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Puzzling Global Reports of Strange Aerial Craft (SAC):
A Comprehensive Technical Assessment and a Testable Theory

Part I
Early Work and the Derivation of an Astronautical Theory

T. R. Dutton
© March 2001


Proponents of SETI and OSETI have for many years acknowledged that some of the possessors of their much-sought-for extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI) might have discovered this planet a long time ago and sent out probes (see extraterrestrial probes) to investigate. It is noteworthy that funded optical searches for such probes in the vicinity of the Earth-Moon Lagrangian points were carried out during the years 1979 and 1981-82, without success. In strange contrast, there has been a sustained unwillingness to examine phenomenological evidence that might suggest that an Earth-monitoring activity was set up by ETI in the past, and is still operating. This paper, which presents such evidence for consideration, is the result of over three decades of private research by a professional aerospace engineer.

The work took the form of an extended technical feasibility study, which began, in 1967, with a detailed examination of puzzling local reports of strange aerial craft (SAC). The conclusion drawn from the initial studies was that the reported objects had been real, but had displayed characteristics that placed them beyond human accomplishment. As there was much evidence to suggest that they had been engaged in low-level monitoring operations, and that they had originated from the sky and returned to it, the study became global in scope in an effort to find evidence of a causative astronautical activity. This section of the study led, eventually, to the recognition of a programmed strategy of engagement with the Earth, which had apparently overlain all the reported SAC activities within the atmosphere. From further development and rationalization of this strategy, an empirical theory evolved. This is now referred to as the Astronautical Theory for SAC Encounters and details of its derivation are presented here for consideration, together with information about all the essential preceding steps, beginning with the early "hardware" studies. In addition, papers describing further exploratory development by the author are listed in the Bibliography.

It is acknowledged that the work presented here is exploratory and unfinished. The current theory is provisional, but tests of it with new data appear to be overwhelmingly substantiating, despite those reservations. The Astronautical Theory is navigational in essence. It defines long-established approach and departure paths in space and predicts the most likely delivery and retrieval times for fully-automated probes within the atmosphere, at any given targeted location. These predictions have been used effectively by serious sky-watching groups and by an Irish astronomer who has set up a specialized OSETI observatory to gather recorded observational data that may serve to test the Theory.

It is hoped that this paper will stimulate scientific discussion and suggest hitherto unconsidered ways of detecting and recording the activities of automated Earth-monitoring probes, which appear to be operating from sources within and in the vicinity of the solar system. Possible locations for those sources (bases) may also be inferred from the evidence presented.


1. Introduction

2. Early SAC studies
2.1 Background
2.2 Craft characteristics
3. Areas affected within the UK
3.1 Geographical distribution, 1967
3.2 Topographical study, 1967
3.3 Geographical distribution, 1971
4. The fireballs study

5. The global SAC study
5.1 Initial data gathering
5.2 Initial processing of global data
5.3 The "favored delivery track" concept
5.4 The search for sidereal connections
5.5 The search for geographical evidence of "super-orbiting"
5.6 Exercise to explore the fixed star-linked track orientation
6. The local timings exercise
6.1 Basics
6.2 Development of local timings graphs
7. The fully computerized model
7.1 Local timings graphs
7.2 Numerical computer processing
8. Discussion of features of the theory
8.1 Review of the basic development process
8.2 Exploration of the sidereal-orientation puzzle
8.3 Terminator-linked tracks
9. Conclusion

10. References

1. Introduction

Funded optical scans of the Lagrangian points within the Earth-Moon system were made, in 1979 and 1981-82, by professional astronomers searching (in obvious solar system locations) for the automated probes of ETI. Inconsistent with such expectations has been the neglect of phenomenological evidence suggesting that an automated Earth-monitoring system may be in operation. It is hoped that the research described here will change that still-prevailing situation. This paper describes serious scientific work carried out over a period of more than three decades to assess reports of strange aerial craft (SAC) for which mundane explanations could not be found. The work took the form of an extended technical feasibility study, devoid of any initial assumptions, which was begun thirty-four years ago and then developed as more information became available.

When, during 1967, sightings of strange aerial craft began to be reported in increasing numbers from the Manchester area of North West England, the author, then a young aeronautical engineer, employed and living in that area, became intrigued. Having spent the opening years of his career engaged in feasibility studies of advanced launcher and spacecraft concepts, those reports of SAC provided an incentive to reapply his acquired analytical expertise. Necessarily, the work had to be done in spare time and without the aid of a PC or, even, a hand calculator. In fact, the early material to be presented here was processed and derived using only graph paper, logarithmic tables, drawing instruments, a slide rule, local maps, and a good atlas. Initially, information had to be obtained from eye-witnesses, newspaper reports, magazines and books; and those cases selected as being worthy of study were listed in penciled tables, prior to processing. At the outset, penciled diagrams were drawn to depict the objects described by eye-witnesses, and colored crayons were used to portray the co lour of those objects and any lights they were said to have displayed. These humble beginnings, from which so much developed, have presented problems. Early data tables were often hurriedly scribbled out. Those old records have paled with age and have proved difficult and, sometimes, impossible to reproduce satisfactorily. Even so, reproduction of some of the early ("archive") material has been thought to be necessary to authenticate this long-overdue paper.

Work began with technical feasibility studies of the objects (SAC) themselves. These exercises very quickly led to the conclusion that the technology being featured was far beyond any known form of human technology. Even so, some of the objects had exhibited evidence of being real and solid, despite their phenomenal performance capabilities, which had seemed, at times, to defy Newtonian laws. Very soon it had to be provisionally accepted that the artificial objects reported from North West England and the Midlands had been real, but had not been humanly-produced. In addition, further investigation had indicated that, overall, the operations had had all the characteristics of a hellgrammite aerial surveillance activity. Sometimes the objects had descended from the sky and had been seen to return to it. It therefore seemed logical to look for their sources in space; i.e., for extraterrestrial origins.

A collection of historical global data was then begun, to facilitate exploration of global SAC reports patterns. The extraction of SAC evidence from two published catalogues of the strangest UFO reports greatly expedited the next step, which was to look for meaningful geographical distributions possibly indicative of organized activity from space. After much vain effort had been applied to that geographical-patterning idea, linking of reported SAC events with the sidereal times of those events was found to produce meaningful patterning of groups of events relative to the stars. From these simple observations, a model of a programmed astronautical activity evolved and, eventually, became the testable theory which is now known as the Astronautical Theory for SAC Encounters. The step-by-step evolutionary process that led to the formulation of that empirical theory will now be described.

2. Early SAC Studies

2.1 Background

A sheet of sketches, extracted from the collection of such sheets, is presented as Fig. 1 (to come). As mentioned earlier, these were crayoned representations of artificial objects described by eye-witnesses – and attempts were made to show changes of appearance with different modes of operation. Sometimes, entire craft seemed to have been glowing and co lour changes had been observed to occur between the hovering and steady level-flight modes. The structure of such craft had seemed to have been in a state of electrical excitation, with the co lour of the craft apparently having been dependent on its propulsive-energy state. Orange and red luminosity were commonly associated with hovering or low-speed maneuvering and the frequency of the emanation had seemed, at times, to increase with increased speed, sometimes progressing through the remaining colors of the visible spectrum. Another feature frequently described was a collection of colored lights, often said to have been flashing in different sequences, or projecting beams outwards and downwards.

