The Gigantic Skylab 3 Mothership Incident In 1973

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PostSun May 31, 2009 4:03 am » by -Marduk-


The Skylab Incident

Here is what we do know about this object:

The astronauts state it was "brighter than Jupiter" and "It was reflecting in red light and oscillating at, oh, counting it's period of brightest to dimmest, about ten seconds. We know the object (again, according to the direct observations by the astronauts) did not move more than 10 or 20 degrees over the 10 minutes or so that we watched it. Its orbit was very close to that of our own.

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Astronauts Alan Bean, Owen Garriott and Jack Lousma spotted what they described as a red "satellite", which they photographed and mentioned during a subsequent debriefing:



LOUSMA: "Did you tell him about that satellite we saw?
BEAN: Yes, we saw a great satellite. We didn't know if we told you about it.
LOUSMA: The closest and brightest one we've seen.
BEAN: Huge one.


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This space anomaly was photographed during Sky Lab III on day 263 of 1973 at 16:45 Zulu Time. Four shots were taken. The NASA Photo Evaluation Lab lists this object as either an unidentified object or a satellite.

On the 59th day of flight Skylab III's three-man crew saw and photographed a strange red object.

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The maps was created to show the shadow boundry on the earth and the track of skylab 3

Maccabee and Sparks use the available data to look at various explanations for the object, such as whether it was a Soviet satellite. After a lengthy analysis, they conclude:

The big question, then, is this: is it possible to prove that there was, or at least could have been, a (man-made) earth satellite which either reflected sunlight as red light (in the absence of atmospheric reddening of sunlight) or which had several bright red lights and which could have been within a few miles of Skylab for many minutes without NORAD/NASA detecting it? If an earth satellite, then its orbit was "uncomfortably " close to the Skylab orbit and it certainly should have been picked up by NORAD at some time during its orbit. Based on the available information, these authors conclude that there was no man-made satellite that could explain this sighting and hence the object was truly anomalous. Further data are being sought.

Not more than 30-50 nautical miles from them, Alan Bean, Owen Garriott and Jack Lousman reported the object was brighter than any of the planets.

This incident has never been explained.

http://www.brumac.8k.com/Skylab3/SL3.html
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PostFri Jul 31, 2009 11:23 pm » by -Marduk-


Astronauts and Area 51: The Skylab Incident

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Far out in the Nevada desert, miles from prying eyes, is a secret Air Force facility that has been known by numerous names over the years. It has been called Paradise Ranch, Watertown Strip, Area 51, Dreamland, and Groom Lake. Groom is probably the most mythologized real location that few people have ever seen. According to people with overactive imaginations, it is where the United States government keeps dead aliens, clones them, and reverse-engineers their spacecraft. It is also where NASA filmed the faked Moon landings.

However, for humans whose feet rest on solid ground, Groom is the site of highly secret aircraft development. It is where the U-2 spyplane, the Mach 3 Blackbird, and the F-117 stealth fighter were all developed. It has also probably hosted its own fleet of captured, stolen, or clandestinely acquired Soviet and Russian aircraft. Because of this, the United States government has gone to extraordinary lengths to preserve the area’s secrecy and to prevent people from seeing it.

This secrecy was threatened in early 1974 when the astronauts on Skylab pointed their camera out the window and took pictures of a facility that did not officially exist. They returned to Earth and their photographs quickly became a headache for NASA, the CIA, and the Department of Defense. That story has never been told before.
Shutterbugs

On April 19, 1974 someone in the CIA sent the Director of Central Intelligence, William Colby, a memorandum regarding a little problem.

“The issue arises from the fact that the recent Skylab mission inadvertently photographed” the airfield at Groom Lake. “There were specific instructions not to do this,” the memo stated, and Groom “was the only location which had such an instruction.” In other words, the CIA considered no other spot on Earth to be as sensitive as Groom Lake, and the astronauts had just taken a picture of it.
In other words, the CIA considered no other spot on Earth to be as sensitive as Groom Lake, and the astronauts had just taken a picture of it.

The third and last Skylab crew had launched into space on November 16, 1973. Onboard were three rookie astronauts: Gerald Carr, Edward Gibson, and William Pogue. Carr was a Navy commander, Pogue was in the Air Force and had flown for their elite Thunderbirds team, and Gibson was a scientist-astronaut with a doctorate of engineering physics.

The crew quickly fell behind schedule early in their mission for a number of reasons, but soon regained time. The crew repaired an antenna, fixed problems with the Apollo Telescope Mount and an errant gyroscope, and replenished supplies. They soon accumulated significant EVA time and studied the sun for over 338 hours.

What they also did was take photographs of the Earth, including photos of the secretive Groom Lake facility in Nevada. On February 4, 1974, after a record 84 days in space, they splashed down 280 kilometers southwest of San Diego. They were recovered aboard the USS New Orleans and found to be in excellent shape.

NASA had an agreement with the US intelligence community that dated from the beginning of the Gemini program. All astronaut photographs of the Earth would first be reviewed by the National Photographic Interpretation Center in Building 213 in the Washington, DC Navy Yard. NPIC (pronounced “en-pick”) was an organization managed by the CIA that interpreted satellite and aerial photography. The details of the agreement remain classified, but the photo-interpreters had wanted to see what astronauts could contribute to reconnaissance photography. During the Gemini program they discovered the answer—not much. The photographs returned during the Gemini missions had many problems, including the lack of data on what the camera was pointed at. There was no good way for an astronaut to record the precise time and pointing angle of a camera when he took a picture, and so the interpreters often had a very difficult time determining what they were looking at. This had been one of the factors that contributed to the demise of the US Air Force’s Manned Orbiting Laboratory program.

