After my first UFO encounter in 1973, I began to research UFOs, investigate paranormal activity, and currently work as a UFO investigator for “The Black Vault,” along with investigative work on a variety of topics for “The Truth Denied.” I have investigated and researched many hoaxed and misidentified UFO sightings and believe in exposing the hoaxes along with educating people on misidentified objects. I have a background as an amateur astronomer, photographer, and videographer dating back to my childhood. For this short narrative, I will focus on a few common misidentified astronomical objects in the night sky.
Commonly Mistaken Astronomical Objects
Stars and Planets are at the top of the list of misidentified UFOs. Due to a visual perception phenomenon called the Autokinetic effect, stars and planets with the naked eye will appear to move in the sky. This phenomenon accounts for the planet Venus and many bright stars like Sirius being mistaken for UFOs. Next time your out at night, focus on a bright star or planet, and you will experience this effect.
“The autokinetic effect(also referred to as autokinesis) is a phenomenon of visual perception in which a stationary, small point of light in an otherwise dark or featureless environment appears to move. It was first recorded by a Russian officer keeping watch, who observed illusory movement of a star near the horizon.”
Here’s an assignment: Stare at a bright, stationary point on a dark background. It could be a star in the night sky, a faraway streetlight, or a dot of white-out on black construction paper. Whatever it is, if you stare at it long enough, it will start to move.–Curiosity Mag
Another common cause of misidentification is improper photographing and taking videos of stars and planets. The majority of cell phone cameras and even high dollar DSLR’s are incapable of auto-focusing on these celestial objects. We see these out of focus objects in many UFO photos and videos on social media. Below is an example of an out of focus star.
Other misidentified astronomical objects consist of meteors, man-made satellites, aircraft, and rocket launches, to name a few. Meteors are commonly mistaken for UFOs, especially when taking long-exposure time-lapse photography. An estimated Twenty-five million micrometeoroids and other space debris enter the earth’s atmosphere every day, making photographing these objects relatively easy using manual camera settings, long-exposure, and a tripod.
Below are several photos to take of meteors entering the earth’s atmosphere on January 23, 2020. The equipment I used was a Canon full spectrum DSLR attached to an Explorer Scientific ED80 480mm refractor telescope; a dual-band pass filter was also used in the optical train, filter specs-24 nm for OIII and H-beta, and 10 nm for Ha. The scope mount was a Losmandy equatorial G-11 with tracking to compensate for the earth’s rotation. The exposures were 30-seconds at ISO 800.
Man-made satellites are many times mistaken for UFOs. At night satellites can be seen with the naked eye traveling in a straight path and do not change direction or vary in speed. I have received numerous UFO reports only to determine the object was a misidentified satellite. Many people have captured satellites in video footage and post these videos on social media describing them as UFOs. Below is a video showing satellite captures by amateur astronomers who intentionally video satellites using telescopes. I have compared the satellites in this video to other videos claiming UFO captures. It is obvious the UFO claims are misidentified satellites. Make sure to watch this video .
Satellite-spotters! – BBC science
In closing, I have briefly touched on UFO misidentification.
In many cases, these erroneous identification can be presented by people who hoax UFO sightings, whether on purpose or not. In other cases, it is an honest mistake due to being uninformed. There is far more to this subject that what I have presented here. I am currently working on a new project where I will be setting up a low light infrared camera specifically for capturing meteors and man-made satellites. I am also hoping to capture an extraterrestrial craft , so please stay tuned! 2020 Is going to be an exciting year!
Interested in more UFO stories by Jim Kerr? Then be sure to check this one out: