Physically, FOTOCAT is an Excel spreadsheet of UFO and IFO cases where an image has been obtained on photo, film or video. It contains various data columns to register the date, time, location, province and country, explanation (if one exists), photographer’s name, special photographic features, references, etc. When completed, the full catalogue will be posted in internet, for an indiscriminate access to the worldwide UFO community.
• Case Number
Step by step, the FOTOCAT spreadsheet is growing. More cases and more data are added to the master catalog on a daily basis. At the time of writing, the database already collects 8,432 reports.
This section reports contributions received from new collaborators (or from regular ones which most recent contribution is considered outstanding). In addition to the new names cited here, many others are regularly contributing to the enlargement of FOTOCAT.
• A New FOTOCAT Publication
The paper NORWAY IN UFO PHOTOGRAPHS: THE FIRST CATALOGUE, by Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos and Ole Jonny Brænne, in a condensed version of 23 pages appears in the printed proceedings of the7th Biennial European SSE Meeting, a 270-page volume edited by Erling Strand which collects all other lectures delivered at the Society for the Scientific Exploration congress, held in Røros (Norway), August 17-19, 2007. The publication is priced 45 euros and it includes a CD with larger versions of papers. In particular, the above paper’ s full version is 132 pages long!
Account details can be found on http://www.hessdalen.org/sse/#pameld
The editor can be contacted at Erling.P.Strand@hiof.no
• EuroUFO Members Meet in Italy
CISU -the Italian Center for UFO Studies- is one of the most solid and well-managed UFO organizations in Europe. Headquartered in Turin, it was founded 1985 with the aim to investigate UFO phenomena. Last June, it hosted a national UFO congress in the touristic village of Saint Vincent (northern province of Aosta). In addition to commemorate 60 years of ufology, it had the side-objective to promote renewed meetings amongst some members of the EuroUFO network (see entry for 2006/02/19).
PHOTO 1. Group photograph: some members of the EuroUFO network with Jacques Patenet, director of CNES/GEIPAN.
From June 21 to 23, 2007, several EuroUFO members from Italy, France, United Kingdom and Spain encountered and held many fruitful encounters. On June 23rd, it was held a special, closed-door meeting. Attendees were (see photograph, from left to right): Dr. Bertrand Meheust (sociologist, author), Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos (director, FOTOCAT Project, author), Dr. Matteo Leone (physicist), Jacques Patenet (director, GEIPAN), Thierry Pinvidic (informatician, author), Giuseppe Stilo (CISU staff, author), Edoardo Russo (director, CISU), Paolo Toselli (CISU staff), Isaac Koi (lawyer), Dr. Dave Clarke (journalism and folklore, author), Maurizio Verga (CISU staff, author), and (not in the picture) Roberto Labanti (CISU staff). The objective of this meeting was to debrief Monsieur Patenet of CNES/GEIPAN about EuroUFO, as a body of knowledge and experience with strong areas of specialization, and the ways it could be of any service to GEIPAN. The meeting was very succesful and links were established to promote a forthcoming cooperation. See also: http://www.ikaros.org.es/g038.htm
• FOTOCAT Report #5 in Progress
PHOTO 2. V.J. Ballester Olmos (left) and Martí Flò (Seville, 1996).
I am happy to announce that a new, joint paper is under preparation. This will be FOTOCAT Report #5. Co-author is Martí Flò García and it plans to cover all UFO sightings in photography reported in the city of Barcelona, Spain, in the last decades. Mr. Flò was born in Barcelona and he is currently the president of Centro de Estudios Interplanetarios (CEI), the oldest UFO organization in Spain. We have agreed to do this report as a hommage to the 50 years since the foundation of CEI in 1958.
• FOTOCAT Country Coordinators
Marcos González Velásquez (leader of the Canopus association) has volunteered to become the national coordinator for Chile.
Project welcomes the role of regional ufologists to become the focus point to collect data for local sections of the catalog.
