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Old 4th April 2009, 12:03 PM   #1
Fasto
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Could somebody pleas help me identify this 'Ufo'?

Well, my mother is convinced that she has photographed an alien spacecraft, and I was hoping if anybody knows what this actually is?
The picture was taken in Berlin on 30.03.09 (so it's not a full moon) and apparently this object is stationary and is still there a few days later.

Edit: forgot the picture ;-)

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Old 4th April 2009, 12:20 PM   #2
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An out of focus planet?
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Old 4th April 2009, 12:27 PM   #3
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By "still there", is it in the same spot relative to the tree limb?
It's too small to be the moon, and too well defined to be any planet, and too large to be a star.
A balloon caught in the tree?
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Old 4th April 2009, 12:50 PM   #4
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It looks like an out-of-focus Venus. You can tell the camera is focused on the foreground (trees).
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Old 4th April 2009, 12:54 PM   #5
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Looks like one of those spirit orbs that some ghost hunters bable about.

That means it would be a dust speck on the camera lens.

It looks to me that it is in front of the tree limb. Zooming in, the outer ring of the object completely obscure's the tree limb.
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Old 4th April 2009, 01:16 PM   #6
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What compass direction was the camera pointing in when that was taken?
Do you know the exact time it was taken?

It looks like an object that is out of focus. That's about all anyone can
say right now. More data would allow us to rule out (or support) an
astronomical source.
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Old 4th April 2009, 01:32 PM   #7
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Since it's still there, take a focused pictures of it.
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Old 4th April 2009, 01:41 PM   #8
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I deal with UFO questions.

It certianly IS a UFO since you don't know what it is.

Actually there really isn't enough information to say what it is.

With the UFOs that are supposed to be from "aleins" from space, they do move around. So a stationary object is most certainly not in the "suspected space travellers" catagory.

Is there a local astronomy club? I find they are the BEST for figuring out what things are in the sky. They know what's up locally, and have I'm sure observed that object. Many of them meet weekly. Berlin has to have several amateur astronomy groups, and trust me they LOVE to share their knowledge! Heck, your mom might like to come along to a meeting!
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Old 4th April 2009, 01:47 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by kittynh View Post
It certianly IS a UFO since you don't know what it is.
Why does someone always have to say that?

The OP makes it very clear that he knows what a "UFO" is.
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Old 4th April 2009, 01:57 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by TX50 View Post
Why does someone always have to say that?

The OP makes it very clear that he knows what a "UFO" is.

The reason is simple. The trend is that the acronym U.F.O. while originally meaning Unidentified Flying Object, has in popular mind shifted to become "alien spacecraft" in discussion for a certain group of people. So when you don't know WHO you are speaking to, or who might read your post afterward, it is preferable to repeat the definition as to make sure there is no misunderstanding.

Now then again this is forums.randi.org so one could assume that maybe this is known :P.
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Old 4th April 2009, 02:20 PM   #11
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Dew/dust on the camera objective that catches the lightsource. There are actually several, but one is brighter due to the relative position of the lightsource.
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Old 4th April 2009, 02:29 PM   #12
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I'd suggest a better camera.
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Old 4th April 2009, 02:43 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by starman4077 View Post
Looks like one of those spirit orbs that some ghost hunters bable about.

That means it would be a dust speck on the camera lens.
That's what it looks like to me too. I don't think it's anything in the sky at all.
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Old 4th April 2009, 02:50 PM   #14
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<derail>
The term "UFO" is sometimes used to mean "ET spacecraft"--and it's usually obvious from the context how it's being used. As, for example, when someone asks, "Do you believe in UFOs?" or "Are UFOs real?"

Whenever someone gets technical and says this:

Originally Posted by kittynh View Post
It certianly IS a UFO since you don't know what it is.
I like to point out that if you want to get technical, it's just "U". The fact that it's "U" means you don't even know for sure that it's an "FO" (stuff like Venus and the Moon don't fly) or even an "O" (stuff like optical illusions, reflections, and the like).

Maybe we need another term something like "unidentified photographic image" or "unidentified apparently flying apparent object" for the purists.
</derail>
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Old 4th April 2009, 04:05 PM   #15
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It appears to be in the front of the tree's branches, because the part of the branch that is covered by that "object" is brighter. Also note that very bright street-light at the lower right. So it could be either some dust on the lest, some residue from an evaporated water-drop, or simply a reflection in the lens, caused by that street light.

