The mystery behind the recent UFO sighting over Colorado seems to have been unlocked with an explanation emerging of the strange encounter's very terrestrial origin. According to Benjamin Radford, LiveScience's Bad Science Columnist, the video of 'UFO' in Colorado, which immediately turned into a YouTube sensation, is most likely road flares and has nothing to do with aliens.
Based on the clues in the video and eyewitness accounts, in a piece on Space.com, titled, 'UFO Mystery Video: E.T., Black Ops, or Something Else?', the columnist argues that the formation of the lights is consistent with independently moving objects, not fixed lights on an aircraft.
As can be seen in the video and from eyewitnesses, they all moved in one direction together, stayed in more or less the same formation while in the same air currents, then drifted apart, Radford goes on.
Last week, residents of Lafayette, Colo., reported strange formation of lights in the night sky. The occurrence videotaped by two eyewitnesses, Leroy van der Vegt and his son Nick, quickly turned into an internet sensation eliciting E.T. excitement in the UFO community across regions.
The footage shows the lights hovering in the air, changing the formation, and later moving northeast. The three bright red lights fade away after a few minutes.
It was completely quiet. No noise at all, Van der Vegt is quoted as saying. He didn't think it was an extraterrestrial spacecraft, a satellite, nor a man-made aircraft like a plane.
It was exactly something like that where you see an object and they all got into a pattern and they stood in a pattern, and they all moved in a direction and then they pretty much dropped and that was it. I have never witnessed anything like that, Lester Valdez was quoted as saying.
Van der Vegt's statement that they were completely silent suggests that he is correct that the lights were not part of a man-made aircraft. This indicated that however the lights were moving, they were not being propelled by anything with an engine or motor. So the lights were likely floating, not moving under their own power, Radford argues against the first eyewitness' account.
Road flares tied to balloons, the columnist contends are the sort of light that would float in the night sky, drift apart, and then fade away.
It's not surprising that eyewitnesses could not identify the objects, since most people have not seen road flares tied to balloons in the night sky. There's no reason anyone would recognize it: The lights literally were nothing they had ever seen before - but not necessarily anything extraterrestrial. Of course it's also possible that aliens visited Colorado last week in a spacecraft that just happens to look like road flares tied to balloons, concludes Radford, the managing editor of Skeptical Inquirer science magazine.
There have been instances in the past of people being fooled by flares tied to balloons, including the 2008 Phoenix sighting and the 2009 one in New Jersey.
In April 2008, mysterious lights were seen over Phoenix, Arizona. They changed shape after a while, moving from a triangular to rectangular configuration, then disappeared one by one. What turned into a national mystery was busted when a local television station aired a confession by an anonymous hoaxer. Two days after the spotting hoaxer came out to admit that he had created the UFO lights using road flares tied to helium balloons, launching them in one-minute increments.
The following year in April, strange lights appeared over Morris County, New Jersey. The lights, first spotted by a 11-year-old girl, moved silently and slowly, then disappeared one by one. Live Science back then drew similarities between the New Jersey sighting and the Phoenix one to argue that the lights were result of flares prompting criticism from UFO buffs.