Thursday, December 21, 2017

About those "Glowing Auras" in the Pentagon Infrared UFO Videos

Following up on the media's DeLonge Overload we wrote about three days ago, there is a lot to report. 

The program collected video and audio recordings of reported U.F.O. incidents, including footage from a Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet showing an aircraft surrounded by some kind of glowing aura traveling at high speed and rotating as it moves (emphasis added).
This struck me as a monumentally stupid thing to say, especially since a "glowing aura" was also visible in the "Groundbreaking" Chilean Helicopter Infrared video released by the "experts" in the Chilean government UFO investigations, that Leslie Kean (one of the authors of the current New York Times article) promoted so eagerly. (In that case, the "aura" was called an "envelope".) That video has conclusively been shown to depict a distant jet aircraft whose position had been misjudged.
An image from the "Groundbreaking" Chilean UFO video promoted by Leslie Kean in January 2017, later shown conclusively to be a distant jet aircraft. Kean's Chilean "expert" labeled the object's "envelope" (envoltura).
An infrared photo of John Lester Miller
I figured that these "auras" were almost certainly some kind of image processing artifact, a possibility that seems not to have occurred to the Pentagon "experts." So I consulted John Lester Miller of Cascade Electro Optics, the guy who literally "wrote the book" on Infrared Imaging. He had helped me investigate the Infrared UFOs that turned up in a video over the Bay of Campeche, Mexico in 2004, which turned out to be distant flares from burning oil wells. When I asked Miller what those "auras" might be, he replied,  

I know exactly what the glowing aura is a common image processing artifact called "ringing"....Frankly, I'm surprised the ATFLIR has it, we worked hard at [my previous company] to mitigate/eliminate this artifact.  When in "white Hot" you will see that the aura around it is dark, and when in Black hot, it is brighter than the background.  This is the image processing algorithm compensating for the large signal on neighboring pixels where the signal is not there, the algorithm doesn't know the shape of the object, and over-processes the neighboring pixels.  Very common when an object (like jet engines) are images over a cold background (like high altitude clouds).
So when various UFO "experts" talk about a "glowing aura" surrounding the objects, they are in fact admitting, "We don't know anything about infrared imaging, and we did not consult with anyone who does."

Miller says that the objects are likely distant jet aircraft, but we can't see them clearly enough to be sure. Which is itself an interesting question - why is the quality of these videos so terrible?
What perplexes me  (and is telling) is why all these IR UFO videos have such lousy quality.  Modern IR images look like Hi Def black and white TV.   All of these are out of focus, need uniformity correction and generally are crap.  We should be able to make out a shape and even count the engines, or see landing gear if deployed. A sales guy would never show a prospective customer anything like these.
Very good observations, indeed! Why are there no good, clear infrared images of UFOs, in sharp focus?

One of the two Infrared videos recently released by the Pentagon is labeled by DeLonge as the "Gimbal video."  He writes that "The filename “GIMBAL” seems to be traceable to the unusual maneuvering of the UAP," thereby proving that he has no idea whatsoever what he is talking about. Miller explains that "Gimbal is just a generic term for any electo-optical system (infrared, visible or laser) that has a two dimensional pointing mechanism."

In the days since that New York Times story burst on the scene, attention is starting to turn to the following puzzling lines in that story:
Contracts obtained by The Times show a congressional appropriation of just under $22 million beginning in late 2008 through 2011. The money was used for management of the program, research and assessments of the threat posed by the objects.

The funding went to Mr. Bigelow’s company, Bigelow Aerospace, which hired subcontractors and solicited research for the program.

Under Mr. Bigelow’s direction, the company modified buildings in Las Vegas for the storage of metal alloys and other materials that Mr. Elizondo and program contractors said had been recovered from unidentified aerial phenomena. 

Bigelow's company modified buildings in Las Vegas for the storage of artifacts gathered from UFOs? That does not seem to be possible, but that is exactly what the Times story says. How many tons of alleged UFO artifacts must Bigelow have to need to modify buildings to store it?

