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20 UFOs in Swift binocular

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Old Tuesday 26th February 2019, 13:57   #1
Binastro
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20 UFOs in Swift binocular

Just saw an amazing sight.

Clear sky bright sunshine 19C 13.32 UT.

An alien invasion of 20 ships.
I saw an aircraft, probably a business jet, then noticed a horde of silver objects following it.
I thought that maybe they were drones.
I grabbed the Swift HR/5 8.5x44 and immediately saw that they were shiny balloons, mostly silver but a few red or black.
They were drifting westwards in a pack that looked like a star constellation.
They were quite high and had strings dangling from them.
What was surprising is that they kept station and were not drifting apart.

I managed to grab the Canon G15 and there are 16 in one image and then some close ups.
Luckily in focus as the clear sky gave nothing to focus on.

I have never seen such an unexpected sight before.
I often see balloons, but not something that looked like an alien invasion.
The balloons were high and I could not make out what they were without a binocular.

A binocular always to hand is useful.

12.50UT wind 100 degrees 6 knots visibility 20km sky clear 18C dewpoint 2C 1032 hPa.
Yesterday 20C the hottest winter month temperature since records began in the U.K.

B.
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Old Tuesday 26th February 2019, 15:56   #2
Troubador
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The tantalising part of your post David is that you say these balloons were following the jet.

One would normally understand this to mean they were more or less maintaining the same speed and direction as the jet.

Were they really doing this?

Lee
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Old Tuesday 26th February 2019, 16:21   #3
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Hi Lee,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Troubador View Post
One would normally understand this to mean they were more or less maintaining the same speed and direction as the jet.
I would think that this must have been an error in distance estimation.

The balloons probably were much closer and lower, and happened to drift with the wind in the same direction at the same angular rate as the much fighter and faster jet aircraft.

I've seen an immense, shape-shifting, pink UFO myself ... balloons, tied together in a ring, lazily circling around their common center, translucent in the sun with no shadow left to betray their 3d form. Clear sky to make distance estimation difficult, two jet aircraft high up in the sky to prime the eye for long distances.

It was quite a weird sight, and I don't know what stories about alien spaceship I'd be telling today, hadn't I run for my binoculars immediately! :-D

Regards,

Henning
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Old Tuesday 26th February 2019, 16:29   #4
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Yes Lee, initially.
Trying to measure the angular size of the balloons on the photo is difficult as they are very small, but about 6 arcminutes.
They were maybe 600ft or 700ft away.
The height of the balloons roughly 300ft above the ground, about 550ft above sea level.
The business jet was on its glide path for landing, say 200 knots.
If the balloons were moving at 6 knots, which was the ground wind speed at the airfield the jet was heading for, then at 20,000ft slant distance to the jet they should have kept up with the jet in angular speed.
But the jet was descending and the balloons perhaps a steady height or ascending.

Actually the jet moved ahead of the balloons eventually, but both disappeared below the large building opposite.
I didn't get a photo of the jet as I was concentrating on the UFOs.

I should have identified the balloons with unaided eyes but I didn't have my glasses on. I usually don't when just wandering around.
Also, although 6 arcminutes approx. the image was a bright sun glint in each balloon. Some balloons were face on and some side on. So the image was only perhaps 2 or 3 arcminutes and very bright glints.
I counted 20 balloons with the Swift binocular, but I may have missed some.

15.20UT 21C here. Global warming. No way (:
Yesterday and today was remarkable for the sun here as there was little light scatter around the sun, which means little water vapour and little dirt.
I have seen better conditions in the nordic countries, where one can get dangerously close to the sun without knowing. But for here it is unusual.

I am glad I always have a binocular and camera to hand. A few seconds to get to the object.
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Old Tuesday 26th February 2019, 16:50   #5
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Speaking of keeping a bino handy. I went and dove the Valhalla missle silo in Abilene, TX about a week ago. Being a scuba trip I didn't want to pack an expensive bino as I'd likely be neglecting it and the propensity of use was low (we'd be in an old Atlas missle silo afterall). I threw my Zeiss Terra ED 8x32 in a bag and away we went. As we arrived and were getting the lay of the land I noticed a black aircraft. I went and got my binos and identified a Rockwell B-1B (lancer) flying out of Dyess AFB. First time I've seen one of these in person and glad I had my glasses!
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Old Tuesday 26th February 2019, 16:56   #6
Troubador
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Originally Posted by TXdefender View Post
Speaking of keeping a bino handy. I went and dove the Valhalla missle silo in Abilene, TX about a week ago. Being a scuba trip I didn't want to pack an expensive bino as I'd likely be neglecting it and the propensity of use was low (we'd be in an old Atlas missle silo afterall). I threw my Zeiss Terra ED 8x32 in a bag and away we went. As we arrived and were getting the lay of the land I noticed a black aircraft. I went and got my binos and identified a Rockwell B-1B (lancer) flying out of Dyess AFB. First time I've seen one of these in person and glad I had my glasses!
Just goes to show that the old saying is true: your best binos are the ones you have in your hands.

Lee
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Old Tuesday 26th February 2019, 16:59   #7
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Yes, they are great aircraft.
Never seen one here, though.

I have seen B52s, many B47s a favourite of mine, and the crazy B36s with 6 props and 4 jet engines. They were regulars here in the 1950s.

Isn't it dangerous to dive such a site?
Maybe you have a dive buddy.

B.

Last edited by Binastro : Tuesday 26th February 2019 at 17:05.
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Old Tuesday 26th February 2019, 20:02   #8
TXdefender
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Binastro View Post
Yes, they are great aircraft.
Never seen one here, though.

I have seen B52s, many B47s a favourite of mine, and the crazy B36s with 6 props and 4 jet engines. They were regulars here in the 1950s.

Isn't it dangerous to dive such a site?
Maybe you have a dive buddy.

B.
It’s not what I’d call a beginner dive. The owner of the silo set it up for diving. The water temp was 58F. It’s considered a deep dive, the debris field starts at 105ft (the debris makes it a wreck dive). Also it’s 2500ft above sea level so it’s an altitude dive. I dove with my dad as my buddy. It’s basically just a concrete cylinder 60ft across. There’s some ok videos on YouTube, search “dive Valhalla”.
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