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UFOs explained, apparently

A piece in today’s Sunday Times says that scientists at the Defence Intelligence Staff have concluded that most UFO sightings are caused by a little-understood atmospheric phenomenon: plasma created by electrical charges.

I don’t know what their evidence for this is but if it’s correct it would be a satisfactory solution to a puzzle. Of course, the vast majority of sightings are attributable to misidentification of aircraft, Venus etc., hoaxes, hallucinations and so forth, but there has always been a residue that is not so easily explained away. In some cases the things have been seen by trained observers such as pilots. I know of a case in which one was seen by the captain and second-in-command of a submarine. This happened during the Second World War, so well before the development of technology by the USSR and USA than might have explained tthe sighting.

The extra-terrestrial hypothesis has never made any sense so we have to look for a terrestrial cause for the phenomenon. The atmosphere certainly does contain strange things, such as the “sprites” that were discovered recently and the rare occurrence of ball lightning, so plasma objects don’t seem inconceivable.

Personally, I’ll be glad if the mystery can be dispelled. But I suspect many people won’t be, and in fact explanations of this kind will probably be resisted by many.

There are several reviews of books on UFOs on my site.

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