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Physics from UFO Data

Massimo Teodorani, Ph.D

Via Catalani 45 – 47023 Cesena (FO) – ITALY



A research project on the UFO phenomenon is proposed in which UFO targets are treated on a par with astronomical objects having no fixed coordinates. Specifically oriented monitoring techniques and strategies involving small telescopes which are connected to CCD detectors, spectrographs and photon-counting photometers are presented. Expected exposure-times for acquiring a good S/N ratio of the target using all the proposed instruments is also evaluated. Finally, physical information which is expected to come out from data analysis are presented and discussed in detail.


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1. Introduction

Previous instrumental projects on the UFO phenomenon, as "Project Hessdalen" (12) and "Project Identification" (ref. 11) and their results, demonstrate that it is possible to attach this problem with the same galilean rigour and method by means of which more canonical physical problems are treated. The instrumental monitoring program proposed in this work (ref. 14, 15, 16, 17) is intended to be a scientific support to the previously applied projects and an occasion of discussion for future improvements of UFO research. Such a program involves the use of instrumentation which is commonly used in the astrophysical research in order to collect, detect and analyze photons which are emitted by celestial objects. As UFO targets have typically no fixed coordinates and are often subject to random or unpredictable motion, it is necessary to guide the whole measurement platform by means of a proper device. For this reason it is proposed to subdue astronomy-like instrumentation to tracking devices of military type, such as a radar and/or a laser telemeter (ref. 18). Using such a strategy it is possible to obtain very accurate data, which, once analyzed, can furnish fundamental informations on the physical mechanism which governs the UFO behaviour. If such a procedure can be applied, the whole UFO phenomenology, so far strictly circumscribed to the evaluation of simple witnesses (ref. 13), could be treated with the same physical methodology with which an astronomer studies celestial objects. In general, it is very difficult to predict where and when the UFO phenomenon is going to occur. Nevertheless, the existence of some regions of the world in which the phenomenon appears to be temporally and spatially recurrent (refs. 11, 12 and Appendix) offers the most favourable conditions in order to apply monitoring techniques.


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2. Instrumentation and observational strategies

Proposed idea consists in using astronomical light detectors and analyzers which are connected to easily transportable small large-view-field telescopes, in order to acquire images and spectra of UFO targets (ref. 14, 15, 16, 17). The system Telescope-Detector-Analyzer (TDA) is intended to be the main optronic unit which must be used for the data acquisition. In order that the TDA system can be easily guided toward a given target, it is essential to subdue it to the following instrumental facilities:

The most basic TDA system is intended to work in the widest optical window, ranging from 3500 Å to 11600 Å. The signal data which are acquired by the telescope are recorded on CCD detectors which are used both for direct imaging and for spectroscopy (refs. 2, 5, 7). A Photon-Counting Photometer (PCP) is a supplementary facility (refs. 3, 5, 9). The whole TDA system is composed of a complex of 20 small telescopes to which photometric and spectroscopic devices are attached. All the 20 TDA sub-systems are intended to be used simultaneously. The whole apparatus is characterized by 4 main units:

This unit is composed of 5 telescopes, everyone of which is connected to a CCD camera operating in a specific wavelength window. Every window is obtained by using the following filters of astronomical type: U (3000-4000 Å), B (3700-5500 Å), V (4900-6700 Å), R (5400-9400 Å) and I (7000-11600 Å). In this case one is going to perform CCD Direct Imaging (CCDDI), in order to carry out simoultaneously both photography and photometry of an extended light source.

This unit is composed of 5 telescopes, everyone of which is connected with a Photon-Counting Photometer operating in a specific wavelength window. Every window is obtained by using the same filters used in Unit Photom-A: U, B, V, R, I. In this case one is going to perform Photon-Counting Photometry (PCP), in order to search for fast light fluctuations, flickerings or pulsations.

This unit is composed of 5 telescopes, everyone of which is connected with an Objective-Prism, whose dispersing element is set up at a particular inclination in order to gain the requested wavelength window. The wavelength windows are 3000-4700 Å, 4700-6400 Å, 6400-8100 Å, 8100-9800 Å, 9800-11500 Å. The dispersed light is recorded on CCD cameras. In this case one is going to perform CCD Objective-Prism Spectroscopy (CCDOPS), in order to obtain large-view-field low-dispersion spectra. Indicative value of obtained dispersion is 300-100 Å/mm.

This unit is composed of 5 telescopes, everyone of which is connected to a Grating-Slit Spectrograph whose grating or grism (ref. 5) is set up at a particular inclination in order to gain the requested wavelength window. The wavelength windows are centered in the same range as in Unit Spec-A, but are restricted to a narrower value (300-100 Å). The dispersed light is recorded on CCD cameras. In this case one is going to perform CCD Grating-Slit Spectroscopy (CCDGSS), in order to obtain medium-high dispersion spectra. Indicative value of obtained dispersion is 1-30 Å/mm.

The shutter of the TDA system, which must be necessarily connected with a computer controlled exposimeter, is intended to work automatically whenever an unidentified flying target is tracked. Repeated frames, both images and spectra, should be taken in fast time-sequence, according to the apparent luminosity of the target. The telescope T is thought to be used to point to far targets. In the cases in which the target is very near, the telescope is intended to be replaced by a Wide Angle Lens (WAL) by means of a rotating cylinder to which both T and WAL are binded; WAL is then connected to detectors and to spectrographs as well. The movement of the 4 described units is syncronized with the movement of the R-IRST-L pointing devices, all working on an altazimuth mounting. Pointing and tracking devices can be obtained from military-like technology, which is at present very well experimented (ref. 18).