Since it really appears to be in front of the branches, it is definitely nothing "up in the skies".

Greetings,

Edit:

Just cropped the image to the interesting part, scaled it x2 and made two versions of it.

Original:


Brightness-curve adjusted:


The original is, well, the original, just scaled.
In the adjusted one i selected the spot (circular selection) and simply reduced the brightness-curve of that selection. As you can see the branch now has almost the same color as in the outside of that region. So, whatever it is, it is in front of the tree/branch, and not in the sky.

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Old 4th April 2009, 04:47 PM   #16
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Water spot on the camera lens.
Should show up in other photos made at that time.
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Old 4th April 2009, 05:07 PM   #17
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It looks remarkably like a picture of Venus I took a couple weeks ago, let me see if I can find it.

Here we go:

And a link to the album. (Includes Venus next to the Moon for reference).

ETA: the picture didn't show up for me...

Here's a link to the photo in question if it doesn't show up for you.

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Old 4th April 2009, 05:21 PM   #18
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It can not be Venus. Venus was in conjunction with the sun around the 27th. I took some last evening shots of it a few nights before that and it was really low before sunset. He took this photograph on the 30th and in a dark sky. If it is a celestial object, I think it probably the star Sirius in the southwest or maybe Saturn in the east. Because it is out of focus and one can not see any other stars it is difficult to tell.

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Old 4th April 2009, 06:01 PM   #19
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Wow, I didn't expect so many answers so fast!

Ok, I understand that it's not a great picture, I'll ask her to take another one (I don't live there so I can't do it - I haven't seen this thing in real life either, only this pic accompanied by long speeches about aliens ).

It's not a reflection or dust on the lense because she saw it up in the sky from her balcony, which made her go outside with a friend and they took this picture of it, it's not one of those that only showed up on the picture.

I have to admit that I don't fully understand the reasoning that leads some of you to conclude that it was in front of the branches - surely if there was a luminous object in front of a tree branch, then the area of the branch covered by the object shouldn't be visible? Are you assuming that this thing is transparent?
I actually believe that it's high up because she saw it from her balcony, and then further up the street (where the tree is and they took the picture) - it wasn't confined to the tree, the tree just happened to be where the picture was taken.

I also find the outer 'rings' interesting - those were also present in that photo of venus. Is that a common thing with visible planets or a photo artifact produced by cheap camera / bad light?

Anyway, thanks for the ideas, I'll ask her to get a better picture, and maybe contact some local astronomy clubs.

Edit: I know how to spell 'please' by the way... can't believe I made a mistake like that!

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Old 4th April 2009, 06:19 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Fasto View Post
Anyway, thanks for the ideas, I'll ask her to get a better picture, and maybe contact some local astronomy clubs.

I think an astronomy club is your best bet. Sirius is the brightest star in the sky (not counting planets) and can twinkle with flickering colors (an effect called scintillation). Since it shows up in the same place from night to night, it probably is astronomical. If your balcony looks to the SW, it most likely is Sirius.
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Old 4th April 2009, 06:25 PM   #21
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Quote:
I have to admit that I don't fully understand the reasoning that leads some of you to conclude that it was in front of the branches - surely if there was a luminous object in front of a tree branch, then the area of the branch covered by the object shouldn't be visible? Are you assuming that this thing is transparent?
The first thing I thought when I saw the photo was that it is clearly in front of the tree. The photographic analysis confirms this.

It is either dust between the lens and the tree or dust/watermark on the actual lens.

If it were behind the tree a section of it would be obscured by the branches instead it obscures the branches. Any other suggestion would mean that the tree was transparent and while I am not a botanist I am not aware of the transparent german tree species. Clearly this object is not a solid craft of any kind.
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Old 4th April 2009, 07:51 PM   #22
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It could be behind the tree. A light source, out of focus, would flare around the branch, possibly appearing as if it were occluding the branch.

I think it is unlikely to be dust, or a raindrop or snowflake illuminated by a flash, as it would be quite unlikely for there to be only one dust mote, or raindrop, or snowflake, in the air at one time.

