August 18, 1996Dec. 7, 1995
Today I reveived two great pieces of UFO news. 1. Tim Edwards sent me 2 videos full of the Salida activity as well as many News paper and media events covering the sighting. Great stuff ! Thanxz Tim. 2. I received permission to reprint the article listed below A very good day indeed Dan
REPORT ON THE SALIDA VIDEO
by Bruce Maccabee, MUFON photo/video analyst
On Sunday, August 27, 1995, at 9:30 AM Tim Edwards of Salida, Colorado, was
a witness to a strange aerial object first observed by his young daughter. He
described the initial appearance as a slightly arced pencil size object darting
around..... approximately 20 degrees west of the sun. At times it appeared more
triangular or boomerang shaped on top. As he watched it he realized it wasnt
anything usual so he got his 8 mm videocamera with a 8 power zoom. He began to
film it and then the battery light came on so he went inside and got another
battery. He also called his restaurant in Salida to alert other possible
witnesses. One of these people did see it (see below). Some minutes later
his father arrived at his house and looked at the object through binoculars.
Edwards also called a local radio station to alert others to look. Apparently
someone did look, but couldnt see the object because it was too close to the
sun. Edwards also called the sheriffs office, a fact confirmed by the sheriff
on Sept. 7. The sheriffs office had received no other reports. He also
called the National UFO Reporting Hot Line number given to him by the sheriffs
office. Between phone calls he filmed the object, managing to obtain only about
6 minutes of video during the roughly 1 hour sighting.
According to Edwards, he and his father, using binoculars, could clearly see a double row of square or rectangular red and then to light green lights moving left to right and then back again. The structure width in between was probably equal to 1/2 - 1 row of the lights. .... We were looking at a disc, circular in shape.. We lost sight of it more than once when it flew into the rays of the sun... it was approximately the width of the full moon....With binoculars the craft looked like a very large circular disc, cigar shaped and outside structure appeared to gyroscope around inner structure. (From the written testimony of Tim Edwards.)
After the sighting was over Mr. Edwards contacted the newsmedia, press and TV. During the following month there were several local and national news stories about the sightings. Other sightings, apparently unrelated (or at least not directly related) were also reported.
During the second week of September Mr. Edwards contacted me and offered to send the tape under the restriction that I use it only for analysis. T he following report is based on material I received directly from Mr. Edwards and also upon the report by Jennie Zeidman, sent to me by Richard Hall of the Fund for UFO Research (which supported her investigation, which was done in parallel with that of Mr. Michael Curta, MUFON State Director for Colorado).
The video shows a whitish linear image, basically horizontal in orientation, against the clear blue sky. The nature of this image changes somewhat, apart from the size changes caused by zooming and unzooming. I have identified nine places where the camera apparently stopped, as evidenced by one-frame jumps in location of the UFO image, combined with breaks in the sound track.
During the first 33 seconds the image grows, reaching about 7 cm long and 5 mm high on my monitor. At my request Mr. Edwards, before he sent the video copy, filmed a yardstick at 30 feet distance. At full zoom this yardstick is 18 cm long on the monitor. Thus 18 cm corresponds to an angle of 3 ft/30 ft = 0.1 radian or 1 foot for every ten feet of assumed distance. Hence the 7 cm long image corresponds to an angular size of 7/18 of 0.1 radian = 0.039 radians, or 3.9 feet for every 100 feet of assumed distance (39 feet at 1,000 ft, etc.). The thickness corresponds to 0.0028 radians or about 2.8 feet for every 1,000 ft of assumed distance.
As the video continues for the next 15 seconds the image shrinks, reaching 3 1/2 cm or 0.019 radians at about 45 seconds. At this time an airplane is heard overhead, although none appears in the video. Mr. Edwards unzooms at this point and when he zooms back the UFO image appears thinner and a bit shorter.