In the following section specific instruments, together with observational strategies which are planned to be used, are described in detail.

The Telescope
The use of the telescope depends strictly on the available radar range, which typically, at least for ground-based portable radars, can't exceed 30-40 Km. At this distance an extended radiating object having typical dimensions of 10-50 m is fully in the range of a telescope with an aperture D ~ 20 cm. In such a configuration good light gathering power and spatial resolution could be achieved. The weight of the telescope should be low enough in order that the whole complex of 20 telescopes plus detection-devices can be easily moved and matched, without appreciable effects of mechanical inertia, with the R-IRST-L tracking system. In order to increase the probability that the target's coordinates which are calculated by the radar's computer are fitted suitably with a centered position of the target in the telescope's view-field, the telescope should be of Schmidt-type (ref. 5) with a view-field of at least 4° x 4° (typically), namely able to restrict the possible target's random motions, which can be due both to guiding inaccuracy and to possible intrinsic fast shifting of the target, inside an acceptable error box.

The Wide Angle Lens
Close UFO targets, if moving, are necessarily characterized by a strong angular velocity and very high luminosity. For this reason the telescope must be replaced by a Wide Angle Lens (WAL) having an opening angle which should be varied from 10° to 90° by means of a dedicated zoom system. The WAL lens must also prevent every possible risk of over-exposure of the detectors in the cases in which a very close target with very high apparent luminosity is pointed.

The CCD Detector
To each of 15 of the 20 telescopes, a CCD detector is attached in order to fulfil both imaging and spectroscopy. The use of very high capability of a CCD as a light detector and recorder (refs. 2, 7) is justified for an UFO observing program for the following fundamental reasons:

These reliable CCD performances are well applied both to direct imaging and to spectroscopy. When CCD imaging is carried out, it is possible to obtain an electronic photograph of the target, from which one is allowed to do accurate measurements of morphologic surface features and of light distribution along chosen axes of the target itself and of its surrounding presumably ionized gaseous medium. When a CCD camera detects dispersed light, using a prism, a grating or a grism, it is possible to obtain an electronic spectrum, by means of which one is allowed to carry out measurements on the continuum spectrum and, in case, to search and identify emission lines or bands. Lines or bands, which may display a particular intensity, equivalent width, base-width and doppler displacement, are the result of atomic transitions which are triggered by particular temperature regimes of a presumably heated target and can be produced by specific chemical elements (refs. 1, 6, 10).

The Photon-Counting Photometer
This light detector owns the precious performance of being highly linear if compared with conventional photographic plates or films. Above all, this is the device which secures the highest time resolution. In such a case one is allowed to detect possible fast target light variations of the order of 10-6 - 10 seconds. Nevertheless, such a detector, differently from a CCD camera, is not able to collect spatially resolved photons (refs. 4, 5, 9). Such a limitation can be overcome if one decides to use the very recent ICCD (Intensified CCD) or EBCCD (Electron Bombarded CCD) detectors, which have performances of both a normal CCD camera and a high-speed photon-counting photometer. Anyway these new devices are not yet fully experimented and at present their spatial resolution is still limited to small pixel matrixes (ref. A).

The Objective-Prism Spectrograph
By means of an objective prism it is not possible to achieve spectral dispersions better than dl/dx  = 300-100 Å/mm (refs. 4, 5). Therefore, in such a case, it is possible to carry out only low-dispersion spectroscopy. An approximately comparable result can be obtained by applying an elementary grating, which is characterized by few lines per millimeter, to the lens of a conventional camera: a similar attempt has been done during previous UFO monitoring programs (ref. 12). In general and in the present case, objective-prism spectroscopy can be fulfilled by trying to track one or more targets together, inside the view-field of a Schmidt-type telescope (refs. 4, 5), in order to obtain spectra which are just displayed on the whole frame. This is a sort of photograph containing dispersed lights instead of simple lights. The objective-prism device should be used in the following cases:

  1. If the target is not hovering on a fixed position.
  2. If more than one target is present in the telescope view-field.
  3. If a mix of circumstances a) and b) occurs.
  4. When the luminosity of the target is too low in order to allow medium or high-dispersion spectroscopy by means of reasonably short integration times.
  5. When the luminosity of the target is high but the target can't be easily tracked in a centered position. In this case it could be impossible to center the target in the dispersion slit of the grating spectrograph.

The Slit-Grating Spectrograph
By means of a slit-grating spectrograph (refs. 1, 4, 5) it is possible to obtain medium-high dispersion spectroscopy. This light-analysis technique can be achieved only when there is sufficient time to place the target in the dispersion slit of the spectrograph. The most favourable circumstance for this occurs when/if the target is standing still. Moreover, in order to obtain an optimum S/N ratio and the shortest as possible exposure-time, the target must be sufficiently bright. The slit-grating spectrograph should be indeed used in the following cases:

  1. If the target is far away but not too faint and its angular velocity is sufficiently low. In this situation the target can be easily tracked and, consequently, collimated into the dispersion slit. In such a case, according to the apparent luminosity of the target, it may be possible to achieve medium-dispersion spectroscopy, which can range approximately from 20 to 50 Å/mm.
  2. If the target is very luminous and reasonably fixed. In this fortunate circumstance it should be possible to reach the highest S/N ratio and the highest dispersion, which could be of the order of 1-10 Å/mm. In this case the risk of target over-exposure could be avoided by narrowing in case the slit, or replacing T with WAL.
  3. If the target remains fixed for a reasonable bit of time and if it is effectively looking as an extended source, a "scanning mode" could be secured for spectrography. In this case sequential spectroscopic frames could be taken of the whole luminous source by moving the dispersion slit along a chosen axis of the target, for instance from the center to the border, including also the possibly excited-ionized surrounding gas.

