New Mexico green fireball painting
by Mrs. Lincoln La Paz,
April 7, 1952 LIFE Magazine
Excerpts From Wikipedia:
for the full story.
Early green fireballsThe earliest reports came from late November 1948, but were at first dismissed as military green flares. Then on the night of December 5, two separate plane crews in New Mexico, one military and one civilian, asserted that they had each seen strange green lights, though about 20 minutes apart. The military pilots were near Las Vegas, New Mexico, and described the light as intense, and if a flare, it was the strangest one they had ever seen. The civilian pilot was near Albuquerque and described the light as pale green. It appeared to come straight at them on a collision course, forcing the pilot to swerve the plane.
In addition, on the same night, a dozen green fireballs were seen traveling generally north to south between 7:30 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. by security guards at military installations in the vicinity of Albuquerque and Las Vegas, New Mexico. The sightings near Albuquerque were at Sandia base, a highly sensitive installation where atomic bombs were assembled near Kirtland Air Force Base. The next night, a similar green light was again spotted for a few seconds over Sandia base.
AFOSI consulted Dr. Lincoln LaPaz, an astronomer from the University of New Mexico and a world renowned meteor expert who had previously worked on top-secret military projects. LaPaz himself saw a "green fireball" on December 12, which was also seen at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, enabling LaPaz to determine the trajectory using triangulation. From this LaPaz discovered that the center of the trajectory was straight over Los Alamos.
Project TwinkleFinally, on December 20 after nearly a year of foot-dragging, the instrument observation program was approved and Project Twinkle was born. The first instrument post (consisting of two officers) was established at Holloman Air Force Base in February 1950. Only one other instrument post was ever set up. LaPaz criticized Project Twinkle as inadequate, arguing the green fireballs were worthy of "intensive, systematic investigation". Twinkle did manage to record a few events, but the data collected was said to be incomplete in the final Twinkle report. Besides, it was stated, no funding had been provided for follow-up data analysis. In addition, the fireball activity near the observation posts seemed to virtually disappear, as noted in a report from September: "It may be considered significant that fireballs have ceased abruptly as soon as a systematic watch was set up."
Over the objections of LaPaz and others, the final report on Project Twinkle concluded the green lights were probably a natural event, maybe sunspot activity or an unusual concentration of meteors. The report stated, "There has been no indication that even the somewhat strange observations often called 'Green Fireballs' are anything but natural phenomena." Twinkle was discontinued in December 1951.
Despite efforts of the final Twinkle report to downplay the fireballs and other studied UFO phenomena as natural, a follow-up report in February 1952 from the USAF Directorate of Intelligence disagreed:
- The Scientific Advisory Board Secretariat has suggested that this project not be declassified for a variety of reasons, chief among which is that no scientific explanation for any of the fireballs and other phenomena was revealed by the report and that some reputable scientists still believe that the observed phenomena are man-made.
The following month, another letter from the Directorate of Intelligence to the Research Division of the Directorate of Research and Development again stated that the report should not be publicly released, since no real solution had been provided:
- It is believed that a release of the information to the public in its present condition would cause undue speculation and give rise to unwarranted fears among the populace such as occurred in previous releases on unidentified flying objects. This results from releases when there has been no real solution.
original post 11/06/2009 14:25 Japan Standard Time