Speaking of alleged UFO artifacts in Las Vegas,  I wrote in my Psychic Vibrations column (Skeptical Inquirer), January/February, 2013, concerning a UFO discussion panel held at the The National Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas. They had a special exhibit on "Area 51."
During the question and answer session, Las Vegas skeptic John Whiteside asked about the supposed “authentic alien artifact” in the Area 51 exhibit. The moderator referred the question to reporter George Knapp, in the audience, who (scandalously) was the source of that “artifact.” Knapp has made a career out of reporting on weird stuff like alleged saucers at Area 51, Robert Bigelow’s Haunted Ranch in Utah, etc. Who had verified that supposed artifact? The Russians, and others. Who exactly? No answer. The moderator encouraged the two to take the discussion off-line afterwards. Immediately after the close of the questions, Whiteside says he was approached by Jim Brown who identified himself as the Acting Director of the Museum. Brown berated him for asking such a question, claiming that it threatened their funding. If a Museum’s funding is threatened by asking a legitimate question, the fault lies not with the questioner, but with the Museum. Whiteside went looking for Knapp after this, no more than five minutes later, to find that he had quietly slipped out the door.
I'm thinking it's very likely that this was one of the same "UFO artifacts" that Bigelow had. If so, one would scarcely need to modify any buildings to house it.

Lee Speigel's photo of the supposed "Authentic Alien Artifact" in the Area 51 exhibit of theNational Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas.

Following up on my comments in the previous posting that MUFON board members apparently did not know that Bigelow was in essence funneling federal dollars to them (lord knows that Bigelow has enough spare dollars of his own), the following has come to light. In 2011 former MUFON director James Carrion wrote,

Mr. Bigelow did not fund MUFON’s work for BAASS, instead “sponsors” that Bigelow revealed to John Schuessler but not to the other MUFON Board Members put up the money.
We can now conclude quite definitely that the unnamed "sponsor" was in fact the federal government. Carrion also wrote,

John Schuessler, MUFON Board Member and former International Director was offered a U.S. government security clearance allegedly related to his consulting work for Mr. Bigelow. Now whether John was actually given that clearance, I can’t say for sure, but I was one of the people interviewed as part of his background investigation.
From which we can reasonably conclude that John Schuessler did know that MUFON was receiving federal funding through Bigelow, but other MUFON officials did not.


  1. They'll be screaming a shrill "shill" in cellars all over the world at you and Mr. Miller.

    Not quite on topic, but an "Authentic Alien Artefact" would be the biggest story in human history; yet there was no press conference or dissemination said artefact for full confirmation? I thought 'full disclosure' was the goal?

  2. I think what we are seeing are copies of copies videos, which is why they are low quality. I would not doubt that they were recorded using a cell phone while watching the original on a television set. I also question how we can be sure these even came from the DOD! Everyone says it but the source is tracked from "to the stars" because their expert worked at the DIA as part of the program. How do we know if the video is not a fake? How do we know if he acquired the video through Bigelow through MUFON, where somebody had gotten the video from an unknown source? Inquiring minds want to know. Will UFO proponents, who are already peddling this as "scientific evidence", be just as critical?

    1. "how we can be sure these even came from the DOD!"

      Bingo! It's all just too over the top. "There's a fleet of them" or some such nonsense. That doesn't sound like a grim Navy pilot to me but more like a kid in front of a TV!

    2. Over the top is about right.

      Okay, now can someone answer these two:

      1. Would one 'normally' expect a recording of FLIR images (in this case the GIMBAL version) to carry voice recordings from the cockpit?

      2. It's been suggested on Metabunk that the crew refer to either LOS or L&S. The latter apparently means "launch and search". Launch what, search for what? Is this an indication that they are indeed looking at a drone, during a training exercise?