But there was another reason to evaluate the astronaut photographs: to see if they showed anything interesting, or anything that they should not, like Groom Lake.
Spooky actions at a distance

There was a certain irony in NPIC photo-interpreters discovering photographs of Groom Lake, because even within NPIC’s Building 213 Groom Lake was classified. Images of Groom were removed from rolls of spy satellite film and stored in a restrictive vault. As a former senior NPIC official explained, “there were a lot more things going on at Groom than the U-2.” Not all the photo-interpreters at NPIC were cleared to know about these things, but probably included aircraft testing, including advanced reconnaissance drones and captured Soviet fighter planes. The average photo-interpreter would know that the U-2 and the Blackbird were based at Groom, but would be surprised to see a B-52 with drones, or a MiG-21 sitting on its runway.
There was a certain irony in NPIC photo-interpreters discovering photographs of Groom Lake, because even within NPIC’s Building 213 Groom Lake was classified.

In fact, in April 1962 a CIA official suggested to his superior that they consider taking pictures of Area 51 using their own reconnaissance platforms. John McMahon, the executive officer of the abstractly named Development Plans Division, wrote the acting chief of DPD: “John Parangosky and I have previously discussed the advisability of having a U-2 take photographs of Area 51 and, without advising the photographic interpreters of what the target is, ask them to determine what type of activity is being conducted at the site photographed.” He continued: “In connection with the upcoming CORONA shots, it might be advisable to cut in a pass crossing the Nevada Test Site to see what we ourselves could learn from satellite reconnaissance of the Area. This coupled with coverage from the Deuce [U-2] and subsequent photographic interpretation would give us a fair idea of what deductions and conclusions could be made by the Soviets should Sputnik 13 have a reconnaissance capability.”

Whether or not CIA ever undertook such an exercise remains unknown, but CORONA spacecraft did photograph Area 51 at least a handful of times. Thousands of rolls of film are stored at the National Archives, with the relevant negatives cut out.
The controversy

Why the Skylab astronauts disobeyed their orders and took the photo is unknown, as are what it depicted. Because they had only handheld cameras for earth observation, the resolution of the image would have been limited. The existence of the base was not a secret, particularly to an Air Force pilot like Bill Pogue—the pilots who flew in the huge Nellis testing range in Nevada referred to Area 51 as “the box” because they were under explicit instructions to not fly into that airspace. But for whatever reason, they had taken the photo and now it had created a stir within the intelligence community.

“This photo has been going through an interagency reviewing process aimed at a decision on how it should be handled,” the unnamed CIA official wrote. “There is no agreement. DoD elements (USAF, NRO, JCS, ISA) all believe it should be withheld from public release. NASA, and to a large degree State, has taken the position that it should be released—that is, allowed to go into the Sioux National Repository and to let nature take its course.”

What the memo indicates is that there was a difference between the way the civilian agencies of the US government and the military agencies looked at their roles. NASA had ties to the military, but it was clearly a civilian agency. And although the reasons why NASA officials felt that the photo should be released are unknown, the most likely explanation is that NASA officials did not feel that the civilian agency should conceal any of its activities. Many of NASA’s relations with other organizations and foreign governments were based on the assumption that NASA did not engage in spying and did not conceal its activities.
What the memo indicates is that there was a difference between the way the civilian agencies of the US government and the military agencies looked at their roles.

The CIA memo writer added that “There are some complicated precedents which, in fairness, should be reviewed before a final decision.” These included “A question of whether anything photographed in the United States can be classified if the platform is unclassified; Such complex issues in the UN concerning United States policies toward imagery from space” and “the question of whether the photograph can be withheld without leaking.”

The answer to the last question is obvious—the photo was withheld, and this fact never leaked. It has only come to light now, after the CIA declassified this document (but not the photograph itself). Obviously the answer to the first question was also positive, for the agencies involved did classify a photograph taken on an unclassified spacecraft. As for the “complex issues in the UN,” obviously they vanished if the United Nations never learned of the existence of the photograph.
Secret as an onion

A cover note to the memorandum, apparently written by the Director of Central Intelligence William Colby himself, stated that “I confessed some question over need to protect since: 1-USSR has it from own sats. 2-What really does it reveal? 3-If exposed don’t we just say classified USAF work is done there?”

Colby’s questions almost seem naïve given the debates that have raged within the U.S. intelligence community over decades over the need for secrecy. Those within the intelligence community who have asked “what is the harm in acknowledging the obvious?” have almost always lost the argument.

Government officials have frequently argued over the need to refuse to confirm even the most basic knowledge about things that have been widely reported in the press for decades. For instance, the existence of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), which manages America’s spy satellite program, first became known in a 1971 New York Times article, but arguments flared up within intelligence circles for the next twenty years over whether or not to confirm its existence. Finally, in September 1992 the “fact of” the existence of the NRO was revealed in a terse press release that never even used the word “satellite.” Even after that decision, for several years the NRO refused to confirm that it actually conducted rocket launches, another glaringly obvious fact.

This refusal to admit the obvious was only surpassed by Groom Lake itself. The existence of an airstrip at Groom was first revealed when it was actually constructed. But it was not until 1999 that the U.S. Air Force issued a terse statement acknowledging that the facility did indeed exist, even though photos taken on the ground and overhead had been available for decades. In fact, at least two U.S. Geological Survey aerial photographs of Groom taken in 1959 and 1968 had been available in public archives, but not discovered until many years later.

To be fair, there is a logic to this secrecy policy of refusing to confirm the “fact of” an organization, or even an airbase in the Nevada desert. Intelligence officials often refer to secrecy being like an onion, and each layer that is peeled off reveals a little more of what is contained within. Even if the next layer is visible in vague form, the advocates of strong secrecy want to keep all the layers in place.

This policy is usually given solid form in legal discussions within government agencies. There the concern is not so much with foreign intelligence agencies, but with American citizens and the press, and their ability to request the declassification of government documents through the Freedom of Information Act. By refusing to even acknowledge the existence of something, government agencies have erected an outer legal barrier against requests for information from their own citizens.
Intelligence officials often refer to secrecy being like an onion, and each layer that is peeled off reveals a little more of what is contained within. Even if the next layer is visible in vague form, the advocates of strong secrecy want to keep all the layers in place.

But critics of excessive government secrecy argue that such policies are often pursued unnecessarily, since no law requires the government to reveal anything further about the facilities. The onion analogy holds validity, but can also be taken too far; after all, the Soviet Union was an extremely secret society and classified things such as road maps. This secrecy was effective at limiting the ability of the West to determine what the Soviets were doing, but it came at a cost, in freedom. Clearly the United States government establishes lines where public knowledge is deemed more important than national security, but the question is occasionally asked where those lines should be drawn.

