"Strange lights on sky, that is about this, which can pretend to UFO" - report from W.Ogloza's lecture and our visit in Jagiellonian University Astronomical Observatory (JUAO). http://www.oa.uj.edu.pl/index.en.html

On April 5, 2009 I went with my wife Renata and our friends Magdalena Szczurek and Pawel Musialski (it was their idea) to Jagiellonian University Astronomical Observatory. On this day the Observatory was opened to sightseeing for everybody; ussually is permited only for astronomers or the students of astronomy.


Our visit started from lecture PhD.W.Ogloza (astronomer from Pedagogical Academy and Suhora Observatory). This lecture was one from many events related to celebrations of "100 Hours of Astronomy" in Poland. The lecture accumulated full hall of listeners', to be maybe therefore that it was about a different phenomena, which was taken as are famous UFO (Unidentified Flying Objects).

- objects unknown for observer;

- well-known object, but seen in atypical circumstances;
- the of groups of an objects treated as unity;
- objects about wrong estimated linear sizes or distance to them;
- unreal light reflexes;
- especially prepared models.

Webster's Online Dictionary

English S/H

These phenemoneoms are very different, and its origins are from distant space, near space or earthly atmosphere. They source are natural or artificial...

These phenomenoms with beyond atmospheric origin can be:

- the extensive objects in shape of disc;
- artificial satellites and different space vehicles;
- bright comets or meteors;
- The Planets and bright stars (sometimes visible in daylight);
- zodiacal light, or Gegenschein.

The cause of form an extensive objects are i.e; the leakage of fuel on orbit. Some artificial satellites perhaps can be taken for UFO: passes of very bright ISS Station (formely also "MIR" Station) or Iridium Flares. Passes of an artificial satellites are very easy to observe, because these time of duration are several minutes. However the largest brightening of an Iridum Flares are very briefly; but they duration time are only few seconds. But Iridium Flares are can be sometimes on 3rd place as most brighter objects - after the Sun and The Moon - with they brightnes up to -8mag! I strongly recommend site: http://www.heavens-above.com where you find i.e. ephemeridies for Iridium Flares or ISS passes as observed above your place.

The last three categories of these pheneomenos are natural origin: sometimes very bright comets like Hyakukate, Hale-Bopp or McNaught can they be taken by someone for UFO! Very interesting occurrence is taking a bright planets for the UFO, proving the slender acquaintance of astronomy in modern society...

Below are an descriptions of planet Venus as seen the same day in different cities:

- White cigar with threefold tail. Visible through the binoculars by 1 hour (poor optics of this binoculars? - A.K.'s comment);
- Brightly - orange oval, after the hour its disappeared below horizon
- The object of silver ball size, whirling, using binoculars, 20 min. (the binoculars without tripod is shivered probably in hands of the observer - A.K.'s comment);
- White shield with triangular, turning edging on the top, object moved up and down;
- White, whirling egg, disappearing its left a red sparks;
- The object of tennis ball size, its slovly moves on west (3 hours);
- The round object, size of a coin, its sended the trails of light;
- The object of a bomber size, metallic, flew on south west for 20 min. when its disappeared;
- Object of the pea's size, white and blue, motionless by 1 hour.

Weirdly, truth?
But this is only the same planet - Venus!

And the last it requires descriptions the Zodiacal Light - is lost in the airglow and glare of cities even in their close vincinity so in order to see it one must choose a really desolate location. At our latitudes (40-50°N) it may be best observed after sunset twilight in the spring (March to April), or just before twilight in the autumn (September to October) since at those times of the year the ecliptic is highest in the skies.
The name of the Zodiacal Light is derived from the fact that it appears in a band along the ecliptic or zodiac (Aries, Taurus, Gemini etc.). It is interesting to note that particles diametrically opposite the direction of the Sun form a faint oval patch of light in the sky known as the Gegenschein (it is a reflection of sunlight by those particles).

Different category are the mysterious phenomena which happening in our atmosphere. They origin is natural like i.e. lenticular clouds (or different clouds with odd shape), light pillar and many different optical phenomenoms in atmosphere (e.g. "Phantom of Brocken" in mountain clouds).
Some of these phenomenoms are also artificial source, like:

- trails of jet airplanes;
- trails of flares dropped from military airplanes;
- artificial light pillars (e.g. from advertising projectors).

And the last categorry are especially prepared models, which they have to pretend typical "UFO". Some of these falsification are difficult to detection, when they are made well, i.e. suitably photographed throwed disc - like Frisbee, but the special computer image processing sometimes can display the details of mystification (e.g. thin line on which the model was hung).

At the end of the lecture, Mr.Ogloza with listeners' interactive help used the famous Drake equation http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drake_equation to calculate the number of civilisations. Though inserted a data to the to sheet were very optimistic, then the result had been less optimistic - ONLY just 0.0792 of civilization!

For more information about "Strange light", Mr.Ogloza recommend follow links (but I published there only checked and actived links - A.K.'s comment):


And so the first part of our visit in JUAO was finished... On the second part we toured the buildings and instruments on the observatory, and also underground of the former Austrian fort (''Fort 38 Skala'') on which the JUAO had was built. The trip across throw open poterns (tunnels) and the Caponiers (type of battle shelter), made on everybody an indelible impression. The trip was more that be varied by the guide's interesting tales about this place...

At the end of this trip we had the special demonstration of sky in inflatable mini-planetarium; puten in one rooms of the observatory...

On the evening, except thee whims of weather, the astronomers decided to show some celestial bodies by the telescopes. We observed planet Saturn small, but good telescope SkyWatcher. This beautiful planet is in present time has hardly visible rings... Through the large 35 cm (14'') Maksutov we looked at the fragments of The Moon's surface. It was be visible i.e. beautiful terraces structure of the Copernicus crater ...

Our visit on JUAO was very successful ... The W.Ogloza's lecture was very interesting but more yet interesting is the place of the observatory: putting place on the old fort, is probably unique on world's scale. But the present sciencist rank of JUAO is somewhat smaller than before (maintly of light pollution from still expanding Cracov), nowadays this Observatory is an important place of cracovian astronomy students' education and preparing them to serious work in other observatories. It was one should also remember about important programme of radio observations of The Sun - led here from many years...


We sending some photos from W.Ogloza's lecure, from JUAO, and photos of an example ''strange lights'' from our photo archive:

- an Iridium Flare;
- lenticular cloud;
- light pillar.

Author: Andržej Karon

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