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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 Sierentz, on August 1, 1996:

Case number:

ALSACAT-1996-08-01-SIERENTZ-1

Summary:

Around 2002, Emmanuel Dehlinger published an electronic book on the Web in which he claimed that UFO sightings are "created" by "the military" (?) by means of various devices such as luminous balloons; in the book, he proposed a "Study of the wave of August 1, 1996" in France, in which he noted a sighting in Sierentz in the Haut-Rhin, while eliminating this case from his statistics on the grounds that it would be the same as a case in Obernai - which is not true - and while noting all the same that this "wave of August 1, 1996" could be explained by an "atmospheric re-entry" but that "this is not confirmed."

The sighting is said to have appeared in the ufology magazine Lumières Dans la Nuit #340 around 1996; it does appear in a sighting list on the web, but without any details.

In 2017, the "Groupe d'Etude et d'Informations sur les Phénomènes Aérospatiaux Non Identifiés" ("Group for Study and Information on Unidentified Aerospace Phenomena") (GEIPAN) published the French cases of August 1, 1996 collected by the National Gendarmerie, grouped together in a common file with a common explanation, that of an "atmospheric re-entry".

Their summary for the Sierentz case, which is oddly dated of August 2, 1996, indicates the time as 9:30 p.m.; there would have been two male witnesses, and it was about a green ball with a trail, silent, very fast, in descending trajectory.

I show in this dossier that these observations temporally correspond perfectly to the re-entry into the atmosphere of the Russian cargo spaceship "Progress M-31"; however, I have no information on the trajectory yet.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: August 1, 1996
Time: 11:03 p.m.
Duration: ?
First known report date: 1996
Reporting delay: Hours, months.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Sierentz
Place: ?
Latitude: 47.657
Longitude: 7.455
Uncertainty ratio: 3 km.

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 2
Number of known witnesses: 2
Number of named witnesses: 0
Witness(es) ages: ?
Witness(es) types: Male.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: To the Gendarmerie Nationale.
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. uwb1:] WEBSITE "UFOWEB":

COMMUNES DEPT LATITUDES LONGITUDES YEARSS
Sierentz 68 47.667 7.467 1996

[Ref. edr1:] EMMANUEL DEHLINGER:

Etude de la vague du 1er août 1996

Cette vague se produit peut-être au cours d’une rentrée atmosphérique, mais cela n’est pas confirmé. Les cas étudiés ici sont tous ceux pour lesquels l’heure est indiquée. Même si la plupart des cas évoquent visuellement une rentrée atmosphérique, la plage horaire des observations qui s’étale sur plus de 45 minutes et les incohérences dans les directions de mouvement affaiblissent cette hypothèse.

Le détail des cas se trouve en annexe B § XXI.

On constate 5 cas (100%) d’utilisation de l’effet ECS dont 1 cas d’utilisation de l’effet EC2, soit 20%.

Le commentaire sur chaque cas est malheureusement très succinct, ce qui ne nous permet pas d’affirmer à coup sûr que l’apparition d’Sierentz (Bas-Rhin) est différente de celle observée à Sierentz (Haut-Rhin), ~89 km plus au sud. Or ces 2 cas bénéficient de l’effet ECS conjugué à l’effet ECL, ce qui est exceptionnel (1 chance sur 170). Pour éviter de compter 2 fois par erreur un cas très favorable à notre hypothèse, nous avons préféré éliminer le cas de Sierentz.

Sierentz (Haut-Rhin) 7° 28 E 47° 40’ N 22:04C -9° 10’ 310° -0° 49’ 97° ECS, ECL, EC2 J1, NC1 Round ufo. At ~89 km south of Obernai. This case is eliminated because one cannot affirm with certainty that it is different from the observation of Obernai. R Nr 340 p. 33

The source is given as LDLN #340 p. 33.

[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...]

SIERENTZ (68) 02.08.1996 T3

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

SIERENTZ (68) 02.08.1996 T4

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

WITNESS
DATE OF THE OBSERVATION 08/02/1996
GENDER M
REACTION Emotion - Curiosity, Interest - Active
CONDITION
WEATHER CONDITIONS Sun or Light night
LOCAL DATE AND HOUR 08/02/1996 09:30 p.m.
REFERENCE FRAME Sky
DISTANCE BETWEEN PHENOMENON AND WITNESS Dos not know
START OF THE OBSERVATION Conditions of appearance provoked by the witness
END OF THE L'OBSERVATION Conditions of disappearance provoked by the phenomenon
LOCALIZATION
HORIZONTAL DIRECTION OF OBSERVATION 0.00
TRAJECTORY Descending Descending
NATURE OF THE OBSERVATION OR DECRIPTIVE TERMSS Craft
CHARACTERISTIC OF THE OBSERVATION Trail, Tail
GLOBAL SHAPE 3D - 2 axis of symmetry - Spherical, Ball
COLOR Green
APPARENT SIZE ping-pong ball
APPARENT SPEED Tremendous
NOISET None, Total silence
EFFECT ON THE ENVIRONMENT Unknown - Not specified
NUMBER OF OBSERVED PHENOMENA Only one

WITNESS
DATE OF THE OBSERVATION 08/02/1996
GENDER M
REACTION Emotion - Curiosity, Interest - Active
CONDITION
LOCAL DATE AND HOUR 08/02/1996 09:30 p.m.
REFERENCE FRAME Sky
DISTANCE BETWEEN PHENOMENON AND WITNESS Does not know
LOCALIZATION
APPARENT SIZE ping pong ball
EFFECT ON THE ENVIRONMENT Unknown - Not specified
NUMBER OF OBSERVED PHENOMENA 1

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
Editeur: Patrick Gross

Changes history:

Version: Create/changed by: Date: Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross September 1, 2022 Creation, [edr1], [uwb1], [gei1].
1.0 Patrick Gross September 1, 2022 First published.

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This page was last updated on September 1, 2022.