    3. The “whole fleet of them” comment was in connection to drones, which the pilot thought he was chasing. And he’s right — there is a whole fleet of drones in the civilian world. It’s quite possible for an object to be of mysterious origin but terrestrial in nature. Highly probable, in fact.

    4. @zoamchomsky — "That doesn't sound like a grim Navy pilot to me but more like a kid in front of a TV!"

      I agree. The dialog in that vid sounds too Hollywood to me.

      What's with all the, "dudes" and "bros" they clutter up their comms with? Not very sober military conduct for so-called "American fighting men", in my opinion as a Signal Corps vet, to talk like they're still "back on the block" while supposedly performing their military-related duty.

      A lot of ex-military pilots eventually become commercial airline pilots. Who would ever pay money to fly with an airline whose pilots communicate with the air traffic control tower using the unprofessional street talk heard in that Gimbal video?

  3. That 'alien artefact' looks remarkably like an olde-worlde radio valve to me. But what do I know?

    1. Mikhail Gershtein just posted this to the UFO Collective email list:

      "A little note. In the recent post by Robert Sheaffer we can see the photo of "alien artifact" in the Bigelow possession:
      I can read on the table near "artifact", first line: "...Jan 29, 1986 a UFO crashed in Dalnegorsk located in the Soviet Union..." This is well-known case in the Russia. The crashed "UFO" was just a spy balloon with the self-destruction thermite device. So this is the piece of burned balloon, ballast (lead shot) or some melted electronic parts inside the glass!
      * M. G. *"

      Ho hummmmm...

    2. Gershtein is a well-known and highly respected Russian ufologist [and 'pro-UFO']. I was always intrigued that the Dalnegorsk 'crash' was precisely on the ground track of rockets out of Baykonur Cosmodrome, but had never heard of the suggestion it was a 'spy balloon' fragment. US efforts in that regard seem to have been limited to the late 1950s, but debris kept being found for years after [and the destruct charge could have gone off long after it crashed]. Or it could be Chinese origin. I'd need to see better pictures though.

  4. In the end, just "follow the money."

  5. So this is a "FLIR blur"? Those F18s must be pieces of crap...
    Will we start to call the pilot, who has since gone live and backed up his claims, a delusional crank?
    Its easy to say it could have been a jet "aura" but the audio states there is "a whole fleet of them", and they were initially dispatched to check the ocean which had "white-water" ....a PHYSICAL, something making waves or a wake near the initial sighting.
    I have long believed they are not interstellar(the speed of light problem) but are here on Earth, both underground and under the oceans. My father with other sailors and captain saw one emerge out of the ocean years ago whilst in the merchant marine.
    Are we all going to attack this aviator with slander?
    What benefit does he gain from confirming this?(He has already been RIDICULED by colleagues, but still stands by as to what he witnessed)
    The real STORY to be dissected here is the length of time regarding the cover-up and denial...and now finally admitting the program,money, and actual video evidence.
    We all know Reid is a politician and hence a LIAR! No argument from me there.
    But a Sqdrn Commander of this calibre? Whats next? He was paid part of the 22million and is seeking fame?
    Lets stop skirting the issue with "Flir blur", govt corruption and backhand money deals. Its been admitted by the PENTAGON, there is video evidence, and confirmation by a highly trusted aviation expert with everything to lose and nothing to gain......

    1. You're confusing two videos. "The 'Gimbal' video is from an unknown date and location with unknown pilots. The 'Nimitz'/'TicTac' video is from near San Diego in 2004. Pilot is David Fravor. The media has confused the videos:

    2. it's a blur when the targets is really far away, Fravor plane had no FLIR, the video of 2004 comes from the 2nd flight which did not see the tic-tac visually, probably a distant airliner, the rotating video is from 2015 probably a training exercise on the east coast the rotation due to a gimbal rotation inside the camera

  6. I don't get why the obvious phony artifact has been connected to these vids. Two totally different stories. Two, ne should never ignore counter views, no matter how mad we wanna believe (X Files reference intended).

