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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 Rixheim, on April 15, 2012:

Case number:



The phenomenon was very bright, but not bright enough to illuminate the surrounding ground or landscape, and was clearly on fire. He could very clearly distinguish the flames which seemed to "trail" in the opposite direction to the trajectory and form a kind of hair a bit like the tail of a comet of length equivalent to half the apparent size of the phenomenon. He couldn't see any plumes of smoke because the sky was very dark.

His trajectory which was facing east and downhill seemed to slow to a near stop, then veer to the right heading south. It initially appeared to fall from the sky, or at least have a descending trajectory, but its descent was interrupted when it veered south. He was watching it at that moment for about 15 to 20 seconds.

The shape of the phenomenon appeared to be round and spherical. He explained that the dimensions were very difficult to give, but they were about 2/3 of the lunar disk. It seemed to move vertically from Rixheim, or on the western limit of Rixheim above the hill which skirts the city to the west. He estimates that the observation distance must have been around 1000 meters, very approximately because there was no reference frame). The phenomenon made no noise.

As he arrived on the terrace, he noticed a phenomenon farther south that seemed identical but more distant, or smaller, and static, with constant altitude. It was on a southerly heading from it and seemed a few miles away, and was also on fire and the same orange color.

After the deceleration of the first phenomenon and its turn to the south, the second seemed to accelerate a little, and following the first phenomenon seemed to follow a course joining the second one, with an apparently constant altitude, the descent being interrupted.

During this transit to the south, the appearance and behavior of the phenomenon made him think that it was something very light and "carried by the wind!" It seemed to jolt as it moved horizontally, "but it may have been variations in the intensity of the brightness of the phenomenon".

The first phenomenon followed a heading of 180° for about 45 seconds to 60 seconds, its apparent size decreased proportionally to the distance, and ended up being equivalent to that of the second phenomenon. The first phenomenon joined the second at the same apparent altitude, the distance seemed to be about 3 to 5 km.

After joining, the two phenomena appeared to move together for 10 seconds, visually separated by the thickness of a finger, their light intensity decreasing at the same time to "extinguish" at the same time for the two phenomena.

He noted a very light wind, a sky was totally overcast with a ceiling around 4000 feet according to the Basel - Mulhouse airport, whose weather station he had called the day after the sighting.

The entire sighting had lasted 1 minute to 1 minute 15 seconds. The time was around 00:10 a.m. or 00:12 a.m.; he had looked at his watch after the observation was over.

The witness had attached plans and drawings to his report, visible in this file.

The GEIPAN gave the obvious explanation: "the sighting probably involved Chinese lanterns."


Temporal data:

Date: April 15, 2012
Time: 00:10 a.m.
Duration: 1 minute.
First known report date: April 15, 2012
Reporting delay: Hours.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Rixheim
Place: From house garden in residential area.
Latitude: 47.746
Longitude: 7.398
Uncertainty radius: 1 km.

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 1
Number of known witnesses: 1
Number of named witnesses: 0
Witness(es) ages: 46
Witness(es) types: Male resident, pilot, astronomy buff.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: ?
Type of location: From house garden in residential area.
Visibility conditions: Night.
UFO observed: Yes.
UFO arrival observed: No.
UFO departure observed: Yes.
Entities: No.
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): Yes.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): Yes.
Witness(es) feelings: Puzzled.
Witnesses interpretation: ?


Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Chinese lanterns.



RIXHEIM (68) 15.04.2012
Observed on: 04/15/2012
Region: Alsace
Department: Rhin (Haut)
Class: B
Summary: RIXHEIM (68) 04/15/2012. Observation of the silent movement of two luminous orange-fire phenomena; which extinguish simultaneously: probable observation of Chinese lanterns.

On April 15, 2012 around midnight a witness observes the silent movement of a round orange ball that seems on fire. The object moves on a downward path to the East and then turns to a South heading. A second seemingly identical phenomenon (on fire and of orange color) is seen and seems to be joined by the first: the two UAPs move together following the same course. The luminous intensity of the two UAPs gradually decreases and then they go out at the same time. Only one questionnaire is collected.