GEMS OF THE PAST
This section will revisit certain UFO photographs from past decades with a new interpretation.
• (Lenticular) Cloud Story
Recently I was checking a folder from the CEI photographic archives, when I found a spectacular photograph of a lenticular cloud that was long ago attained in the Canary Islands (Spanish territory in the Atlantic Ocean.) The pic was already familiar to me, yet I took the opportunity to make a good scan out of it for the project FOTOCAT files.
The funny thing is that, besides this sheet, there was a clipping from a news published in page 9 of the the July 1999 issue of Enigmas, a newstand Spanish magazine devoted to paranormal subjects. There, the same photograph was printed, as submitted by a Fernando Rosillo, and an alambicated story was told about the circumstances it was obtained.
The alleged autor of the photo, of which only the initials A.C. are provided (first cause of suspicion), apparently got in touch with the article’s writer and told him that at 8 pm of May 18, 1999, he and a friend sighted what they described as a “very strange cloud” some 5 or 6 km away. According to this narrative, they climbed a car and reached to some 500 meters “from this craft”. From this advantageous position, they took some pictures. The friend of the photographer (he must be the clever of the pair) made him realize that the so-called cloud was moving at a double rate of speed than the rest and in a contrary direction than the other cloud formations...
This is the end of it, as far as the magazine news is concerned. One additional UFO report. But the simple truth is that this photograph had already been submitted in 1994 to CEI from their Canary correspondent Irmi Herman. The picture is really dated 1966 (33 years prior to the current dating) and it was taken in the town of La Matanza, in the Tenerife Island.
Thanks to the painstaking and patient archive research being conducted, we have discovered that someone has attempted to fake the reality. I expect that those who send news ítems to the magazines check their sources, verify the facts, in short, do their homework.
This section will display a sample of UFO sighting directly reported to FOTOCAT.
• Canary Islands 2007
It is known that FOTOCAT, as an internacional catalog, ends by December 31, 2005. The only exception is Argentina, that ends one year later, December 31, 2006. For Spain, for obvious reasons, there is no limit for case entry. That is the reason we are considering the following picture that has been published by the newspaper La Opinión de Tenerife, in its edition of April 8, 2007.
On March 31, 2007, Javier Ramírez Delgado and his family departed for an excursión to the Teide volcano. When they were located at the Ortuño’ s lookout, in the municipality of La Victoria de Acentejo (Tenerife Island), Javier made 15 photos from such vantage position. Later on, at home, when he was downloading the pictures into his portable computer, he found an strange image in one of the panoramic views. It was a picture snapped exactly at 12,32 hours. The weid image has not been visually observed when he took the photographs.
The local investigator and author Ricardo Campo Pérez obtained the photograph from the reporter who had released it and e-mailed it to me. In turn, I requested the assistance of Andrés Duarte, a Chemistry graduate from Chile and an expert in image analysis, who prepared the most interesting and didactic report that follows:
According to the EXIF (specifications for the image format used by digital cameras, embedded within the image file itself), these are some relevant data about the photograph:The scientific analysis by Duarte not only confirms our suspicions, but it also shows how many reliable data and deductions can be extracted from digital cameras. In this case it has been just an insect. Perhaps some day the object under analysis has a higher strangeness level.
Exposure time = 1/160 secs
f-Number (N) = 8.00 (the f-number of an optical system is a quantitative measure of lens speed)
Focal length (f) = 18 mm (a measure of how strongly it converges –focuses– or diverges light)
EXIF image width = 1,936 pixels
Camera specifications (http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/specs/Canon/canon_eos400d.asp ) inform that the sensor size is 22.2 * 14.8 mm
The object looks like the typical moving image of an insect, or rod. I have explained something about such rods in:
This object has a length of some 90 pixels, and it corresponds approximately to an insect of a length of 20 pixels with a displacement of 70 pixels along the exposure time. In this same displacement there was also a period of wing motion. Approximately, this period is almost equal to the exposure time, 1/160 sec., then the flapping rate is 160 bps, which is typical of an insect of short wings, as can be checked here:
I made a similar analysis for images of bees in in flight in page 2 of the forum link I provided above.