    However, one aspect that supports such a siting (or helps debunk) are hard radar capture, which also happens often. Some times, even ground radar corroborates, so you have radar confirmation of the speed, location, etc, by highly advanced systems in top end fighter jets, visual, and ground radar confirmation. So simply visual effect? No.

    I'd like to know if the F18s in that vid had hard radar confirmation, but it does not say. I also have a difficult time believing pilots at their level would unable to distinguish between far of visual effects from another plane, but that's me.

    1. Good points Will ! I have been at Metabunk watching Mick West try his darnest to debunk this via the Flir imaging. He had to delete one post trying to blame it on a reflection/flare etc. But mainly the rotation due to Flir inaccuracies, and possible glare from the glass/plastic lens cover.(The audio has one of the aviators exclaiming its "rotating dude").

      To answer your query about radar, the pilots were vectored to the location from the radar aboard the USS Princeton, which is when Commander Fravor noticed something "churning" the water (had visual of a USO), then noticed the "Tic Tac" shaped object above it and so descended to investigate and commenced the chase. This is when the Flir locked onto the object and the radar operator noticed a whole fleet of them. So there is both radar confirmation from the Princeton, and the aircrafts own radar system. They followed as long as they could until it accelerated away at incredible speed. A second flight was apparently launched from the Nimitz and they too tracked objects on their radars.
      I am in full agreeance with you on the abilities of trained F18 pilots, but sadly the character assasination has already begun on this site (a kid?really Zoam?...who is being immature here?), and it will be interesting to see if the other aviators come forward to collaborate what their Commander saw.

      Robert's first posting of this event ends with Tom DeLonge has "opened a can of worms". It sure has! Finally, the military starting to admit there is something else in the skies> the Pentagon Program and funding for it. If these are not the legitimate videos of the Flir camera's, and the recording of the cockpit conversations.....then Bigelows building must be a CGI/Hoax making studio. But this doesnt answer the statements of Reid(who obviously tried to keep all of this hush-hush) or the statements of Commander Fravor.
      * Notice also the Flir videos are very short. We dont see the initial lock-on by the camera, or the rapid acceleration away at the end. Disclosure wont be rapid. Tid-bits like this are still questionable and up for debunking. Makes you wonder what govt dept is observing the reaction this has started? The Brookings Inst. long ago informed Western govts to keep silent because of the panic and religious ramifications it might have.....

    2. your recounting of events is wrong... fravor and his wso did not have flir. they had no radar contact, a second flight had flir, tried to lock on something near the incident location, found something on the flir which cannot tell distances, it looked like a tic tac, but is probably a very very far airliner

  7. Hi, Robert,

    I share your interest in the DoD-Bigelow-MUFON connection as addressed in both this and your previous post. Thanks for tackling it, as it seems be getting lost in large part in the Skinwalker Shuffle. The most interesting aspect of this story - by far, to me - is the money trail. Many related intriguing questions arise. Thanks for broaching them.

  8. It seems in your bias to debunk, you have ignored the easy to find facts of the event proving it was no optical illusion. The jets were sent due to hard radar contact:

    "The object had been detected appearing suddenly at 80,000ft by the USS Princeton, a Naval cruiser, which had been tracking mysterious aircraft for two weeks.

    “Look at that thing, dude,” one of the pilots is heard exclaiming in the clip. “It’s rotating.”

    Commander Fravor told The New York Times the object was about 40ft long, had no plumes, wings or rotors, and outpaced their F-18s. It was big enough to churn the sea 50ft below it, he said.

    “I have no idea what I saw... It accelerated like nothing I’ve ever seen,” he added, admitting he was “pretty weirded out”.

    So the objects were tracked by the most advanced radar on the planet for weeks, and their size, speed, etc, etc all well established. Now you have indisputable proof something not us was in our airspace and tracked by radar and seen by two highly trained pilots. What was it? I don't know, but I do know you'd have to be truly delusional to stick to your original position.

