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ALSACAT:

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.

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Case of Appenwihr, on August 1, 1996:

Case number:

ALSACAT-1996-08-01-APPENWIHR-1

Summary:

On August 1, 1966, in northern and eastern France at least, there were several dozen testimonies generally located around 9:30 p.m., typical of a re-entry into the atmosphere of space debris.

Through the GEIPAN website, in 2017, it can be seen that one of the sighting locations was Appenwihr, that there had been a Gendarmerie report on the two testimonies; but as theses cases are gathered in a national case file and that the numerous reports of the Gendarmerie are anonymized both for the names of the witnesses and the places, I cannot for the moment identify the Gendarmerie report corresponding to the observation in Appenwihr.

The synthesis of the case by the GEIPAN however allows us to say that a first witness, a 60-year-old woman, had given the time as 9:00 p.m. or 9:30 p.m., that she saw to the South a single object of rectangular shape, "2.5 meters long by 20 cm high", green in color, slow.

The second witness, a 70-year-old man, gave the time as 9:30 p.m., he had seen in the sky a single object, something "Green Yellow, Amber", with a "Trail, Tail", fast, and of "3 to 4 meters long by a thickness of 2 cm."

The GEIPAN classified the case, and the others at this time, as a "B" case, as a probable atmospheric re-entry.

I was able to find that that evening at that hour, the Russian automated and unmanned logistics spaceship "Progress M-31" had burned up in the Earth's atmosphere, after having supplied the Russian space station MIR. It had was deorbited at 19:44 UTC and the end of the reentry, so the moment when the debris burned, would have been 21:33 local time in Alsace.

However, I have not yet been able to find any data on the trajectory of this reentry, which is in any case the only one known to have taken place that evening.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: August 1, 1996
Time: 09:00 p.m. 09:30 p.m.
Duration: ?
First known report date: 1996
Reporting delay: Hour, months.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Appenwihr
Place: ?
Latitude: 48.026
Longitude: 7.439
Uncertainty ratio: 1 km.

Witnesses data:

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

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Reported to the National Gendarmerie.
Type of location: ?
Visibility conditions: Night.
UFO observed: Yes.
UFO arrival observed: No.
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: Space junk reentry.

Sources:

[Ref. gei1:] GROUPE D'ETUDES ET D'INFORMATIONS SUR LES PHENOMENES AEROSPATIAUX NON IDENTIFIES (G.E.I.P.A.N.):

ATMOSPHERIC REENTRY — NATIONAL (FR) 08/01/1996

SUMMARY

Probable observations of an atmospheric re-entry.

DESCRIPTION

On the evening of August 1, 1996, many witnesses observed the very rapid passage of a very luminous white ball with a yellow and green trail. The luminous phenomenon lasts about thirty seconds. It is described in the same terms from Cantal to Alsace. The times indicated differ a little but the phenomenon seems to have occurred between 9:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. with a movement towards the North-West.

This large-scale phenomenon, seen by many witnesses in eastern France, is probably an atmospheric re-entry.

TESTIMONIES

[... other testimonies in other places...]

APPENWIHR (68) 01.08.1996 T1
APPENWIHR (68) 01.08.1996 T2

[... other testimonies in other places...]

WITNESS
DATE OF THE OBSERVATION 08/01/1996
AGE 60
GENDER F
REACTION Emotion - Curiosity, Interest - Active
CONDITION
WEATHER CONDITIONS Sun or light night
LOCALE DATE AND HOUR 08/01/1996 09:00 p.m. / 09:30 p.m.
REFERENCE FRAME Sky
START OF THE OBSERVATION Conditions of appearance provoked by the witness
END OF THE OBSERVATION Conditions of disappearance provoked by the phenomenon
LOCALIZATION
HORIZONTAL DIRECTION OF OBSERVATION 180.00
NATURE OF THE OBSERVATION OR DESCRIPTICE TERMS Descriptive terms (lights, shape, etc.)
CHARACTERISTIC OF THE OBSERVATION Single object
GLOBAL SHAPE 2D - Rectangular
COLOR Green
APPARENT SIZE 2,5 meters long by 20 cm de high
APPARENT SPEED Slow
NOISE Unknown
EFFECT ON THE ENVIRONMENT Unknown - Not specified
NUMBER OF OBSERVED PHENOMENA only one

WITNESS
DATE OF THE OBSERVATION 08/01/1996
AGE 70
GENDER H
REACTION Emotion - Curiosity, Interest - Active
CONDITION
WEATHER CONDITIONS Sun or light night
LOCAL DATE AND HOUR 08/01/1996 09:30 p.m.
REFERENCE FRAME Sky
START OF THE OBSERVATION Conditions of appearance provoked by the witness
END OF THE OBSERVATION Conditions of disappearance provoked by the phenomenon
LOCALIZATION
NATURE OF THE OBSERVATION OR DESCRIPTIVE TERMS Descriptive terms (lights, shape, etc.)
CHARACTERISTIC OF THE OBSERVATION Trail, Tail
COLOR Green Yellow, Amber
APPARENT SIZE 3 to 4 meters long by a width of 2 cm
APPARENT SPEED Fast
NOISE Unknown
EFFECT ON THE ENVIRONNEMENT Unknown- not specified
NUMBER OF OBSERVED PHENOMENA only one

Note: the GEIPAN publishes numerous reports from the National Gendarmerie relating to these observations on the evening of August 1, 1996; but as all the place names are suppressed, it is not possible to reconcile these proceedings with the corresponding place of observation.

Discussion:

Map.

On May 5, 1996, the Russian automated and unmanned logistics spaceship "Progress M-31" was launched from Baikonur in Kazakhstan by the Roscosmos agency using a Soyuz-U rocket, to bring cargo to the Russian space station MIR, which was done successfully. It was deorbited at 19:44 UTC, then re-entered and burned in the atmosphere on August 1, 1996 until 20:33 UTC i.e. 09:33 p.m. local time in Alsace.

Below: Progress M52, similar to Progress M31.

Progress M52.

The sources are numerous, see for example planet4589.org/space/gcat/data/derived/launchlog.html or en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1996_in_spaceflight

The most complete data I had (below) was on space.kursknet.ru/cosmos/english/cargoes/prm31.sht

Screenshot.

Unfortunately I have not yet managed to obtain its reentry trajectory.

Evaluation:

Space junk reentry.

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 August 25, 2022 Creation, [gei1].
1.0 Patrick Gross August 25, 2022 First published.

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This page was last updated on August 25, 2022.