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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 Erstein, on September 15, 2012:

Case number:



On September 15, 2012, the "Citizen Side" website told that a "strange phenomenon" had been seen in the sky to the west by the inhabitants of Erstein in Alsace on Saturday, September 15, 2012 in the early evening.

The website provided photos, visible below in this case file, alleging that it is "a white trail like water vapor left by the engines of a plane" but that would have presented "4 quite strange features":

It would be almost vertical when planes normally would leave horizontal traces; it would go from top to bottom; it would cut one of the few clouds in the sky that would itself be unusual because of an almost rectangular shape; it would have interrupted it end.

The website asks whether it would be a jet fighter who had diving to the ground, or a "chemtrail", or an object falling from heaven, or an unknown weather phenomenon, or a UPA, or traces left by a UFO.


Temporal data:

Date: September 15, 2012
Time: Start of evening.
Duration: N/A
First known report date: September 15, 2012
Reporting delay: None.

Geographical data:

Department: Bas-Rhin
City: Erstein
Place: Outside, phenomenon in the sky.
Latitude: 48.423
Longitude: 7.663
Uncertainty radius: 1 km

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: Several
Number of known witnesses: 0
Number of named witnesses: 0
Witness(es) ages: ?
Witness(es) types: ?

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Website.
Type of location: Outside, phenomenon in the sky.
Visibility conditions: Daylight, sunset.
UFO observed: No
UFO arrival observed: N/A
UFO departure observed: N/A
Entities: No
Photographs: Yes.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: Puzzled.
Witnesses interpretation: ?


Hynek: N/A
ALSACAT: Plane contrails or outgassing.



Strange phenomenon in the sky of ERSTEIN in ALSACE

Planete Info unverified Erstein, France - September 15, 2012

The inhabitants of ERSTEIN have observed Saturday, September 15, 2012 in the early evening, looking at the sky to the west, a curious phenomenon.

It is a white trail resembling water vapor left by the engines of a plane. But this white trail nevertheless has 4 rather strange peculiarities.

  1. It is almost vertical (unlike contrails left by planes which are usually horizontal)
  2. It goes from the top down, from heaven to earth.
  3. It cuts one of the few clouds in the sky (this cloud has a surprisingly unusual shape that is almost rectangular).
  4. It is interrupted in its end.

The design in the sky is rather beautiful. But what can it be? Is it a jet fighter that dove to the ground? Is it a chemtrail? Is it the fall of an object that came from heaven? Is it an unknown meteorological phenomenon? Is it a UAP? Is it a trace left by a UFO?

The website shows several photographs - some are enlargements of others. Essentially, we get:






Let's check the four alleged oddities:

"It is almost vertical (unlike contrails left by planes which are usually horizontal)"

The contrails are indeed usually horizontal, but they are not always horizontal. One possibility is indicated but neglected by the website itself: a diving plane.

Moreover, this may be an effect of optics: it seems vertical seen from the ground without actually being vertical; suffice that the route is in line with the line of sight.

"It goes from the top down, from heaven to earth."

There is nothing to prove this. It is not "going", the trail is there, the direction of its creation has clearly not been seen.

"It cuts one of the few clouds in the sky (this cloud has a surprisingly unusual shape that is almost rectangular)."

There is nothing extraordinary in a cloud being visually on the axis of the trail. Its shape is hardly rectangular, and it could also be due to a plane, the veryroughly rectangular shape can be caused by wind coming onto its side.

"It is interrupted at the end."

Again, nothing extraordinary. Change in sky humidity at one temperature inversionlayer, for example.

Finally, this could be traces of jet fighters maneuvers, or outgassing from an airliner preparing to land at the nearby Entzheim airport; both can fit the interruption of the trail and its non-horizontal look.


Plane contrails or outgassing.

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 June 21, 2015 Creation, [cse1].
1.0 Patrick Gross June 21, 2015 First published.

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This page was last updated on June 21, 2015.