At about 1 minute he asks his daughter to get the binoculars, and at 1:04 (one minute, four seconds) he stops the camera for the first time. It is during this first section that the UFO image is the largest and apparent motion of bright areas can most clearly be seen: bright whitish blobs appear to move sporadically left or right within the overall UFO image. Mr. Edwards referred to lights appearing to move back and forth and also to an appearance of rotary motion. The blob motion observed on the video doesnt confirm this exactly, but could be the video version of what Mr, Edwards saw. The video also does not appear to show colored lights, although later on in the video, after the first minute, there does occasionally appear to be a greenish tinge which could be evidence of unresolved green lights. The apparent motion seen during the first minute is either not as obvious or is not seen at all in the following video sections.
Between 1:04 and the next stop at 1:18 the edge of the nearby roof appears. Mr. Edwards told me he stood next to the roof to block the sun from hitting the camera lens. The edge is out of focus, as expected for a zoomed-in camera focused on infinity. At this time the UFO image is about 2.5 cm long by 4 mm high (0.014 rad by 0.0022 rad).
Between 1:18 and 1:30 or so the camera is unzoomed and shows the roof and the UFO. T here is a relative motion between with two, in which the UFO - to the left of the roof image - moves away from the roof image. This may be actual motion of the UFO or it may be a result of zooming. It is clear the Mr. Edwards did zoom, but the initial motion seems to occur before the zoom. (Zooming would increase the spacing between the UFO image and the roof image even if the UFO were stationary.) T he camera stops again at 1:49.
Between 1:50 and the next stop at 2:09 the UFO image is about 2 cm long by 4 mm high. There are brightness changes, with a very noticeable change at 1:56. It gets quite bright white and then in one second almost fades from view. Then it brightens again. At this point a man in the background, presumably Mr. Edwards father, says You can see like a ball going around it... Way out around it, like its shooting stuff off from it. I can see no evidence on the video of material being ejected by the object, or of a ball going around on it.
Just before the stop at 2:09 the UFO image is about 2.5 cm long. When the camera starts again the image is only about 1 cm long and faint. It grows, probably a result of zooming, to a size of 1.5 to 2 cm long by 4 mm high, which appears short and fat in comparison to its previous appearances. Mr. Edwards unzooms and then zooms again before the next stop at 3:54.
T he video section between 3:54 and the stop at 4:17 shows a thin bright white image with some greenish tinge. The image is about 2.3 cm long by 2 mm high (0.0128 rad by 0.0011 rad).
Between 4:17 and the next stop at 4:41 the roof appears briefly as Mr. Edwards speaks about getting closer to the roof. The UFO image is bright and of the previous size as this section ends.
At the very beginning of the next section the UFO image is the previous size but very dim. It brightens, reaching a maximum at 4:44, and then dims again. At 4:46 the roof image appears. At this time Mr. Edwards is talking about the rapid motions of the UFO and says no little airplane moves 5 miles in 2 seconds. (Here he apparently is referring to a previously observed large angular excursion across the sky by the UFO. No such excursion appears in the video, however.) At 5:08 the UFO image brightness stabilizes and the size remains as before (2.3 cm by 2 mm) to the next stop at 5:19.
When the camera restarts the UFO image is still the same size. Two or
three very thin (1 mm), short ( 1 cm long or less) whitish or silvery things
are seen moving rapidly through the field of view of the camera. Mr. Edwards
father (?) mentions seeing things moving. These things may or may not be
related to the UFO (dont know at present). The camera stops again at 5:30.
When the camera starts again for the last section the roof is still visible and the UFO image is almost 3 cm long by 2 mm high. At 5:40 there is the sound of an airplane. At 5:55 lens flares begin to appear almost directly over the image of the UFO, indicating that at this time the UFO was below the sun. The video ends at 6:36 (by my counter). According to Mr. Edwards the last 5 seconds of his video was missing from my copy because he had actually sent me a copy of a copy that lacked the last 5 seconds. As I understand it, he sent the original elsewhere and was given a copy to use for making further copies (a copy master). He was surprised to find that the last 5 seconds, which he says were the clearest, are missing from his copy.