Geometrically, the craft seen at close quarters were generally bodies of revolution about a vertical axis, usually seen at night. They had seemed to have been operating in low-level surveillance mode, just above the treetops and, therefore, in radar ground-clutter. Since the sometimes-observed mode of departure had been described as a vertical climb with phenomenal acceleration, this again seemed to indicate that the objects would not have been detected by the radar scanners of that time.

2.2 Craft characteristics

Following a detailed study and assessment of some 30 SAC reports (the number of which had been supplemented by those extracted from Ref. 1), the following characteristics of vertical-axis craft were listed:
(a) They produced very little or no noise;
(b) When hovering near the ground, they had created only localized disturbances directly beneath them;
(c) Some form of self-glow was often evident;
(d) Rotation of all or part of the craft was often witnessed when in hovering mode;
(e) Radio and TV receptions were sometimes disturbed by them.
Much of this evidence suggested that the craft had been propelled by some kind of electrodynamic propulsion system, which seemed not to be related to the external configuration of the craft. The same principles had seemed to apply to them all, even to spheres, and to involve electrical excitation of all visible components. There were indications that acceleration in any direction might have been related to increased excitation of the leading part of the structure. There were, also aerodynamic clues, which had demonstrated the solidity of the witnessed craft on several occasions – and a freefall experiment carried out with a model seemed to confirm this. That experiment is described in Appendix 1 (to come).

The geometrical characteristics of the vertical axis craft were compared and, bearing in mind that the propulsion system had not seemed to have determined their shapes, they were found to be divided into several distinctly different kinds. These are shown by archive Fig. 2 (to come). Beginning, at the top, with the spheres (a small example of which had been reported as having spun rapidly about its vertical axis), then moving to the right-hand side of the diagram, a progression of shapes, through ovoid to hat, is drawn. On the left-hand side, the flattening of the sphere to produce discus shapes is represented. These latter shapes seemed to be configurations designed for relatively low-drag, edge-on, flight through the atmosphere and could have been used for surveying large areas. In contrast, the former group of objects seemed to be suited to low-level surveying of particular localities and had probably been released from unseen larger craft, hovering in the atmosphere quite close by. Generally, they seemed only to be suited to vertical descent and ascent. At the bottom of Fig. 2, the genre shown on the right-hand side of the diagram has been linked to the disc/dome types, which were generally larger. However, the relatively clean "edge-on" aerodynamics if the disc/domes also related them to the discus types. It was conceivable that such craft were capable of surveying wider areas without having to have a carrier craft in the immediate vicinity of their activities. Indeed, they may very well have been used as carrier craft for smaller objects on some occasions.

It is important to stress that all of these craft of the 1960s had seemed to be fully automated and unoccupied.

Exceptionally, the extremely controversial craft allegedly photographed by the Californian George Adamski, during 1952 (Ref. 2) was added to this early diagram for two reasons: firstly, two independent witnesses had reported similar bell-shaped craft, apparently in free fall, on separate occasions; and, secondly, another engineer, Leonard Cramp (Ref. 3), had found, by graphical analysis, that a blurred photograph taken by two young schoolboys in February 1954 had been of a craft having exactly the same geometry as the Adamski craft. In fact, the Cramp analysis was used to create the model for the free-fall model tests described in Appendix 1 (to come). The Fig. 2 diagram shows that there was a possible relationship between the Adamski craft and the disc/domes. In fact, the author's own careful study of the Adamski photographs suggested that the craft could have been of a variable-geometry variety, designed to carry occupants, and with the ability to retract the cylindrical "conning tower" into the ball-like flange. In that configuration, interior cabin height would have been only about 4 feet (1.3 m), but even human-sized occupants could have reclined on low couches in such a cabin. The craft would then have had the external appearance of a disc/dome configuration. Another practical possibility, suggested by features of the underside, was that the bell-like flange could have been moved downwards, relative to the cylindrical center-body, to enable the projecting three hemispheres to act as supports for a flat-surface landing of the craft.

Finally, it has to be added that it had seemed very probable that all the craft analyzed had been carried into the atmosphere by larger atmospheric craft (as had been claimed by the apparently fanciful Adamski). It seemed inconceivable that they had had the ability to reach the Earth's surface directly from space, but there seemed to be no reasonable cause for doubting the reality of their existence. Examination of the areas visited during the 1967 outbreak of reports in Britain and, again, in 1971, further reinforced that conclusion, as will now be demonstrated.

3. Areas affected within the U.K.

3.1 Geographical distribution, 1967

The significant SAC events of 1967 were plotted on a large scale map of Britain, virtually as they occurred, and the development of the geographical distribution pattern was watched with interest. For some reason, the activity seemed to be concentrated in South Lancashire, South Cheshire, and North Staffordshire. The publication of Ref. 1 was a great asset and expanded the list of significant events quite substantially. It was realized that the author's own location in the North West, and the fact that Ref. 1 dealt with Staffordshire events, might have biased the selection very significantly, but attempts to obtain reports from other parts of the country had produced only a small number from scattered locations in Southern England. The result of this exercise is shown by Fig. 3, which is presented as it was drawn during 1968.

A narrow band, only 35 miles (56 km) wide and orientated roughly magnetic North-South was found to have enveloped all the recorded significant sightings between the Lake District and south of Birmingham. The scattered events in southern England could be similarly enclosed within a band some 70 miles (112 km) wide, orientated at right-angles to the North-South band. (By an interesting fluke, the center lines of these bands intersected in the vicinity of Stonehenge, Wiltshire. This observation focused attention on possible links with ancient sites which caused them to be regarded in the next exercise to be described.)

It was realized that the North-South band of events had enclosed the route of the M6 motorway, which had been only partially opened in 1967. New flyovers and feeder roads had been still under construction. The then-usable motorway ran between Preston in the North and Stafford at its southern end, and these limits seemed to correspond to the limits of the concentrated SAC activity. This was another meaningful indication that systematic aerial surveillance had been carried out.

3.2 Topographical study, 1967

The interesting result obtained from the distribution exercise led into another study. Judging from the attention that had been apparently given to the areas of great topographical change surrounding the M6 motorway, it seemed that a topographical study of each of the affected areas might be revealing. Using large scale OS and local maps, a search was made for high-profile human developments that might have attracted attention from high altitude. Each location in which a SAC had been seen at close quarters was scrutinized to discover whether any such features existed within 1 mile (1.6 km) radius of the reported event. As an afterthought, ancient and historical sites were included in the list of significant features when it was remembered that Stonehenge had incidentally featured in the previous study. The features which eventually proved to dominate the exercise were, in ascending order of importance: transmitting masts, military bases, reservoirs, power stations, industrial sites, transport systems (major roads, railways, airports and canals), and ancient/historical sites. The results are shown by another diagram from the archives, Fig. 4.

The predominance of old sites of human occupation was totally unexpected, but, as this diagram shows, 77% of all the significant cases had occurred very close to known ancient sites (there are many such sites still not yet marked on British maps) and 50% of all cases had been linked with remains of the Roman period.

