Astronomy

What to do if you see a UFO



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You're walking down the beach and suddenly see something in the night-time sky you cannot explain. It doesn't look like an aircraft, balloon, or anything you've ever seen in nature before. You're open to the idea that it may be an unidentified flying object. What do you do?

First of all, remain calm. If this is a truly "close" encounter, be prepared to take evasive action to get out of the object's way. Don't freak out; you might be witnessing the event of a lifetime and will want to remember every detail. Enjoy the moment, but don't get too excited.

Remember to be objective. Not every UFO is extraterrestrial. Eliminate every other possibility first. Is there an aircraft in the vicinity or other object which could be creating the phenomenon? Be open to the possible source of the UFO and eliminate the obvious possibilities. Contacting an airport, military base or local law enforcement agency may provide a rational or logical explanation for what you've seen.

You need some evidence. Luckily, these days there's a multitude of ways to record such an event. Use a camcorder or camera to document the experience. Try to keep reference points in the field of view, such as buildings, landmarks, or natural features of the land in the frame, as this will aid researchers in analyzing the film. Take as much footage or as many photos as you can. If possible, try to get the highest quality footage you can, but worry more about recording the event as completely as possible. If you don't have a camera or camcorder, draw pictures of what you saw during or after the experience as well as the area around the object.

Even if you have videotape or photo evidence, you should still write down or tape record the event during or after in extremely specific detail. Leave nothing out. Each bit of information connected to your experience is valuable. Make a note of colors, textures, sounds, smells, or anything else associated with the event.

Corroborate with others. If other witnesses are present, ask them to write or record their observations as well. Don't discuss the event with them until after your observations have all been recorded separately, as investigators will want to judge each account on its own merits and compare the results.

If the UFO left some trace of its presence behind, don't disturb the area around it. If possible, restrict access to the site and treat the area like a crime scene, photographing it before you enter, and making note of the exact position of everything at the scene. Take close-up photos or videotape any evidence before touching it, but be sure to keep out of danger. You don't know what you're touching, where it came from or what type of hazards might be associated with it.

If the object is in flight, try to judge the distance from you to the object, the object's altitude and its speed. Use known landmarks as references, such as buildings and other structures, roads, and natural objects such as trees, rock formations, or bodies of water to help you judge.

Most importantly, immediately report the event to a UFO research organization for investigation. The Internet is a good place to start your search for such a group. The Mutual UFO Network is the largest and most noted of these organizations, with investigators in all 50 states and around the world. Many areas also have local UFO groups who can respond more quickly and can also be of help should you find yourself the recipient of an air show from a UFO.

Sources: Mutual UFO Network, SFGate.com

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