Monday, May 05, 2008

The Controversial Malargue UFO (Argentina)
By Luis Burgos (FAO)

The Event

Felix Fernandez, Omar Gonzalez and Virgilio Moreno, employees of the Dirección Provincial de Vialidad, were returning from Paraje La Junta to the city of Malargue in southern Mendoza province after working on repairing some machinery. As the trip elapsed, Fernandez took pictures of the landscape with his cellphone (of which no information has been hitherto available). At 18:50 hours, a strange discoidal flying object makes an appearance, maneuvering in front of the sun and the witnesses, and flying over the zone for 15 minutes until pausing for a moment and then vanishing from sight toward the west in the El Chacal zone. This allowed for several photos to be taken of the object. Fernandez told his own story on Radio 1 Alvear and the story reached the media. The photo analyses performed by Jorge Luis Figueiras, through various filters, show the typical solid “saucer shape” with interesting contours and edges, similar to photos taken with cellphones from El Chocon and Santiago del Estero, both in 2008.

The Main Witness

This, then, is the narrative of the case and of the analyses performed by our specialist, Jorge Luis Figueiras, using the only photograph that was circulated in the media. After a few days, I received an e-mail from the main protagonist of the event. Mr. Felix Fabian Fernandez, 41, expressing his TOTAL LACK OF COMMERCIAL INTEREST in the photo, fully placing it at the disposal of this author, and therefore, of the FAO, to perform any analyses to the required material, consisting of a series of images taken that afternoon, and making himself available for any questions or consultations that we may deem pertinent. As days passed, we exchanged several phone calls, text messages and e-mails. We can extract from them the following evaluative concepts from the eyewitness’s account:

The camera: It was not a cellphone, as the media claimed, but a digital camera with a 1 Megapixel lens, Mp4 and video capability. The photos have a 640 x 480 resolution.

The photos: SEVEN photos were taken of the object, not just one (the photo that appeared in the media).

The time: According to Felix, between 2-4 minutes elapsed between each photo. The 15-minute duration of the observation took place on a poorly kept road, covered in dirt and rip-rap, and along a detour. This allows us to deduce that the distance covered by the pickup truck was NOT VERY LONG, compared with 15 minutes driving along a normal road. Hence the nearly permanent presence in the same landscape. We must add to this the time taken to get out of the vehicle to take better photos.

The UFO: The disk-shaped object remained at a constant altitude and made gyroscopic movements, balancing itself slightly throughout the observation and even as it sped away...

The geography: While this is an open area, the facilities of the Pierre Auger Observatory are nearby, well known for its capture of cosmic rays. In other words, the object flew over this location.

The photographic variables:
If the object is far away – it is undefined.
If the object is near – it is too real.
If the object is out of focus or blurry – it is a spot, a bird or a bug.
If it is in front of the Sun or near it – it is a reflection.
If there are eyewitnesses – then it must be a hoax, etc., etc.

Perhaps in order to counteract this, and also as a test, we would have to resort to the AIRPLANE EFFECT: in other words, begin taking photos of distant aircraft, as far as possible, and if they are near the sun, better yet. 80% of the photos would be DISQUALIFIED as such. They would be merely distant, elongated forms, poorly lit, with odd contours, etc. and no matter how hard the witness tried to prove that he saw and photographed a plane, [this would be rejected] simply because the photo presented as proof WOULD NOT SUPPORT IT!!!

The analyses: Having employed all of the filters [the object] indeed presents contours, edges and even a reflection of its own image in one of the photos, but when all of the photos are superimposed, the object’s location is almost the same. It seems to be fixed in all photos between the Sun and the camera. Untrustworthy? Obviously. Impossible? Not at all. With regard to the low resolution of cellular or low quality cameras, which present “dark central spots” when aimed at the Sun (not in all cases) and sometimes strange oval objects, this is not the case. Here we have a classic “two plates joined at the edges” shape, not an oval or ovoid. It is obvious that it would be henceforth necessary for naysayers to “prove the hoax”, as there is no confusion here. It’s either a UFO or a hoax, and in the case of the latter, we would be speaking in terms of RETOUCHING a dark spot produced in the photos.

In the light of all this new information and the analyses performed, the case shall without question remain polemical. There will be those who will rely on the eyewitness version of the events, those who will call it into question and those who will dismiss it as a hoax, where we would now face a photographic montage as well as a “confabulation” by three witnesses, employees of a state company. In other words, one person hoaxing the images and two more corroborating the story. This is hard to believe, but not impossible, logically. Let us bear in mind that this isn’t a mere photo or “phantom” photo --- it is a sighting “backed by photo evidence”, to judge by the proof presented.

Question: And if the three witnesses hadn’t presented photos and gone to the media with their story, would this have made the case more credible? Why bother with photos, if the press reports everything or nearly everything, especially from rural residents? We therefore present all of the analyses performed on the photos. Let everyone draw their own conclusions: coincidences, reflections, hoaxes, questions, certainty, new discoveries, etc. Everything is possible in the field of ufology – just ask the FOTOCAT project!

(Translation (c) 2008, Scott Corrales, Institute of Hispanic Ufology)