The financial cost of a complete TDA apparatus, of the approximate order of 1-2 billions of dollars, is well in the economic possibilities of most technologically advanced governments. For this reason a TDA-type platform, which should be put at disposal of every one of these nations, should be implemented in all the areas of the world in which the UFO phenomenon appears to be recurrent.


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3. Calculated exposure-times for measurements

It is possible to predict the order of magnitude of the Exposure-Time ET in the case one is going to acquire CCD imaging frames and CCD spectroscopic frames of an UFO target. In order to reach this task, it is necessary to define what kind of object one expects to observe. Taking into account all the witnesses and photographs of UFOs (ref. 13), it can be reasonable to assume that the "average appearance" of an UFO target is just the one of an extended object more or less uniformly illuminated. In such a case, taking into account all the characteristics of the chosen monitor instrumentation and the physics on which photon detection is based (ref. 5), it is possible to derive the following formula which can furnish a preliminary evaluation of the time exposure ET which is necessary in order to obtain a good S/N ratio:

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To give an idea of this procedure the following parameters could be arbitrarily fixed:

It is assumed that the wavelength interval dl  is the only variable parameter. The choice of this sole variable is due to the fact that one wants to check how different are the exposure-times according to the kind of observational technique, which one wants to carry out. This is synthesized in the following list of options:

  1. ta(d) = Very high-dispersion spectrography, using dl = 0.005 Å
  2. tb(d) = High-dispersion spectrography, using dl = 0.05 Å
  3. tc(d) = Medium-dispersion spectrography, using dl = 0.5 Å
  4. td(d) = Low-dispersion spectrography, using dl = 5 Å
  5. te(d) = Very low-dispersion spectrography, using dl = 50 Å
  6. tf(d) = CCD photometry, using dl = 500 Å

Results of such calculations are presented in the graphs shown in Figures 1, 2, 3 and 4. Every graph furnishes 6 different values of ET for different values of the parameter dl. The four graphs are specified for a given value of parameter L, which in this case is ranging from 1 Kw to 1 Mw. If one wants to perform photon-counting photometry, instead of CCD photometry one has to assume dl = 500 Å (as in the case of CCD) and e = 0.05 (instead of 0.25): in such a case it is possible to obtain an exposure time which is longer of a factor of 5 than in the case of CCD photometry. In the case one wants to decrease or increase of a factor 10 - for instance - the diameter D of the UFO target, it is easy to see from the formula above that in such a case ET increases or decreases of a factor 102.


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Figure 1. Exposure times for a UFO target with luminosity L = 1 Kw, given dl = 0.005 Å (ta), dl = 0.05 Å (tb), dl = 0.5 Å (tc), dl = 5 Å (td), dl = 50 Å (te), dl = 500 Å (tf). Target diameter is assumed to be D = 10 m. Distance d is varied from 100 m to 10 Km. Graph is in bi-logarithmic form.


In conclusion, looking at the result of these calculations it is very easy to notice that it is much more problematic to carry out spectroscopic measurements than photometric ones, because of the much higher requested exposure-times.


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4. Physics from data analysis and research strategies

Output processed data are expected to furnish the following measurable parameters:

  1. Geometric and Kinematic Parameters.
  2. Photometric Parameters.
  3. Spectroscopic Parameters.

The derivation of physical quantities by means of multi-wavelength and multi-mode instrumentation requests for specific choices of physical parameters and aimed strategies for obtaining them. Proposed choices and strategies are described in the present section.

A. Geometric and Kinematic Parameters

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Angular height is an altazimuthal quantity which can be inferred from the target position, being target position obtained from the radar facility.

·         Linear Size S
The linear size S can be calculated by relating the angular size
a, which is determined straight by taking measurements on a given CCD frame, to the target distance d, as:

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·         Linear Separation Z
The linear separation Z of two close targets can be calculated by relating the angular separation
q, which analogously to a is determined straight by obtaining measurements from a given CCD frame, to the target distance d. Z is given by:

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In general, the possibility to obtain the quantities S and Z is strictly dependent on the resolution capability of the CCD camera (refs. 2, 4, 7). For this reason it is important that the CCD sensor can be built up with a pixel matrix and a single pixel dimension which are respectively as large and as small as possible.

·         Transfer Velocity V
The transfer velocity V of the target can be calculated by determining by means of radar the time t taken by the target to reach two contiguous points and then relating t with the respective measured distance d.


B. Photometric Parameters

A measurable CCD image of a target of UFO type can be intended to be an extended source (here approximated to a sphere) subtending a solid angle W and having a superficial intensity B at a given frequency interval Dn. Therefore, superficial flux F in the same interval is given by:

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where, being w the infinitesimal element of solid angle W, the integral is extended to all the apparent surface of the source. This is a measurement of the apparent luminosity of the target (ref. 6) which one is able to achieve after processing a given CCD photometric frame.

