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Examination of an alleged UFO video:

Important note:

These images are not those of a UFO. They have, in my firm opinion, a COMMONPLACE EXPLANATION which I determined rather easily and which is beyond the shadow of a doubt to me.

This page contains a certain number of images extracted from two video sequences, with comments besides.


The two videotapes came from Azerbaijan. The sender is not anonymous, the circuit of the two cassettes is perfectly clear but I make a point of preserving the privacy which was required. The two tapes each have a filmed duration of a little more than one hour and are copies of sequences filmed by a citizen of Azerbaijan in the vicinity of Baku, the capital, in 2001, by means of a digital amateur video camera (Mini DV format).

For the author of the footage, it is clear that the images are that of an extraterrestrial spaceship in the Azeri sky. The witnesse's CV reveals that he has a scientific education, worked in the sectors of education in Geography and Ecomomy, at the Baku Sciences Academy for example.


The two tapes start with images of a clear or luminous point in the sky. No reference mark makes it possible to locate it, the night is completely dark. The author uses the camera digital/optical zoom, therefore, it is impossible to realize the real size from the apparent size of this point in the sky such as it would be seen with the naked eye. At this step the video is not very impressive on the viewer, whether expert or not.


Here the zoom still increased the apparent size of the luminous spot. The spot seems whitish without other nuances of colors; actually, this is an effect of the night. The camera does not manage to restore colors in an otherwise totally dark environment.


With the passing of time and the zooming forward and back, the spot seems to undergo slight aspects changes; it sometimes looks like a sort of white sphere, sometimes a white sphere surrounded by a halation. At a certain time, another smaller luminous point approaches the first one at a fantastic speed, and at once takes the same flight path back in the opposite direction, the whole manoeuvering occurring in a little less than one second. It was actually a nocturnal insect passing in the camera field by mere coincidence.


Here the author of film noticed a passing plane, it is audible on the tape soundtrack, whereas the alleged UFO is accompanied by no audible sound. He then filmed the passing of this plane. If a viewer with low critical sense saw an extract of this video, without the soundtrack, he may interpret the plane as another UFO.


As time goes by the witness continued to film. The UFO starts to take very stunning colorizations. There is still no index or reference point to allow an evaluation of the position of the UFO in the sky, nor what would be its apparent size if seen with the naked eye. The zoom is used dramatically, with forward and backwards commands which generate "changes of the UFO's aspect" to a certain extent.


The witness then captured a fixed image of the "UFO," using the freeze frame capacity which many digital camera offer. "The object" now has a contour; which one may describe as "clear-cut" and shows well defined and well delimited colors which seem very puzzling.


A second such still image, the UFO has the same aspect as in the previous image. One may think, wrongly, that the UFO approached, and that it now has an aspect which does not change anymore, and one may offer erroneous assumptions on its changes of aspects and changes of shape. In reality, these particular images enabled me to identify another image of another so-called UFO video, of British origin, as having the same commonplace explanation as this one.


Time goes by. The "UFO" undergoes a very dramatic succession of totally spectacular changes of aspects.


Again a change of color, fixed on this still image. These changes of colors are occurring very fast, the color changing with almost each frame of the video.


Here, the still image shows a geometrical shape for the "UFO"; the object which is really filmed is actually a sphere.


Other less marked changes known succeed. The "black and white" aspect is long gone, the "UFO" displays all the colors of the spectrum.


Here again, one may perhaps see a certain shape in three dimensions within a halation. In fact, at about this time of his film, the witness had the good idea to place his camera on a fixed support. The displacement of the object thus becomes finally apparent, and should suffice for everyone to find the natural explanation for the alleged UFO. Of course, the video could still be edited out in spectacular extracts and be deprived of this telling clue on the displacement.


Other spectacular colors and shapes follow one another, here a bright green. It is still the same object, though.


The "UFO" now displays a very clearly luminous green and a shape that seems to be of an hexagon. The first tape ends with other images of this type.