65% of cases were linked with modern transport activities, major roads, including the M6, featuring largely. Of course, the relative abundance of the leading features could not be established and, consequently, this could not be regarded as a truly statistical result. Even so, it suggested a speculative explanation for the activity – it seemed that the areas being closely surveyed were those in which modern developments were impinging upon and, sometimes, modifying the topography of those ancient landmarks. This led to the speculation that, perhaps, those ancient landmarks (linked with human activity over the centuries) had been used, from ancient times, as navigational markers for terrain-following and fully-automated reconnaissance craft – and whenever such sites were interfered with, it became necessary to re-program the onboard computers with the new topography. Consequently, it seemed that the then-suspected automated monitoring of human activities by ETIs had become even more feasible and resulted in continuation of the study. British SAC reports were then collected and studied until 1973. Another intense outbreak of aerial activity occurred in 1971 and the results from the study of that will be given next.

3.3 Geographical distribution, 1971

The outbreak of SAC activity in 1971 produced another interesting distribution result, as shown by archive Fig. 5. The North-South orientation of the very narrow band of events in North West England and the Midland was slightly more skewed than previously, but, again, followed the course of the M6 very closely. The nature of the events was generally less spectacular, with few close encounters reported.

4. The fireballs study

British UFO reports during the 7-year period from 1967 to 1973 included a significant number of fireball events. The reported objects were often very mysterious and seemed to defy any mundane explanation. Descriptions given suggested that they were balls of highly energetic plasma, which were sometimes huge and blindingly brilliant. Usually, they had had no meteoric trails, they had been often slow-moving and, sometimes, had seemed to have been under intelligent control. Their colors had ranged from red, through green, blue, and white. As their brilliance had been so intense and sometimes flooded the countryside with light, and they had invariably occurred in still air conditions, they were obviously not forms of ball lightning. Furthermore, they had sometimes occurred during periods of reported SAC activity. During 1974, the dates of these events were studied and a diagram was produced to compare them. This diagram is reproduced as archive Fig. 6.

From the diagram, it becomes very noticeable that no fireball reports had been recorded for 1970 and the outbreaks had been sporadic and infrequent during the other years. However, it became apparent that clustering had sometimes occurred. Further examination revealed that, overall, fireballs had been reported within +/- 6 days of 10 equally-spaced dates of the year. This was an intriguing discovery, but it was suspected that those dates might be found to correspond with well-known periodic meteor showers. To investigate that possibility, the following table was produced.

Mean fireball dates Meteor dates Meteor shower
Jan 10 Jan 3-4 Quadrantids
Feb 14 - -
Mar 22 - -
Apr 27 Apr 19-22 Lyrids
- May 1-13 Aquarids
Jun 3 - -
Jul 9 - -
Aug 15 Jul 27-Aug 17 Perseids
Sep 21 - -
Oct 28 Oct 15-25 Orionids
" Oct 26-Nov 16 Taurids
- Nov 15-17 Leonids
Dec 3 Dec 9-13 Geminids

A study of this table quickly dismissed the idea that the fireballs might have been positively associated with the well-known periodic meteor showers. Five of the ten fireball dates had no obvious connection with periodic meteors. Three others were sufficiently removed from the usual meteor periods of those months to be regarded as being unconnected. In fact, only fireballs of August and October might have been explained as being meteor-related. All aspects considered, it seemed that the fireball activity might have been intelligently contrived and, sometimes, had been circumstantially associated with SAC activity.

Although this exercise was an interesting diversion from the main study, it was later to influence the manner in which the ensuing global study was conducted.

5. The global SAC study

5.1 Initial data gathering

By 1973 the need for an expanded study of world-wide events had become very evident. If the SAC were originating in space, as the British study had so clearly indicated, it would be necessary to examine individual reports from overseas and to look for evidence of meaningful global surveillance patterns. At that time, the author had been associated with the Manchester-based research group DIGAP (Direct Investigation Group for Aerial Phenomena) for six years. One of that group's members, Peter Rogerson, a librarian, had for some years been compiling a catalogue of the strangest UFO events recorded, world-wide, since the mid-1800s. In 1973, the Rogerson catalogue, INTCAT, was being serialized by the amateur research magazine MUFOB (Merseyside UFO Bulletin). Peter Rogerson supplied complimentary issues of this magazine to enable data to be extracted. This generous act provided the impetus required to launch the proposed global study.

The following year, 150 significant SAC events from the period 1868 to 1954 were able to be selected from the various issues of MUFOB and the relevant data were then tabulated for processing. For each happening, the latitude/longitude location had to be determined and the time zone identified. This turned out to be a very testing process, because some of the locations were obscure and time zones were difficult to determine, especially when the events had occurred during the late 1800s. Sometimes approximations and guesses had to be made: for example, if the nearest sizeable town had been mentioned in the report, the latitude/longitude of that town had to be used, given the absence of any further information – and the same assumptions had to be made about the time zone. Some very good cases had to be omitted from the initial listing because the locations could not be determined. The lack of reliable times caused other cases to have to be omitted from the database created for a crucial, subsequent exercise.

Unfortunately, the serialized publication of INTCAT was suddenly interrupted when the editor of MUFOB moved to a different location and it was not known whether publication would be continued. This meant that the availability of catalogued events later than 1954 became uncertain. However, expansion of the global database was then facilitated by the publishing of another catalogue of significant global events by an amateur research group in Staffordhsire (Ref. 4). As with INTCAT, use of this new catalogue was facilitated by the author's association with DIGAP.

Interesting reports for the period 1954 to 1971 were gradually extracted from Ref. 4 to expand the global database to some 450 cases. Appendix 2 (to come) gives examples of the cases extracted from both sources. The FORTRAN listings were created during 1980, but only a few test cases were processed by a mainframe computer.

5.2 Initial processing of global data

At outset, processing began by plotting the locations of events extracted from the INTCAT records onto a large Cartesian latitude/longitude representation of the world. This proceeded, step-by-step, with each issue of MUFOB. It soon became clear that most of the events had been reported in the Northern Hemisphere, with clusters in the USA and North West Europe featuring largely. After all the 150 INTCAT cases, covering the period 1865 to 1954, had been gathered and their locations had been plotted, it had seemed unlikely that meaningful distribution patterns would be found merely by using the entire database. A higher level of discernment would have to be exercised. A laborious process of re-plotting locations involving events in different categories was then begun. Collections of events which had occurred during the same date periods; or which involved objects of the same kind; or had other features in common, were extracted.

The French researcher, Aime Michel, had put forward the idea, in 1963, that the straight-line distributions of UFO event locations in France, he had observed previously, could have been indicators that geodetic great circles might link similar locations all over the world.

As great circles were not difficult to calculate, a series of them, having a range of inclinations to the equator, were drawn on tracing paper as overlays for the global graphs, and Michel-like distributions of SAC locations were sought for. The most impressive outcome from these exercises was provided by a group of reports of objects either entering or, on one occasion, exiting, large expanses of water – which was labeled "Water Events." The events in that collection covered a long period of years and were distributed all over the world, as shown by archive Fig. 7. The locations are shown as ringed points and the arcs are segments of great circles, distorted by the Cartesian presentation of latitude and longitude. The event locations were found to be approximately linked by seven great circles, as shown.

