Oct 09, 2022 I Paul Seaburn

The War Over the UFOs Over Ukraine Continues as a Harvard Physicist Offers an Explaination

The war in Ukraine is approaching eight months in length and the skies over many parts of the country continue to be filled with planes, drones, missiles … and UFOs. In September 2022, a number of scientists researched the large number of unidentified aerial phenomena over that war-torn country in an attempt to explain them – or at least identify all that can be identified and then ponder over what the rest might be. Secret new technology? Aliens? There was even a rumor early in the war that alien arks were secretly buried in Ukraine and the war was over gaining or retaining possession of them. While that research continues, a noted Harvard astronomer known for his hunts for alien technology and speculations that recent visit by interstellar asteroids from outside of our solar system might actually be extraterrestrial ships – or the remains of them – has weighed in on the Ukraine UFOs. His analysis may surprise you.

“Recently, astronomers in Ukraine reported about Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) that fall into two categories: bright and dark. The dark objects with no optical emission were labeled as “Phantoms”. They were characterized by a size of 3–12 meters (10 to 40 feet) and speeds up to 15 km s−1 at a distance of up to 10–12 km (6.2 to 7.5 miles). If real, such objects exceed the capabilities of human-made aircrafts or rockets.”

If you haven’t figured it out by now, the Harvard astronomer is Abraham ‘Avi’ Loeb, the physicist Time magazine named as one of the 25 most influential people in space and the proponent of the theories that the strange cigar-shaped ‘Oumuamua’ interstellar object might be an alien ship and that other interstellar objects which crashed into the oceans should be searched for and recovered to prove – or disprove – his theory. In a recent article on Medium, and in a paper published on arXiv, he reiterates that his interests lie in this type of unidentified aerial phenomena as part of his involvement with the Galileo Project at Harvard and conducting scientific searches for evidence of extraterrestrial life and technology – Loeb believes interstellar objects could be autonomous ships with no life forms onboard. However, his fame brings him numerous queries to examine ‘evidence’ of UAPs in videos, and Loeb says that is what happened one day recently when Sean Kirkpatrick, the new head of the Pentagon’s All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) came to Loeb with a favor.

“But last evening I received a special request from a high-level official in the US government to summarize my thoughts on observable signatures of UAP and so this morning I checked the UAP report from Ukraine and wrote a paper about it a few hours later.”

This was not the first request Loeb had received to study the high number of UFOs over Ukraine, and it was precisely that high number that kept him from getting involved. As he puts it in his Medium article, Ukraine is in a military conflict with a lot of human-made activity in the sky creating “noise” that massively interferes with the precise analysis needed to isolate and identify strange objects. However, when the Pentagon calls …

“I concluded that the reported speeds and sizes of the ``phantom’’ objects would have generated fireballs of detectable optical luminosity at their suggested distances, and so these objects could not have appeared dark.”

Loeb was puzzled by the “Phantoms” or dark objects reported by Ukrainian astronomers. “Dark” to Loeb means the objects are blocking the background light from the sky. However, the speed the objects appeared to be traveling at should have made them “bright” – an object whose frontal area is 10 square meters, moving at a supersonic speed of 10 kilometers per second, “must create a bow shock in the Earth’s atmosphere and dissipate a mechanical power of 1.5 terra-Watt at an elevation of 10 kilometers” which would “result in fireball of visible luminosity above 150 giga-Watt” and last at least a second. To top it off, Loeb emphasizes that a fireball of that magnitude and duration “cannot be missed.”

If Loeb’s calculations are correct – and who is going to argue with a distinguished Harvard professor – then what caused the dark “Phantom” UAPs witnessed by the Ukrainian astronomers? Loeb has an answer … and it’s one that didn’t please those astronomers.

“The observations of Zhilyaev and his colleagues are original, but the processing and interpretation of the results was done at an inadequate scientific level and with significant errors in determining the distance of the observed objects.”

The observations by the astronomers were made while they were doing their job – watching a meteor shower. Thus, Loeb believes they made errors in their analysis due their lack of familiarity with the non-meteor objects they were seeing. Specifically, they erred in the distance away from their telescopes that the objects appeared to be. Loeb speculated that they were mistaken in judging this distance and, when he simulated the sightings with a distance ten times closer than the astronomers thought, he found that the angular motion of the dark Phantoms on the sky corresponded to a physical velocity ten times smaller or 1.5 kilometers per second, and their size would be 0.3–1.2 meters, not 3-to-12 meters. What would be flying in the sky over Ukraine at those speeds and sizes?

“After correcting the factor of ten overestimate in distance, everything falls into place with the parameters of artillery shells.”

That wasn’t what the astronomers were expecting. Loeb even gave them the benefit of the doubt on one object that differed in size and speed from the rest, but that one turned out to be a satellite. Loeb obviously commiserated with his Ukrainian colleagues trying to conduct astronomy in a war zone, so he saluted them with quote from Oscar Wilde:

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”

Sadly, the Ukrainian media was not as diplomatic as Avi Loeb towards its own astronomers. The online publication Raketa had this to say:

“Instead of a critical analysis of the observations (possible errors, the adequacy of the models, the accuracy of the post-processing), the authors postulate unjustified conclusions about the characteristics of the observed objects as UAPs. The MAO Academic Council of NASU believes that the above-mentioned B.E. Zhilyaev’s conclusion was hasty and did not meet the professional requirements for publishing the results of scientific research.”

Ouch! It sounds like the author of that article was looking at the gutter instead of the stars.

Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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