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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 Munster, on May 4, 2013:

Case number:

ALSACAT-2013-05-04-MUNSTER-1

Summary:

In early March 2014, I found a report on a UFO website by "Patrick", who says that in Munster, in the Haut-Rhin, on May 4, 2013, he was upstairs in his bedroom at the computer, and his mother was on the ground floor watching television, when, at 09:30 p.m., his mother joined him upstairs and went to one of two windows saying: "I need to check out something weird".

She then asked him to come at the window, explaining that she had noticed something out of the window from the ground floor when she was watching television, and had watched it for a few minutes before deciding to go upstairs.

Like her mother, Patrick sees "a kind of big star, about 10 times bigger than the other stars in the sky", which seemed closer than the stars but still quite distant.

It is of a very marked orange color and it scintillates. It remains motionless, no movement during this time, like a real star. He observed it in his turn for 2 minutes. He went to get his camera, while his mother was getting her own camera, but when he returned to the window the "star" had completely disappeared from the sky, invisible in any of the directions in which he looked.

He says he does not understand how an object so big and of this color can remain absolutely stationary in the same place for ten minutes and disappear completely within a few seconds, and if it was "a projection from the ground, there would have been a beam, but there was none."

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: May 4, 2013
Time: ~09:30 p.m.
Duration: 10 minutes.
First known report date: MArch 1, 2014, or earlier.
Reporting delay: Hours, months?

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Munster
Place: From inside home, ground floor and upstairs, UFO in the sky.
Latitude: 48.041
Longitude: 7.135
Uncertainty ratio: 2 km

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: ?
Number of known witnesses: ?
Number of named witnesses: ?
Witness(es) ages: 1 young or adult, 1 adult or aged.
Witness(es) types: Man or tennager, his mother.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: On the web to UFO website "OVNI-France.fr".
Type of location: From inside home, ground floor and upstairs, UFO in the sky.
Visibility conditions: Night
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: No
UFO departure observed: No
Entities: No
Photographs: No. UFO gone before.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: Puzzled.
Witnesses interpretation: ?

Classifications:

Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Unidentified, low strangeness, lack of data.

Sources:

[Ref. of1:] "OVNI-FRANCE.FR" WEBSITE:

05/04/2013 - (Dep.68) - A big ball/star of marked orange color and shining

Date: 05/042013

Department: 68 (Haut-Rhin)

Localization: Munster

Time: 21h30

Numbers [sic] of witnesses: 2 people

Type of observation: NL: Nocturnal Lights

Approxima [sic] duration of the observation: 10 minutes

What was seen: A big ball/star of marked orange color and shining

Description of the facts:

I was upstairs in my room at the computer. My mother being on the ground floor watching TV. Around 9:30 p.m., I hear my mother going up the stairs. She arriveds in my room and headed for one of the two windows saying "I need to check something weird." Then she asked me to come have a look. She explained to me that she noticed that by the window downstairs as she was watching the TV for a few minutes before deciding to go upstairs. Like her, I see a kind of big star, about 10 times bigger than the other stars in the sky. It seems closer but is still quite far away. It is of a very pronounced orange color and sparkles. It remains motionless, no movement during this time, like a real star. I watch in my turn for 2 minutes. The time to get my camera and go to the window (my mother going downstairs to get hers) and the "Star" had complete tely disappeared from the sky and this, in all directions in which I look. I do not understand how such a large object and of that color can remain absolutely stationary in the same place for ten minutes and disappear completely within a few seconds. If it had been a projection from the ground, there would have been a beam, but here, nothing.

patrick68000

Discussion:

This orange light remained motionless for ten minutes at least, then after the few seconds when the witnesses did not watch, it was gone. It may well be a "real UFO", something unidentified, perhaps something out of the ordinary.

There are still some possible common explanations immediately come to mind, that we can consider:

The "red moon" is the moon, when it takes a very orange hue. But generally it happens at Fall. One might also wonder about the "10 times bigger than a star" description, rarely used to describes the size of the moon when it is not recognized as such.

One could also argue that the moon does not disappear from the sky in "a few seconds". But nothing tells us that there was not at least one cloud and a little wind and a cloud could then come to hide the moon. This is a little far-fetched, it is 09:30 p.m., it was in May, the sky was not that dark in principle, a cloud would probably have been noticed. Unlikely but not impossible. We are left to check wether the moon was visible in the sky at this place, date and time.

The moon was not visible.

Projectors of the "Skytracers" are used in the Vosges valleys. They do generate UFO sighting reports. Such an explanation requires some constraints, there must be a fairly low cloud layer with a totally dry air below, so that, as indicated by the witness, we get the luminous thing in the sky but no beam below. Only the meeting point of the projector beam with the cloud layer would be visible. This is a scenario that seems unlikely, but not impossible.

Then, with possibly the same mechanism of a cloud coming to hide the thing, was it perhaps Mars? No, because this planet was not visible. Was it Jupiter, which also could be called "10 times bigger than a star" and may appear orange too?

Jupiter was in the sky. It was at the azimuth 292° - unfortunately the witness gives no direction of observation - at an elevation of 10°, which can put it, viewed from the Munster valley, just above the visual obstacles on the ground. It is setting down, so maybe it ended hidden by an obstacle on the ground. The distance from Jupiter to Earth varies from 588 millions km to 988 millions km, here it was at 884 million kilometers, it is not the closest, but then it was almost entirely lit by the sun, with 99% of its surface being illuminated, giving a magnitude of -2.

An isolated Chinese lantern is nothing impossible. When new users buy lanterns for some party, they usually buy several, to make a launch of several lanterns, but the temptation is often to drop just one before, to "check it out", to give it a try before the date of the launch of all of them.

A Chinese lantern could remain visible for ten minutes, and mptionless, if there is no wind or if a slight wind is aligned with the direction of observation (weather archive of the Basel Mulhouse airport give for this date and hour an average wind of only 2 km / h to 11 km / h). It might turn off in a few seconds. This is a possible explanation.

The "marked orange color", the size "10 times bigger than a star", the scintillation, the rapid disappearance, make this explanation my favorite, along with that of Jupiter.

We should have had better data, or a field investigation, to check out these possibilities. Here we lacks a precise angular size, a viewing direction, the elevation angle of the thing, the specific place with its terrain obstacles, etc.

Evaluation:

Unidentified, low strangeness, lack of data.

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 25, 2014 Creation, [of1].
1.0 Patrick Gross March 25, 2014 First published.

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This page was last updated on March 25, 2014