This article was published in the daily newspaper Daily Oklahoma, USA, on August 4, 1965.
Mystery Objects There All Along?
Look at the sky long enough and you'll see or imagine you see - all sorts of things, particularly if you're not accustomed to sky-watching.
That's why so many people are seeing unidentified flying objects, explains Dale Johnson, director of the Kirkpatrick Planetarium.
He says the natural phenomenon which cause such illusions are present all the time, but usually go unnoticed.
"Normally," he says, "people don't pay much attention to the sky. But, when you have a lot of people gazing skyward, they'll see things they never paid any attention to before."
Johnson believes that in a great majority of cases, the unidentified objects people notice are simply bright stars that they hadn't noticed before.
Also, certain atmospheric conditions, such as "scintillation," make distant objects appear to move around or change color.
This is also the time of year, explains Johnson, when there are an unusually large number of meteor showers.
"The next strong meteor shower will be August 10 and it will be interesting to see if we get a large number of UFO reports at that time."
Johnson believes many of the UFOs may be such planets as Mars, Venus, Saturn, Antares or Vega. All appear much brighter than other stars this time of year.
Another bright planet, Jupiter, is not visible this time of year.
"I'm not saying people are not seeing what they report," Johnson puts out. "I believe they are simply seeing a phenomenon they haven't noticed before, one which creates some kind of optical illusion."
Since the current rash of UFO sightings started, Johnson has observed the skies several nights hoping to spot some unusual object.