We can conclude that these are two objects carried by the wind, because they follow the same trajectory, moreover the witness also arrives at this conclusion. ("the appearance and behavior of the phenomenon made me think that it was very light and 'carried by the wind'"). The measured wind (on the ground) at the airport is N-NW (15 Km / h), which does not exclude, at higher altitude (with the influence of the city, hills or forests), of circling wind flows that can explain a direction of movement from West then from North. The two UAPs follow each other on the same trajectory with a shift, the feeling of one UAP joining the other is subjective because it intervenes when the UAPs are seen under the same direction and therefore with differences of distance difficult to appreciate.

The orange color and the final extinction (in flight) of the two UAPs are characteristic of Chinese lanterns and a weekend night is conducive to such festive events. The description of flames at the back of the UAP is strange for Chinese lanterns that can ignite but fall quite quickly afterwards. However the perception of flames is often subjective, it can be induced by the flickering of the light of a lantern for whoever is not accustomed to all the luminous aspects of a lantern, or even more here by atmospheric turbulence and the conditions of drizzle or fine rain. This does not detract from the accuracy of the witness who is an airline pilot. The investigation benefits from a careful reconstruction of the trajectory that the witness had faithfully established from his angular perception (because a witness has only that). Now he places in his drawing the appearance of the 2nd UAP 5 to 6 times further than the passage closer to the first and therefore from an angular perception a priori 5 or 6 times smaller. However, the same perception of fire comes to him for this UAP 5 or 6 times smaller and not bigger than a 1/10 moon (according to the angular references given by the witness), which reinforces the subjective character of the "flames" aspect.

The aspect "back flames" constitutes the only element of strangeness in a set where everything directs towards objects carried by the wind and in particular Chinese lanterns. But it is quite possible that this aspect results from a difficulty of perception (or error of interpretation) favored by atmospheric conditions far from being optimal.

As a consequence, GEIPAN concludes that the sighting probably focused on Chinese lanterns.

Report: None.

Details of the testimony
Date of the observation 04/15/2012
Document number
Age Adult (more than 18)
Sex Male
Weather conditions
Hour of the observation Numbered: 0 a.m. - 2 a.m.
Reference frame
Distance between phenomenon and witness
Start of the observation
End of the observation
Angle of the site
Direction of observation
Nature of the observation
Characteristic of the observation
Global shape
Apparent size
Apparent speed
Effect on the enviroement



Telephone: 05 61 27 48 01


Observation questionnaire
Standard testimony

Madam, Sir,

As part of CNES's activity of expertise in unidentified aerospace phenomena, GEIPAN works to collect, analyze and rigorously study the testimonies collected during observations of Unidentified Aerospace Phenomena (UAP) while guaranteeing witnesses absolute discretion.

The rigor of the scientific approach requires us to gather the most precise and complete information possible, without intermediaries. The best information document is therefore one that is freely written by the witness himself. This is the purpose of the questionnaire that we are proposing to you and which must be individual and completed separately by each of the witnesses to the observation. It is structured in several parts:

This questionnaire will be studied with the other documents dealing with the same phenomenon. When the work is completed, we will let you know the conclusions we have reached. These conclusions, the attachments and this questionnaire will be published anonymously on the GEIPAN website.

Very important: if you have a computer and Word, Open-Office or equivalent software, save this document, fill it in on your computer, and send it back to GEIPAN by email, in .doc or .pdf format. For any handwritten drawings, please scan them and insert them into the computer document; if you do not have the possibility, send it separately by mail. For the signature, insert your scanned signature, or just type your name.

If you don't have a computer, have it printed by one of your friends, or ask for a copy from GEIPAN, then fill in the document by hand, and send it back by post after keeping one copy.

We thank you in advance for your contribution to our work.



Observed phenomenon

Place of observation of the phenomenon: HOME

Precise address: [-]


Postcode: 68170

Date of sighting: APRIL 15, 2012

Age at time of sighting: 46 YEARS OLD

Time of start of observation: Approximately 0010 local

Duration of observation: About 1mn to 1mn 15s

Have other witnesses seen the same phenomenon, if so how many: NO

Can you indicate using the Google Map site ( the location of the observation, by placing the phenomenon in pencil and yourself.