    From people who do that for a living:

    "The Princeton is a AEGIS SPY-1B radar-equipped cruiser. There aren’t many more definitive radar acquisitions than that. Amazing."

    Regarding FLIR :

    "I've watched the most recent video, and I have used FLIR plenty of times in the past. The pilot toggled between white hot and black hot, and I could see no heat trail of any kind from that 40 foot Tic Tac. Seems to rule out jet propulsion as we know it." - Maj. USAR (Ret) 160th SOAR, 2/17 CAV

    Your "expert" needs to get out more often and you have cherry picked the details it appears in an attempt to debunk that vid. By doing that you're no more objective than those who are proponents of it being craft from other planets.

    1. How can one be a UFO Skeptic when the object is unknown? It's because Skeptoids such as Phillip Klass manipulate, cherry pick, ridicule or malign the witnesses/data to fit into their own world view of reality. That is not the true definition of a skeptic. It's how do I fit this story into my own world view and into a scenario that I have built instead of looking at the data or info for what it is. I call this type of skpetic a 'skeptoid' which is not a real skeptic but one that has their own belief system or hidden biases and covers this up behind a veil of skepticism. This is not that much different from the so called UFO 'believers' mantra. The true skeptic seeks evidence for the purpose of critically evaluating claims. By adopting a close minded stance, the skeptic would be depriving himself or herself of evidence. I would hope that skeptics commenting on these video's and pilots keep this in mind.

  9. For anyone interested, just found an article that describes the whole incident in detail by an ex nav/wingman of Fravor,s named Paco Chierici.
    He states that Fravor starred on that TV series "Carrier", if you want a better assesment of his proffesionalism, and strangely enough this whole event was described on the Fightersweep website back in 2015. The comments are very interesting with one from a crewman from the Princeton confirming the story and that they were at "General Quarters".
    There I was:The X Files Edition

    htps:// edition/

    A puzzling question is why now?
    One wonders if it was anything to do with the Wikileaks leaks of emails between Podesta and Tom DeLonge about the UFO topic. This may be a way that the govt still has a control of what is actually released and on their terms, and by getting it out there before someone else did....Reid being the scapegoat.
    Hold on to your hat Robert....Bad UFOs....might have to be re-named LATEST UFOs

  10. Gimbal on Wikipedia:

  11. You're Crazy. 不不不不不不不

    They're real, your fragile minds can't handle the truth.

  12. Richard Dolan has just weighed in with his comments on this and it's quite simple: Government spends money on UFOs = Aliens are Real!

    Completely ignores the fact that it's a classic case of someone hitting up their mate for cash.

  13. If you want true hilarity, try Stan "The Nuke" Friedman and K. Marden chirruping away like a couple of squirrels who've just fallen into a hogshead of acorns. The comments are worth a trawl,too. Warning: You may need more than popcorn.

    1. Actually I'd suggest trying Kevin Randles blog, it's quite literally the classic "US Govt spends money on UFOs = Aliens are real!". And some of the comments are priceless.

  14. An amazingly long and detailed posting telling the complete(?) history of Bigelow's involvement with UFOs. Far more information on that subject here than I've ever seen before.

    The author is "mirageman". Is this Mark Pilkington, or somebody else?

  15. "why is the quality of these videos so terrible?"
    If the source really was the DOD, then it was almost certainly modified to protect sources and methods. Do you really think the military wants the world to know just how good their capabilities are?

  16. was probably copied from Youtube originally in 2007, the first trace of the video is on a german website of sci-fi special effects, it seems a real FLIR from 2004 taken from the 2nd flight to try to find the tic-tac, that flight did not see it visually but got a FLIR contact near the location of the first incident, FLIR cannot tell distance if there is no radar contact, so it is probably a very very far airliner, typical blob on a FLIR screen when it is that far


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