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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 Staffelfelden, on February 12, 2021:

Case number:



On February 13, 2021, the regional Press (L'Alsace and Les Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace) published in the form of a slideshow on their website a story of a "weird luminous trail" seen on February 12, 2021, apparently, in the sky of Staffelfelden by a resident and his children.

Fortunately, the slideshow included an image of the "weird luminous trail" (visible below), just an airplane contrail in the setting sun!


The slideshow quipped about "aliens" and other "little green men", giving the explanation:

"According to the explanations of the Study Group of Unidentified Aerospace Phenomena the duration, jour and pace of the luminous trail induces rather that it is indeed an airplane but flying in the axis of the observer, at sunrise."

We learn that it was a Boeing 777 going from New York to Cairo, spotted using the FlightRadar24 website; which allows checking out civilian airplanes flights.


Temporal data:

Date: February 12, 2021
Time: Morning
Duration: Several minutes.
First known report date: February 13, 2021
Reporting delay: 1 day.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Staffelfelden
Place: From home.
Latitude: 47.826
Longitude: 7.254
Uncertainty ratio: 2 km.

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 3 or more.
Number of known witnesses: ?
Number of named witnesses: 0
Witness(es) ages: 1 adult, children.
Witness(es) types: A resident and his children.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Newspapers websites L'Alsace, DNA.
Type of location: From outside near home.
Visibility conditions: Day
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: ?
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: A meteorite.


Hynek: DD
ALSACAT: Airliner contrail..



The Alsatian regional newspapers L'Alsace and Les Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace published a slide show on their websites on February 13, 2021.

The captions said:

"What happened on Friday morning in the sky over Staffelfelden? We tell you in pictures"

This photo is shown here:


The following slides are purely "decorative". The comments are:

"It's a strange luminous trail that a resident of Staffelfelden and his children saw on Friday morning."

"It was like an airplane trail, but vertical"

"The luminous phenomenon continued for several minutes before disappearing over the horizon, towards the south-east."

"Was it a meteorite, like the witness initially thought?"

"Or something else?" [Here, image of an American newspaper with a headline "Alien"...]

"Probably neither."

"According to the explanations of the Study Group of Unidentified Aerospace Phenomena the duration, time and pace of the luminous trail induces rather that it is indeed an airplane but flying in the axis of the observer, and the rising sun"

"an optical effect which has often frightened the chronicles"

"The FlightRadar24 tracking site even allowed a name to be put on the probable "meteorite""

"a Boeing 777 going from New York to Cairo"

"Certainly less exotic than a meteorite, but at least a beginning of explanation, observes the inhabitant of Staffelfelden"

"I can explain to my kids that they weren't little green men!"

"Well, probably not." [Here, an image of an "alien" head...]



The playful or even mocking tone of the press slideshow is supposed to amuse us, I guess. I would like to say that it suffices to see the photo to understand that this was all about an airplane contrail, certainly in the setting sun, certainly "vertical" (!) - but totally ordinary.

But I must also say that in the 2000s, even ufologists (not all of them!) have on occasion published on totally similar cases, without understanding what it was...


Airliner contrail.

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 June 18, 2021 Creation, [lae1].
1.0 Patrick Gross June 18, 2021 First published.

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This page was last updated on June 18, 2021.