1. Print the map from Google Map
2. Indicate your position, and that of the observation

When you have completed the questionnaire, tick the documents you have attached or completed:

Free narrative X
Questionnaire X
Photographs of the environment (number: 1..) X
Sketch of the observed phenomenon (number: 4...) X
Maps or plans Google Map (number: 4...) X
Photographs of the sighting (number: 0.. )
Videos of the sighting (number: 0.. )



Free storytelling: part 1
This page and the following are intended to be used to independently write the story of your observation.
You are completely free of the form, content and duration of your story (you can add additional pages if necessary).

We had just got home around midnight, my friend and her son. A few moments later I went out through the living room door on the South West side of the house, to look for a bag left in the car.

Immediately my gaze was caught by a luminous phenomenon on my left, high in the sky.

It was around 12:10 a.m. or 12:12 a.m. (I thought to look at my watch only after the observation was over).

The phenomenon I saw was orange in color and was on fire! I immediately thought of a meteorite burning up in the atmosphere. But the relatively slow speed and the apparent very low altitude made me doubt immediately. (I practice astro observation, own a telescope and read several astro magazines including Ciel & Espace). The phenomenon seemed to come from the West and follow a trajectory oriented at 060 to 080° (Measured on Google Earth). Its initial speed is very difficult to estimate but seemed very slow to me (too slow for a meteorite anyway). I think a maximum of 100kmh over the whole observation, except perhaps towards the end when they moved away, their speeds may have increased.

My first place of observation was on the southwest side of my house, and the phenomenon, heading towards the East, moved towards my left. Having a tree on my left which prevented me from seeing it well (I could distinguish it through it, the tree was not yet in bloom), I quickly moved to my terrace on the south side of the house (about 10m from there). My field of vision is completely clear in this place and very dark because protected from street lights by my house (the street is on the north side of the house).

The phenomenon was very bright (not bright enough to illuminate the ground or the surrounding landscape) and was clearly on fire. I could distinguish the flames very clearly which seemed to "trail" in the opposite direction to the trajectory and formed a kind of hair (a bit like the tail of a comet) of length equivalent to half the apparent size of the phenomenon. However no plume of smoke, because the sky was very dark. Its trajectory, which was facing east and downhill, seemed to slow to a near stop, then veer to its right on a southerly heading. It initially appeared to be falling from the sky, or at least having a downward trajectory. This descent was interrupted when it veered south. (Observation time at this time about 15 to 20sec).

The shape of the phenomenon appeared to be round and spherical (a ball). The dimensions are very difficult to give, but I can compare it to about 2 thirds of the lunar disk during the full moon. It seemed to move vertically from Rixheim, or on the western limit of our city above the hill which runs along the



town in the West. The distance from me must have been about 1000m (very approximate measurement because there is no reference). No noise associated with the phenomenon.

As I arrive on the terrace, I notice a phenomenon further south that seemed identical but more distant (or smaller?) and static. Its altitude was constant. It was on a southerly heading from me and seemed a few km away. It was also on fire and the same orange color.

After the deceleration of the first phenomenon and its turn to the south, it seemed to accelerate a little. (between 100 and 200kmh, very vague approximation, no reference). The course followed by the first phenomenon seemed to make it join the second. The altitude seemed constant (the descent was interrupted).

During this transit to the south, the appearance and behavior of the phenomenon made me think that it was very light and "carried by the wind"! It seemed to jump when moving horizontally (but it may have been variations in the intensity of the luminosity of the phenomenon)

The first phenomenon followed a heading of 180° for about 45sec to 50sec (max 1mn).

Its apparent size decreased proportionally to the distance, and ended up being equivalent to the second phenomenon.

The first "joined" the second at the same apparent altitude. (Not estimable) the distance appeared to be around 3-5km (the meteorological visibility given by the Mulhouse Bale airport station was around 4-6km at local midnight).

After joining, the two phenomena seemed to move together (visually separated by the thickness of a finger). The light intensity decreased at the same time to "go out" at the same time for the 2 phenomena. The last heading followed seemed to be between 180 and 200°.

Together travel time was about 10 seconds. They had the same altitude and appeared to be on the exact same heading (it looked like a fighter patrol flight!). I did not hear any noise during the observation. With the exception of a very fine rain (drizzle) and a very light wind, everything was very calm. The sky was totally overcast. The ceiling was around 4000ft (according to Mulhouse Bale).