Secrecy critics also argue that there is something wrong when America’s adversaries have better information about the federal government’s actions than its own citizens. Groom Lake had obviously been photographed numerous times by Soviet spy satellites at high resolution. Refusing to release a single low-resolution photograph from a Skylab mission was taking an abstract ideal—maintaining all the layers of the onion—to an absurd extreme. They also argue that when the government fails to confirm the obvious, it both undermines governmental authority and legitimacy, and contributes to wild speculation, such as aliens and soundstages in underground hangars at Area 51. And despite the best efforts, information will still seep out. After all, while various agencies of the federal government were arguing over whether or not to put this low-resolution photograph in an unclassified government archive, nobody realized that several other higher-resolution images were already sitting in that archive.

Nothing more is known of this Skylab photography incident than the fact that the photograph was not released. NASA and the State Department clearly lost the argument. But the opponents of releasing it preserved national security, as they defined it.
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PostSat Aug 01, 2009 12:50 am » by Newearthman


It must be a thrill of a lifetime to have a UFO expirience, I can't wait to see one!
I was star watching last night at 200 am because it was too hot to sleep and seen a couple shooting stars, man they move fast.
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PostSat Aug 01, 2009 5:09 am » by Loneqqwolf


newearthman wrote:It must be a thrill of a lifetime to have a UFO expirience, I can't wait to see one!
I was star watching last night at 200 am because it was too hot to sleep and seen a couple shooting stars, man they move fast.


I have seen a few in my lifetime and I can tell you that it is something you will never forget.

I will be joining MUFON in Sept. of this year and hope to become an investigator, I will be attending a local meeting to see what they are all about, sure I can view on the internet, but I prefer in person, by talking with real people.

Sorry marduk didn't mean to butt in with this and your post is pretty sweet. :flop:
If you believe in yourself, then that is all one needs.

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PostSat Aug 01, 2009 5:13 am » by Newearthman


loneqqwolf wrote:
newearthman wrote:It must be a thrill of a lifetime to have a UFO expirience, I can't wait to see one!
I was star watching last night at 200 am because it was too hot to sleep and seen a couple shooting stars, man they move fast.


I have seen a few in my lifetime and I can tell you that it is something you will never forget.

I will be joining MUFON in Sept. of this year and hope to become an investigator, I will be attending a local meeting to see what they are all about, sure I can view on the internet, but I prefer in person, by talking with real people.

Sorry marduk didn't mean to butt in with this and your post is pretty sweet. :flop:

Have you had an encounter?
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PostSat Aug 08, 2009 3:28 am » by -Marduk-


The sighting by Alan Bean, Owen Garriott and Jack Lousma, of a red "satellite" occurred on September 20, 1973 (day 263, revolution 1863 of their spaceflight) at approximately 1635 to 1645 GMT. (Brad Sparks was alerted to this sighting by a brief mention of it in an Associated Press report. It was also mentioned in Robert Emenneger's 1974 book "UFOs, Past Present and Future.")

The sighting is reported in the following document compiled by James Oberg in 1977: The second manned Skylab visit was within five days of returning to earth after a record-breaking 59 day expedition. The crew had awakened at 0700 GMT and would go to sleep at 2300 GMT. They had eaten lunch in the wardroom and were doing a 'procedures review' in the wardroom prior to beginning a new series of experiments in the afternoon. During the sighting the crew was out of contact with the ground control. The on-board tape recorder was not turned on and the first recorded mention of the incident was on a ground link some 4.5 hours after the event. Garriott had taken four photographs. During the taped discussion the conversation went as follows:

LOUSMA: "Did you tell him about that satellite we saw?

BEAN: Yes, we saw a great satellite. We didn't know if we told you about it.

LOUSMA: The closest and brightest one we've seen.

BEAN: Huge one.

LOUSMA: We've seen several. It was a red one.

CAPCOM: No, you may have told somebody, but it wasn't this team. I don't remember hearing about it.

LOUSMA: I guess we didn't report it. It was reflecting in red light and oscillating at, oh, counting it's period of brightest to dimmest, about ten seconds. It led us into sunset. That was about three revs ago, I think. Something like that, wasn't it Owen? (no answer by Owen; topics changed.)

Note: "Three revolutions ago," at about 1.5 hours per revolution is 4.5 hours before. Garriott said later that the object did not lead the Skylab into sunset, but rather followed the Skylab into sunset. Below is the original Oberg document.


SKYLAB 3 DEBRIEFING Oct 4, 1973

GARRIOTT: Do you want to talk about that satellite?

LOUSMA: I saw a couple of satellites that appeared like a satellite would on earth. I saw one that was not like one you would see on earth, so why don't you mention it?

GARRIOTT: OK. About a week or 10 days before recovery and we were still waiting for information to be supplied to us about the identification. Jack first notices this rather large red star out the wardroom window. Upon close examination, it was much brighter than Jupiter or any of the other planets. It had a reddish hue to it, even though it was well above the horizon. The light from the Sun was not passing close to the Earth's limb at the time. We observed it for about 10 minutes prior to sunset. It was slowly rotating because it had a variation in brightness with a 10-seconds period. As I was saying, we observed it for about 10 minutes, until we went into darkness, and it also followed us into darkness about 5-seconds later. From the 5 to 10 second delay in it's disappearance we surmised that it was not more than 30 to 50 nautical miles [35 to 58 statute miles or 56 to 93 km] from our location. From its original position in the wardroom window, it did not move more than 10 or 20 degrees over the 10 minutes or so that we watched it. Its orbit was very close to that of our own. We never saw it on any earlier or succeeding orbits and we'd be quite interested in having its identification established. It's all debriefed in terms of time on channel A, so the precise timing and location can be picked up from there."

NOTE: according to Oberg the Channel A tape recorder was not on, so the exact time cannot be determined.