In the present example, the circle of confusion (c) seems to be of 4 pixels, which corresponds to:
4pix*22.2mm/1,936pix = 0.05 mm. (The circle of confusion is an optical spot caused by a cone of light rays from a lens not coming to a perfect focus when imaging a point source.)
As the photograph is infinitum-focused, we apply the formula to calculate the circle of confusion for pictures focused to infinitum, and we obtain the distance (S) between the rod and the camera:
S = f2/(N * c) = 182/(8.0*0.05) = 800 mm
With a sensor width (d) = 22.2 mm, we can calculate the photograph’s field of view (FOV):
FOV = 2*atan(d/2f) = 63°
The angular size (t) of the bug is t = 20pix*63°/1,936pix = 0.6°
Then, the linear size of the insect is 2S*tan(t/2) = 9 mm
In an analog way, we can calculate its angular displacement (r) as r = 70pix*63°/1,936pix =2.3°
Then, the linear displacement (R) is R = 2S*tan(r/2) = 30 mm
Therefore, the linear speed is R/(1/160 sec) = 5,000 mm/s =18 km/h = 11 mph
The resulting size and speed are typical of insects. (Please note that results are rounded because calculations are not perfectly exact, as they derive from an approximated measurement of the circle of confusion.)
Some basic statistics derived from FOTOCAT.
• The Panorama of UFO Photographs in Finland
PHOTO 5. March 10, 1979, Suonenjoki (Finland), still from one of the series of photos allegedly taken in several days by Jarmo Nykönen.
One of the purposes of FOTOCAT Project is to stimulate fellow colleagues in other countries to compile all known local UFO photographs and share their findings with us. Recently we did this exercise with Finland, thanks to the active cooperation of Finish researcher and writer Björn Borg. It all began with my sending to him a spreadsheet when the few UFO reports from Finland I had in my files (just seven). Borg did a crucial, ample review of literature, books and magazines, UFO organization’s files, UFO websites, etc., and finally the number of entries grew to 35, an increase of 400%. Click here for the Finland FOTOCAT spreadsheet.
We have 3 cases in the the fifties, none in the sixties, 9 in the seventies, 2 in the eighties, 3 in the nineties and 18 from 2000 to 2005! A very peculiar distribution, to say the least. The level of case investigation can be improved, 23 cases are explained and 12 reports still remain unidentified. From the last, there are four UFO cases in the decade of the 70s (all from the same team of photographers, three infrared film and one unseen by the photographer); one in the decade of the 80s; one very unreliable video in the 90s; and six in the present century (three unseen, two of them night-vision videos from an anonymous military man from a Coast Guard vessel.)
In 26 instances a picture was taken and the remaining 9 were video recordings. Information has gaps and data is missing for times, photographer’s names, durations, etc. 60% of explained cases took place in the interval from 9 to 18 hours, which is quite dissimilar to other statistics. All typical prosaic explanations are present in the IFO set of cases but the incidence of hoaxes is extremelly high (43%), probably this anomaly is to be linked to the explosion of UFO photographs in Finland in the last few years, compared with a rather poor history of UFO sightings. I think the sample we have gathered is very limited to make any sensible conclusion other than much work is still needed on the reports of the UFO category.
Where regularly we will include any published literary piece on curious phenomenology.
• Meteors Detected over Spain, 2006
The job of meteor detection in Spain by the Spanish Meteor Network (SPMN) is remarkable. Thanks to the kindness of professor Josep María Trigo, from the Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya (Catalonian Institut of Space Studies), we are including here -in a pdf version- one of the last papers released by their team. It is entitled Ongoing Meteor Work and it has been published in WGN, The Journal of the IMO, 35:1, 2007, pages 13-22. It contains, amongst other valuable documents, a list of all the bolides and meteors imaged by the nine automated stations the SPMN has built all over Spain. This information can assist us to screening false UFO sightings.