I called the weather station at Mulhouse Bale airport around 9am the day after the sighting. Here is the METAR (Observation) report.. LFSB 2200Z 330/9 4500 –RADR F010 O040 7/6 1000 T 6000 NS.

The entire observation must have lasted 1 minute to 1 minute 15 seconds. I didn't think to take pictures and take an exact timing! I was literally captivated by what I saw!

To my knowledge, no one else witnessed the phenomenon. I contacted the Mulhouse Bale control tower this morning around 0900 and asked to have the radar tracks checked at the time of the sighting. The operator told me he would call me back if he found anything (No info as of this writing).



The gendarmerie was also not informed of the existence of other witnesses. Furthermore, no parties seemed to be taking place at the time or in the evening preceding the time of observation.

I first thought of a meteorite burning up in the atmosphere. But the low altitude (it was below the ceiling of 4000ft), its apparent proximity, and especially its trajectory (interrupted descent and change of course) immediately made me doubt. For these same reasons, I don't think it could be space debris (satellite re-entry), and even less aircraft debris (neither the press nor the tower mentioned any problem occurring during the night). The size of the flames seemed substantial. The absence of noise did not agree with the presence of fire (I expected to hear something!) The fact that the 2 phenomena came together to "fly" on patrol afterwards is very peculiar!



Weather conditions at the time of observation

1.1 Indicate the color of the sky:

BLACK ....

1.2 Indicate the weather conditions at the time of the observation, try to give as many details as possible even those which do not seem interesting to you, describe if there were any developments or changes before, during and after the observation.


METAR 2200Z 330/9 4500 –RADR F010 O040 7/6 1000 T 6000 .... In concrete terms, the weather was overcast, with a cloudy layer completely covering the sky around 1200 to 1300m above ground. A fine rain/drizzle was falling over the whole area, visibility was relatively good for about 4-6km and then reduced by the rain. The weak north-westerly wind.... The weather conditions were stable and changing very slowly during the night ........ ........ ....

1.3 Indicate the presence of stars in the sky:

[X] No stars visible
[ ] Few stars
[ ] Starry sky
[ ] Extraordinarily starry sky
[ ] I didn't notice
[ ] An obstacle prevented me from observing them



Description of the environment

Try to take one or more photos of your observation locations. Photos are a great help for investigations.

1.4 Describe the environment you were in at the time of the observation. Give as many details as possible, even those which do not seem important to you, such as the nature of the ground, the lights etc.

I was at home, at the southwest corner of my house. On my left in relation to the first place of observation. There is a sparsely flowered tree about 10m high. On the terrace (second place of observation distant of 5m from the first place, facing due south) the view is perfectly clear. The south side of our home includes a garden with a lawn without any visual obstacle.

Our house is located in a residential area with a majority of individual houses and some apartment buildings.

Our home is along a well-lit road, which passes on the north side. The rear (south side) is completely in the dark with very little lighting (road lighting, at least 80 to 100m away and obscured by surrounding houses... ........ ....

1.5 Were you moving? Yes [ ] No [X]

1.6 Were you in a vehicle? Yes [ ] No [X]

[ ] Bike
[ ] Car
[ ] Bus
[ ] Train
[ ] Hot air balloon
[ ] Hang glider
[ ] ULM
[ ] Private aircraft
[ ] Commercial Aircraft
[ ] Helicopter
[ ] Boat
[ ] Other ..

Model and identification: ...........

1.7 Were you in a building? Yes [ ] No [X]

Nature of the building and observation room(s): ........

1.8 Devices on or active:

[ ] Radio (frequency: ...)
[ ] Headlights (number: ...)
[ ] Interior lights (number: ...)
[ ] Television (channel: ...)
[ ] Engine
[ ] Telephone
[ ] Radar
[ ] Other ....

1.9 Did you directly see the phenomenon with your eyes? Yes [X] No [ ]



1.10 Indicate the presence of facilities within a radius of 20 km:

If you can, position these facilities on a map or on a Google Map image.

