Tuesday, 28 June 2016


UFOI took this photo of a strange object in the sky recently. It is NOT a cloud or a balloon but it is definitely flying in the sky. The photo is unedited except for some cropping to remove lots of white empty sky around the object. So what exactly is it?

The big clue is that the photo is overexposed. The sky was grey but not pure white as shown here. Another clue is that the shutter speed was very slow - 1/6s. At that shutter speed is was impossible to avoid overexposure given the brightness of the sky.

The object is, in fact, a helicopter, though you'd hardly know it. The strange shape is caused by the motion of the helicopter during the 1/6s exposure. The photo below is an aircraft taken in similar circumstances with UFOthe same exposure time of 1/6s. This time it has more of a classic flying saucer shape, though it is not quite symmetrical.

I haven't come across any UFO photos that resemble these. However, I think it it entirely possible that someone could take such a photo by accident and think it a UFO. Maybe they already have. With a different lens (one that can get down to a lower f-number) it might be possible to obtain a photo that is not so overexposed. The white 'fog' effect produced by overexposure hides details that might otherwise make it obvious what the object really is.

One important point to note is that, for these photos, the plane needed to be at quite a low altitude. A typical location for such a photo might therefore be near an airport. You might think the photographer would realise they were taking a photo of a nearby plane. However, if the plane was in the background of a photo it might not be noticed. And even the plane was noticed at the time of exposure, this might be forgotten when the photo is examined much later.

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