• Giant UFOs from Space
PHOTO 8. This mosaic created by Andrés Duarte shows: (up, left) visible channel, original picture; (up, right) recreation made with Starry Night Backyard software. The Moon was twisted 18º to emulate how it looks in the in the METEOSAT captures; (down, left) infrared channel, original picture; (down, right) negative image of the “giant UFO” extracted from http://dateiwao.fc2web.com/ geosufo.htm
Recently, Chilean researcher Marcos González, with the assistance of scientist Andrés Duarte, has posted a definitive, extremely well-illustrated paper (in Spanish) on the photographs that were taken by the automatic satellite cameras on July 17, 1992 (17,03 UT, Meteosat-3), September 3, 1993 (18,25 UT, Meteosat-3), July 4, 1996 (21,07 UT, GOES-8), and November 21, 1999 (14,46 UT, GOES-8). I recommend his reading for all interested in UFOs, photography and the space. The link is as follows: http://www.iiee.cl/reportajes_ovnis_gigantes2.htm
This is a brief item report for the serious and critical-minded UFO researcher. Some selected information sources which I judge of interest for gaining knowledge from a scientifically-oriented perspective.
• The J.A. Hynek Center for UFO Studies Requires Assistance
We all know that internet is killing the mainstream UFO journals. There is so much (mis)information on the www net on UFOs that many people wishing to receive good-quality information just drink on this polluted source and do not realize about the right organizations and the right journals.
Recently, we knew that the outstanding European association (based in Belgium) SOBEPS, publisher of Inforespace, was forced to close the shop by economical difficulties.
PHOTO 9. Dr. Mark Rodeghier (right), scientific director of CUFOS, meets Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos, June 1987, at Washington, D.C.
Late news from Dr. Mark Rodeghier, scientific director of the J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS), are very sad: they are having financial difficulties as well, and not only the publication sequence of both the quarterly International UFO Reporter (Jerome Clark, editor) and the yearly Journal of UFO Studies (Dr. Stuart Appelle, editor) are endangered, but the actual surviving of the Center itself, with the potential jeopardy for the archives, which include the legacy of Dr. J. Allen Hynek, the NICAP files, and all the historical assets that CUFOS treasure.
The survival of a handful of worldwide UFO organizations and journals is a must for serious, scientific-oriented ufology, if we do not want that our subject-matter is finally lost in a diffused ocean of stupidity and wild belief managed by the waves of internet. The aim to place the study of UFOs in front of established science is already a lost battle. But let us not lose also the opportunity to treat the subject with dignity, and this is what CUFOS and their publications do on a regular basis.
This is a call, this is a plea, addressed to all serious-minded UFO researchers in the world. Please sustain the Center for UFO Studies with your subscriptions, donations and publicity in your web sites and personal blogs. CUFOS web site is http://www.cufos.org. CUFOS postal address is 2457 West Peterson Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60659, USA. CUFOS email address is Infocenter@cufos.org. Thanks.
• Recent Books of Note
WHEN SAUCERS CAME TO EARTH, by Maurizio Verga, UPIAR (Torino), 2007.
It is a large A4-size, 260-page, richly-illustrated book covering all the Italian UFO landings reported between 1912 and 1954. The book features more than 100 fascinating flying saucer cases extensively commented, including newsclippings, sketches, maps, magazine covers (nearly 200 illustrations), a comprehensive source listing, etc. It is the very first book about Italian close encounters ever published in English language. It is the ultimate source for any serious UFO student willing to know in-depth and precise documentation on early Italian UFO cases. The book’s foreword is by Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos.
More details on http://www.ufo.it/saucers/
Your volunteer collaboration to the FOTOCAT Project is requested. Please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
We will supply you with state, regional, provincial or national catalogs for your knowledge, checking and enlarging.
If you are willing to donate photographic materials, files or literature to be preserved, feel free to use the following postal address:
Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos
Apartado de Correos 12140