Space

UFO over Bakersfield big as a planet

By Ted Bonnitt on November 3rd, 2013
UFO over Bakersfield big as a planet
Big, bright light, alright.
Big, bright light, alright.

Multiple witnesses reported observing a strange, bright light hovering in the sky southwest of Bakersfield, California, on the nights of October 29-30.

Television station KGET 17 in Bakersfield received “a lot of calls from viewers about a mysterious bright light shining in the sky,” according to their news department.

Video taken of the object (see below) was broadcast by the station, which reported that the light “was too bright to be a star, and too still to be an aircraft.”

The object also reportedly changed colors.

Local resident, Daron Nunn, observed the object through a small telescope and said that a closer view revealed more than just a bright light. Nunn said that he could see the object split in two and change shape until “it darted off.”

Venus was very bright in the southwestern sky on those evenings and the limitations of Nunn’s small telescope may have accounted for further confusion. KGET 17 didn’t help matters when they evidently didn’t look out the window to see if it was Venus before reporting their story.

While a lack of evidence prevents a sure conclusion of whether the object was Venus or a genuine UFO, the existing evidence suggests a planetary explanation.

Why Venus is mistaken for a UFO

Venus is much brighter than a star, and does not move like an aircraft. On a clear night, the second planet can be startlingly present. The earth’s atmosphere may have distorted the light waves emitted from Venus, causing an optical illusion and visual splitting effect. The changing colors may have been the result of planetary scintillation, or Earth’s atmospheric turbulence causing a twinkling effect.

The witness statement that the object "darted off" may have been due to movement of the telescope as the Venus set over the horizon.

These aberrations often cause people to mistake something as familiar as Venus to be a UFO.


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