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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 the Bas-Rhin, on December 17, 2007:

Case number:

ALSACAT-2007-12-17-BASRHIN-2

Summary:

Three ufology sources published a testimony of a person saying he is an air traffic controller and therefore interested in what happens in the sky, who said that on Monday, December 17, 2007, with another person, he saw at about 11:30 p.m. "like a large fireball and close to me (about 200m)," that he thinks was not very high in the sky "in view of its size."

He described: "It was like something resembling a rock with a trail of fire. Lasting 10 seconds it had a diagonal trajectory towards the ground, then suddenly nothing, the "ball" extinguished and disappeared silently (so no explosion)."

The place is given as "above a forest in northern Alsace."

The person added that "of course" none of his colleagues believed him, that no loss of aircraft had been reported, that there had been nothing on the radars at work, and nothing found in the forest.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: December 17, 2007
Time: ~11:30
Duration: 10 secondes.
First known report date: January 2008
Reporting delay: 2 weeks.

Geographical data:

Department: Bas-Rhin
City: ?
Place: Near a forest in northern Alsace, UFO in the sky.
Latitude: 49.946
Longitude: 7.737
Uncertainty ratio: 50 km

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 2
Number of known witnesses: 1
Number of named witnesses: 0
Witness(es) ages: Adult.
Witness(es) types: Male air traffic controller and someone else.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: By the web to UFO websites.
Type of location: Near a forest, UFO in the sky.
Visibility conditions: Night.
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: Yes
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: Meteor.

Sources:

[Ref. sp1:] SPICA UFOLOGY GROUP:

Alsace of the North (67) Monday, December 17, 2007

Source: SPICA

I saw Monday, December 17th around 11:30 p.m. like a large ball of fire and close to me (about 200m), and which I think was not very high in the sky given its size.It was like a thing resembling a rock with a trail of fire. Lasting 10 seconds it had a diagonal trajectory towards the ground, then suddenly nothing, the "ball" is extinct and disappeared silently (so no explosion). It happened above a forest in northern Alsace. I am an air traffic controller and therefore interested in what is happening in our sky. Of course nobody believed me at work. No loss of aircraft reported, nothing on our radar and nothing in the forest. What reassures me is that we are 2 who saw the same thing.

[Ref. rn1:] "RESEAU NATIONAL CIVIL DE SURVEILLANCE DU CIEL":

12/17/2007 - 11:30 p.m. - Bas-Rhin (67) - Mobile fire ball

Witness report deposited on the website of the SPICA association: www.spica.org

Quote:

Well here it is, I've seen around 11:30 p.m. Monday, December 17 like a ball of fire of rather large size and close to me (about 200m) and which, I think, was not very high in the sky given its size. .. in short, it felt like something resembling a rock with a trail of fire... it lasted 10 seconds and had a diagonal trajectory towards the ground... then suddenly nothing, the "ball" was extinct and disappeared seilently (so no explosion)... it happened above a forest in Northern Alsace.... I am an air traffic controller and therefore interested in what happens in our sky... Of course nobody believed me at work... ... that's normal... so so... No aircraft reported missing, nothing on our radar and nothing in the forest... what reassures me is that we were 2 who saw the same thing...

[Ref. cu1:] "LA CENTRALE UFOLOGIQUE":

UFO testimony

Map of th testimonies deposited on the network of La Centrale Ufologique so far

Bas-Rhin (precise location not communicated) 12/17/07

bon voilà, j'ai vu lundi 17 décembre vers 23h30 comme une boule de feu de plutot grande taille et proche de moi (200m environ),et qui je pense n'était pas trés haute dans le ciel au vu de sa taille..... right now, I've seen around 23:30 Monday, December 17 as a fireball of rather large size and close to me (about 200m), and which I think was not very high in the sky in view of its size .. ...

bref,ça faisait comme une chose ressemblante à un rocher avec une trainée de feu....ça a duré 10s et avait une trajectoire diagonale en direction du sol.....puis soudain, plus rien,la "boule" s'est éteinte et a disparu sans bruit (donc pas d'explosion)..... short, it felt like a similar thing to a rock with a trail of fire .... it lasted 10s and had a diagonal trajectory towards the ground ..... then suddenly nothing, the "ball" s' is off and disappeared quietly (so no explosion)

it happened above a foredt in northern alsace....

je suis controleur aérien et donc intéressé par ce qui se passe dans notre ciel.....biensur personne ne m'a cru au boulot...normal.... I air controller and therefore interested in what is happening in our sky ..... biensur nobody believed me at work ... normal ....

so so....no loss of aircraft reported, nothing on our radar and nothing in the forest.....

what reassures me is that we were 2 who saw the same thing.

Discussion:

An air traffic controller in his job do not look at all at the sky, he looks on symbols on screens showing air traffic. It is not very surprising that there he could not recognize a meteor. What matters is that he describes very well, "something resembling a rock with a trail of fire."

I'm not even surprised anymore that three UFO groups published his story without even understanding what was described, or at least without mentioning possibility of a meteor, all claiming it is a "UFO sighting." Is it because one still does not understand in 2007 that a visual estimate of distance to an unknown object seen just 10 seconds is worthless since it is not within the 50 meters allowing stereoscopic vision, and when there is no landmark behind to give a maximum distance?

Should I add that ordinary radar sets can not detect meteors, as they are much too high? There was little chance that the potential meteorite would have fallen in the forest next to the witnesses, as meteors are usually 80 kilometers up in the sky, so that they could fall a thousand kilometers away from the observers?

Finally, from December 7 to 17, the Earth is under the fire of the Geminids meteor shower.

Evaluation:

Meteor.

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 July 22, 2015 Creation, [sp1], [cu1], [rn1].
1.0 Patrick Gross July 22, 2015 First published.

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This page was last updated on July 22, 2015