In recent days, a succession of sightings of unidentified flying objects (the so-called UFOs) in the southern region of Brazil has intrigued airline pilots, the scientific community and the general population. After all, which lights would actually be observed in motion both from the cockpits of aircraft and recorded and shared on social media by observers on the ground?
All of this may have something to do with SpaceX. But first, for the full context, it’s worth recapping the strange events that have been reported since the last few weeks of October.
On the night of the 22nd, a Saturday, pilots from Azul Linhas Aéreas who were on a commercial flight from São Paulo (SP) to Porto Alegre (RS) reported seeing a strange light when passing over Santa Catarina, similar to a lighthouse on an airplane. . However, there were no other aircraft on the radar in the same area.
Two weeks later, also on a Saturday (5), the Azul and Latam pilots reported new sightings in the control tower of the Salgado Filho International Airport, in the capital of Rio Grande do Sul.
These sightings, however, did not start in this region. “Actually, we can see these lights from Confins (MG). There are three spiral lights between them here, very strong”, described the commander of Blue Flight 4657.
Three days later, on Tuesday (8), the pilots of four different aircraft reported the same thing: the appearance of atypical lights just above the horizon line. They were asked to “take pictures to allow analysis of the movement pattern of the object seen”.
It is important to reinforce the meaning of the acronym UFO: unidentified flying object. That is, anything you see flying in the sky but can’t be sure what it is. Not necessarily alien ships or anything.
In fact, according to several US Department of Defense (DoD) officials, who spoke anonymously to the The New York Times newspaper Last week, most of the sightings reported around the world were mostly of weather balloons and tracking devices.
According to these sources, even the most impressive images, which appear to disobey the laws of physics, are likely the result of optical illusions.
for the columnist digital appearance Marcelo Zurita, president of the Paraíba Astronomy Association (APA), member of the Brazilian Astronomy Society (SAB) and technical director of the Brazilian Meteor Observation Network (BRAMON), these lights can be linked to the reflections of the Sun’s rays on the Sun. of satellite.
“The hypothesis we are working on, and which seems to me the most coherent, is what we call ‘satellite leafers’, which are reflections of sunlight on panels of satellites that pass thousands of kilometers away,” said Zurita.
Okay, but what about SpaceX?
This is where SpaceX comes in. More specifically, the phenomenon is called “ Starlink-Racetrack phenomenon ” Where ” Starlink rocket“, in view of the huge equipment fleet of the megaconstellation of high-speed internet satellites from Elon Musk’s company, which already exceeds three thousand. Many of them can be seen with the naked eye.
Zurita highlights a video recorded by astrophotographer Gabriel Zaparolli, a resident of the municipality of Torres, on the northern end of the Atlantic coast of Rio Grande do Sul, on the border with Santa Catarina.
Although preliminary analyzes of the images captured by Zaparolli indicate with almost 100% certainty that they are indeed Starlink satellites reflecting sunlight, this remains only the most likely hypothesis. “What we have are hypotheses, which also imply the possibility of being drones or model airplanes lit differently. But it doesn’t seem to be something that shines when it passes through the atmosphere”, explained Zurita, adding that one of BRAMON’s jobs is precisely to analyze recordings captured by security cameras, observatories or sent by amateur cameramen.
In addition to the sightings reported by the pilots and the video recorded by Torres’ astrophotographer, dozens of other recordings circulated on social media. For Zurita, they are not necessarily related to each other. “Of course, it will be very difficult for us to identify all these phenomena observed in the south, because they probably have different causes and origins from each other. Since the news of the first reports of pilots passing through Santa Catarina towards Porto Alegre, these sightings began to multiply, I believe that because everyone was alert and very attentive in the sky, hoping to register something”.
According to Zurita, the fact is that, for these cases, the explanation found can discourage those who hope that the extraterrestrials that pass through our planet will be confirmed. “In principle, many cases cannot be explained due to lack of data. And for those that do contain data, the analyzes indicate aircraft in some records, on other satellites. Even purely optical phenomena such as lens flare or the like have been confirmed.
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FAB talks about pilot sightings
In a statement, the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) reported that in recent days airspace control was carried out within normal limits and that there were no traces of an aeronautical event in Rio Grande do Sul. “No unknown objects were identified by air defense radars. 🇧🇷
This series of apparition reports (which also come from Uruguay and Argentina), in addition to the videos taken by the pilots, are being analyzed by the Cosmos Astronomical Observatory, in Itaara, central region of the state. “This shows that we are currently facing an unidentified aerial phenomenon,” the entity’s director, Hernan Mostajo, told G1. “Look, that doesn’t mean that in a week or a month we won’t be able to identify ourselves”.
According to Mostajo, the material was sent to researchers at NASA, the US space agency, which evaluates Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP).
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