February 14, 1960: Nome, Alaska
February 14, 1960--Nome, Alaska. Airline employee, others, saw a silvery Rocket like object with orange flame trail curving up and away “as if it were manned and controlled.” A similar second UFO was sighted at Unalakleet moving rapidly NW leaving contrails. [X]1
Section X is not very informative:
Alaska has had many UFO sightings [See Section X[; Chronology]. In a typical case February 14, 1960, airline employees and others in Nome about 4:40 p.m. saw a silvery tube-shaped object spouting orange flame from the tail, The UFO moved ENE, then curved up and away ‘as if it were manned and controlled.” Another similar UFO was sighted at Unalakleet the same day, moving rapidly NW and leaving contrails. (Five days later the U.S. Air Force stated the objects were meteors.)2
The source of this information came from local news reports.
The Blue Book file
Project Blue Book investigated this case and determined they were all reports of a bright meteor. The file is extensive and has forty pages. Some of those are copies of the news media reports cited in the UFO evidence. Details about the case file include the information from the initial reporting (MSG DTG 160314Z)3:
Nome sighting had direction from NW to SE
Unalakleet sighting had from W to E
Sighting lasted 1-2 minutes
Nome reported the sighting at 0400Z and Unalakleet reported at 0355Z on the 15th (local time was the 14th)
Additional details came from later information and interviews:
Nome Wein airline station manager had object to the SE moving E. (DTG 160509Z)4 (This was Peter Walsh)
Unalakleet observer Begin: AZ 250 EL 20 End: Az 210 El 20. 7-8 Second duration (DTG 160510Z)5
Weather observer at Unalakleet saw a trail in the sky at azimuth 212 degrees (DTG 160510Z)
A message with DTG of 170245Z stated the following6:
They concluded it was a meteor
It was seen from the following locations: Nome, Unalakleet, St. Michael, and Holikachuk.
A letter was sent by Peter Walsh to the Air Force on February 22, 1960.7 He complained about the meteor explanation and wanted to know when meteors traveled horizontally and parallel a coastline. He also suggested it was some sort of classified mission by the US or USSR. Mr. Walsh repeated this claim in the news media.
An internal memo written by Colonel Philip Evans stated the following:
“Of all the information provided to ATIC concerning an UFO sighting the most reliable is usually the general description (not to include the size), direction from the observer, approximate angle of elevation, duration of the sighting (for very short periods), and the time of the sighting. Using only these factors, it was possible by trigonometric methods to determine that the object was approximately 100 miles high.”8
It also added:
“Subsequent to the ATIC conclusion on this case Dr. Christian Elway, Director of Geophysics Institute, Alaska University, concluded that the object of this sighting was a very bright meteor.”
Major Friend may have been the source of the object being 100 miles high since he performed a calculation on one of the documents (he calculated 98 miles).
I think Blue Book’s analysis was spot on and there is no need to examine it much further. It is important to note that object was visible over an area of 200 miles indicating the object was not at low altitude but, instead, was in the upper atmosphere.
Arguments made by Peter Walsh/NICAP that it could not have been a meteor were:
- Meteors don’t travel horizontally or parallel a coastline. - Meteors do travel horizontally and, because of the meteor’s trajectory, it appeared to parallel the coastline to the observer. The belief it was purposefully traveling along the coastline was based solely on the witness’ perception of the trajectory.
- The object curved upward and away as if it were under control. - This was an illusion. To the observer, it probably appeared to
curve upward. None of the observers in Unalakleet reported such a maneuver indicating it was an error in observation.
3. In the March 1960 UFO investigator, there seemed to be confusion about the reports since they claimed that the witnesses reported seeing objects traveling in opposite directions.10 The Blue Book file has no observations indicating different directions. All indicated motion towards the east. One can only assume that NICAP misinterpreted statements by witnesses that they saw the object to the southwest in Unalakleet but to the southeast in Nome meant they saw the object going in two different directions.
Quelle: SUNlite 1/2020