NOTE: Soon after this debriefing Garriott told Sparks his best estimate of the time interval between the Skylab going into sunset and the red light's disppearance was about 5-6 seconds. Garriott explained exactly how he counted out the seconds "one thousand one, one thousand two, etc."

One of us (Sparks) asked an expert in satellite observation to take the NORAD tracking data and use his satellite observation program SkyMapPro, to determine Skylab 3's latitude-longitude-time coordinates and shadow entry, which turned out to be between 1645 and 1646 GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) or UTC (Universal Time Coordinated)(it was sunlit at 1645 and in the shadow at 1646). This fits the above reported 1645 GMT time and places 10-minute duration sighting at about 1635-1645. At 1645-1646 GMT Skylab was over Madagascar Channel at the extreme western edge of the Indian Ocean.

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A map has been constructed showing the shadow boundary on the earth and the track of the Skylab (white line)

THE PICTURES

The first and last photos presented here are pictures of the earth taken before and after the sighting. These photos are mentioned in the NASA publication, "Photographic Index and Scene Identification," NASA-TM-X-69780, that was tabulated by Richard Underwood and co-workers in November, 1973.

:look: here: http://ntrs.nasa.gov/search.jsp?N=4294929300

In that document the photos are listed twice. Page 41 lists the photos that were contained in film magazine #CX-35. These photos were taken with a 35 mm Nikon camera with a lens of either 55 or 300 mm focal length using a film called SO-368 which is comparable to a type of Ektachrome (MS2448). According to the tabulation the photos labelled SL3-118-2132 through 2135 (frames 1- 4) were associated with the "S-230 experiment." Then photos SL3-118-2136 and 2137 (frames 5,6)were taken during the Goddard laser beacon experiment. These photos are described as "underexposed" and "blurred." According to the report on the laser beacon experiment ("Evaluation of Skylab Earth Laser Beacon Imagery," March, 1975;

:look: here: http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi. ... 009330.pdf

these beacon photos were taken on September 4 with a hand-held Nikon camera set at f/4.5 to f8 and with a shutter time of 1/500 to 1/250 of a second. It is important to know this because these may have been the settings and focal length when the four photos of interest here were taken, photos SL3 - 118 - 2138, 2139,2140 and 2141. The "Photographic Index...." lists these four as "Satellite, unmanned" on page 41 and as "blank" on page 245. The two different descriptions may have resulted as follows (speculation): when the photo index team first went through the photos they did not know that Garriott had photographed a "red satellite," so, looking quickly at the photos they saw nothing obvious and listed them as blank; later they learned that he photographed (what he thought was) a satellite and they changed the description, placing the new description in the front section of the report but leaving the original description at the "far end" (appendix) of the report.The next photo, SL3 - 118 - 2142 is identified as "Lake Erie, Ohio, Ontario, clouds."

ANALYSIS

The available information does not allow for a specific identification of the red object but it does allow us to decide whether or not this could have been a man-made earth satellite by making an estimate of the size. The size estimate is based on the distance estimate and the maximum spacing between red "dot" or "blob" images in the fourth photo. The estimate is not based on the size of the image of a single "blob" or "dot" because the "dot" or "blob" image made by a distant bright light is generally larger than the image would be if the optical system could provide a perfect "geometrically accurate" image. The extra image size is a result of "diffraction" and "lens aberration" which combine to make light spread sideways on the film plane. (NOTE: The image sizes of extremely distant lights that make only "dot" images, like images of stars, depend only upon the brightness, with the brighter lights making bigger images. Astronomers have made use of this phenomenon to determine relative star brightnesses from photographs of stars.) Thus, in the case of a "dot" or "blob" image the most one can say is that the reflective object or light source which made the image was no larger than the geometric size, as described below, that corresponds to the size of the dot or blob image. For objects which are close enough or large enough to be "resolved" by the optical system (i.e., large enough to have obvious structure such as distinctly separated image dots or shapes) there is a way to estimate the object size from the image size. For a resolved image the size is geometrically related to the actual object size by a ratio equation that can be stated as follows: the image size(width, length, spacing of "blobs" as measured in the focal plane), herein called I, divided by the focal length, F, is equal to the size (width or length, as measured in a plane that is perpendicular to the line of sight) of the object, O, divided by the distance to the object, D. In equation form this is: I/F = O/D, which is based on the law of similar triangles with a common vertex at the center of the lens. (Usually the resolution capability of the camera is determined by whether or not this relation holds for a particular image of a particular object at a particular distance.) What can and what can't be resolved depends upon the optical quality of the camera lens and other factors related to the camera and film. If an object or light makes a "dot" image on the film, then the calculated size of the object, O = D(I/F), is (probably) much larger than the actual size of the object, as described in the previous paragraph. However, when there are distinguishable features of the image that are clearly separated by distance on the film it is possible to estimate the spacing between the features which made the images. In case of the first three Skylab 3 photos it would be of little value to try to estimate the size of the red object by measuring the size of individual "dot" images and multiplying by D/F. But in the fourth photo there is a considerable spacing between images of "dots". This means that the distance between dots has been resolved by the camera even though the dots themselves have not been resolved. [There "dots" are somewhat elongated so, strictly speaking, they are not exactly "dots."] On a direct copy (1:1) of the original film the maximum spacing between "dots," specifically the spacings betwee the centers of the upper and lower dots is about 0.87 mm. The focal length of the camera was (probably) 300 mm (it might have been 55 mm; see below). Thus the ratio I/F equals about 0.87/300 = 0.0029 (in radian measure) (or, if the focal length was 55 mm, the ratio is .87/55 = 0.0158). As pointed out above, this ratio is proportional to the object size, as measured perpendicular the line of sight (i.e., as "projected" onto a plane surface that is perpendicular to the line of sight), divided by the distance. Now it is necessary to know the estimated distance D in order to calculate the object size, O, which is the "projected" spacing between whatever made the upper and lower dots. Garriott, who was the first scientist at the Skylab, had the presence of mind to count the seconds between when the Skylab went into the earth's shadow and when the object, which appeared to be following the Skylab, disappeared. He assumed the object was visible only by reflected light, an assumption which would be reasonable if the object had been another orbiting satellite. (If the object had been a bright source of red light [there were no satellites with bright red lights attached] then his assumption would not necessarily apply.) He also assumed that the red object was behind the Skylab and traveling at the same speed which, according to the table above, was about 7.64 km/sec. Based on these assumptions, and his estimated time until it disappeared, 5 - 10 seconds, the calculated distance between the Skylab and the object was (5 to 10 seconds) times 7.64 km/sec = 38 to 76 km. Assuming that the fourth photo was taken just before Skylab went into the shadow (an "unfounded" assumption since we don't know at what times, during the sighting, any of the photos were taken) and using the shorter distance estimate along with the ratio I/F = 0.0029 we find O = D(I/F) = D(0.0029) = 38 km x 0.0029 = 0.11 km = 110 m or about 336 ft as projected onto a plane perpendicular to the line of sight. If D were 76 km the calculated size would be twice as large. (Sparks spoke to Garriott in October, 1973, soon after the mission had been completed. Sparks asked how Garriott estimated the time until the "satellite" went into the shadow.