·         Intrinsic Luminosity LDn
Relating the superficial flux F
Dn, measured by means of CCD photometry, with the distance d, obtained by means of radar and/or laser telemetric facilities, one is then able to calculate the intrinsic luminosity LDn of the target, as:

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·         Color Index dL
The color index is defined in this case as
dl = LDn1/LDn2, where LDn1 and LDn2 are two intrinsic luminosity values which are obtained in two different frequency intervals. By using the available U, B, V, R, I filters (ref. 6), it is finally possible to obtain the intrinsic luminosities L(U), L(B), L(V), L(R), L(I) and then determine the color indexes L(U)/L(B), L(B)/L(V), L(V)/L(R), L(R)/L(I). This measurement is very similar to the one which is normally obtained from classical astronomical observations aimed to the construction of Herzprung-Russel diagrams (ref. 6).

·         Intrinsic Superficial Intensity IDn
Intrinsic superficial intensity I
Dn is related to the superficial intensity BDn using the relation:

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In particular, IDn is considered to acquire the same value in concentric isophotal contours by which the whole surface of the luminous target is subdivided. In order to obtain IDn one is obliged to do "differential photometry" of an extended target having a linear size S. Such measurement consists in calculating, at a fixed frequency range Dn, the intensity gradient dIDn/dr, where r is defined in the range 0 £ r £ S/2. This one is strongly considered a fundamental task as one may well expect that the intrinsic superficial intensity of an UFO target is not uniform all over the emitting area (ref. 18). Measurement of the intensity gradient requests for two variants, namely dIDn/dr and ddI/dr, where dI is a color index which is expressed as the ratio of the intrinsic superficial intensities in two different wavelength ranges. Isophotal contour measurements are commonly in use in astrophysical research regarding extended celestial objects such as galaxies, nebulae or planets (ref. 6).

·         Total Luminosity LT
If one wants to evaluate the total luminosity LT of a given UFO target, it is necessary to integrate intrinsic luminosity values over the overall observational band, which can range from
n1  = 3500 Å to n2 = 11600 Å in the optical, but which can be also extended in case in the near UV and in the near IR. In such a case one obtains:

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where, in particular, s is the Stefan-Boltzmann constant, and TE is the effective temperature of the target (ref. 6). It is very easy to notice from the formula above that, after obtaining measurements of LT and S following the procedures described in the previous sections, it is then possible to deduce the effective temperature of the UFO target. Temperature measurement is allowed only if one is able to ascertain, by means of spectroscopic measurements of the continuum spectrum and by doing suitable comparisons with Planck theory (ref. 6), that the UFO target is emitting as a thermal spectrum. The measurement of total luminosity (or bolometric luminosity) LT is normally expected to be done, when possible, in the case of celestial objects of every type, when multi-wavelength observations are available (ref. 6).

·         Period of Pulsation Pp
If one is able to obtain a large number of CCD frames (for instance, 100-200 frames) of a given target during one single observational run, it is then possible to measure, at a fixed frequency range
Dn , the period of pulsation Pp (if present). Pp (ref. 9) involves the pulsational time variation of the intrinsic luminosity LDn , of the intrinsic intensity IDn and of the color index dL. As one may well expect that a possible pulsation could range from 0.001 seconds to some minutes, it is realistic to assert that a CCD camera is not the most suitable photometric device which can be able to detect fast periodic pulsations, just because of the long read-out times (about 20 seconds) of this device. Therefore, in order to perform efficiently this research of "target pulsation" one should couple to the CCD observing mode an additional and intensive use of photon-counting fast photometry. Search and consequent measurements of pulsation effects are strongly encouraged, as previous observations of pulsating UFO targets have been already done in the past, such as in the case of the measurements attempted by Project Hessdalen in 1984 (ref. 12).

·         Angle of Gravitational Deflection GD
In this case one is led to hypothesize that the UFO target itself is able to generate an Einstein-Schwarzschild autonomous gravitational field, which could be supposedly generated by a natural or artificial mini-black hole or by a locally warped space-time (refs. 6, 8). According to the general relativity theory, the light path of a luminous source which passes close to such a strong field is necessarily deflected by an angle GD. For the present scope of the proposed monitoring project, angle GD could be measured in 2 ways:

a.        In the case of night-time observations, a CCD image of an UFO target is expected to contain a certain number of field-stars. For this reason it should be necessary to compare the CCD frame in which the UFO is present with a CCD frame of the same portion of sky containing only stars. One should expect that the path of the photons of the stars which are closer to the UFO are deflected by an angle GD from their real path because of a gravitational lensing effect and that, if the gravitational focus comes close to the TDA apparatus, the received light of the "perturbed stars" may be highly strengthened. Comparing the two CCD frames (the target frame and the control frame) it should be possible to verify that the star positions can be changed from real positions and that starlight may look to be amplified.

b.       An alternative experiment for measuring the angle GD could be carried out by pointing the beam of the laser device to varying distances (perpendicular to the line of sight) from the target and by taking simultaneously fast sequential CCD photograms of the field of sky which contains both the target and the laser beam. If the laser beam appears to be deflected, one can easily measure the angle GD by doing subsequent reduction of the CCD frames and determine how much this angle increases when the distance of the laser beam from the UFO increases.