A major aspect of the visual sighting report which is not shown in the video is the rapid motion from one location in the sky to another. Nevertheless, the variations in image size, apart from the obvious effect of the zooming, do indicate various distances t o the object (always assuming the the UFO remains a fixed size and shape). To be specific, at the very beginning the of the video the image size reaches a length of 7 cm and from then on generally shrinks to roughly 2 cm. This could mean that at the end of the video the UFO was a bit more than twice as far from the camera as it was at the beginning, indicating that there was motion of the UFO. Also, the appearance of the lens flares caused by the sun indicate that at the end of the video the UFO was closer to the sun that at the beginning.
Another variable aspect of the UFO image which changes several times during the video is the tilt of the linear image with respect to horizontal. Sometimes the tilt is zero and sometimes it is 5 to 10 degrees. Whether this is a real effect of the UFO or an artifact of the way Mr. Edwards held the camera is not clear.
A major disappointment of this sighting was the failure to obtain a good triangulation. Apparently the only other witness at a different location to clearly observe the UFO was Mike Maggio, an employee at the restaurant who saw that it close to the sun (according to Jennie Zeidman). Mike told Jenny he saw small objects the shape of a boomerang coming off the main object. Unfortunately he did not provide an accurate direction (elevation and azimuth). However, the fact that both he and Mr. Edwards saw the object near the sun suggests the UFO was quite far away, as will now be demonstrated.
At 9:30 AM MDT the location of the sun (at Denver, not too far from Salida) was about 107 degrees azimuth by about 35 degrees elevation. An hour later the sun was at 121 azimuth and 45 elevation (from Xpert Astronomer; Xpert Software, Coral Gables, FL 33134). Mr. Edwards told Jennie Zeidman that the UFO was generally in the lower left quadrant relative to the sun (6 oclock to 9 oclock) and at varying angular distances. This direction to the sun at 10:30 AM combined with the appearance of the lens flares indicate that at the end of the video the camera was pointed at 121 azimuth and an elevation between 35 and 42 degrees.
Since both witnesses (Edward, Maggio) were looking roughly east southeast, and because the restaurant is about 2.5 miles east southeast of the Mr. Edwards location, the UFO must have been at a minimum of 2.5 miles east southeast of Mr. Edwards, and probably several, perhaps many, miles beyond that, but just how many miles further is not known.
This extremely crude triangulation sets a minimum size for the UFO. Here I assume that Mr. Maggio saw the UFO at a time corresponding roughly to the middle of the video footage rather than at the very beginning so that the triangulation estimate is based on the angular size in the middle of the video, i.e., about 0.013 rad by 0.001 rad. At a distance of 3 miles this corresponds to about 200 feet long by 16 feet high. At a distance of 10 m miles, which would be more compatible with Mr. Maggios claim that he saw it near the sun rather than nearly overhead, the size would be more like 700 feet by 50 feet. Since Mr. Edwards saw it below the sun its angular elevation from his point of view would have been no more than about 40 degrees. Projecting this angle to a distance of 3 miles gives an altitude of about 2.5 miles (13,000 ft) and projecting to 10 miles gives an altitude of about 8.4 miles (44,000 ft). These calculated sizes and distances can only be considered as indicative of the true values since an accurate triangulation was not carried out. At the very least it would appear that the object was large and distant.
T he available evidence seems to indicate that a large, whitish object of a shape such that it appeared as a long thin cigar in the video, and which, for at least part of the time, appeared to have lighted areas moving around on it, was seen by several witnesses in Salida, Co. on Aug. 27, 1995. The exact nature of this object cannot be determined from the video alone, but in combination with the testimony it appears to have been some sort of circular disc of the standard UFO variety. It is unfortunate that none of the reported sudden movements were recorded on video. However, the witness claim that such movements did take place are consistent with witness statements collected over the last (nearly) 50 years and with video data obtained within the last few years (Gulf Breeze rapid motion videos).