UFO Conjectures

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Green Fireballs (and the quantum measurement effect)

Here are a few excerpts from Flying Saucers Have Landed, provided by Desmond Leslie in Part One of that dismissed book (mentioned here previously).

The excerpts deal with the green fireball phenomenon, which had its heyday in the late 1940s and early 1950s, with sporadic sightings after that. [See link below]

I’ve highlighted what strikes me as interesting about the Project Twinkle effort and that is this: when an all out effort was made to capture the things via various scientific methods, the green fireballs did not/would not appear.

This follows the quantum maxim that measurement (observation) of a quantum event alters that event. (I’ve elaborated on that “maxim” in various places, allowing that when a camera appears in a crowd, the dynamic of that crowd will change – a Marshall McLuhan effect.)

The quantum “maxim” seems to apply, not only to the green fireball phenomenon, but to UFO sightings generally; that is, when a UFO is spotted or seen, the UFO’s behavior seems to change. (Some see this as an indication of an “intelligent agency” while I see it as the result of the quantum measurement/observation effect.)

Anyway, here are the Leslie excerpts:

On the night of 2 November 1951 a ball of kelly-green fire, larger than the moon and blazing several times more brightly, flashed eastward across the skies of Arizona. It raced, straight as a bullet, parallel to the ground, and then exploded in a frightful paroxysm of light—without making a sound. At least 165 people saw the incredible thing; hundreds more witnessed the similar flight of countless other fireballs that since December 1945 have bathed the hills of the southwest in their lunar glare.

In the last year they have been seen as far afield as Pennsylvania, Maryland and Puerto Rico. Reports came so thick and fast during 1948 that in 1949 the Air Force established " Project Twinkle " to investigate them. " Project Twinkle" established a triple photo-theodolite post at Vaughn, North Mexico, to obtain scientific data on the fireballs. Day and night, week in, week out, for three months, a crew kept vigil. Ironically, while fireballs continued flashing everywhere else in the south-west, they saw nothing until the project was transferred to the Holloman Air Force base at Alamgordo [sic], North Mexico. There, during another three-month siege, they saw a few but were unable to make satisfactory computations because of the fireballs’ great speed. Search parties have had no better luck. They have combed in vain the countryside beneath the point of disappearance; not a trace of tell-tale substance has been found on the ground.’

‘Evaluation. The popular south-west belief that a strange meteor shower was underway has been blasted by Dr. Lincoln La Paz, mathematician, astronomer and director of the Institute of Meteorites at the University of New Mexico. He points out that normal fireballs do not appear green; they fall in the trajectory forced on them by gravity, are generally as noisy as a freight train and leave meteorites where they hit. The green New Mexican species does none of these things. Neither do the green fireballs appear to be electrostatic phenomena — they move too regularly and too fast.

‘If the fireballs are the product of a United States weapons project, as some south-westerns believe, it is a very secret one indeed: the Atomic Energy Commission and every other government agency connected with weapons development has denied to Life any responsibility for the fireballs. Could they be self-destroying Russian reconnaissance devices ? Not likely. While the United States believes the Russians have an intercontinental guided missile, there is no intelligence that indicates they have developed silent power plants or objects capable of moving nearly as fast as meteors (twelve miles a second). Yet — for whatever it may be worth — the only reports of green fireballs prior to 1945 came from the Baltic area.

‘The extreme greenness of the fireballs has impressed most witnesses. When asked to indicate the approximate colour on a spectrum chart, most of them have touched the band at 5,200 angstroms — close to the green of burning copper.

Copper is almost never found in meteorites; the friction of the air oxidises it shortly after he meteor enters the upper atmosphere. However, a curious fact has been recorded by aerologists. Concentrations of copper particles are now present in the air of Arizona and New Mexico, particularly in "fireball areas ". These were not encountered in air samples made before 1948.’

In 1934 I [Desmond Leslie] was at school in the south of England and, one November evening after ‘lights out’, our dormitory was suddenly lit by a brilliant green glare. With yells of delight we rushed to the windows, in time to see an immense green fireball move slowly across the sky and disappear behind the Sussex Downs. It was so bright that all the school grounds were lit up in this unearthly green glow. The walls of a white cottage half a mile away reflected the light almost as brightly as a green neon sign. Our speculations, however, were interrupted by the appearance of an angry master, who had come to investigate the commotion. 

27 April. [1952] 10.0 p.m. Ann Arbor, Michigan. 42.25° Latitude, 83.75° Longitude.

One brilliant blue-green object trailed by greenish sparks falling from it, crossed the sky with great speed, from north to south. [SOURCE: Ann Arbor News, 29 April.]

A few relatively current green UFO (fireball) sightings: