Peter Davenport knows a thing or two about UFOs. The Director of the National UFO Reporting Center near Harrington, Wash., he's spent the last 46 years studying all manner of strange object sightings in the sky--a fact fully explained in this month's Seattle Weekly cover story by Ellis E. Conklin. So what does he have to say about the strange "flying saucer" sighting in Vancouver, Wash this week?
Jenn Ireland/Seattle Weekly
That's Sirius, as in Alpha Canis Majoris, the "Dog Star," the brightest star in the night sky and especially vibrant in winter months.
He says that after looking at the hand-held video camera footage and judging by the lack of credible witness reports, he sees it at "no different from a dozen or more (reports) we get every night."
Here's the video sent to KTAU which was taken on Monday:
Davenport is unimpressed.
"Out of every 100 reports about quote-unquote 'UFOs,' one or two might be about potential spaceships," he tells Seattle Weekly. "The rest are airplanes, twinkling stars, glint from aircraft, planets . . . This video taken with a hand-held camera is useless. In addition, we have not yet received a single written report from witnesses."
Davenport says that because the reports of the sighting and video mention colorful and stationary lights, the most likely culprit is the star Sirius. As an experiment, he recommends people find the star on their own (once it's clear out, of course).
"Go outside at about 8 or 9 (p.m.) and look to the south," he says. "You'll see Orion. And to the left and below it, you will see a very bright, shining, shimmering star that sometimes gives off red, yellow, green, orange, and violet light, because of dust in the atmosphere. That's Sirius."
So what about the awestruck folks who took the time to record the strange object with their handy cam? Davenport says that what's seen in UFOs videos is less important than the circumstances under which they are taken.
"Just seeing video doesn't do anything. I need to know what direction the photographer was facing, how many degrees above the horizontal plane it was. And the video camera has to be on a tripod, or rock-solid stationary. I would say that this sighting, from my vantage point, is no different from a dozen or more we get every night."