[ ] Power Plant
[ ] Disco
[X] Commercial Area
[ ] Military zone
[X] Nuclear Power Plant
[ ] Stadium
[ ] Highway
[ ] Radio antennas
[ ] Solar power plant
[X] Airport
[ ] Harbour, Lighthouse
[ ] Telephone antennas
[ ] Wind turbine
[ ] Power line
[X] [Railway] SNCF Line
[X] Industrial Zone
[ ] Factory. Specify the type(s) of associated activity(ies): .......

Property or castle receiving events (weddings, parties): ......

Other, specify: ......

Additional details on the facilities, if necessary: .... The airport is located SSE from my home (course 150° 19km) The nuclear power plant is located NE from my home (course 030°, 21km) An SNCF line (Mulhouse Bale) passes about 200m away (obscured by the surrounding houses)....... All these installations are the opposite of my direction of observation, with the exception of the airport .......

1.11 Were there known sources of noise at the time of the sighting, were these noises intense, permanent: (conversations, aircraft engines, cars, electric motors, television, radio):

No noise seemed to come from the observed phenomenon... The only surrounding noise was that of a fine rain and a light wind which caused the few rare leaves of the tree located next to me to move. .........



Viewing conditions

1.12 What was your visibility at the time of the sighting?

Good. The sky was very dark and the view very clear from the terrace. ........

1.13 Were objects placed between you and the phenomenon during the observation? No

[ ] Camera
[ ] Glass
[ ] Tinted glass
[ ] Window with mist
[ ] Video device
[ ] Glasses
[ ] Binoculars
[ ] Telescope
[ ] Other ...

If you used an optical device, specify the model, its main characteristics. If you were behind a tinted window specify its color, etc.: ........ ........

1.14 What was the minimum distance separating you from the observed phenomenon? Try to justify this assessment.

The first object (the biggest) seemed to evolve vertically from the city of Rixheim (in any case on the vertical from the western outskirts of the city, vertical from the distant hill of 1km) ) and then to move away on a heading of 180°. The distance (measured on Google Earth) remains very approximate because the size of the object is very difficult for me to estimate. I place the distance at about 1000m and at a vertical angle of about 45 to 50°. ... The second object must have been located several km to the south, I think a minimum of 2 to 3km with a maximum of 4 to 5km given that the visibility (given by the weather station at Mulhouse airport is 4500m with intervals of up to 6000m. ........

1.15 Describe anything that could be disturbing to the observation.

Except for the tree (see the first photo) at the very beginning of the observation, the view was clear of any obstacle ... ....

1.16 Was the observation carried out continuously or discontinuously?

Continue [X] Discontinue [ ]

Try to take one or more photos of your observation locations. Photos are a great help for investigations.




In this part of the questionnaire, it is a question of precisely describing the appearance of the phenomenon based on its shape, its size, its color, its luminosity, its noise, its trajectory, etc... Remember that every detail matters.

Description of the phenomenon

2.1 Describe the phenomenon observed by giving as much detail as possible, indicate the dominant color(s), its size, its luminosity, its noise, the number. (Feel free to compare the overall shape to a known object)?

Global shape of the phenomenon.

.... The first phenomenon was the biggest. However, its size remains too difficult to estimate because it is observed without any reference mark in the sky. Visually the size corresponded to approximately 2/3 of the lunar disk during a full moon the general shape was a ball.........

The color was very bright orange (however, the phenomenon did not illuminate objects on the ground)........

It was burning, I could clearly see large flames. However, no smoke plume was visible (darkness of the sky).......

I did not hear any noise associated with the phenomenon. .......

The second phenomenon was either much smaller or much further away. I lean towards the second hypothesis because they visually had the same size when they were "together". .........

The rest of the characteristics (orange color, flames and absence of noise) were identical to the first ..................



Your observation in different sequences

Each sequence corresponds to an episode of your observation. Each notable modification of behavior, activity, form or trajectory of the phenomenon must be described by a different sequence.

Time (Start time, end time, duration) Observation location (where exactly were you?) Viewing direction Speed (encrypted or otherwise) Direction of movement of the phenomenon (it was going in the direction of, nature of the movements) Shape; Brightness; Colors; Noises and other details
Horizontal (cardinal points, geographical landmarks or numbered) Vertical (between the horizon and the zenith or numbered)
start 00:10 duration 15 to 20sec .... South west side of my home.... About Heading 200° .... 45 to 50° Decelerating
Approximately 100Kmh after decelerating
Initial heading 060 to 080° .... 1 Round ball, shiny orange color, on fire (visible flame, no noise ....
duration 1 min South side (terrace).. 190 to 180° 45° initially, decreasing as you move away to 25 to 30°.. Slow but very difficult to quantify (100kmh?)... Seemed to turn and away on heading 180°....