After the database had been expanded by cases extracted from Ref. 4, similar exercises were carried out, but without any significant outcome.

Throughout that search for geodetic great circle distributions, it had been realized that the discovery of such distributions would not constitute proof that activity had stemmed from space. Such proof might be provided if only one group of events could be shown to be linked by a typical spiraling ground track (as traced out beneath it) of an Earth satellite. So, that was to be the next step – which, ultimately, led to nowhere. Clearly, a new approach was required.

5.3 The "favored delivery track" concept

The next idea to be followed was one which conceived the (albeit, remote) possibility that ET probes from space might approach the Earth from the same direction among the stars, and might then go into a short-term parking orbit to facilitate their surveillance activities. Archive Fig. 8 is a diagrammatic representation of this concept. It is shown that the times of day or night when these hypothetical orbiting craft passed over a given latitude on Earth would depend on the time of year. However, during that flyover, the stars overhead at that latitude would be that same at all times of year, i.e., the flyover at that latitude would occur at the same sidereal times. In fact, the entire orbit could be defined by the sidereal times corresponding to its flyovers of all other latitudes. The actual places overflown would depend on the Earth's rotational position, relative to the Sun, during the short orbiting period. It was also envisaged that surface-exploration craft would be delivered into the atmosphere and subsequently retrieved by the orbiter. To explore this idea, it would be necessary to determine the sidereal time at which each recorded event had occurred, before looking for meaningful linkups. A meaningful indicator would be an arc of a celestial great circle which had linked several SAC events reported as being on, or close to, the Earth's surface.

The first problem to be faced was the doubtful availability of accurate timing information. Some of the cases used for the geographical distribution study lacked any timing information and had to be eliminated from the database required for this exercise. Thus, the number of timed events was only 368 and some of those times had been approximated. (In fact, the accuracy of eye-witness times are always suspect, since the last thing anyone thinks of doing, when suddenly confronted by a SAC, is to check the time.) Given all the caveats, the chances that anything meaningful would be revealed by this exercise seemed to be very low – but there seemed to be no other course left open.

5.4 The search for sidereal connections

The task of determining the sidereal time corresponding to the reported time of each SAC event seemed to be formidable, given the spare-time nature of the studies. This led to a search for a shortcut method that would achieve the same end. After much consideration, the following solution presented itself.

The search would be for sidereal evidence of a favored celestial great circle arc, which connected several significant SAC events within the atmosphere and situated directly beneath it. As stated previously, the solar times of day and night corresponding to such an arc would be dependent on the latitude of each location and the position of the Earth in its orbit round the Sun at each time of year. During any given day of the year, the position of the terminator changes very little (sunrise and sunset times change by only a few minutes from day to day). As a consequence of this, a plot of mean solar time against latitude would effectively reveal if any such celestial arcs were produced by the solar times of SAC events on any given day. The reason for this form of presentation is that sidereal time (the meridians of which are the celestial equivalents of the longitude lines on the Earth) is celestial longitude measured in hours (rather than degrees) to facilitate observational astronomy. Thus, a celestial arc generated on a given day relates very closely to the solar times of the locations lying directly beneath it (see 5.3 and Fig. 8).

The choice of the particular days chosen for this exercise was determined by the ten equally-spaced mean fireball dates identified in paragraph 4.When processing began, it soon became clear that insufficient numbers of events had occurred on those particular days throughout the 86-year period being considered. This necessitated the introduction of another expedient. The Earth's progress round the Sun causes the sidereal day to be four minutes shorter than the mean solar day and, consequently, at any given location, the same celestial meridian is directly overhead 4 minutes earlier per day as the year progresses. This fact was then used to convert the solar times of events on other dates into sidereal-equivalent mean solar times at the nearest selected date. Events at dates which were up to 18 days earlier than one of the selected dates had 4 minutes per day subtracted from the actual mean solar time of the event and, for those events up to 18 days later, 4 minutes per day were added to the actual time. In this way, meaningful numbers of sidereal-equivalent mean solar times were gathered for each selected date, as shown by the table below.

Nominal date Northern
Jan 10 27 7 34
Feb 14 20 9 29
Mar 22 31 9 40
Apr 27 33 7 40
Jun 3 24 7 31
Jul 9 31 5 36
Aug 15 42 1 43
Sep 21 35 2 37
Oct 28 50 7 57
Dec 3 19 2 21
Totals 312 56 368

When the converted mean solar times for these events were plotted against latitude, some remarkable connections were discovered, as shown by archive Figs 9a and 9b.

Mean solar time is plotted horizontally against latitude. The origin is placed at midnight on the equator. The events are identified by symbols which indicate the period of years during which they had occurred – and the curves drawn through them are segments of celestial great circles, which were obtained through a painstaking process of overlaying by a series of calculated great circles plotting on tracing paper. One of the most remarkable features to be revealed by this exercise was that the "best fit" arcs were those of circles with the same inclinations to the equator as that set of approximate geographical great circles found to be connecting those "Water Events" of para. 5.2.

The discovery of such a large number of interconnecting arcs was completely unexpected. Some of the interconnected points spanned long periods of time, suggesting that such tracks might have been long-established ones. The preponderance of segments having inclinations of between 52° and 54° was a very noticeable feature of these graphs. Such segments were identified at all times of the year and were well-defined by the points. Arcs with 43° inclinations were also clearly defined.

The next question that had to be addressed was whether there were common sidereal links between the arcs discovered for each of the selected dates. It was decided to investigate this by comparing the mean solar times at maximum northern latitudes on the great circle segments. This was done by plotting those selected datum times, read from Figs 9a and 9b, against days of the year, as shown by archive Fig. 10. (For "local time" read mean solar time.) The symbols identified the inclinations of the circles represented – and the superimposed sloping lines were lines of constant sidereal time. By careful study of all the points plotted, the best sidereal match was judged to be one which divided the 24-hour solar day into 22 equal divisions, as shown – and one of those sidereal lines seemed to be populated by a series of points which spanned from February 14 to October 28. It was estimated that this line corresponded to a sidereal meridian of 19:50 hrs right ascension (RA) and seemed to indicate that a favored approach path from space had been established. In other words, the exercise had apparently justified the search for such a path.

But further scrutiny of Fig. 10 revealed another, unexpected, feature. A series of points representing great circles with inclinations between 52° and 54° seemed to have been related to the times of northern sunset at those latitudes, as shown. A similar curve superimposed to represent sunrise times was not so well substantiated. This development seemed to indicate that on many occasions the great circles in space, which related to events in the atmosphere, had been arranged to coincide with the sunset terminator at their points of maximum northern latitude (or declination); that is, 52°–54° N. There was insufficient evidence to suggest that the northern sunrise terminator had been similarly used.

The discovery of these Sun-linked great circle arcs suggested that the hypothetical delivery spacecraft had sometimes followed paths along which they had approached the Earth, either, from the direction of the Sun, or, towards it. This provided evidence that they may have emanated from bases set up within the solar system – a pleasing result, but completely unexpected at outset.