At this point, with only a single picture, we are left to wonder at the veracity of the OP when he or she says it was stationary, and viewed from multiple angles. Are there any other pictures to support that claim?
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Old 4th April 2009, 08:05 PM   #23
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I hate to be this way, but I'm really skeptical that this is something someone saw with the naked eye. It really looks like an out-of-focused bit of dust or moisture on or close to the lens. There are several others in the shot too.

If it is something actually visible, I suppose it could be a street light or something like that. The picture doesn't have anything around to tell us how high we're looking. Could this be a lot lower on the horizon than it seems to be in this image? (Some careful cropping could make a nearly horizontal shot look like it's high in the sky.)

Either a flash was used (which would illuminate a speck of dust) or there was some other strong source of light right near the camera. I can tell this because the near side of the nearer tree branches are all shiny with reflected light.

If the thing is real and is distant, the flash won't help see it. So try turning off the flash and see what you get. (I'm guessing you'll get nothing.)
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Old 4th April 2009, 09:54 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Fasto View Post
I was hoping if anybody knows what this actually is?
Romulan scout.
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Old 4th April 2009, 11:08 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Fasto View Post
{snip}
I also find the outer 'rings' interesting - those were also present in that photo of venus. Is that a common thing with visible planets or a photo artifact produced by cheap camera / bad light?

Anyway, thanks for the ideas, I'll ask her to get a better picture, and maybe contact some local astronomy clubs.

Edit: I know how to spell 'please' by the way... can't believe I made a mistake like that!
In the picture of Venus I linked to (it was actually from late February, so my bad on the date reference) the reason it turned out that way is--I suspect--a combination of things. Trying to zoom in with optical only, it looked "ok", but small, the optical zoom is what you see there--it is the camera trying to expand on what little information it had. Notice the wider angle shots in that set are crisper (when exposed correctly). It may also have to do with the shutter speed, weird refractions, etc. If the flash went off in her shot...and so on.

But as astrophotographer said, Venus is not exactly in good shooting position right now. Ask her which way she was facing and about what time. Or find the street on a map program and help her figure it out if she doesn't know.

Next best bet is Sirius or Saturn as someone said elsewhere.
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Old 4th April 2009, 11:15 PM   #26
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It looks like a normal photo orb to me. It's caused by a tiny water droplet or piece of dust close to the camera lens that reflects light from the bright flash. I encounter these all of the time when taking photos in caves where it is usually either damp or dusty. I've even learned how to avoid them for the most part by adjusting my camera and flash settings a certain way. The orbs are almost always transparent, they come in different sizes, colors, and shapes.

Here is a good example of some orbs that look kind of like the one you posted.
http://img504.imageshack.us/my.php?image=p9060047.jpg That's me in the photo btw

It's possible that your mom just coincidentally got the orb in her photo while she was trying to take a picture of something else. Whatever she was really trying to capture didn't come out in the picture, so she assumed that the orb is what she had been looking at. This is one possibility anyhow.
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Old 4th April 2009, 11:18 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
Romulan scout.
I was wary of saying that, but now you have. I agree.
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Old 4th April 2009, 11:44 PM   #28
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There is only one way to save humanity and end that alien invasion of planet earth......


Clean the lens.

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Old 4th April 2009, 11:52 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by starman4077 View Post
Looks like one of those spirit orbs that some ghost hunters bable about.

That means it would be a dust speck on the camera lens.
Orbs are generally dust that's floating a few feet in front of the lens. Dust on the lens will generally not show up (because it's so out of focus) or result in a dark spot.


Originally Posted by fasto
I also find the outer 'rings' interesting - those were also present in that photo of venus. Is that a common thing with visible planets or a photo artifact produced by cheap camera / bad light?
Cheap camera. High quality lenses give you much smoother blurs.


Originally Posted by Gr8wight
It could be behind the tree. A light source, out of focus, would flare around the branch, possibly appearing as if it were occluding the branch.
I agree completely. It's sometimes referred to as "bloom." It's just as likely to be behind the tree as in front of it. It's either a bright star rendered out of focus (because the camera focused on the tree) or it's just a dust orb reflecting back the flash.

We see this type of bloom in some of the photos that the Apollo Hoaxers present. There's some pics where the reference crosshairs seem to disappear because there's a bright area behind them.

