The Venus Meme
Copyright 2017, InterAmerica, Inc.
Our friend Jean [Rare phenomena lover] left a comment for my February 27, 2017 item here about a UFO sighting in which two young boys described the thing as having lots of legs:
Jean makes a good case for the sighting as an optical event whereby Venus was the “object” seen and misinterpreted as a UFO.
Jean offered this link to explain the visual (optical) refraction that occurs when someone observes a point of light, such as a star (or planet):
However, in the PDF that Jean provided via his link is this:
“Although related phenomena are commonly experienced during imaging of bright point sources with telescopes or photographic lenses, to our knowledge no objective recordings of retinal PSF’s showing the distinctive pattern of star images had yet been reported.”
That offsets the conclusion that what the two young witnesses saw was Venus, refracted by their visual input.
The idea that Venus is, often, misinterpreted by persons for a UFO is a skeptical meme.
My pal, Gilles Fernandez, has offered that some of the 1896 airship sightings were mistaken observations of Venus.
And UFO skeptics, along with the United States Air Force, in its Blue Book dossier(s), have tried to regularly foist the Venus meme on UFO witnesses, the public, and news media.
[When I entered college, I was an astronomy fanatic and my first major was Astrophysics, from which I separated myself (and went to the psychology department) after a first semester brouhaha about The Big Bang Theory and my disdain for the cryptic emphasis on mathematics as the lingua franca of astronomy/physics.]
In all my experiences with the observations of Venus, at night and during the daylight hours, I never heard anyone, nor did I see the planet, as a viable option for a flying saucer or UFO. Never. (Skeptic Tim Printy will surely disagree, as would deceased Harvard professor and one-time CIA member, Donald Menzel.)
The idea that persons with normal vision – even astigmatism (help me out here Dr. Rudiak) – would mistake the stationary point of light, seen as the planet Venus, and accrue as a flying saucer or UFO sighting, as was also proffered in the Mantell incident, is sheer lunacy, an explanation pleading for dismissal by sane, logical ufologists.
I thank Jean for his astute offering, but I have to shirk it, based upon how the planet Venus is seen by people, without a telescope, just using their normal, biological visual apparatuses.