Image

Garriott said he counted off the seconds as "one thousand one, one thousand two", etc. and estimated 5 to 6 seconds this way. Hence these authors believe that the lower time estimate is probably more likely to be correct.) The width of the image, measured from the middle "dot" to the end of the "extension" at the right side of the middle dot, is about 1/3 of the spacing between the upper and lower dots. Thus the width would be about 37 m or 112 ft if 38 km away and 74 m or 224 ft if 76 km away. Now let's assume that the various dots that form the fourth image are reflections from points or small reflective areas of a "typical" earth satellite (manmade!). Then this calculation indicates that the spacing between two reflective portions of the satellite was 336 or more feet. However, in 1973 there was no satellite remotely approaching that size (and only the space station is comparable now, over 30 years later). (NOTE: The Skylab-3 itself with docked Apollo module was the largest satellite object in orbit at the time, about 150 feet long.) The calculation just done is a lower bound on the spacing between the outermost lights for the assumed distance. The calculation assumes that an imaginary straight line connecting the upper and lower red lights (or red reflective areas) on the object was perpendicular to the line of sight from the camera to the object. If a line drawn between the red lights was not perpendicular to the line of sight, then the spacing between them was greater than estimated above (by the factor 1/sinA where A is the acute angle between the sighting line and the line between points on the object; there is no way of knowing what A was so 90 degrees is assumed here, resulting an an estimate of the minimum spacing between "lights"). (NOTE: when this discussion was first published there was a question as to whether the focal length was 300 or 55 mm. One of us (Maccabee) had made a notation (in 1977 when copies of these photos were first obtained) that the focal length was 300 mm, but we recently learned that there were 5 Nikon cameras and each had either a 55 or 300 mm lens. This raised the question of whether or not the focal length could have been 55 mm.