Another interesting question raised by Fig. 10 was whether there might be a good explanation for those 22 approximately equal sidereal divisions. It was noticed that there were sets of up to 5 points in consecutive mean solar time sequences at several of the chosen dates. Due consideration was given to these features and one explanation was that they might have been indications that continuous orbiting had taken place on some occasions, the inclination of the plane of the orbit having been changed after each completed circuit round the Earth. However, against this idea was the realization that the celestial great circles represented by those points had been defined by events sometimes widely spaced in (albeit, recent) history. In other words, they did not represent the consecutive series of orbits envisaged in that proposed scenario. A further objection was that no natural satellite could possibly orbit the Earth in 65.45 minutes, the lowest natural period being about 90 minutes for a low satellite. Nevertheless, after remembering the advance technology evidenced and with nothing to lose except time and patience, the concept was investigated further.

5.5 The search for geographical evidence of "super-orbiting"

The first step in the required reexamination of the global distribution patterns was to create a set of pro forma curves (on tracing paper) to represent the over-the-ground tracks traced out beneath the envisaged "super-orbiters." Since satellites can move progressively, in the West-to-East direction of the Earth's daily rotation, or in retrograde motion, from East to West, two sets of these distinctly different curves had to be produced. Archive Fig. 11 compares the Cartesian plots of ground tracks for progressive and retrograde super-orbiters traveling in super-orbits with four typical inclinations. Geodetic great circle arcs are also drawn for comparison. The full set of pro formas included ground tracks representing all the celestial great circle inclinations identified by the sidereal study. Overlaying of the global plots was then carried out, looking for unmistakable links between SAC events' locations.

The curve-matching exercise begun using the progressive set of arcs, but, very soon, it became clear that no meaningful alignments existed. However, this situation changed dramatically when the search was begun with the retrograde set. Almost immediately, a series of event locations along the east coast of the USA was seen to be linked, by a single track line, with similar locations in Europe and the Middle East. Then, very quickly, several other alignments were found with other track lines. From that initial search, 34 well-aligned ground tracks were identified and, subsequently, this total grew to become 66. Each track was identified by its inclination and by the longitude of its intersection with the equator to the east of its northern segment. The full listing is given by Table 1, which follows.

Table 1
Track No. Inclination (°) Intersection
(° Long.)
Track No. Inclination (°) Intersection
(° Long.)
1 43 -78 34 76 176
2 43 -60 35 54 79
3 43 -48 36 67 146
4 43 -5 37 76 162
5 43 22 38 43 32
6 43 72 39 43 37
7 43 98 40 43 48
8 43 153 41 43 85
9 43 180 42 43 114
10 54 -78 43 43 141
11 54 -60 44 54 -41
12 54 -48 45 54 -32
13 54 -5 46 54 37
14 54 19 47 54 43
15 54 72 48 54 46
16 54 98 49 54 51
17 54 113 50 54 59
18 54 154 51 54 146
19 54 176 52 54 162
20 67 -93 53 67 -41
21 67 -78 54 67 21
22 67 -59 55 67 59
23 67 32 56 67 79
24 67 37 57 67 85
25 67 68 58 67 141
26 67 112 59 67 157
27 67 153 60 67 162
28 67 -93 61 76 -105
29 67 -78 62 76 43
30 76 21 63 76 59
31 76 98 64 76 79
32 76 114 65 76 85
33 76 153 66 76 180

N.b. +ve = E; -ve = W

Two interesting observations were made from a study of this table:
  1. Five of the Water Events great circles were shown to be approximations of those tracks numbered 5, 10, 11, 15, and 27.
  2. Some equatorial intersections were shared by tracks with different inclinations. This suggested that these might have been key navigational reference points from which the retrograde tracks had been generated.
Further scrutiny of this almost unbelievable result revealed another unexpected feature of it. The new feature was confirmed during 1980, after colleagues in the Computer Services Department of British Aerospace, PLC, Manchester, had very generously given up several lunch periods to plot out the identified arcs and to extend each one of them to produce one simulated "super-orbit" of the Earth. These plots were superimposed on world globe presentations, using a mainframe computer, and they revealed the full global picture. A study of these presentations showed that, sometimes, the point where one retrograde super-orbit was completed at the equator virtually coincided with the starting point for another of the identified track lines. Examples are shown by archive Fig. 12. This suggested that the operational model contained elements of continuous orbiting sequences and led to further exploration of the possibilities. Eventually, archive Fig. 13 was produced to clarify the situation.

During the execution of one 65.45 minutes' super-orbit of the Earth, the planet would rotate through 16.36° longitude towards the East, and this interval would separate the equatorial start and finish points of one such orbit. Fig. 13 shows the equatorial intersections that defined the recognized ground tracks, superimposed on sloping lines with slopes of -16.36°. Three distinct super-orbit sequences became apparent from this graph and these were labeled "A", "B", and "C".

This discovery then suggested that other track/equator intersections (later called "track generators") might exist, which had not been revealed by synthesis of the empirical data. The best mean lines through the original track generator points also suggested that small corrections were required to them. The following table (Table 2) was produced to create a complete list of the revised generators and the new ones inferred by interpolation.

Table 1
Sequence "A" Sequence "B" Sequence "C"
(° Long.)
(° Long.)
(° Long.)
(° Long.)
(° Long.)
(° Long.)
- 168.64 176.0 174.1 180.0 179.55
153/154 152.28 157.0 157.74 162.0 163.19
- 135.91 141.0 141.37 146.0 146.82
- 119.55 - 125.0 - 130.46
- 108.63 - 108.63 112/113/114 114.09
85.0 86.82 - 92.28 98.0 97.73
68/72 70.46 - 74.92 79.0 81.37
- 54.09 59.0 59.55 - 65.0
37.0 37.73 43.0 43.19 46/48/51 48.64
19/21/22 21.36 - 26.82 32.0 32.27
- 5.00 - 10.46 - 15.91
- -11.36 -5.0 -5.91 - -0.45
- -27.73 - -22.28 - -16.82
- -44.09 -41.0 -38.64 -32.0 -33.18
-59/-60 -60.46 - -55.0 -48.0 -49.55
-78.0 -76.82 - -71.37 - -65.91
-93.0 -93.18 - -87.73 - -82.27
- -109.55 -105.0 -104.1 - -98.64
- -125.91 - -120.46 - -115.0
- -142.28 - -136.83 - -131.87
- -158.64 - -153.19 - -147.74
- -175.0 - -169.55 - -164.1

A review of Table 1 will show that only ground tracks corresponding to identified celestial great circles with inclinations of 43°, 54°, 67°, and 76° were considered during the initial curve-matching exercise. This situation arose because tracks with those inclinations were so easily identified as those linking the plotted geographical locations. Later studies, however, showed that tracks with 42°, 44°, 52°, 53°, and 63° were also evidence when generated from the same set of equatorial intersections.