Gravitational lensing effect is not only a theoretical exercise, but it has been observationally proved on much larger-scale phenomena. The case of extragalactic massive objects deflecting the light of field galaxies is illuminating.

Conversely, if one hypothesizes that the given target is able to generate an anti-gravitational field, it is possible to expect that the angle GD could be deflected in the opposite sense. Similar measurements as the ones described above could be consequently carried out.

·         Gravitational Redshift GR
In addition to gravitational deflection, the photons emitted by a light source which is very near to an Einstein-Schwarzschild gravitational field - just the photons emitted by the excited-ionized and brightening atmospheric gas which surrounds supposedly the luminous target - which is supposedly generated by an UFO target, are expected to be subject to a gravitational redshift GR (refs. 6, 8). In order to measure GR, one must know the contribution of GR to the color index of the target. Conversely, hypothesizing that the target is able to develop an anti-gravitational field, it is expected that one could record an anti-gravitational blueshift .


C. Spectroscopic Parameters

On the basis of the physical configuration of a possible UFO target, one should expect to detect different types of spectral features. The target itself or its surrounding medium or both must present proper excitation and/or ionization conditions. This implies the existence of the following possible scenarios:

  1. The target itself is a heated solid object.
  2. The surrounding atmospheric gas is heated by the central target by means of some esotic mechanism.
  3. Both situations occur.
  4. The target iself is a hot plasma.

         I.            In the case the UFO target itself is a machine whose external surface is heated by some propulsion mechanism, one may assume that such a target is able to produce molecular emission bands of various strengths, which are possibly resulting from atomic transitions in metallic elements. Such emission bands are expected to be mixed with oxygen and nitrogen emission lines produced by the excitation-ionization processes to which the surrounding atmospheric medium is subject because of the very hot central target. The strength of both the emission bands and of the atmospheric emission lines should depend on the involved temperature of the heated source and on the density of both the heated source and its surrounding gaseous medium. At low altitudes, where airmass is thicker one should expect to record stronger atmospheric emission lines.

       II.            In the case the UFO target doesn't appear to be a hot machine (no metallic lines) but its surrounding medium is hot, one should expect to record only atmospheric emission lines. Maybe one of the causes of such a situation could be due to a pulsed magnetic field whose pressure acts, at every given instant and at every given point, as a magnetically-induced thermal shock on the atmospheric medium. If this is the case one could also expect that microwaves are emitted; in such a case microwave radiation could be detected with an appropriate additional device.

     III.            In the case the UFO target is itself a hot plasma, it is expected that one records emission lines resulting from atmospheric gas ionization and excitation.


·         Thermodynamic Parameters
From the measurement of the equivalent width and of the full width at half maximum of every emission line or band, one is then able to derive the main thermodynamic parameters - the temperature T, the pressure P and the density
r (refs. 1, 6, 10) - of the target and, in most cases, of the excited-ionized atmospheric gas. In the case the spectrum of the luminous target doesn't present emission lines, one can measure the target temperature directly from the continuum spectrum. As it is expected that a thermal continuum spectrum reproduces more or less strictly a Planck curve (ref. 6), it is necessary to determine the precise wavelength lmax at which the intensity of the continuum spectrum reaches the highest value. Using this procedure temperature T can be derived from the Wien displacement law:

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In such a case the acquisition of a low-dispersion spectrum can be considered sufficient for a preliminary measurement of T.

·         Transfer Velocity Vrad
If the target is moving very fastly, the center of the emission bands can be displaced by a quantity given by the doppler shift:

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where c is the velocity of light, lufo is the observed blue or red-shifted wavelength of the center of the emission band produced by the target, llab is the wavelength of a laboratory band at rest and Vrad is the radial velocity of the target (refs. 1, 6). This method for determining the transfer velocity is intended to be strictly coupled with the radar method. Because of the very high-precision requested, such a measurement can be secured only with medium or high-dispersion spectrography. On the contrary, the emission lines which are due to heated atmospheric gas are not expected to show any radial doppler displacement, as the excitation-ionization processes which are due to atomic transitions of the luminous target surrounding medium take place only when the target crosses a given point of a quasi-steady atmosphere at a given instant. Atmospheric emission lines could only be broadened by gas turbulent motions (refs. 1, 6, 10), which can be a mixture of normal atmospheric turbulence and a possible "turbulence factor" which may be induced by the target's hot surface or by another kind of target heating source.

·         Rotational Velocity Vrot
If the target itself is fastly rotating, one could be able to observe emission bands whose profile is rotationally broadened by a Doppler factor given by the formula:

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where Vrot is the rotational velocity of the target and i is the inclination of the rotation axis in comparison with a plane which is normal to the line of sight (ref. 6). If the surrounding ionized gas is rotating as well, it could be possible to record atmospheric emission lines whose profile is rotationally broadened by the same doppler factor given above: this feature would be a clear indication of a "vortex regime" present in the atmospheric gas, which is triggered by the central rotating target. If the target itself is a strongly rotating plasma concentration one could possibly record highly rotationally broadened atmospheric lines.

·         Infall Velocity Vin
In the case some atmospheric gas is collapsing toward the target, one could record atmospheric emission lines which are red-shifted in comparison with the laboratory lines, as the infalling atmospheric gas should depart from the observer. This could happen if the atmospheric gas is subject to a strong local gravitational field whose source is the UFO target itself.