Image
Skylab 3 Patch

The question has now been resolved by the combination of the photo index and the report on the beacon experiment, as described above. Although it was 16 days between the laser beacon experiment and the date of these four photos, we believe it highly unlikely that they would have changed the lens on this camera if they wanted to take wide angle (55 mm) photos since they had four other Nikon cameras available, several of which had 55 mm lenses. We assume that Garriott simply grabbed a Nikon with the 300 mm lens, namely, the one used many days before during the beacon experiment.) WHAT COULD IT HAVE BEEN? The possible identifications divide into two general classes: (a) conventional explanations that assume a manmade/earth-launched satellite and (b) unconventional explanations that assume it was not an earth- launched satellite. Explanations of type (b) allow for the object to do "anything" because the object is assumed not to be limited by earth's gravity. In particular, (b)-type explanations allow for the object to make non-orbital motions, such as travel at velocities greater or less than the orbital velocity that is appropriate for its altitude. (For an object that is "trapped" by earth's gravity the orbital velocity depends upon the radial distance from the center of the earth). For example, one might imagine that the reason the object appeared as a dot in three photos and then as a structured object in the fourth is that the object was at a large distance from the Skylab during the (unknown) time duration of the first three photos and then, between the third and fourth photos, it suddenly moved much closer to the Skylab, at which time its structure could be resolved by the camera. If this happened, then the object made motions that are not consistent with being a satellite subject to orbital motion around the earth. There are many other non-orbital motions which one could imagine if the object was not a satellite and one could spend a long time trying to study all of these. However, the main point is that if the object was not confined to an orbit, since there were no man-made objects capable of such motions in the vicinity of the Skylab, the object would have to be considered truly anomalous, an Unidentified Space Object (USO, not to be confused with "USO: Unidentified Submerged Object"). Explanations of type (a) are the only ones that can be tested against known physics of satellites so the question arises, does the conventional hypothesis, that it was a satellite, fit the data? This hypothesis runs into trouble immediately when compared with the photographic and visual data. Both visually and photographically the object appeared bright red in color. Noting this color but assuming it was a satellite or some object that could have been reflecting sunlight, Garriott pointed out that when it was first seen and for about 10 minutes afterward the object and Skylab were not in a region of the orbit where the sunlight would have passed through the earth's atmosphere and therefore would have been reddened by scattering from particulate matter in the atmosphere (as in a red sunset). Hence the red color could not have been a result of the reflection of reddened sunlight from a typical satellite. To explain the red color Garriott may have assumed (although he never mentioned this assumption) that the satellite was painted red. He awaited an identification by NASA, but there was none because there were no satellites with red surfaces. The surfaces are typically painted black or white or are unpainted bare metal. An alternative hypothesis is that it was a satellite emitting intense red light. Garriott probably didn't consider this to be a possible explanation since there were no satellites with bright red lights. The assumption that the astronauts were watching the red lights on an object and not reddened solar reflections leads to the conclusion that Garriott's method of estimating the distance could have been wrong. If the object had red lights then the fact that these lights disappeared shortly after Skylab went into the earth's shadow would not necessarily mean that it had also traveled into the earth's shadow. It could have been at any distance and simply turned off its lights 5 - 10 sec after the Skylab "disappeared" into darkness. But if this were true then Garriott's estimate of distance as described above could be a happy coincidence or it could have been a mistake. One interesting consequence of the red light hypothesis, which includes the assumption that the lights were turned off 5 - 10 seconds after Skylab went into darkness, is that the object could have been a lot closer to Skylab than Garriott estimated. Assume, for example, that the spacing between the lights on the assumed "satellite" was 10 m (33 ft), the maximum size of man-made satellites (including booster rockets) in 1973. Then the formula used above can be rewritten to give the distance that an object would have to be away from the camera in order to produce an image of the measured size. With O = 10 m, D = O(F/I) = O(1/0.0029) = 10/0.0029 = 3.4 km (2.1 mi). If the spacing of lights were less than 10 m then the distance would also be proportionally smaller. Another hypothesis has been considered in order to explain the difference in image size between the first three photos and the fourth. This hypothesis is based on the assumption that the failure of the camera and film to resolve the structure during the first three photos is a result of a great distance to the supposed satellite. It is further assumed that the supposed satellite was in an elliptical orbit and was approaching the Skylab from the rear. The astronauts estimated that the object was in sight for about 10 minutes. The large difference in image sizes can be explained if one assumes that the first three photos were taken during the first minute while the satellite was still very far away and that the fourth was taken roughly 9 - 10 minutes later when the assumed satellite was much closer. Further to this hypothesis, one can assume that during the first minute, when the object was varying in luminosity with about a 10-second cycle period, the brightness (or size) of the image might have varied depending on when the photo was taken during the 10-second cycle (during a low brightness phase or high or in between), and this variation could have happened without much actual distance change. For example, if the object had been about 10 m in size and approaching the Skylab from behind at a speed 0.1 km/sec (360 kph) greater than that of the Skylab and if the first 3 photos had been taken within a ten second period near the end of the first minute of observation, then, during this initial ten second period, the distance to the Skylab would have decreased by only 1 km. Suppose the separation had been 63 km when the object was first seen. Then, about 10 minutes = 600 seconds after it was first seen, i.e., at the assumed time of the fourth photo, the separation would have been only about 63 km - (600 sec)(.1 km/sec) = 3 km and the angular size of the object, (O/D), would have been twenty times greater than at 60 km and more of the structure would be resolved by the camera. (Note: this hypothesis differs from the similar one described previously in the following way: whereas previously it was assumed that the object maintained a roughly fixed, large distance during the time of the first three photos and then it suddenly made an "un-satellite-like" rapid motion toward the Skylab, in this hypothesis the object/satellite is assumed to have approached in a steady manner consistent with an elliptical orbit as described below.) The preceding hypothesis can be made somewhat more specific. Comparing the size of the image in the fourth photo with the sizes of the "dot" images in the preceding photos it would appear that the object would have had to be 20 or more times farther from the Skylab during the first three photos than at the time of the last photo in order to be far enough away to prevent the camera from resolving the image. Calculations presented above show that a man-made satellite (ca. 10 m in length) would have to be about 3 km away in order to make an image the size of the one in the fourth photo, assuming the 300 mm focal length lens was used. Twenty or more times farther away would place the initial distance at 60 km or more. The above hypothesis is that the object crossed this 60 km distance in about 10 minutes or 600 seconds meaning that it would have been traveling faster than the Skylab, specifically, 60 km /600 sec = 0.100 km/s (about 200 mph) faster The Skylab was traveling at about 7,640 m/s, so the object, under these assumptions, would have traveled at about 7,740 m/s. The Skylab was in a nearly perfectly circular orbit (eccentricity esentially zero). The object is assumed to have been traveling in the same orbital plane and at the altitude of the Skylab when it disappeared, about 442 km. It was traveling faster, under these assumptions, and so its orbital eccentricity was larger than zero. The equation for eccentricity, e, based on the radial distance from the center of the earth at perigee, Rp, and the velocity at perigee, Vp, is e = (RpVp^2/GM) - 1 where GM = 4 x 10^14 m^3/sec^2. Using Rp = A + Re = (altitude + radius of earth) = 442 km + 6378 km = 6820 km and Vp = 7,740 m/s yields e = .0214. The semimajor axis of this ellipse is a = Rp/(1-e) = 6,969 km and the apogee height that corresponds to these values of Rp and e is Ra - Re = 2a - Rp - Re = 7,118 km - 6,378 km = 740 km. The period of the object in the elliptical orbit would have been P = 2 (pi)(a^1.5)/(GM)^.5 = 5,779 s or 96.3 minutes which is only about 2 minutes longer than the Skylab orbit time (93.4 min). The result of this calculation is that the object would have been very close to the Skylab for many minutes. The results would be similar for an object in a slightly different orbital plane, a plane close to the 50 degree inclination of the Skylab orbit in order to be within viewing range for up to 10 minutes. Few satellites (if any) other than the Skylab have been launched into 50 degree orbits. This set of assumptions does have a problem with the timing. Assume, as above, that the fourth photo was taken just before the Skylab went into the shadow. Then the object/satellite was about 3 km away from the Skylab at that time. It was approaching the shadow at a speed of about 7.7 km/sec. If it had been directly behind the Skylab it would have crossed the shadow boundary about (3 km/7.7 km/sec =) 0.39 sec after the Skylab, clearly much less time than estimated by Garriott. Suppose, instead, that the satellite had been 3 km higher and "above" (rather than directly behind) the Skylab when the Skylab went into the shadow. Then the distance (along its orbit) of the object from the shadow boundary would have been about 3 km/tan 21 = 7.8 km at the time the Skylab went into the shadow. (In this equation 21 degrees is the vertical angle-the angle measured in the vertical plane-that the orbit makes with the shadow boundary at the point where the orbit crosses the boundary.) The satellite would travel this distance in about 1 second, again much less than the time difference estimated by Garriott. The preceding calculations illustrate the problem with assuming that the object was the size of a large man-made satellite and therefore about 3 km away when the fourth photo which was taken. The problem is that, regardless of the direction assumed from the Skylab to the supposed satellite, the satellite would pass into the shadow no longer than about 1 second after the Skylab. If the assumed satellite were smaller than 10 m in size, say a meter or so, such as something ejected from the Skylab then it would have been even closer than 3 km and the time lag would have been even less. Assume, again, that the satellite or object was directly behind the Skylab. For it to pass into the shadow 5 seconds after the Skylab, the distance of the satellite from the shadow boundary, as measured along its orbit, would have had to have been at least (5 sec x 7.7 km/sec =) 38.5 km at the time when the Skylab crossed the shadow boundary. Thus at the time of the fourth photo (assumed to have been taken just before the Skylab went into the shadow) the distance would have been 38 km or greater. If the supposed satellite had been at a higher altitude and "above" the Skylab when Skylab crossed the shadow boundary it could have been closer to the Skylab than 38 km and still take 5 seconds to reach the shadow boundary. For this to occur the distance above the Skylab would have been (38.5 tan 21 =) 14.8 km which means that at the time of the fourth photo the distance would have been around 15 km. Using this distance to calculate size yields (0.0029 x 15,000 m =) 43 m, which is still four times the size of the largest satellite (other than the Skylab itself). Thus we see that it is "difficult" (impossible?) for the satellite (or ejected debris) hypothesis to satisfy two sighting requirements at the same time: 1) the size of the object, as determined by the distance and angular size (from the fourth photo) must be comparable to or smaller than that of a large satellite and 2) the time difference between when the Skylab crossed the shadow boundary and when the object/satellite crossed the boundary must be 5 seconds or more. Unfortunately there is no information on the actual direction from the Skylab to the object. Garriott said the direction to the object moved no more than 10 - 20 degrees, but he didn't provide the actual sighting direction. His assumption that the object followed Skylab into darkness suggests that the object was "behind" the Skylab, but in what direction behind we do not know. We can, therefore, drop the tacit assumption used above that the red object was directly behind the Skylab and allow it to approach from some other direction. The simplest alternative assumption is that the red object was in an orbit at the same altitude as the Skylab and traveling at the same orbital speed but that it was in a different orbital plane. Assume that the object and Skylab were approaching the location where the orbital planes cross. Then the distance between them was decreasing, finally reaching "zero" where the planes cross. (In 3 - D space the intersection of two different orbital planes forms a line that passes through the center of the earth. Imagine that the orbital planes are viewed from "above" - a point far from the earth - and seen edge on. Then the crossing of the planes (the intersection line) will appear to be a point. The tracks of two satellites in different orbital planes, in the vicinity of the orbital plane intersection, appear to be (nearly) straight lines that cross at the intersection point. This crossing point is above the earth at the altitude of the satellites. This corresponds to a "sideswipe" scenario where the approach velocity is completely due to a difference in orbital inclination angle from that of the Skylab's 50-degree inclination. This scenario is illustrated in the track map, below, where the red object is shown approaching the Skylab at this 45-degree angle from the west rather than on the other (north) side.



