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News and observation reports, December 2008:

Some of the UFO observations and ufology news in December 2008 are listed on this page. Please note that these are not studies, but second hand observation reports, although mostly obtained from reliable and well known sources.

12.30.2008Lights or thai lanterns in Dumfries, U-K.
12.23.2008Light or thai lantern in Ardrossan, U-K.
12.21.2008MUFON Sighting Report: UFOs Over Eastland County, Texas, USA.
12.19.2008Lights or thai lanterns in Colmar, France.
12.10.2008Change of GEIPAN head, France.
12.09.2008Radio Hoax in Zagreb, Croatia.
12.08.2008Lights or thai lanterns in Teignmouth, U-K.
12.07.2008Frenchman thinks he saw and photographed a UFO armada in Tokyo, Japan.
12.07.2008Lights or thai lanterns in New Abbot and Kingsteignton, U-K.
12.05.2008UFOs or lanterns in Shotton, U-K.
12.02.2008Glycolaldehyde found in star-forming region.


Headlining "UFO spotted over Dumfries", the Dumfries and Galloway Standard reports on December 30, 2008, about a 16-year-old who saw "large orange balls with a circle of orange glow around them that was given off by the light." He said "They appeared to be moving slowly but when I looked closer and I could see a plane in the sky and it was clear they were moving very fast indeed, a lot faster than the aeroplane in the sky."

No attempt at explanation is done. The description once again matches thai lanterns, the "faster plane" could simply have been much more distant thus giving the impression the lanterns were "very fast": as any ufologist could tell, in the night there is not always landmark features that allow to tell how far unidentified lights in the sky are.


The Ardrossan Herald reports that on December 23, 2008, a resident driving past Arran View Care Home in Saltcoats at around 07:30 p.m. spotted a light in the sky, pulled in for a closer look and at first thought that it was an emergency coastguard flare.

He then changed its mind as it was moving, and described it as "orange and it looked like it was on fire."

The newspaper and local people aware of thai lanterns suggest this possibility, actually matching the description, although a comment says it is strange that there was only one of them; which is actually not strange at all as people who buy dozens of them sometimes quite simply want to make a try before launching the entire bunch at some special forthcoming occation such as Xmas eve or New Years's eve.



An nice and sympathetic lady whose granfather had a long-time interest in UFOs phoned me to report that the day before on December 19, 2008 she and her companion had seen, moving in the sky, a group of lights in the area of Colmar, Haut-Rhin, France, between 08:00 p.m. and 21:15 p.m.. These luminous dots moved at what seemed to be a high altitude, probably from East to West, by group of three, over a duration of a good hour. She did not state that those must be visitors from another planet but she was nevertheless intrigued because it was suggested to her that it was stars, which she did not think since stars do not move like that in the sky; which I confirmed to her. With the discussion, we agreed that although it is not a certainty, it could have been batches of thai lanterns, objects she had not heard of before.


On Wednesday, December 24, 2008, MUFON reports:

"Witness statement: I have already sent this report to Steve Hudgeons of MUFON in Texas. I am reporting it here, for your records."

"On Sunday, Dec. 21, 2008 at approximately 3:43 a.m., I took my dogs outside, in the back yard of our farm house, and as I am always looking at the sky, I saw an object SSW of my location. It was 60 degrees above the horizon, at an elevation of at least 5,000 ft. (my best guess). It was probably somewhere over, or just south of the small town of Cross Plains."

"The object was blinking white and red lights in rapid succession. There was also a hint of green color. At first I thought it was simply a brilliant star, or Venus but that observation changed. I carry my digital camera with me, just in case. I snapped several photos but only one came out. I apparently snapped the photos when the object would momentarily go dark."

"However, as you can see by the one image I managed to capture, that the object is clearly discernible. To the naked eye, the object was elongated, like a disk or triangle. The craft(?) stayed in the same spot in the sky for the 20 minutes I viewed it, then it vanished into the fast moving clouds, though it momentarily lit up a cloud as it was enveloped. The object made no noise. As for how I felt, well, as long as they are "up there" and not chasing me into the house like one did last month, I felt fine, still do."

"Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2008, 9:55 p.m.- Observed object earlier in the evening, as I came home from the grocery store in Cisco. As I drove home headed SW on Hwy 206, a bright object was located in the SW, approx. 60 degrees above horizon, near where Venus would be. However, there was a dark bank of high clouds above and behind the object, so Venus was not visible until well after I got home at 6:50 p.m.. I was soon briefly able to see both Venus and the object, then lower clouds moved in and both Venus and the object disappeared."

"I called my husband who is 45 miles north of me and he could see it too, though he could not make out what it looked like. To me, I could see 3 lights blinking together, on and off. Total viewing time of first sighting: 25 minutes. Later that evening at 9:55 p.m., I took my dogs outside and the object was again observed at approx. 80 degrees above horizon, due south."