Steve S.
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Old 5th April 2009, 04:56 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by RoboTimbo View Post
Since it's still there, take a focused pictures of it.
This.

Edit: Also, at ten o'clock, there's a second very similar, but a lot dimmer, spot on the picture as well. And a smaller one at eight o'clock.....A TRIANGLE!243!
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Old 5th April 2009, 08:17 AM   #31
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Why did your mother only take one picture? I don't know about you, but if I saw an unidentified flying object and had my camera handy, then I'd be snapping pictures left and right!

Fortunately for you and your mother, the unidentified object appears to be readily identifiable from just this one picture. It looks exactly like a water droplet or dust particle that is either on or very close to the lens. Unfortunately, I predict that future attempts to photograph this particular ufo will yield disappointing results.

Those aliens are gettin' downright sneaky!
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Old 5th April 2009, 09:30 AM   #32
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Energetic seeker of truth, justice and the American way, always fighting back the forces of ignorance and superstition, I placed two drops of coffee on my Canon SX10 yesterday evening and photographed the Moon.
Lens at 17.5 mm.
Focus at infinity.
Probably should have done it again later, with something a few hundred thousand miles closer using the flash with some other illumination, but this shows what I got.
The small blob is one of the coffee rings.
The large loop is the other.
Neither resemble the OP, but they do indicate the definition in the OP is not "normal" for a distant object and something on the lens.
The object is close to the lens, and its shape says it's a liquid.
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Old 5th April 2009, 05:39 PM   #33
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The problem I have with this being light flare from behind the tree is that it does not resemble other instances of light flare that I can find. For starters There is no central point of light, it is clearly obscuring the entire section of branch uniformly, and it is very centralized without any other associated effects.

However it does look just like what some refer to as orbs. I believe these orbs are dust particles of blemishes on the screen.



I realize this photo comes from a site called alienufoart.com but I think it is amazingly similar to the artifact in the OP's picture.
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Old 5th April 2009, 06:29 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Kuko 4000 View Post
This.

Edit: Also, at ten o'clock, there's a second very similar, but a lot dimmer, spot on the picture as well. And a smaller one at eight o'clock.....A TRIANGLE!243!
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Old 5th April 2009, 06:41 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by iiwo View Post
It looks remarkably like a picture of Venus I took a couple weeks ago, let me see if I can find it.

Here we go: http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo...eat=directlink

And a link to the album. (Includes Venus next to the Moon for reference).

ETA: the picture didn't show up for me...

Here's a link to the photo in question if it doesn't show up for you.
The photo is remarkably similar, I'd say there's a good chance it may be an out-of-focus Venus.
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Old 5th April 2009, 07:40 PM   #36
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I'm thinking lens flare due to dust or a water drop on the camera. For example, I got this same effect when photographing a "spirit orb" in a cemetery...

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Old 6th April 2009, 01:08 AM   #37
Pixel42
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Originally Posted by KeyserSoze View Post
It's possible that your mom just coincidentally got the orb in her photo while she was trying to take a picture of something else. Whatever she was really trying to capture didn't come out in the picture, so she assumed that the orb is what she had been looking at. This is one possibility anyhow.
That would be my guess too.

Unless further photographs are forthcoming I don't think any definite conclusion can be reached.
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Old 6th April 2009, 10:24 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Pixel42 View Post

Unless further photographs are forthcoming I don't think any definite conclusion can be reached.
I agree. However, IMO iiwoo's out of focus Venus resembles the OP more than the other shots posted so far. Perhaps it wasn't actually Venus (due to its position at that time), but perhaps another celestial object.
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Old 6th April 2009, 10:58 AM   #39
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The moon, Jupiter and Venus early December 2008.. 17mm lens.
It would require a monstrously long lens to get either Jupiter or Venus the size of the blivet in the OP.
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Old 6th April 2009, 11:37 AM   #40
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The problem with the Venus explanation is that it was not in the evening sky at the time of shot. He claims it was taken on March 30th. Venus went into conjunction with the sun on the 27th and was no longer and evening sky object. Assuming he is correct in that it appears in the same part of the sky each night (and we still have no direction), it is most likely the star Sirius out of focus.
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