At this stage of development, the possible tactical uses of this navigational model for SAC activity were considered – but, as those deliberations were superceded when the theoretical model had become more fully developed, they are now considered to be incidental to the main purpose of this paper. The next major step was, more fully, to investigate the evidence for the validity of that fixed star-related celestial track orientation labeled 19:50 hrs RA by its northernmost point.

5.6 Exercise to explore the fixed star-linked track orientation

Using the navigational model as then defined, it was decided that a useful exercise might be carried out with a newly-formed database. This was brought together to include 36 cases selected from the global database, 22 outstanding reports from the intense outbreak of SAC activity in Dyfed (Wales) during 1977 and 17 cases extracted from the BUFORA Journal of 21st July, 1979 – a total of 75 cases. Employing the tracing paper curve-matching techniques described previously, the ground tracks passing through each location were first identified. From the time of the event, the corresponding celestial orientation of each track was then determined and listed. Whenever more than one ground track passed through a location, the same number of possible orientations were associated with that event. This resulted in a total of 103 possible orientations for 75 events. Archive histogram Fig. 14 summarized the cumulative totals for each orientation.

The 19:50 hrs RA orientation period, though better than average, was shown not to be particularly outstanding. It was overshadowed by the peaks at 21 to 22 hrs RA and at 23 to 24 hrs RA. An interesting small peak was also evident between 11 and 13 hrs RA. Consequently, this exploratory exercise created doubts and uncertainties which were not resolved until the early 1990s.

6. The local timings exercise

6.1 Basics

From the procedure that had been followed to carry out the investigation described in Para. 5.6 another idea had been created. If the global navigational model were to be assumed to be correct, a series of time predictions for SAC events could be produced for any given location, which could then be compared with the actual times of such events recorded from there. This would involve selecting a suitable location and then determining which of the identified ground tracks (from the global set) passed through, or close to, that site. There were 10 possible inclinations and 66 nominal equatorial generators to be considered. When the ground tracks had been identified, it would then be a matter of predicting the local times of events that might have been spawned from the associated great circles in space. The global study had produced two possible orientations for those circles, one related to the sunset terminator at 52°–54° N latitude and the other to the datum meridian 19:50 hrs RA. The later study (Para 5.6) had suggested that there might be others.

Following the acquisition of a PC during 1988, a program was written to facilitate exploration of that local timings idea. To ensure that all the recognized possibilities were taken into account, this program included the set of 66 rationalized equatorial generators plus non-conforming original generators which were displaced more than 1° longitude from the associated generators of the rationalized set. Given the latitude/longitude co-ordinates of a location and the Mean Solar Time of an event at that location, the program would then output each ground track passing within a specified lateral displacement tolerance of the location. It would also output the orientation of the celestial great circle associated with a particular ground track. Selected cases were processed and it was found that some orientations seemed to occur frequently. However, the same difficulties arose as those experienced during the previous (manually-processed) exercise – there were still too many possibilities and the concentrations between 11 hr and 13 hr RA and from 18 hr to 2 hr RA were still evident. Both Sunset and Sunrise orientations were also indicated. It seemed that another method would have to be contrived to clarify this promising but still-confused situation.

6.2 Development of local timings graphs

Since the local times related to the celestial orientations would be changing from day to day throughout any year, the obvious way to present the predicted timings seemed to be by means of a graph of local time (MST) plotted against days of the year.

Four possible datum timing lines, sunset, sunrise, 12 hrs RA (provisionally representative) and 19:50 hrs RA, could be drawn on this graph and timing lines for the identified ground tracks would be displaced by time increments (or decrements) from those datum lines. Thus, the basic graph would be similar to Fig 10, but with only the datum lines initially drawn in. The appropriate increments or decrements associated with each qualifying ground track would be determined in the manner shown by Fig 15.

Fig 15 is a graph of celestial great circle declination (or equivalent latitude) plotted against a six-hour scale of right ascension (RA). The origin is on the equator and at a nominal datum zero RA hours position, so that the 6 hours to the right of it can be regarded as increments in RA hours. Superimposed upon this layout are curves, each representing one quarter of a celestial great circle with a given inclination to the equator. Suppose now that our location is somewhere in Britain – say, Warminster, Wiltshire. The latitude of Warminster is 51° 12', wherever that line cuts a curve will give the RA increment, in hours, which would apply for a ground track associated with the celestial great circle represented by that curve. Whether the time displacement from each of the datum lines would be an increment or a decrement would be determined by whether the track through the site is orientated approximately SE to NW or from NE to SW, respectively. (If the track lay exactly E to W, then there would be a zero time increment because the location would be lying at the latitude directly below the datum point on one of the identified celestial circles.)

The ground tracks passing within a specified lateral tolerance from the site's location would be identified by running the PC program with just a nominal event time input. The RA increments/decrements associated with each track in the output list would then be determined from Fig. 15. Lines parallel to the datum lines could then be drawn displaced by the appropriate increment or decrement. (Increments/decrements of RA are virtually the same as hours of mean solar time.)

Concurrent with this new objective, UFO reports, sometimes associated with the appearance of circular formations in the crops of Wiltshire and Hampshire, were being reported and, responding to an invitation from Mr. Colin Andrews (a now-famous researcher of the crop circles phenomenon), the author visited the area during the late summer of 1988. In view of this experience, it had seemed pertinent to produce the first, hand-drawn, timings graph for that affected region of England. After the graph had been drawn, a data sample for events recorded in that area was then required, to test it.

During 1989, Ref. 5 was published and provided 21 cases for consideration. These were added to by 3 other reports from other sources to produce a total of 24 timings for events reported between 1965 and 1990. Archive Fig. 16 shows how these timings plotted out, before the datum lines were drawn in. Sidereal trends were unmistakably in evidence. (This result was all the more surprising because some of the cases considered had not been UFO events. In fact, seven of them were associated with (sometimes) witnessed mysterious crop circle creation and four others were the times when strange vortices and whirlwinds had suddenly arisen, which had defied explanations. The remaining cases were typical UFO reports. The author of the book had put forward all those cases as evidence in favor of his natural "plasma vortex" hypothesis. However, the evidence of sidereal linking presented by Fig. 16 seemed to suggest they were more likely to be artificial phenomena connected with the global SAC activity.

(It is important to state, before further expansion, that the hand-drawn archival graphs, being referenced, label the time axis in various ways – e.g., local time, true local time. These were terms used, provisionally, to communicate the discoveries to researchers and other interested people with little or no astronomical knowledge. In fact, they referred to mean solar time.)

When the newly-produced timings graph pro forma was superimposed on this set of data points, interesting displacements became apparent. It was found, by sliding the 19:50 hrs RA set of lines upwards, that a very good match was produced between the plotted lines and the data points. In fact, this occurred with the datum line then at 21:30 hrs RA. With a similar displacement, downwards, of the 12 hrs RA set of lines, the points of the lower part of the graph were accounted for when the revised datum line was then at 11 hrs RA. These changes were considered to be important, as they promised to resolve the uncertainty about the sidereal orientations – but, clearly, the changes had to be tested, in the first instance, by SAC data gathered from that area of Southern England. At this juncture, a revised pro forma graph was produced, as shown by archive Fig. 17.