"In 3 hours it had moved to the east. I could make out 3 distinct white lights together in a horizontal position. The object had 3 lights that seemed to flash together, with a brighter or lesser degree of intensity. The object was static and I observed it long enough to snap one picture, then the object blinked out to total darkness and was gone, yet I could still see the stars that were behind the object at the time. A few minutes later, clouds moved across that area of sky and I gave up searching. Total time of observation for the second sighting was about 3 minutes."

"I am located approximately 50 miles east of Dyess AFB, and approx. 95 miles west of Air Force Plant 4 (formerly Carswell AFB)."


"The departure with the retirement of the current person in charge of the GEIPAN will be effective on next December 31. His successor was named, it is Mr Yvan Blanc, 56 years old, who, since many years within the CNES, is responsible for scientific projects, in particular in astronomy."

"He will start his functions on next January 1st, but Jacques PATENET will continue to carry on an activity of consulting to the new person in charge, taking charge in particular the follow-up of the external investigators and the experts and the set up of methodological documents."


GEIPAN, succeeding GEPAN then SEPRA, is the official office of investigation on the reports of observations of UFOs within the CNES, the French space agency.


The Croatian radio station Antenna played a hoax about an alien invasion on December 9, 2008. They talked about a bright spot of light moving in the sky over the capital and fake testimonies of witnesses observing the phenomenon.

The Bulgarian Telegraph Agency and the Russian ITAR-TASS news agency apparently reported that scared residents then called the police, worried about this UFO Ó la Orson Welles.

The intent of the journalist hoaxers was apparently to ridicule Mayor Milan Bandic's plans to turn Zagreb into a police stronghold: they decided to test the authorities by "faking a Martian attack on the air." The police authorities reacted by announcing they will file a complaint against the responsible journalists for disturbing public order and spreading false information.


The "This is Devon" news web portal reports on December 10, 2008, that Keith Merritt, of Mill Lane, Teignmouth, U-K, said his son encountered at 6pm on December 8, 2008 while walking to sea cadets. Keith said a circular object about the size of a car followed his son down Mill Lane, hovering above the houses, revolving, with a number of lights emanating from it. The son, whose age is not told, started running in an attempt to escape "the object" after a a few minutes.



On September 2, 2009, the website "" headlines "UFO, vidi, vici: an armada of UFOs in the sky of Tokyo?" and publishes some photographs taken in this city close to the Tokyo Government tower, in Shinjuku, on December 7, 2008, towards 13:00 by a Frenchman who reports he observed with his friends a armada of bright balls during some 20 minutes, and said he found no explanation on the web, but similar observations.

He had tried to film them in video but the sun was too bright. He and friends did not alert anybody in the street on what they saw, and the other passers-by paid no attention to it.

He says that " All went in the same direction, but each one had its particular movement. A little like a flock of fishes or a swarm of bees."

His photographs (on of which is below) kust like his description, and the absence of real strangeness in the sighting, strongly suggest that these UFOs were just balloons, often taken for "UFO flotilla", or possibly Chinese lanterns.



The "This is Devon" news web portal reports on December 10, 2008 about sightings on December 7 between 05:30 p.m. and 06:00 p.m. in the skies above Newton Abbot and Kingsteignton. One man said "I could see circular objects following each other up through the sky. They were red lights with a kind of orangy-coloured bottom", a good description of thai lanterns.



The Daily Post, U-K., reported on December 9, 2008, that town councillor William Barton of Shotton saw UFOs on December 5 evening at about 07:44 p.m. He rushed to grab his binoculars and called on neighbours to show them the phenomenon. Apparently it was six bowl-shaped, orange "blobs" of light, with a glow of light around them coming from the Ewloe area and floating towards Shotton, that appeared and then vanished for a while. The councilor said he has an "opened mind" about UFO but as he thought they were 1500 feet high he said: "If this has been a prank, it is very irresponsible, it could have caused a terrible aircraft accident."

A spokesman for Air Traffic Control at Liverpool John Lennon Airport said: "Nothing out of the ordinary was seen at this time."

Nobody seems to have thought they could be once again thai lanterns.


The new discovery is described in the journal Astro-ph. Using the IRAM radio dish array in France, a team of European astronomers has detected glycolaldehyde, a simple sugar that makes up ribose, one of the constituents of RNA within the core of what appears to be a coalescing disk of dust and gas in a star-forming region called G31.41+0.31, about 26,000 light-years away. The sugar molecule can apparently form in a simple reaction between carbon monoxide molecules and dust grains.

The abundance of glycolaldehyde in the G31.41+0.31 cloud suggests that the molecule is "common throughout star-forming regions," said astrophysicist and co-author Serena Viti of University College London.

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