‘UFO’ was explainable, NRC physicist says

Fast-moving clouds

Scientist throws water on skywatcher’s claim of unidentified object over Oak Bay

On a night when most people were indoors, Eric Chisholm had his camera set up on Bear Mountain golf course.

An engineering physicist with the National Research Council’s Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics in Saanich, Chisholm was taking pictures of the night sky at about 9 p.m. on Jan. 22.

At the same time Victoria resident Fritz Stammberger was videotaping the night sky from a spot in Fernwood. Both men documented a large, glowing light on the western horizon. As well, Stammberger – who declined an interview but offered some details in an e-mail – recorded a second moving light over Oak Bay.

Unlike Stammberger, who posted his video to YouTube claiming the first flickering light was a UFO, Chisholm had a different take on what he was seeing.

“I’m ninety-nine point nine, nine, nine, nine, nine per cent sure it was Jupiter,” he said.

“At the time he (Stammberger) was looking you had an object that would have been brighter than anything else out there except the moon, and I know it was Jupiter because I was trying to take pictures of it.”

Clouds moving quickly across the horizon also contributed to the illusion of Jupiter blinking or flickering, Chisholm said.

Stammberger, who runs an online alternative news website, also recorded a bright object that appeared to be following the shoreline around Oak Bay.

Chisholm says that was likely flares from a Canadian Forces search and rescue aircraft.

A spokesperson for the Department of National Defence confirmed that a 442 Squadron Buffalo dispatched from CFB Comox was dropping flares between 6:45 and 10:30 p.m. in the Mt. Prevost area near Duncan that night.

They were aiding an RCMP search and rescue team looking for a hang glider who had crashed.

The flares could be seen from as far away as Gabriola Island off Nanaimo.

Stammberger’s video can be seen at www.ufodigest.com/video/massive-ufo-over-british-columbia-canada.

vmoreau@oakbaynews.com

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