To provide data for the first test of the new predictions graph, 23 SAC cases were extracted from Ref. 10.6. These had been reported during the mid-1970s and the result obtained when their timings had been superimposed upon the pro forma is shown by archive Fig. 18. The result was an almost unbelievably-good match. It seemed that the lines had been drawn through the points, rather than vice-versa. Even the sunset and sunrise lines had been referenced.

Spurred by this result, hand-drawn pro forma graphs were produced for several other interesting locations. One such location was the region of East Norfolk and Suffolk, drawn with the alleged SAC activity during 1980, at the Woodbridge Air Base, in mind. Unfortunately, it had to be acknowledged that reliable dates and times for those particular events had not become available, but information had been obtained for other events in that general area and the times given for them were superimposed, as shown by archive Fig. 19. The outbreak of SAC reports from Belgium, some of which had involved the Belgian Air Force and gendarmes, prompted the plotting or archive Fig. 20. The correlation between the lines and the available data points was, again, very good.

After several pro forma graphs for various other locations had been produced by hand, in that fashion, it became clear that the process was far too labor-intensive and time-consuming and needed to be computerized. If a sufficiently large number of locations could be considered, world-wide, and positive results were able to be obtained from them, then such a result would constitute proof of the validity of the model – which later became known as the Astronautical Theory for UFO Close Encounters. This resulted from the publication in 1995 of the Ashpole book (Ref. 7), which referred to it as "a theory to predict Close Encounters". It is currently referred to as the Astronautical Theory for SAC Encounters, even though the acronym SAC is not yet in general use.

7. The fully computerized model

7.1 Local timings graphs

A typical computer-produced graphical output for local timings graphs is shown by Fig. 21, (incidentally) for a location in Wiltshire, England. It is the now-famous Alton Barnes, a small village south of Marlborough, which has become the scene of some of the most outstanding crop-formations of the past decade. Special crop and sky watches have been held there, utilizing TV and LLTV cameras, IR cameras, radar and 24-hours-a-day visual watches during the summer months. Despite all this equipment, no one has yet managed to capture the creation of a crop-formation from the hilltop overlooking the targeted field. However, many kinds of anomalous phenomena have been recorded there, including SAC events.

Referring now to the archetypal Fig. 21, details of the chosen location are given at the top of the page. The tolerance value is the allowed maximum lateral displacement (degrees longitude) of any ground track from the given location and it is chosen to provide not more than seven tracks per site. The maximum value of tolerance is 1.0, but in practice lateral displacement rarely exceeds 30 nautical miles. The "y" factor merely compensates for printer distortion of the grid map shown in the to R.H. corner of the page. The latitude/longitude grid map locates the chosen site as a ringed point and the ground tracks identified by the program are superimposed. The arrows on those lines indicate the retrograde motion of the hypothetical delivery/retrieval craft traveling in space, directly overhead. The model suggests that one track will be used to deliver a probe into the atmosphere and another track will be followed to retrieve the probe later. To the left of the grid map, the global identifiers of the selected ground tracks are listed. The tracks are numbered 1 up to 7, in order of recognition by the program. The next figure gives the inclination of the related celestial great circle and this is followed by the equatorial generator of the ground track. The final figure relates to the "super-orbit" sequence with which that track is associated. The computed predicted-timings graph occupies the lower part of the page. The date scale is divided into 3-day intervals to aid easy selection of a given date. The 24-hour timescale has been folded to facilitate continuous plotting of the lines of constant sidereal times – thus, both scales apply on any given day. The timescale is given as Zone Standard Time, the conversions to mean solar time now being carried out by the program. Corrections are necessary for clock times during Daylight Savings Time (DST or BST) periods of each year. Four distinct sets of timing lines are easily differentiated and they correspond to 11:00 hrs RA, 21:30 hrs RA, sunset and sunrise orientations. The timing lines in each set are labeled with the numbers of the related ground track lines. (Note: It will be found that some of the computed lines have Mean Solar Time equivalents in the hand-drawn Fig. 17.)

Numerous graphs of this kind have now been produced for sites all over the world and some of them are being used effectively by in-the-field observers. Fig. 22 is an example of such a graph with new test data superimposed.

7.2 Numerical computer processing

Useful and explicit though the graphical method is, it does not facilitate rapid processing of new data or the rapid expansion of the processed database. Programs for numerical processing of events have been created to meet this need. The latest development program to be used for this purpose was created three years ago. This processes the input data and creates a printed output which identifies each of the qualifying tracks and celestial orientation of each track, together with the difference between the given (input) time and the predicted time to the nearest minute. Solutions considered as confirming the Astronautical Theory produce time differences of not more than ± 20 minutes. Some two thirds of cases in the current processed database qualify in that way – but it is important to realize that the timing predictions are considered to be the expected times of arrival and departure of the atmospheric probes, and that the intervening period may not always be filled by totally clandestine activity. In other words, encounters can be expected to occur between arrival and departure on some occasions. Table 3 is an example of the output from this program.

After processing, the result is installed into one of the series of listings constituting the Processed Database. A listing exists for each decade since 1950 and each of these listings are linked to a sort program, which allows sorting of events by location, country, date, track inclination, track orientation, orbit sequence and type of object encountered – or any combination of two of these. There are currently over 900 processed cases listed and these do not include those events which provided data for the original global study.

Several other programs have been produced to facilitate specialized studies, one of which investigates the possible importance of the positions of solar system bodies in the automated navigational system apparently discovered.

8. Discussion of features of the Theory

8.1 Review of the basic development process

The delivery and retrieval, from space, of atmospheric probes utilizing technology well beyond current human achievement, was a concept which arose from a study of SAC encounters reported in Britain during 1967. From those early feasibility studies, the search for incontrovertible evidence of a programmed astronautical monitoring activity developed. A reasoned approach led into a search for evidence of, perhaps, just one favored incursion path from space, which, it was thought, might be able to be found by use of a historical database derived from selected reports from the mid-1880s up to the early 1970s. That exercise, after many false starts, eventually produced a wealth of evidence that the early suspicions had been largely correct, except that it indicated the existence of several favored approach paths, one set referencing the fixed stars and others the terminator, at sunset and, possibly, sunrise. A problem arose when, during later processing, the original sidereal orientation was found to be apparently just one possibility among many. Close examination of events recorded largely from southern England then seemed to resolve this difficulty, except that the original orientation, with its datum at 19:50 hrs RA, then seemed to have been superseded by another with its datum point at 21:30 hrs RA. The validity of this change seemed to be borne out by further investigations using new data. These later investigations also confirmed that the sunrise terminator had been referenced on some occasions.

The findings at this juncture were provisionally written into PC programs created to evaluate new data. A multitude of results obtained, to date, have seemed to verify the validity of this astronautical model and to establish the reality of programmed ETI surveillance activity.

8.2 Exploration of the sidereal-orientation puzzle

Attempts have been made to discover the reasons for the change in the favored 19:50 hrs RA sidereal orientation that was so clearly indicated by the original global study result. There seem to be three possible explanations:
  1. The original finding was just a fluke indication;
  2. The subsequent finding was incorrect;
  3. The source of that "star-linked" activity is orbiting the sun and is, therefore, causing the track orientations associated with it to move slowly round the sky as it progresses in its orbit.
In view of all the successful PC processing carried out with data not used for the original global study, the output from which has shown the 21:30 hrs RA links to feature largely, the second possibility is currently being largely discounted. On the other hand, the first possibility cannot be lightly accepted. For these reasons, much attention has been given to the remaining explanation – but many, so far unresolved, problems have been encountered.