The same object is still filmed, here is how it appears at the beginning of the second tape. The black and whites are back briefly, the object is now a shining spot surrounded by a marked halation.


The author of film demonstrates the power of the digital zoom. The object is so much enlarged that it does not fit any more in the screen's size.


Colors reappear; the fixed image suggests that there is a certain shape of a white triangle pointed to the bottom in the middle of the object. Its general shape appears complex, which some would perhaps describe as "stunning details of the UFO structure."


Here, "details" come out such as one would perhaps evoke some "port-holes," if there were only such still images. On the video, the changes of color and aspects are fast, and dominate, not really letting enough time to distinguish any port-holes candidates. But once again, if a newspaper or a site web presented this still image as "an image extracted from a UF video," few people would find obvious that it dos not show a UFO at all.


A very beautiful fixed image, like the above, here the "UFO" is of an intense blue on the "top" and purple on its "underside."


Again, a spectacular change of aspect. These changes of aspects pass by in successive phases as time goes by. The object does not take again at any time aspects it had before; it changes by always taking new aspects. This is an important point in the explanation.


That said, occasionally, the amateur cameraman has the good idea to cease the exaggerated use of the digital zoom (40x?) to take the object with a field more like the field of view that would be seen in the sky with the naked eye. On this image, which seems completely black, the "UFO" is indeed present. Look closer, the "UFO" is indeed this small whitish dot practically in the center of the image. That, is what a visual witness not equipped with a digital camera would have reported.


The day rises now. Which however still leaves us with an apparently spectacular UFO.


The changes in shape do not cease; the "UFO" appears here as "a cube in three dimensions, with rays all around."


The day continues to rise. Our cube emits rays of a yellowish color.


The cube or triangle or "diamond shape," with a little more view field compared to the intensive zoomings which reigns almost throughout the video.


Without entering a too heavy formalism, it is possible to present an analysis of these videotapes using the ordinary scientific methodology and to obtain an explanation from it.

The problem to be solved is perfectly simple and clear: what is the taped object? The question can be formulated in a less neutral way, of course, as in "do these images prove that the witness saw an extraterrestrial spaceship?"

I now intend to build an explanation of the cause of the effect visible on the images, an explanation I want to be:

I extract facts from the video, and I explain them:

Digital/optical zoom effects:

In the rare moments when the object to be explained is not filmed with a strong use of the digital zoom function of the video camera, the object appears as a small point, without discernible colors, with no strange movement, no change in shape, color or discernible aspect. The object appears in fact exactly as planet Venus appears when seen with the naked eye. The sharp colors, complex arrangements, the apparent details, appear only when the digital zoom is used.

In this context, to show that the object is not planet Venus but an extraterrestrial spaceship, it is necessary to get one's amateur digital video camera, to locate Venus in the night sky, to use the zoom and to manage to prove that playing with the digital zoom does not generate the spectacular effects filmed here. Such a demonstration remains to be made.

The nature of the displacement

In the single video sequence when the cameraman apparently put the camera on a fixed standpoint, with use of the zoom, against a fixed reference mark, the object undergoes a slow and perfectly regular movement, in a perfectly rectilinear direction, with no turns nor accelerations. This movement is the apparent movement which planet Venus undergoes in the sky when viewed with an amateur telescope. It is a key point; which allows an identification of the object as being certainly planet Venus.

In this context, to show that the object is not Venus, and would actually be an extraterrestrial spaceship, it is necessary to maintain the position that this extraterrestrial spaceship had a movement similar to that of a planet in the sky by pure coincidence. This position is not an economical one.