·         Magnetic Field Intensity B
In addition to be thermally broadened by the predictable high temperature regime (ref. 6), which can cause also micro-turbulence into the perturbed gas, the emission lines can be subject to the Zeeman splitting effect because of the action of a magnetic field (refs. 1, 6, 10).In this case every emission line is expected to be splitted into a number of components which are differently polarized according to the orientation of the magnetic field in comparison with the direction of the observer and whose separation depends on the intensity B of the magnetic field. If it is possible to obtain a S/N ratio which is high enough and if the target is reasonably fixed (or semi-fixed), in which case it is possible to carry out high-dispersion spectrography, one is allowed to get a good measurement of the magnetic field intensity B of the target.

·         Period of Pulsation Pp
In the case in which sequential CCD spectrographic frames of a single target are able to furnish a great number of spectra at a very short time-distance the one from the other - for instance by using an indicative time-sequence of 20-30 seconds if the target is very luminous - and assuming to be in the right conditions to carry out medium-high dispersion spectrographic measurements, one could try to verify if the measured spectroscopic parameters - in particular the magnetic field intensity B - are subject to some kind of pulsation effect.


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5. Time-variability of the physical parameters

Physical quantities deduced from data processing are of little utility if one considers them separately. The investigated problem can be fully understood only if all quantities are connected together in a dynamical mode. For this reason one is necessarily induced to search for significant correlations between the measured parameters, on the basis of the detection of time-variable features. Possible time-variability of the UFO phenomenon can furnish enlightening explanations on its physical mechanism. This task can be achieved if one succeeds to acquire a large amount of CCD frames - both photometric and spectroscopic - when/if the trajectory of the target can be tracked for a reasonably long observational time. For instance, if the target is very luminous and can be kept centered in the telescope view-field for a duration of 30 minutes, one could obtain typically 100-200 CCD frames in fast sequence, reminding that the computer-controlled exposure time may change drastically if the UFO distance changes. An analogous study of time-variability can be achieved by means of a simoultaneous use of photon-counting photometry: in this case the PCP unit should be pointed to the target for the whole duration of the phenomenon.

The time-variation of the two following parameters must be previously ascertained:

·         The Linear Size S
This measurement is justified by the previous collection of some witnesses of UFO events (ref. 13), regarding, on the basis of visual-suggestive stimulus, possible variations of the dimensions of UFOs which are standing still.

·         The Intrinsic Luminosity LDn
As in the previous case it is necessary to perform also this measurement, as reliable witnesses of UFO sightings report luminosity variations of UFOs which are standing still (ref. 13).

Furthermore and most importantly, according to the large amount of witnesses collected so far (ref. 13), there is the suspect that the time-variation of the transfer velocity of an UFO target may be correlated to analogous time-variations of the following physical parameters:

·         The Color Index dL
Reliable witnesses of UFO sightings describe UFO colors turning from blue-white in static or quasi-static configurations to red during fast accelerations. In other cases, witnesses describe the opposite behaviour (ref. 13).

·         The Period of Pulsation Pp
Reliable witnesses of UFO sightings describe emitted light which is characterized by a variable pulsation period when the velocity increases (ref. 13). In such a case it is necessary to measure the quantity dPp/dt, where t is the variability time-scale.

·         The Intensity Gradients dIDn/dr and ddI/dr
As one may expect the existence of a particular "slope factor" s
Dn  for each curve IDn = f(r) and dI = f(r) ( 0 £ r £ S/2 ) regarding the intrinsic specific intensity and the color index respectively, it is of fundamental importance to be able to evaluate the quantity dsDn/dt, which is defined as the time-variation of sDn at every given wavelength window (U, B, V, R, I). In particular, one could carry out this study by measuring, at every given instant, the ratios s(U)/s(B), s(B)/s(V), s(V)/s(R), s(R)/s(I) and s(U)/s(I). By adopting this procedure, one could achieve a compact method for studying the possible time-variation of the surface light distribution of an UFO target. This measurement is justified by the fact that time-variability of surface light distribution of UFOs has been often reported by witnesses (ref. 13).

·         The Angle of Gravitational Deflection GD
Some witnesses tell about the sighting of "curved lights" which seem to have been produced by some UFOs and which occasionally change their curvature angle (ref. 13). Following descriptions reported by witnesses on this phenomenology, repeated CCD images, containing both the UFO target and a laser beam which is pointed at a fixed very short distance from it, could be taken during the whole length of the sighting, in order to measure the possible time-variability of the angle GD when the UFO is hovering, landing, standing on the ground, taking off, accelerating and decelerating.

·         The Gravitational Redshift GR
The variation of parameter GR could be inferred from its contribution to the time-variation of the color index.

·         The Rotational Velocity Vrot
Many witnesses of UFO sightings have had the impression that some UFOs were rotating more or less fastly and that the rotation rate increased with the transfer velocity of the UFO (ref. 13). Such a witness report could be accurately confirmed by acquiring spectroscopical measurements of the possible time-variation of the rotational velocity parameter.

·         The Magnetic Field Intensity B
EM interference effects on electric devices (ref. 13) together with some physiological effects (ref. 13) affecting witnesses who approached occasionally an UFO which was standing still, suggest that UFOs are surely surrounded by a strong magnetic field. Therefore, it could be possible to measure the time-variation of the magnetic field intensity B when a given luminous UFO target is accelerating or decelerating, or when the emitted light is increasing or decreasing. This measurement could be obtained by carrying out sequential CCD high-resolution spectroscopic frames of an UFO target.


