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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 between Horbourg-Wihr and Houssen, on January 17, 2014:

Case number:

ALSACAT-2014-01-17-HORBOURGWIHRHOUSSEN-1

Summary:

In the beginning of March 2014, I found on a UFO reporting website a report about a "green ball of light followed by a white trail" seen during approximately 30 seconds on January 17, 2014 in the Haut-Rhin at 07:10 p.m.

The person said they were two, and saw it from Horbourg-Wihr on the road to Houssen, it was in the direction of Colmar, it was a very strange phenomenon to them, and they would like to be informed about it as soon as possible.

There is no information given in response on the website. But these people were not the only ones who saw it, as it was seen from several department in eastern France. It was a meteor, probably caused by the trail of the comet ISON; which was expected to possibly cross the earth's orbit in this period of time.

Two other, independent, reports, in Alsace, were made to an astronomy website, and in these two cases, the observers interpreted what they saw as a meteor.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: January 17, 2014
Time: 07:10 p.m.
Duration: 30 seconds
First known report date: March 1, 2014 or earlier.
Reporting delay: Hour, weeks?

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Horbourg-Wihr, Houssen
Place: Seen from Horbourg-Wihr on the road to Houssen, UFO in the direction of Colmar
Latitude: 48.089
Longitude: 7.383
Uncertainty ratio: 3 km

Witnesses data:

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

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Web report to UFO website "Ovni-France.fr".
Type of location: ?
Visibility conditions: Night
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: N/A
UFO departure observed: N/A
Entities: No
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: Puzzled.
Witnesses interpretation: Don't know.

Classifications:

Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Probable meteor probably coming from comet ISON.

Sources:

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

01/17/2014 - (Dep.68) - Green luminous ball and white trail

Date: 01/17/2014

Department: 68 (Haut-Rhin)

Localisation: colmar

Time: 19h10

Numbers [sic] of witnesses: 2 people

Type of observation: NL: Nocturnal Lights

Approxima [sic] duration of the observation: 30 secondes

What was seen: green luminous ball and white trail

Description of the facts:

A green lumnous ball followed by a white trail fell from the sky in the direction of Colmar surely, seen from horbourg wihr on the road until houssen. This phenomenon is very strange. Thank you to inform us as soon as possible.

lea.horrlandef

Discussion:

The description is a description of a meteor or space junk reentry burning in the upper atmosphere.

And it just so happens that I found two other witnesses, with observers who seem to have better understood what they saw:

[Ref. tn1:] NEGATIVE WITNESSES:

01/19/2014 18:46:06 | franz2411

Hello,

I saw today (January 17) at 7 p.m. a big sized shooting star; which was rushing from delta Cygni to Albireo (so, Beta).
I am in Holtzwihr, 3 km from Colmar

01/19/2014 19:33:22 | Fretz11

Hello,

I observed the phenomenon from my moving vehicle at the level of Mulhouse (68), on 17/01/2014 at 07:07 p.m.. The direction was from EAST to WEST.

The website also states that there were other witnesses of this meteor, mostly in the Loiret, and two videos have been recorded, one in the Vosges, by ufologist Gilles Munsch:

[Ref. ch1:] "CIEL DES HOMMES" WEBSITE:

Superb shooting star of January 17

text by Didier Jamet

published 01/18/2014

On Friday, January 17, at 07:06 p.m., a beautiful shooting star was seen over a large part of the country. Have you seen it too?

[...]

But it was also reported to have been seen in Lorraine, Alsace, Belgium, Paris and even in Le Mans.

With a magnitude (brightness measurement) recorded at the peak as -7.1, this shooting star fully deserved the title of fireball, which characterizes a meteor whose brightness exceeds that of the planet Venus (-4).

Given its relatively long decay in the atmosphere, of about 5 seconds, it is likely that the original stone should weigh several tens of kilograms, it is not excluded that some debris may have hit the ground.

It is hard to say now whether it was a sporadic meteor as it happens several times per 24 hours, or if it was a space junk form ISON as we had discussed the possibility here [Link to http://www.cidehom.com/astronomie.php?_a_id=602].

The website "Ciel des Hommes" ("Sky of Men") explains that ISON is a comet that passed near the Earth orbit in November 2013. Paul Wiegert, of the University of Western Ontario, had modeled the possible subsequent movements of its plume of dust under the effect of solar radiation pressure, and some of his models did make it cross the path of the Earth. Moreover, as the amount of dust that ISON freed in January 2013 was estimated at more than 50 tons per minute, he suggested that we could see on the Earth on or around January 15, 2014, a heavy rain of comet dust.

The puzzled witness who gave his low-strangeness report on a UFO website gave only a brief description, but without particular fantasies.

[Ref. er1:] "L'EST REPUBLICAIN":

18/01/2014 à 12:24 Vu 23068 fois

Luminous phenomena in the sky of Franche-Comté and Lorraine

Tags: Weird | Various

At similar hours last night, three testimonies sent to our editors evoke luminous phenomena in the sky of Franche-Comté, they did not all describe it the same way.

The most accurate comes from a resident of Grandfontaine, about fifteen miles west of Besancon. This retired 65-year-old man returned to this village driving his car yesterday around 07:10 p.m., with his wife. Both saw, "at about 200 meters," said the driver, a rather small "ball" (he evaluates its diameter as half a meter), of "blue-green color, and moving slower that an airplane."

They observe the phenomenon "for about a minute." "The object" moves "on a titled path," approaching the ground. Then "it disappears from view behind a wood." And no more news... Anyway, for the moment, no trace of a craft, whatever it is, was found on the ground.

20 minutes before, a resident of Besançon said he saw, over a neighborhood north of the city, what he describes as "a kind of meteorite," without more details.