One may raise the objection that nothing proves that the camera was fixed at the time of this sequence, and that my reasoning is a circular reasoning; but that does not have any explanatory value while my conviction that the camera was fixed at this time has quit a good explanatory value and complies with the principle of parsimony. If the camera were not fixed, whereas the object carries out a regular and slow rectilinear motion corresponding to that of a planet, whereas in the remainder of the video it hops in any direction when filmed with the zoom, which I naturally allot to the involuntary and unverifiable movements of the hand of the cameraman, then it should be defended the idea that the extraterrestrial spaceship had for a certain reason the hopping movements as those which one would obtain with a hand held camera, except on an occasion where it, by a certain reason, had adopted a rectilinear and slow regular movement by exactly compensating the jumps of the hand held camera. It is difficult to be less parsimonious, or more "ad hoc."

Visibility in broad day light:

In last the minutes of the video, whereas the day rises, the cameraman seems to lose sight of his target each time that he ceases to jeep it pointed with the zoom; he must search for it in the sky and has difficulty to relocate it so as to zoom in on it again. Except when zoomed in, the object appears in broad daylight as a very weak whitish dot, the very attributes of planet Venus; as soon as the cameraman is able to zoom in on it again, the object takes again its seemingly strange characteristics.

In this context, to refute that the object was the Venus planet and to establish that it was an extraterrestrial craft, one needs to maintain that an extraterrestrial vessel was located in the sky still at the rising of the day with an apparent size, a fixity, and an apparent aspect which corresponded by mere chance to that of the Venus planet. This position is not economical.

Phase shifts of aspect related to the rise of day:

When the front zoom is used to film the object, it successively undergoes phases of different aspects, phases of ever-renewed aspects rather than cycles. When the night is still dark, the camera does not manage to capture colors, the object appears circular with a more or less marked halation. As the sky lightens up at sunrise, although the background of the sky recorded by the camera still seems quite black at the beginning, a succession of spectacular phases begins, where the object shows changing aspects in the course of time. This is due to the conditions of lighting gradually changing towards more background light, which affects the way in which the digital camera with the digital zoom captures light from the object.

In this context, to support that it was an extraterrestrial spacecraft and not planet Venus, it is necessary to take a catalogue of UFO cases which would be explainable with a minimum or credibility only as extraterrestrial spaceships, and to demonstrate that it is a usual fact of the behavior of extraterrestrial spaceships to change their appearance gradually when they are filmed with the zoom at the time of the rising of the day.

Some further points:

This short analysis shows that a still image extracted from a digital video can show an object under such puzzling aspects that it does not let easily guess its true nature.

If a small extract of the videotape were extracted and shown without the essential clues for its explanation, it would be probably interpreted by some people without critical sense as proof of something of extraterrestrial origin. My analysis thus shows also that any image or strange video sequence must be examined by taking in account that suppression or lack of information could mask a commonplace explanation. Each alleged UFO video should be subjected to the question, "what does exist in the video, which makes it impossible that it has a commonplace explanation?" This question must arise even when seemingly, the video does not obviously display something which would be obviously commonplace.

When considering the distance between the spectacular characteristics of the images and the banality of their explanation, some will not fail to assert that any image claimed to show a UFO is also explicable by this same cause or by other the causes of similar banality. This is in no way my opinion.

I also want to stress that photographic or filmed documents of analogical nature, relating to UFOs or alleged UFOs, are rather largely not victims of the effects underwent by digital video and digital photographs. This does not mean that they are beyond criticism if they are presented as image of extraterrestrial spaceships; it means that the problems are not entirely identical to that of digital photographs and digital videos (see images on the left).


Using a digital amateur video camera, anyone can check that zooming effects of extraordinary proportions can be obtained by filming planet Venus in the sky during the night and the rise of day. I submit that that the video I examined shows exactly this.

I indicated which were the needs for a refutation of my conclusion that the video I examined does not show an extraterrestrial spaceship but planet Venus; the burden of the refutation goes onto those wishing to show that it was indeed an extraterrestrial spaceship and not planet Venus. My conclusion can be easily rejected if it is false.

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This page was last updated on November 13, 2003.