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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 Thannenkirch, on June 22, 2012:

Case number:



In March 2014, I found a witness report of a UFO website, by one "castel" for an observation on June 22, 2012, at 10:20 p.m., with a 15 minutes length, from Thannenkirch in the Haut-Rhin.

After leaving the city and taking the forest road to get back to his home in the mountains after work, he saw a light in the sky, like a more vivid star, orange-red, but he reasoned that it must be a low-flying plane.

Arriving home, he still saw the bright point of light in the sky, looking at the clock he noted it was 10:20 p.m.

He noticed that the point remained stationary above the village, and understood that it was therefore not a plane. He considered it could be a helicopter, but decided it wasn't because there was no rotor noise.

He remained frozen in the dark, and after a while, the light moved slowly westward for a few seconds, then disappeared as if someone had turned it off. He scanned the sky to see something, or hear a noise, but there was nothing anymore.

After staying for a moment, puzzled by what he had seen, he went inside his home at 10:35 p.m.


Temporal data:

Date: June 22, 2012
Time: 10:20 p.m.
Duration: 15 minutes.
First known report date: March 1, 2014, or earlier.
Reporting delay: Day, months?

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Thannenkirch
Place: From forest road and from outside home, UFO in the sky.
Latitude: 48.228
Longitude: 7.304
Uncertainty ratio: 2 km

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 1
Number of known witnesses: 1
Number of named witnesses: 0
Witness(es) ages: Adult.
Witness(es) types: Man.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: On the web to UFO website "".
Type of location: From forest road and from outside home, UFO in the sky.
Visibility conditions: Night
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: No
UFO departure observed: ?
Entities: No
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: Puzzled.
Witnesses interpretation: UFO, not a plane, not a helicopter.


Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Possible Chinese lantern, or Mars.



06/22/2012 - (DEp.68) - Very sharp red-orange light

Date: 06/22/2012

Department: 68 (Haut-Rhin)

Localization: Thannenkirch

Hour: 22h20

Numbers of witnesses: 1 people

Type of observation: NL: Nocturnal Lights

Aproximate duration of observation: 15 minutes

What was seen: very sharp red-orange light

Description of the facts:

Going home from work after leaving the city (I live in the mountains) on the forest road, saw a light in the sky brightest than a star, orange-red colored, but I think it must be an airplane at low altitude;... Arriving home, I still see this bright point of light in the sky, I checked the time it was 10:20 p.m.. But I notice that the point remains stationary above the village, so it's not a plane! A helicopter.may be? no because there iss no rotor noise at all. Anyway I remain frozen in the shade staring at this famous point, after a while, the light moves slowly westward for a few seconds, then disappears as if it had been turned off. I scan the sky to see something, to hear a noise but nothing. I stay for a while, puzzled about what I had seen, I went home at 10:35 p.m.



I think the witness was right, it was probably not a plane and not a helicopter.

However, other explanations trivial are possible.

With the absence of high strangeness, the extinction of the light, with its orange color, almost motionless with some movement at one time, its low elevation ( "I think it must be an airplane at low altitude"), the most obvious explanation is that of a Chinese lantern.

In this area of the foothills of the Vosges, the Saint John feast is widely celebrated, every June 21 mostly, and since the mid-2000s it sometimes includes Chinese lanterns. We are the next evening, I might think that someone had forgotten to release his last lantern the evening before and did it that night.

Another possibility is the planet Mars, visible at 251° and a 19° elevation. It is not particularly bright then since it is more than 200 million kilometers away. 88% of its surface is illuminated. If we neglect the mention of a movement, if we assume that a cloud came to hide it, it could be the explanation.

Unfortunately, too much data is missing, such as the direction, precise elevation, the angular size, the sky conditions at the place at that time, so there is no sure explanation.


Possible Chinese lantern, or Mars.

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
Editeur: Patrick Gross

Changes history:

Version: Create/changed by: Date: Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross March 31, 2014 Creation, [ofe1].
1.0 Patrick Gross March 31, 2014 First published.

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This page was last updated on March 31, 2014.