Close examination of the celestial great circles which were indicators of the original sidereal orientation revealed that they had been defined by events recorded largely during the 1950s and 1960s. However, other events from that period have been processed through the PC programs and have been found to be consistent with the revised orientation. This opens the possibility that reprocessing with the original orientation programmed-in might also produce good correlation, but with tracks differently inclined. This potentially time-consuming experiment has not yet been carried out, because many other considerations provide deterrents – not least, that consideration that the revised orientation was derived from data spanning the years 1965 to 1990, a period which, therefore, overlapped with the earlier period of definition.

Consideration of the idea of a source (ETI-established base) moving in solar orbit presents its own difficulties. For example, if it is considered that the 19:50 hr RA orientation applied at, say, 1950 and the 21:30 hr RA one to, say, 1980, that might mean that the source had moved through 1:40 hr RA in 30 years, which would mean that its period round the Sun would be about 430 years. This would place it in the outer solar system, well beyond the orbit of Pluto. If, however, the period covered by the orientation change had been only 20 years, the period of the source's orbit would be some 290 years – and so on. The shorter the period is assumed to be, the more rapid the movement of the orientations round the sky and the less reliable the processed results from the PC.

Another arrangement that would produce very slow movement of the "fixed" orientations round the sky might be one in which the sources of monitoring activities, stemming from those particular paths in space, are situated in an extremely distant solar orbit, and have a period corresponding to the period of Earth's polar axis precession, 25,800 years. This would place them at approximately 890 AU (0.014 light-year) from the Sun and in the plane of the celestial equator. If, judging from the witnessed performance capabilities of the exploration craft operating within the atmosphere, we consider it to be very likely that the delivery/retrieval spacecraft are capable of near light-speed transits, that capability would enable them to travel in virtual straight lines across the solar system. Such an arrangement would greatly facilitate programmed long-term monitoring of Earth by fully automated probes, since the programmed paths round the planet could be followed without the constant need to amend the navigational programming. However, the movement in the sky of those programmed paths in space over a period of, say, 50 years, would be only 2.8 minutes RA. This particular scenario does not therefore provide an answer to the 19:50/21:30 hrs RA problem. Much more work is required.

It has been noticed that all four approach/departure track orientations are in fact linked to the celestial sphere. The sidereal meridians coinciding with the track/terminator intersections at 53° latitude have been found to determine the orientations of all the sunrise/sunset-linked approach/departure tracks, whatever their inclinations might be. This means, given the programmed nature of the model, that the obvious placement for the sources of all approach/departure tracks activity will be somewhere in the plane of the celestial equator, rather than in the ecliptic plane of the solar system.

8.3 Terminator-linked tracks

Even though the terminator-linked track options, of all inclinations, are celestially determined and the obvious sources (bases) for craft using this kind of navigational programming would, therefore, be in the celestial equatorial plane, the fact that the sunset orientation has been found to be much used, at all times of year, indicates that navigation towards or away from the sun may be assisted by reference to conveniently placed solar system bodies. A pilot study has already been carried out to assess that possibility, with very encouraging results. The report of that study will be referenced in the Bibliography sections at the end of this paper. The frequently-found links between reported SAc events and the sunset orientation may be biased by the fact that many people are outside during the evening period, between sunset and midnight – but it is important that reports of SAC seen during that period should not be cynically dismissed without investigation. It could be that this period, when many people are out and about, is also favored for monitoring our activities.

9. Conclusion

The work described by this paper has been carried out, with scientific objectivity, over a period of more than three decades. A step-by-step case has been built up in the same logical order as that followed by the actual work. Despite the dismissive attitude of many scientists towards the available phenomenological evidence, because it is often hidden within a plethora of UFO reports, it has been demonstrated that sober and methodological treatment of eye-witness reports of strange aerial craft (SAC), worldwide – and for a period of over a century – has provided adequate grounds for believing that regular monitoring activity of Earth is being carried out by ETI. To challenge this conclusion, in a scientific manner, ought to involve any challenger in a lot of hard work – nevertheless, it has been acknowledged that the work presented here should be regarded as exploratory and unfinished and in need of further attention.

Despite the obvious shortcomings of the present work, use of the indicators it has produced might greatly assist those scientists engaged in SET and OSETI activities, and others watching the skies for signs of further atmospheric ETI monitoring activity. Amateur skywatchers have already benefited from the timing predictions for SAC activity in localized areas and, as a result of several successful (predicted) observations of anomalous lights in the sky, an Irish astronomer recently presented a paper to an OSETI conference during January, 2001, telling of his intention to set up a special observatory at a promising location in Ireland (Ref 10.8).

Finally, it is hoped that publication of this paper will put an end to all the nonsense that has bedeviled and barred communication of this research throughout the years. A significant step forward seemed to be achieved during 1998, when a paper co-authored with Edward Ashpole (Ref 10.9) was awarded a first prize in an essay competition organized by the National Institute of Discovery Science (NIDS), Las Vegas, but the authors have received little positive response to it, to date, despite its availability on the NIDS website. It is hoped that scientific minds newly-opened to the possibilities by this paper will want to read the other reports and papers written by the author since the formulation of the basic theory a decade ago. These additional papers have demonstrated, for example, how new events reported from several regions of Britain have correlated well with the predictions of the Theory; explored the tactics employed by the probes during short visits to the planet; explored the possible role of solar system bodies in facilitating automated operations in accordance with the programmed navigational system; demonstrated circumstantial links between SAC activity and truly inexplicable crop-circle formations. These papers will be listed in the Bibliography section and will be available on request.

10. References

  1. Stanway, R. H., and Pace, A. R. "UFOs, Unidentified, Unidentifiable" (report), February 1968. (Newchapel Observatory, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordhire, UK)
  2. Leslie, D., and Adamski, G. Flying Saucers Have Landed. Neville Spearman Ltd (1954, 1970), Futura Publications (1977, 1978).
  3. Cramp, L. G. Space, Gravity and the Flying Saucer. T. Werner Laurie, Ltd (1954).
  4. Wagg, P. A. J. The 1972 Catalogue of the National Catalogue Centre for UFO Reports. NCCUFOR (GB), Walsall, Staffordshire.
  5. Meaden, T. G. The Circles Effect and its Mysteries. Artetech Publishing Company, 54 Frome Road, Bradford-on-Avon, Wilts.
  6. Shuttlewood, A. UFO Magic in Motion. Sphere Books, Ltd. (1979).
  7. Ashpole, E. The UFO Phenomena. London: Headline Book Publishing (1995).
  8. Ansbro, A. "New OSETI Observatory to Search for Interstellar Probes," OSETI III Conference, San Jose, California, Jan. 2001.
  9. Dutton, T. R., and Ashpole, E. "Intelligences in the Solar System," 1998.
  10. [To come]

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