It is possible to describe a specific notional scenario that will allow for an estimate of the difference in orbital plane inclinations. Built into this scenario are the following assumptions: (a) the object must have been about 20 times farther from the Skylab when the first photos were taken than it was when the last photo was taken, (b) the first photos were taken during the first minute of observation (c) they were separated by 3 km when the fourth photo was taken, and (d) the last photo was taken about 9.5 minutes after the initial photos. The latter assumption means that the Skylab traveled about 9.5 x 60 sec x 7.645 km/sec = 4588 km during the assumed time between photos. Twenty times 3 km is 60 km, so assume that the object was 60 km away from Skylab when it was first observed. Now imagine drawing two converging straight lines, each almost horizontal, on a paper. The point where they cross represents the orbital plane crossover line as seen "end-on." Place the Skylab at some distance to the left of the crossover point on the upper of the two lines and place the object at the same distance on the lower of the two lines. Draw a line between the points. This line is the separation, S1 and the triangle just created is isosceles: it has two equal sides. The Skylab and the object are imagined to be moving at the same speed along these lines toward the right, toward the intersection point. Now move to the right toward the intersection point and at some position, still to the left of the intersection point, draw another line that is parallel to S1. This line, called S2, forms a much shorter isosceles triangle. The distance along each orbit line from S1 to S2 is called A. By the above assumptions A = 4588 km, S1 = 60 km and S2 = 3 km. Now it is necessary to calculate the vertex angle, a, from these data. The calculation is straightforward because of the simplified geometry. Using the law of similar triangles and trigonometric relations one can show that a = 2 arcsin{[(S1/2)-(S2/2)]/A} = 2 arcsin{[30 - 1.5]/4588} = 0.71 degrees. Other reasonable assumptions about the initial and final separations will lead to similarly small angles. (By these assumptions, when the Skylab and object were 3 km apart and Skylab was going into darkness, they were still at some considerable distance from the orbit plane crossover point. That distance, from the 3 km separation to the crossover, was B = (3/2)/sin(.71) = 121 km.) divided by 5.5 which makes it even closer to the Skylab orbit.) Although the scenario just discussed must be immediately discarded since the unknown would pass into the shadow at within a second of the Skylab, it does illustrate the following point: if the red object is assumed to have been a man-made satellite, then, because of the long time it was visible, its orbital inclination must have been very close to that of Skylab, probably within a degree or so, i.e., say, 49 - 51 degrees. [Another scenario that has been considered is based on three assumptions that are the "opposite" of what has been assumed above: 1) all the photos were taken at the beginning of the sighting, say, within the first minute, 2) the object was closest at the beginning of the sighting and 3) the object was traveling more slowly than the Skylab. It is also assumed that the object was a man-made satellite 10 m (or less) in size so that the initial distance at the time of the fourth photo was about 3 km. (It is further assumed that the three "dot" images that precede the fourth photo were a result of some rotation of the object such that only single red reflections or single red lights were visible to the astronauts, an assumption that already rules out this explanation.) Garriott's estimate of about 5 sec time lag indicates that the object would have been about 38 km behind the Skylab when it passed into the shadow. This scenario raises the following questions: 1) why didn't the astronauts continue to take photos since they clearly watched the object for, maybe, 9 minutes after taking 4 photos during the first minute (as assumed), 2) why didn't they indicate in their report that it was getting dimmer and smaller and clearly moving away from them as it dropped back? Of course, as shown above, its orbit would have been very close to that of the Skylab.] A 51-52-degree inclination is in fact one of the most common inclinations in space history for satellite objects, as it is the prime launch heading for many Russian launches from its original Tyuratam (Baikonur) launch site. But the higher inclination alternative, 51 degs instead of 49 degs, must have the red object coming from the north towards the Skylab, whereas, from the testimony of the astronauts, it appears that the red object was west of the Skylab. But Russian space objects are carefully tracked by both US and Russian observers as well as others. NASA signed an agreement with NORAD for NORAD to provide NASA with continually updated computer projections warning of potentially dangerous close approaches of any and all space objects during a manned space mission. These projections are generated with a NORAD/USAF computer program called COMBO (Computation for Miss Between Orbits). The COMBO program does not require that the satellites be directly in view of NORAD radars and other sensors at the moment of close approach -- the projections are made to any point in the satellite orbits anywhere in the world using the principle that manmade satellites follow predictable flight paths. As of 1973, according to NORAD/ADC, "NASA has not had to maneuver a manned spacecraft to avoid a collision with another satellite" based on the COMBO warnings. :look: article by Major Samuel C. Beamer, Commander, Det 8, 14th Missile Warning Squadron, ADC, Laredo, Texas, "Nerve Center for Space Defense," Air University Review, September-October 1973 (online at http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airc ... eamer.html ) The point of the above calculations and discussion is this: had it been another satellite in an elliptical orbit that was only a few kilometers or so from Skylab at its closest point, then it should have been known to the organizations that keep track of all satellites. It probably would have been within a few tens of kilometers of Skylab when Skylab went through the areas of the world where there were NASA and NORAD radars and sensors operating. There was no report that NASA or NORAD detected any object near Skylab, and a near-miss of only a few kilometer would have been an extremely dangerous situation as tracking radars often have errors of that magnitude (meaning it could have been a 0-distance, i.e., a direct and fatal collision).


