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UFOs in the daily Press:

Tasmanian UFO sightings, 2005:

This article was published in the daily newspaper The Mercury, Hobarth, Tasmania, February 23, 2005.

UFO sleuth with an eye to the sky

Reports of an unidentified flying object in the Midlands on Regatta Day are still coming in to a Hobart UFO investigator.

Since the first sighting was reported in The Mercury last week, six people have come forward to say they saw a large bright light, says Keith Roberts, who has collected data at the Tasmanian UFO Investigation Centre since 1969.

Mr Roberts said the first report shortly after midnight on Regatta Day came from three women who said they saw a large craft flying beside them in a paddock.

Since then, six people have told him of a bright light around Mangalore late in the evening on Regatta Day.

"It's not the same event obviously, but they are all within 24 hours," he said.

The Mangalore sighting is the first multiple-reported sighting in nearly 10 years.

Surprisingly, Mr Roberts does not believe in aliens.

"I don't know why the thing is there _ that's why it's called unidentified," he said.

Instead of being an aspiring alien hunter, the amateur astronomer said he enjoyed keeping records of the sightings and investigating the mystery behind them.

He said 80 per cent of the phone calls he gets at his South Hobart home are easily explained over the phone.

Many people are told their UFO is a bright star, satellite or meteorites, he said.

Balloons and flares, and the occasional storm or aurora are also easily explained.

Calls to police, the airport and the Bureau of Meteorology explain a further 15 per cent _ leaving about 5 per cent that remain a mystery.

In recent years, Mr Roberts said, he could expect about 50 telephone calls from people annually, but he has already had 20 this year.

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