow / white. Pretty perplexed, I observed for a piece of time before taking the first pictures and finally wake up my father. You can imagine his reaction!"

The father accepts to stand and observe the thing to turn. His description is somewhat different from that of his son, he saw a bright ball, as yellow / white color, but with the impression that other smaller balls turn around. However, it is much less arrested his son, and assumes that many other people see the same thing. Together, they take more photos, especially from the first floor of their residence.

The SPICA welcomes this decision photographic references, essential, even if it is not always easy to have a handy camera.

Soon, investigators find that the phenomenon is located right on the plane of the ecliptic, "that imaginary line which pass the planets, the Sun and the Luno", and that the future is looking identification of the astronomical side. Thinking of a planet, they ask the witness to take a photo of moonrise with the digital camera used during the observation. They get excellent resolution photo and no longer doubt that a bright planet to be photographed with their device.

But after thinking about the Moon, they realize that the thing was the planet Mars, then just "55,678 million kilometers" [55.678] of the earth; which was confirmed to them by the ephemeris.

They support the explanation by the use of comparator for the two witnesses, who give slightly overestimated but still correct values, especially as the presence of fog had allowed the light from Mars to spread.

They thank the witnesses as well as a professional astronomer who helped them but suggesting eereur the Altair star.

The mother of the youngest witness had contacted the police by telephone, the SPICA thank them for taking the observation seriously and concludes that all testimonials are important for advancing knowledge of the UFO phenomenon and find an explanation.

The article is accompanied by this printed photograph:

Discussion:

There is no need for a discussion as the SPICA did the job.

Evaluation:

Planet Mars.

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
Editor: Patrick Gross

Changes history:

Version: Create/changed by: Date: Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross March 4, 2016 Creation, [sp1].
1.0 Patrick Gross March 4, 2016 First published.

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