Second phenomenon detected at the same time.... South side (terrace) .... 180° .... 25 to 30° Static or moving very slowly.... Static or very slow moving west, or northwest Same as first phenomenon....
end of observation after about 1mn 15s South side (terrace).... 180° .... 20 to 25° Slow but impossible to estimate (I think always around 180 to 190° .... The two objects had the same physical appearance and dimensions. They moved together at the same height but well separated from each other



.... .... .... .... 100kmh ... visual distance between the 2 objects 1 finger ....
Distance from me about 4 to 5km (very imprecise estimate because no means of comparison available). ....
Both objects disappeared at the same time. ....




Information about you

3.1 What were your occupations before your observation?

I was leaving my home to get a bag from my car........

3.2 What caused the end of the observation?

The phenomenon Yourself Specifically: disappearance (extinction of the flames?) of the 2 objects simultaneously...

3.3 What did you do after your sighting?

I stayed under observation for about 20 minutes .. ........

3.4 What interpretations do you give to what you have observed?

I initially thought of a meteorite (which must have been huge!), but the sight of the trajectories, the absence of noise, the apparent proximity, and the fact that it seemed to slow down and stop its descent is reminiscent of an object on fire, very light and carried by the wind. I thought of debris from satellites but nothing corresponds with regard to the trajectory followed I can't interpret my observation... ........

3.5 Did this observation change your opinion about unidentified aerospace phenomena?

I was always interested in space phenomena, astronomy (I practice it privately) and aeronautical history (I am an airline pilot) and space. I always kept a neutral eye and remained as Cartesian as possible with regard to the observations of PAN.

My job (which I practice out of passion) "forces" me to a certain extent to stay up to date with information and advances relating to any field affecting air and space. The PAN are part of it as such, and I keep myself informed mainly by visiting the GEPAN site from time to time. I have no position on NAPs and have always been very open to the interpretations that can be given to them, favoring approaches that are as technical and scientific as possible.



This phenomenon is a first for me and is very destabilizing. I spent a long time the next day trying to convince myself of the veracity of my observation before deciding to write the present report....

3.6 Describe the emotions you felt during and after the observation.

All my feelings and sensations were captivated by this observation! I was unable to interpret and understand what I was seeing. I did not think to call my wife who was in the bathroom on the south side, allowing her to observe her turn.. The day after the observation, curiosity pushes me to collaborate as much as possible (at the through this report in particular that I try to make as precise as possible) and I still hope that an explanation or at least that additional information will be reported to me. (I am thinking in particular of a radar signature). I remain reachable by phone or email for as long as necessary, and offer you my full cooperation, which can be complemented by my professional knowledge (aircraft, airline pilot) and amateur (beginner in the practice of astrophotography ). ....

In order to produce a restitution of the observed phenomenon, we must get as much information as possible. This last step is very important for the investigation.

4.1. Make a sketch of what you saw


4.2. Make a reconstruction of your observation on one or more shots.



If you can, present your observation with a top view. To do this, you can print a Google Map of your place of observation on which you will report your different positions and directions of observation. You can also note the number of the previously detailed sequences.

4.1 Sketch of the phenomenon and its surroundings as you observed them.

The phenomenon looked like a ball. The outlines were indistinct and blurred, drowned in fire. The right side (red arrow) was the flames rising backwards in the opposite direction of travel (blue arrow)

The apparent size was two-thirds of the Moon during (a full moon). However, all these dimensions remain very imprecise and uncertain because I had no reference. The sky was black (it was midnight) and nothing nearby allowed me to compare (no star or moon..)



4.2. Map of the environment, your positions and directions of observation of the phenomenon

The red arrow indicates heading 150°. The yellow square indicates my location when I first saw the phenomenon. I was looking at this moment towards a heading of 190° to observe it. The photo is taken from the road (Google Map). On the right, the parking lot where I was going to look for the bag in my car. Above to the right of the yellow square, we see the tree which prevented me from seeing the phenomenon clearly (blue dot at its foot). I then headed behind the house (towards the back of the photo on the grass) to get a clear view.