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6. Conclusive remarks

The search for time-correlations between the discussed measurable physical parameters could surely shed light on the physical mechanism which creates the UFO phenomenon. The knowledge of such a physics could allow one to establish definitively if UFOs are previously unknown natural phenomena or propulsed machines. In particular, since now, it is necessary to pose three fundamental questions:

  1. Are there correlations between the transfer velocity, the intrinsic luminosity, the color index, the magnetic field intensity and the period of pulsation of an UFO?
  2. Is an UFO able to produce a local gravitational field and/or a local anti-gravitational field and to alternate these two forces?
  3. Which relation exists between the magnetic field produced by a given UFO and its local gravitational field, if present?

Before venturing carefully prepared hypotheses, it is of fundamental importance to collect the largest as possible amount of data by securing the following two simultaneous observational strategies:

  1. Target monitor using a wide range of wavelength windows.
  2. Target monitor carried out by means of a wide range of detecting devices.

In particular, astronomers should try to infer what is acting inside an UFO, by studying the quality, the quantity and the variability of the continuum and discrete radiation which is emitted, in the same way in which these scientists are able to understand the physics of a star interior by studying the observed properties of a star atmosphere. This intriguing problem is still open and the tecnology for studing it is now fully available.


General Physics and Astrophysics

1.        Gray D. (1976) The Observation and Analysis of Stellar Photospheres, ed. J.Wiley & Sons.

2.        Janesick J. (1987) “Sky on a Chip: the Fabulous CCD", Sky & Telescope, Sept. 1987, p.238.

3.        Henden A.A. & Kaitchuck R.H. (1982) Astronomical Photometry, ed. Van Nostrand R.C., 1982.

4.        Hiltner W.A. (1962) Astronomical Techniques (Vol.2 of "Stars and Stellar Systems" ), ed. Univ. of Chicago Press.

5.        Kitchin C.R. (1984) Astrophysical Techniques, ed. A.Hilger LTD.

6.        Lang K.R. (1980) Astrophysical Formulae, ed. Springer & Verlag.

7.        Mac Kay C.D. (1986) "Charge-Coupled Devices in Astronomy", Ann. Rev. Astron. Astroph. 24, p. 255.

8.        Misner C.W., Thorne K.S. & Wheeler J.A. (1973) Gravitation, ed. Freeman.

9.        Warner B. (1988) High Speed Astronomical Photometry, ed. Cambridge Univ. Press.

10.     White L. (1975) Introduction to Atomic Spectra, ed. Mc. Graw-Hill.

Applied UFO Instrumental Monitor Projects

11.     Adams M. H. & Strand E.P. , “International Earthlight Alliance”,

12.     Rutledge H.D. (1981) Project Identification: The First Scientific Study of UFO Phenomena, ed. Prentice Hall.

13.     Stanford R., “Project Starlight International”, NICAP,

14.     Strand E. - "Project Hessdalen 1984: Final Technical Report - Part One", 1984 -

15.     Teodorani M., Montebugnoli S., Monari J.,  “Project EMBLA” (2000-2004):

General Ufology

16.     Best witnesses of UFO sightings are reported and discussed in the papers written by several very qualified UFO investigators (1950-2005) and sometimes also by some dedicated professional scientists, engineers and university professors who, wisely, definitively deleted the term “UFO” and substituted it with “AOP” (Anomalistic Observational Phenomena). Significant examples are: Adams M., Akers D., Ansbro E., Bach E.W., Bunnell J., Bougard M., Brovetto P., Clark J., Condon E., Constable T.J., Corliss W., Cornet B., Cramp L., Delaval M., Derr J., Devereux P., Dutton R., Fort C., Friedman S., Haines R., Haselhoff E., Hill P.R., Hendry A., Hourcade M., Hynek J.A., Jessup M., Jung C.G., Kasher J., Klass P., Lollino G., Long G., Maccabee B., McCampbell J.M., McDonald J.E., Menzel D., Messeen A., Michel A., Oberg G.E., Odenwald S., Persinger M., Petit J.P., Poher J.C., Pritchard A., Randles J., Reich W., Rodeghier M., Rubtsov V., Ruppelt E.J., Sagan C., Sheaffer R., Shuessler J.E., Simondini A.P., Stanford R., Sturrock P., Tributsch H., Vallee J., Velasco J.J., Von Ludwiger I., Zeitlin G., Watts A., Yamakawa H. Most valuable works of serious scholars of the UFO problem have been published on some reviews and reports of technical orientation, such as: the Journal of Scientific Exploration (JSE-USA), the Extraterrestrial Physical Review (Japan), the technical reports by GEPAN/SEPRA (France), the MUFON reports (USA), the NICAP reports (USA), the CUFOS reports (USA), the MUFON-CES reports (Germany), the SOBEPS reports (Belgium), the EUS reports (Europe), the “Open SETI” website (USA). Moreover, various books of scientific interest have been written on the UFO subject. One of the best recent books which I would like to quote here is OVNIs: La Agenda Secreta written by the South-American AOP scholar Milton Hourcade.