The "timing" of another witness does not seem to fit. This (short) report sent by mail to our newspaper tells of the "fall of a glowing object" near Meroux-Moval (Territoire de Belfort), so quite in the North East of Franche-Comté, but "at 07:05 p.m.". So if there is no error, after the Besançon "meteorite" (which would have been seen a hundred kilometers west at 06:50 p.m.), and... before the "sphere" of Grandfontaine (observed at 07:10 p.m.), which is a community located even more in the West, since it is between Besançon and Dole. So it does not seem to fit...

Anyway, yesterday morning, firefighters and police in the Doubs explained they did not receive any call from the day before on this type of phenomena.

Stories about objects deemed unexplained are legion. Many end up being identified. They are, among others, meteorological probes. Or "Chinese lanterns" (these decorative hot air balloons, used in parties), as in Besançon in April 2011, and less than a month ago, in Belfort, on the night of New Year's Eve. But cases remain which remain perfect puzzles. Hence the relevance of collecting evidence and try to verify them.

Joel Mamet

Update Saturday 05:50 p.m.: numerous testimonies came to us via our Facebook page with multiple observations of phenomena in Franche-Comté but also in Lorraine. These lights were observed particularly in the Meuse and Meurthe-et-Moselle, by motorists, children, adults and even a practicing football. Our colleagues of Le Bien Public [a newspaper] also collected testimonies in the Saône-et-Loire and Côte d'Or. There is for example Yvette indicating she saw a meteor that exploded in the sky above Navilly. Later in the evening, it is Julien who claims to have seen "a point of light cross the sky from east to west at breakneck speed over Ladoix-Serrigny". These were likely meteors, small fragments of comets that burn upon entering the atmosphere.

On the side of ufology, or some kind of ufology, the inevitable Christian Macé gave on his "UFO and Paranormal" blog a link to the article in the East Républicain, but headlined "UFO or meteorite January 17 2014 in the East of France" [cm1]. And moreover, he adds under "UFO filmed in Lure Besançon Nancy East France January 17, 2014," and "UFOs eastern France January 17, 2014" [cm2]. Note that "UFO filmed in Lure", whatever it was, has nothing to do with the meteor.

I also find this claim about "many UFOs":

[Ref. ap1:] SITE WEB "ACTIVITE PARANORMALE":

Many UFOs observed in eastern France

1:43 p.m. | Tags : UFO

January 17, 2014 at dusk, eastern France was invaded by a multitude of luminous UFOs. This case, reported by the Press, has an incredible number of witnesses. At the moment, it seems that this is the somewhat incorrect meteorite thesis that is chosen.

The set of observations goes over several hours. All occurred while the sun had set. The French newspaper, l'Est Républicain, collected three inspiring stories. What is surprising is that these three stories that have significant differences may mean that we do not necessarily deal with the same objects.

The most accurate description comes from a resident of Grandfontaine, a small town of just 1,500 inhabitants and located about fifteen miles west of Besancon, the Doubs. Around 7:10 p.m., this retired 65-year-old returned home in his car with his wife. The couple then saw at "200 meters", a kind of small "ball" of almost 50 centimeters in diameter and "of blue-green color, and moving slower than a plane."

The observation lasted about a minute. It moved "on a tilted trajectory" and was getting closer to the ground. And then the object totally disappeared from the view of our two witnesses, "behind a tree." No trace or crash landing were been found to date.

Twenty minutes before, in the northern suburbs of Besançon, a resident saw "a kind of meteorite." The latter could not give more details.

The third testimony comes from Meroux-Moval (a town in the Territory of Belfort, a neighboring department). At 7:05 p.m., a person observed the "fall of a glowing object."

The next morning, firefighters and police in the Doubs said they had received no call on those unexplained phenomena.

In the departments of Meuse and Meurthe-et-Moselle, motorists, children, adults and a practicing football team all saw something unidentified. The Saône-et-Loire is no exception. Thus Yvette, a resident of Navilly claimed to have seen a meteor exploding in the sky. Sometime later a man named Julien said he saw "a bright spot cross the sky from east to west at breakneck speed over Ladoix -Serrigny."

The majority of these stories seem to support the theory of a meteorite. But it is not so simple. To 6:40 p.m., a resident of Lure (Haute-Saône) filmed a luminous phenomenon slowly hovering in the sky. His testimony and disorderly chronology of the meteor trail takes us into the depths of the supernatural...

For the sighting I am dealing with, nothing allows to reject the meteorite as the explanation. A meteorite is described, and there is no real strangeness at all.

The witness, as I understand, must have been leaving Horbourg-Wihr to take the road to Houssen, about 6 kilometers north of Horbourg-Wihr. If they were still close to Horbourg-Wihr, the direction of Colmar in which they say the phenomenon was, is the East. If they were further on on the road, the direction changes to the South-East.

  •  red  spot: Horbourg-Wihr.
  •  green  spot: Houssen
  •  blue  spot: Center of Colmar.

In this case, some argued that the sighting hours do not "match", and thus they doubt the meteor explanation. But two possibilities can explain that. Firstly, we do not really know how reliable the hours reported are. People do not necessarily look at the watch immediately, they think about it later and the hour they estimate can be approximate. This is why we mostly get "rounded" hours, such as "07:10 p.m.", "06:40 p.m.", etc. But also, considering the possibility of debris from comet ISON, nothing says there couldn't have been several debris at slightly different hours.

Evaluation:

Probable meteor probably coming from comet ISON.

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 6, 2014 Creation, [of1], [er1], [ch1], [tn1], [cm1], [cm2].
1.0 Patrick Gross March 6, 2014 First published.

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This page was last updated on March 6, 2014