Photo taken on my terrace in the direction of observation (heading south). The grassy field in the foreground is about 5ares. The first phenomenon moved away (direction of the arrow) towards the bottom of the photo. It joined the second and they disappeared almost vertically from the tree (cross) which is in the middle of the photo.



The left arrow represents the first observation and its location, the right arrow the 2nd observation location (the terrace) and its heading (about 180°). It is in this direction and from this place (the terrace) that I observed the 2nd phenomenon.



North is at the top of the photo.

The Red dot in the center of Rixheim represents my home and place of observation.

The red line represents the trajectory of the first phenomenon (coming from the west, and turning to the south)

The blue square in the south of the image represents the (very approximate) location of the second phenomenon when it was static. The second phenomenon must (conditionally) have started moving when the first was nearby (identical apparent size). The 2 phenomena "flew" together before disappearing at exactly the same time (where the 2 lines stop, the southernmost of their trajectories.) this position remains of course very uncertain, having no reference system at my disposal , the distances are very difficult to evaluate)

The direction of movement of the 2 phenomena is from top to bottom (North to South), and for the red (the first phenomenon I saw) initially between 060 and 090° (I indicated here a heading almost east), before turning south




This questionnaire is now complete and we thank you for taking the time to fill it in.

Don't forget to check the table presented on page 4 one last time, as it allows us to certify all the items that you have attached to us (photos, videos, etc.).

You can either return this questionnaire to us by mail at:

National Center for Space Studies
DCT/DA/GEIPAN/bpi 2911
18 BC, Edouard Belin,
31401 TOULOUSE Cedex 9

Or by e-mail with all the digitized parts at:

Made on 15 04 2012 in RIXHEIM ....




Chinese lanterns are one cause of some old tales of UFO sightings: During the "airship" wave of 1896 - 1897 in the USA, during the wave of 1972 in the US Midwest, etc.

Since these miniature hot air paper balloons can be ordered on the Internet at very low cost - they also commonly found in Alsace now in stores - there is no need anymore to take the trouble of manufacturing them yourself.

So since 2005, about everywhere and of course in Alsace, many people who do not yet know about them report them as UFOs or at least as a subject of puzzlement: "It was not planes, not satellites, not helicopters, etc...", commonly appears in the stories. Indeed they aren't.

Most of the time, I certainly cannot "scientifically prove" or provide "hard evidence" that this or that report is explained by Chinese lanterns; but I see nothing opposes it and nothing would justify to call it spacecraft from another world or who knows what else.

It is sometimes possible to find that there was, precisely at that time, in the vicinity, a release of lanterns, during a party, a wedding party, a birthday party etc. But these releases are now so usual in Alsace at least that they are not necessarily mentioned on festivity calendars.

Since 2005, they constitute the bulk of the "testimonies" of UFOs found on websites devoted to the subject of UFOs and essentially publishing such "web report"; generally the only treatment is the publication, without any information on a possible cause, without any investigation or comment.

In Alsace, such releases are especially popular now since fireworks and firecrackers, long tolerated, are now prohibited for use unless special exemptions; Alsatians therefore largely adopted the lanterns.

As these lanterns are usually released at private or public parties, they are most often seen on Saturday nights, often at wedding dates or official festivities such as the National Day or New Year's Eve, usually between 10 p.m. and midnight. They are then usually released in clusters. But sometimes the purchaser performs a "test flight" a few days before, sometimes with a single lantern.


Above: a Chinese lantern.

In this case, we have a carefully and detailed written report, with all the details that allow to understand what was seen. The witness even noticed that the UFOs seemed lightweight and "carried by the wind!" - the exclamation mark is his.


Chinese lanterns.

Sources references:

* = Source is available to me.
? = Source I am told about but could not get so far. Help needed.

File history:


Main author: Patrick Gross
Contributors: None
Reviewers: None
Editor: Patrick Gross

Changes history:

Version: Create/changed by: Date: Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross March 25, 2023 Creation, [gei1].
1.0 Patrick Gross March 25, 2023 First published.

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This page was last updated on March 25, 2023.