Some peer-reviewed papers by M. Teodorani concerning UFO instrumental monitor

17.     Teodorani M., Strand E.P. (1998) Experimental methods for studying the Hessdalen phenomenon in the light of the proposed theories: a comparative overview (Scientific Monograph with Referee), ØIH Rapport, n. 1998:5, Høgskolen i Østfold (Norway), pp. 1-93. Booklet.

18.     Teodorani M. (2000), “Physical data acquisition and analysis of possible flying extraterrestrial probes by using opto-electronic devices”, Extraterrestrial Physics Review, Vol. 1, No. 3, pp. 32-37.

19.     Teodorani M. & Strand E.P. (2001), “Data Analysis of Anomalous Luminous Phenomena in Hessdalen”, ICPH Articles, N. 3,    / Also in: EJUFOAS, Vol. 1 (2), pp. 64-82.

20.     Teodorani M. (2003), “SETV: Una Estensione del SETI?”, SETI Italia Articles,

21.     Teodorani M. (2004), “A Long-Term Scientific Survey of the Hessdalen Phenomenon”, Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 18, N. 2, pp. 217-251.

22.     Teodorani M. (2005), “An Alternative Method for the Scientific Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligent Life: The Local SETI”. In: J. Seckbach (ed.) Book: Life as We Know It, Springer, COLE Books, Vol. 10.

Military Instrumentation

23.     The Italian journal RID (Rivista Italiana Difesa) contains often technical articles (1980-2005) regarding optronic tracking systems for military use. The website of RID is:


Additional Instrumentation

24.     Technical informations on ICCD and EBCCD detectors can be found here:

25.     Di Cicco D. (1999) ‘A First Look: SBIG’s Enhanced ST-7E CCD Camera’, Sky & Telescope, August, p. 64.

26.     Gavin M. (1999) ‘Cosmic rainbows: The Revival of Amateur Spectroscopy’, Sky & Telescope, August, p.135.

27.     A) CELESTRON Telescopes:  

B) MEADE Telescopes:

28.     SBIG CCD Cameras:

Specific Astrophysics of Gravitational Lenses

29.     Fienberg R.T. (1988) ‘Of Gravity’s Lens and a Fly’s Eye’, Sky & Telescope, May, p. 489.

30.     Afonso, C., Alard, C., Albert, J.N. et al. and the EROS collaboration (1999) ‘Microlensing towards the Small Magellanic Cloud: EROS 2 two-year analysis’, Astron. Astrophys. n. 344, L63.

31.     Essential references on Gravitational Lensing:



APPENDIX: Some examples of recurrent UFO phenomena on the Web

·                     The Hessdalen lights in Norway  

·                     The Marfa lights in USA

·                     The Yakima lights in USA

·                     The Ontario lights in Canada 

·                     Le Pine Bush lights in USA

·                     Le Ural Mountains lights in Russia


·                     The Pennine Mountains lights in Great Britain

·                     The Min-min lights in Australia

·                     The Victoria lights in Argentina

·                     Le Spokane lights in USA

·                     The Avalon Beach lights in Australia

·                     The Byron Bay lights in Australia

·                     The Gabicce lights in Italy






This work is the expanded and vastly updated version of an invited paper which this author presented at: THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL WORKSHOP ON THE UNIDENTIFIED ATMOSPHERIC LIGHT PHENOMENA IN HESSDALEN - Hessdalen, Norway, 23-26 March 1994. More informations on this valuable workshop, organized by Prof. Erling P. Strand of the Department of Informatics and Automation of the Østfold College - Halden (Norway), can be found at the website:

The English version of this paper has been published also on the European Journal of UFO and Abduction Studies (EJUFOAS), Vol. 1 (1), pp. 2-25.




Massimo Teodorani is an astrophysicist. He was born (October 31, 1956) and lives in Emilia-Romagna (North Italy). He got his Degree in Astronomy at the Bologna University (Italy). Later, at the same university he worked for his doctoral dissertation obtaining a Ph.D. in Stellar Physics. He worked at the astronomical observatories in Bologna and in Napoli, as a specialist in the observational and interpretative study of stars which present eruptive behavior of various kinds, such as supernovae, novae, interacting binaries, and protostars. He has been using several kinds of optical telescopes, including the IUE ultraviolet satellite. Since very recently he has been working as a researcher at the CNR radioastronomic station in Medicina (Bologna, Italy) where, using a 32 m parabolic radio telescope and a high-resolution multi-channel spectrometer, he carried out researches on the 22 GHz water spectral line in exoplanet candidates and in comets. Since 1994, parallel with astrophysics, he studies from a physical point of view anomalous atmospheric plasma light phenomena in strict collaboration with several foreigner researchers. After preparing several technical research proposals in order to study the phenomenon using the most sophisticated means of astronomical kind and after analyzing the data which were acquired by the Project Hessdalen researchers, he has been the scientific director of three Italian explorative missions in Hessdalen (Norway), which have permitted to describe precisely some aspects of the physics of the light-phenomenon. He is a member of SETI in Italy, and the Italian responsible of the SETV variant. He is author and co-author of many technical and divulging scientific works concerning both astrophysical matters and anomalous atmospheric light phenomena. He is a member of several scientific societies and since 2003 his name is cited in the “Contemporary Who is Who”. He momentarily works as a science writer and as a scientific consultant of a publishing house in Italy. Aerospace subjects, electronic music and cats, are his main hobbies.





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