Thursday, April 24, 2008

Phoenix Lights

Some people are convinced that extraterrestrials are visiting Phoenix, presumably because they like the feel of wide-open spaces or have a penchant for Tex-Mex cuisine.

On Monday, April 21, strange lights once again lit up the night sky of this sprawling Arizona burg, and hung in the air for enough time that they were seen by hundreds (and probably thousands) of residents. Most of these Arizonans remembered that more than a decade ago, in March of 1997, there were two incidents of strange luminance in the darkened skies of Arizona, events that some people still think are mysterious -- and possibly due to alien visitation. These were the original "Phoenix Lights" (which sound like a cigarette brand, but aren't.)

Those two long-ago events actually have prosaic explanations, however. The first, a triangular pattern of lights that swept in from southern Nevada, seems to have been a small phalanx of aircraft. To me, the most convincing evidence that this is true is the report of an amateur astronomer who looked at the formation with his scope, and could see that they were planes. Amateur astronomers (unlike the general public) are experienced observers of the sky. They're also clever enough to realize that if they had seen true extraterrestrial craft, nothing could be more interesting. I don't think they'd lie. I don't think this amateur did lie.

The second 1997 event was a string of lights that was visible over the city for quite a while (tens of minutes). This can best be ascribed to flares dropped during a (later announced) military exercise miles from the city. Indeed, there's confirmation that this explanation is correct from some work done by an Arizona State astronomer in which he matched the appearance and disappearance of these lights with their expected obscuration by the Sierra Estrella mountain range southwest of Phoenix. Call me biased (and in this regard I am), but I trust the work of astronomers.

So, putting it bluntly, I don't think there's any reason to believe that the luminous phenomena that were on display on March 13, 1997 were anything other than human activity. This is important, because the Phoenix Lights are frequently cited as one of the most compelling events supporting the contention that Earth is being visited by beings from afar.

As for the Phoenix Lights of this week... well, they seem to have been a "knock off" hoax by someone who set off some helium balloons to which some lit road flares were attached.

It's not impossible, of course, that aliens could come to Earth. It's also not impossible that they would choose to entertain the residents of central Arizona with their light shows. But if you think this is true, then the evidence has to be better than what it is. Ranting about cover-up and closed minds isn't evidence -- it's merely whining.

And one should always consider simple explanations first. If you find a dead raccoon on the side of a road, you might consider that it was killed by aliens. But you should also weigh the possibility that it was hit by a car.

8 comments:

RRRGroup said...

Seth...

Don't be so sensible, you'll upset members of the UFO community all over again.

(Nice blog, by the way.)

Rich Reynolds
UFO Iconoclast(s)
http://ufocon.blogspot.com

Frank Warren said...

Good Day Seth, Rich, et al,

Kudos to you for being one of the few "SETI folk" who compels me to respond when you address the "UFO bailiwick."

You wrote:

"Some people are convinced that extraterrestrials are visiting Phoenix . . ."

This statement (pertaining to the recent balloon/flare hoax) IMHO is akin to saying that the "WOW signal" was a phone call from a galactic neighbor.

Sadly there are most certainly people that hold that mindset in both examples; however, methinks the number is minute.

You wrote:

" . . . in March of 1997, there were two incidents of strange luminance in the darkened skies of Arizona . . ."

I'm afraid that statement is fallacious to be polite; in March of '97 there were multiple "UFO related events" seen from coast to coast in several states; many which described a "huge V-shaped craft"; sightings were predominant in Arizona with witnesses in the tens of thousands (given the fact that eyes were to the skies in anticipation for Hale/Bopp).

You wrote:

"The first, a triangular pattern of lights that swept in from southern Nevada, seems to have been a small phalanx of aircraft. To me, the most convincing evidence that this is true is the report of an amateur astronomer who looked at the formation with his scope, and could see that they were planes."

Most researchers/investigators of the "Phoenix Lights" do not discount the declaration of "Mitch Stanley" (the amateur astronomer you cite) although some have questioned "planes flying wing tip to wing tip" at night.

In general however, his statement(s) is accepted as fact. That said, this certainly doesn't negate the daytime sightings that occurred on that date, as well as the multiple reports of a "huge low flying craft" that evening all throughout the state of Arizona.

You wrote:

"The second 1997 event was a string of lights that was visible over the city for quite a while (tens of minutes). This can best be ascribed to flares dropped during a (later announced) military exercise miles from the city."

Again you are mistaken; first this is one of many events (as stated above), and second this event only lasted minutes as evidenced by several video tapes of this particular happenstance. It is agreed by most however, that the images were of "flares."

You wrote:

"So, putting it bluntly, I don't think there's any reason to believe that the luminous phenomena that were on display on March 13, 1997 were anything other than human activity."

Since you have only cited "two events" that occurred on that date, both of which most researchers/investigators agree with your conclusion, one can only nod in the affirmative; however, to draw a conclusion based on a small portion of the data regarding the "observation of multiple phenomena"
with respect, isn't prudent. Moreover, it certainly doesn't conform to scientific methodology, which given your position, title and academic credentials, one would anticipate.

Finally, I am reminded that you have said on more then one occasion that "you are not a Ufologist and you don't research the subject"; this is certainly "apparent" here as evidenced by your missive.

I equate this behavior to condemnation of a book one hasn't read.

Respectfully,
Frank Warren
~Knowledge is Power~
http://frankwarren.blogspot.com/

angelalrrn said...

SEARCH CLOSER TO THE GROUND FOR YOUR ANSWERS

RRRGroup said...

Closer to the ground?

Huh?

RR

jeff popplewell said...

Seth has said it many times, that civilizations millions of years old could exist. Arthur C. Clarke has told us alien technology would be indistinguishable from magic. To them we would be as microbes. Imagine bacteria trying to prove the existance of human beings. Perhaps we're close to learning of their existance, but their overt arrival here would be a cultural catastrophe of planetary proportions. They would most certainly be aware of that, which might help might account for the strangeness of the occurances of contact and phenomena we've observed that can't be ignored.
The fact is that we are primitive intellects patting outselves on the back for inventing cars and telephones. Not so long ago, we thought the Earth was flat. Now we're just beginning to suspect that there may be multiverses with multiple dimensions, and who knows what the cosmological paradigm will be in a thousand years. The first phase of the Phoenix Lights, was probably a military test of the huge black triangular dirigible our government has had under development for a couple of decades. Phase two was military flares dropped over mountains behind Phoenix. The fact aliens are probably here is borne out by the tens upon tens of thousands of sightings, of anomalous phenomena that have spanned the planet for thousands of years. Things that have defied our understanding of physics. Indistinguishable from magic.

Jeff Popplewell,
Cincinnati

Rose Maria said...

Actually i asked this guy same question on my blog http://www.ufoblogger.blogspot.com and here is his answer what he had to say about it
End Of Summer

Ben Jackson said...

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Jhon Marshal said...

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