Friday, October 24, 2008

MOM for Oct 30 has been CANCELED!

The MOM for Oct 30 has been Canceled due to lack of topics.
We will see you at the Nov 13 MOM's.

Current Topics:

  • 11/15 Prescott 100 GS Star Party - Volunteer Plans
  • 11/16 Bookman's last class - Speaker: Mike - Can we live on the Moon or Mars?
  • PAS T-shirt sales
  • Post Card Progress

If you have topics for Nov 13th's MOM, please
start sending them over today to

See the topics as they are added and updated on the MOM's Agenda.
Have a super weekend!

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

U.S. pilot was ordered to shoot down UFO

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U.S. pilot was ordered to shoot down UFO

Tuesday, Oct 21, 2008 3:55PM UTC

By Peter Griffiths

LONDON (Reuters) - Two U.S. fighter planes were scrambled and ordered to shoot down an unidentified flying object (UFO) over the English countryside during the Cold War, according to secret files made public Monday.

One pilot said he was seconds away from firing 24 rockets at the object, which moved erratically and gave a radar reading like "a flying aircraft carrier."

The pilot, Milton Torres, now 77 and living in Miami, said it spent periods motionless in the sky before reaching estimated speeds of more than 7,600 mph.

After the alert, a shadowy figure told Torres he must never talk about the incident and he duly kept silent for more than 30 years.

His story was among dozens of UFO sightings in defense ministry files released at the National Archives in London.

In a written account, Torres described how he scrambled his F-86 D Saber jet in calm weather from the Royal Air Force base at Manston, Kent in May 1957.

"I was only a lieutenant and very much aware of the gravity of the situation. I felt very much like a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest," he said.

"The order came to fire a salvo of rockets at the UFO. The authentication was valid and I selected 24 rockets.

"I had a lock-on that had the proportions of a flying aircraft carrier," he added. "The larger the airplane, the easier the lock-on. This blip almost locked itself."

At the last moment, the object disappeared from the radar screen and the high-speed chase was called off.

He returned to base and was debriefed the next day by an unnamed man who "looked like a well-dressed IBM salesman."

"He threatened me with a national security breach if I breathed a word about it to anyone," he said.

The documents contain no official explanation for the incident, which came at a time of heightened tension between the West and the Soviet Union. Planes were on constant stand-by at British bases for a possible Soviet attack.

The files blame other UFO sightings on weather balloons, clouds or normal aircraft. Torres said he had been waiting 50 years for an explanation.

"I shall never forget it," he told the Times. "On that night I was ordered to open fire even before I had taken off. That had never happened before."

UFO expert David Clarke said the sighting may have been part of a secret U.S. project to create phantom aircraft on radar screens to test Soviet air defenses.

"Perhaps what this pilot had seen was some kind of experiment in electronic warfare or maybe it was a UFO," he said. "Something very unusual happened."

The files are online at: www.nationalarchives/ufos

(Editing by Steve Addison)

Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society

Monday, October 20, 2008


Space Weather News for Oct. 20, 2008

ORIONID METEOR WATCH: If you wake up before sunrise on Tuesday, Oct. 21st, set aside 15 minutes or so to watch the sky around Orion. You might see some meteors. The annual Orionid meteor shower, caused by dusty debris from Halley's Comet, is peaking today and tomorrow. Little was expected of this year's display because a bright Moon is hanging in the pre-dawn sky, causing an interfering glare. Surprisingly, however, sky watchers on Oct. 20th witnessed 15 or more Orionids per hour, many of them brighter than first magnitude stars. If this stronger-than-expected display spills into Tuesday, you might be glad to wake up early. Check for updates and a sky map.

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Terri, Events Coordinator
Phoenix Astronomical Society