DISCUSSION

Whatever the object was, it traveled a long distance with the Skylab. They saw it for about 10 minutes. During that time it and the Skylab traveled about 4,600km (2,800 miles). The big question, then, is this: is it possible to prove that there was, or at least could have been, a (man-made) earth satellite which either reflected sunlight as red light (in the absence of atmospheric reddening of sunlight) or which had several bright red lights and which could have been within a few miles of Skylab for many minutes without NORAD/NASA detecting it? If an earth satellite, then its orbit was "uncomfortably " close to the Skylab orbit and it certainly should have been picked up by NORAD at some time during its orbit. Based on the available information the conclusion is that there was no man-made satellite that could explain this sighting and hence the object was truly anomalous.
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PostSat Aug 08, 2009 3:42 am » by domdabears


loneqqwolf wrote:
newearthman wrote:It must be a thrill of a lifetime to have a UFO expirience, I can't wait to see one!
I was star watching last night at 200 am because it was too hot to sleep and seen a couple shooting stars, man they move fast.


I have seen a few in my lifetime and I can tell you that it is something you will never forget.

I will be joining MUFON in Sept. of this year and hope to become an investigator, I will be attending a local meeting to see what they are all about, sure I can view on the internet, but I prefer in person, by talking with real people.

Sorry marduk didn't mean to butt in with this and your post is pretty sweet. :flop:

How do you become an investigator?????????????? lol i really wanna know.
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PostSat Aug 08, 2009 4:02 am » by -Marduk-


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OUSMA: "Did you tell him about that satellite we saw?
BEAN: Yes, we saw a great satellite. We didn't know if we told you about it.
LOUSMA: The closest and brightest one we've seen.
BEAN: Huge one.





http://www.ufocasebook.com/1973skylab.html
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PostMon Sep 06, 2010 5:03 am » by -Marduk-


new video about the Skylab 3 Incident made by LunaCognita


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This presentation begins with a brief history of NASA's "Skylab" program before focusing on a bizarre UFO encounter that occurred on September 20th, 1973, during Flight Day 55 of the Skylab III (SLM-2) mission. This UFO encounter can be classified as a highly credible case as it was witnessed by all three Skylab crew members, with the astronauts observing and photographing the unidentified object for at least a 10-minute period before both Skylab and the UFO crossed the sunset terminator into darkness and visual contact was finally lost.

In addition to examining the available official archive evidence about this Skylab III UFO incident, I also thought it relevant in this video to point out several of the contradictions that exist in that official evidence chain. While these inconsistencies do not prove a cover-up about this incident was/is in place at NASA, what should be clear is that IF there was a cover-up in place, these contradictions certainly would have aided in that cover-up because, deliberate or not, they serve to muddle and even conveniently eliminate from the public record some very important evidence related to this sighting that should exist and be available for us to analyze.

However, even with those contradictions in the official evidence chain, the Skylab III encounter remains a confirmed UFO sighting that has never been explained. What is certain is that the Skylab III crew had no idea what this bizarre pulsating red object was, and neither does NASA or NORAD (at least officially).

Also, in this video I reference an in-flight diary entry made by Commander Alan Bean during Skylab III on Flight Day 55 of his mission. This quote comes directly from the book "HOMESTEADING SPACE: THE SKYLAB STORY", written by David Hitt, Owen Garriott, and Joe Kerwin. The appendix of this book contains a typed copy of the text from Commander Bean's entire in-flight diary that he kept during his mission. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in reading more about some of the history behind NASA's Skylab space station.
http://homesteadingspace.com

Cheers everyone,
LunaCognita
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PostMon Sep 06, 2010 5:13 am » by Troll2rocks


You have impressed me, faved this for later reading. This incident will be included in vol 2 of my doc.

This is what its all about people. Posts like this

:flop: :flop: :flop: :flop: :flop: :flop: :flop: :flop: :flop: :flop: :flop: :flop:

:clapper: :clapper: :clapper: :clapper: :clapper: :clapper: :clapper: :clapper: :clapper: :clapper: :clapper: :clapper: :clapper: :clapper: :clapper:
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Censorship debunking & disinformation, it's all in a days work.


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