I sighted my first UFO!

Updated: January 6, 2007

Spoiler: Instructions to making your own authentic UFO imagery below!

It is a well known fact that thousands of people around the world, especially Mexicans, are seeing things they think are alien spaceships. While their thinking is a fact, their observations are not. Must be all those burritos (little donkeys?).

UFO stands for Unidentified Flying Object. This does not mean the object is not aware of its identity. This means that the "observer" is not capable of "identifying" the mysterious flying thingie. UFO means that whoever is seeing one has little knowledge of what he sees. If you cannot identify a lark from an F-15 at 15 km, it will be a UFO. There are four major reasons why people's reports of UFOs are a steaming pile of bogus faex.

Camera jitter

Whenever someone takes a "real" video of aliens, the footage is always accompanied by severe Parkinson-like shaking of the camera, which makes it quite impossible to see what's being filmed. This is a very well know trick used in low-budget films to enhance the quality of realism in close-quarter battles, especially medieval ones. The cameraman goes berserk, leaping about a few lazy men waving blankets and sticks, but the effect is one of chaos, as supposedly in a real battle. Combat journalists also like to use this trick to portray danger. They often run about some random debris and pant into their microphone, only to suddenly, erratically duck when a gunshot goes off, to make it look the battle was not really unfolding some 5 km away.

This brilliant technique has not evaded the no-less-brilliant UFO vigilantes, who happen never to have a tripod handy when filming their favorite flying saucers.


There have been a smactillion reports of UFOs - all of which describe a billion different types of spaceships. To me, it seems highly unlikely that all of the civilizations in the entire Universe would all flock HERE, to Planet Earth. It is as if their GPS navigation system only have one coordinate.

To help you understand the enormity of bovine dung presented here, imagine you were a New Yorker. And then, imagine that every single newcomer to the city came to your doorstop. When you open the door and ask them about their business in no-nonsense tone: "Stop buggering me!" they innocently answer: "But it's the only coordinate we got!"

Yes. The Universe has billions of billions of galaxies, each of which has billions of billions of stars. And somehow, miraculously, all those advanced civilizations are making trips to Earth, to be sighted by Mexicans and to ruin crops in Nebraska.

But we, humans are vain. We think it's all about us. We can hardly be an insignificant speck of dust in the vast expanse of the Universe. It's unimaginable that alien spaceships would go to another solar system, let alone a galaxy.

Limitation of technological imagination

At the beginning of the century, UFOs were cigar-shaped and flew at the dazzling speed of "hundreds of miles per hour." Once the speed of sound became no big deal and gravitation was taken into account, the UFOs became rotating cylinders or saucers and could all of a sudden fly at "thousands of miles per hour." Even so, it sounds wrong.

Humans are not quite capable of inter-galactic travels. We did visit the Moon and sent probes to the end of our solar system. However, we lack the technology to send people on years-long travel across thousands of light years.

Regardless, we have been able to develop the so-called "satellites." These "satellites" orbit around our planet at various heights, from several hundred kilometers to several tens of thousands of kilometers and collect all manner of data from our planets. Some satellites are used to collect imagery (visual and IR), others are used for communications. Others yet are used to monitor the weather. Calibrations, spy stuff, you name it. We do it all the time, using instruments positioned in the upper reaches of the atmosphere. WE DO NOT NEED TO BE SEEN TO "SEE" AND "HEAR" EVERYTHING THAT'S HAPPENING ON EARTH'S SURFACE.

So, why do aliens, super highly advanced and capable of traveling through space, have to rely on pre-WW2 techniques to do their observations? Even the Americans and the Soviets during the Cold War were not that stupid. They would send their aircraft flying as high and as fast as possible. SR-71 Blackbird could overfly USSR at 24,000 m at Mach 3 speed. It did not need to fly low and slow so any child could spot them.

If I were a member of an alien expedition sent to reconnoiter a distant planet, I would make sure I was not easily detected. I would make sure my craft remained outside the reach of local civilization's radars, defense systems and even visual range. I would not risk compromising my mission or my technology.

I would surely not risk a ship made for space travel descend into atmosphere where chances of collision with air traffic were huge. Or risk entering a foreign atmosphere, in which my craft has never flown before. And I would surely spend more than 5 minutes flying over Mexico doing that. I would spend YEARS collecting valuable data. Decades. I would place my own satellites into the huge belt surrounding Earth. No one would ever know I was there. That's how top-class reconnaissance is done.


Oh, the pixels. My final and finest reason. Why does all and every UFO footage has such astounding, ultra-high resolution? I'm not talking one pixel! I'm not talking two pixels! I'm talking ... tens of pixels! Why waste good money on 8Mp digital cameras when you can have cheap and highly reliable 100p cameras?

No UFO has even been filmed to give an unequivocal impression of what it is and what it looks like. Instead, the footage is always smudges and blurs that could be nothing more than coffee stains. To demonstrate this, I have decided to develop my own UFO report. I'll be using simple tools like IrfanView and a bit of GIMP for special effects. I will show how reliable and authentic UFO sightings are made.

How to make an authentic UFO report imagery

Step 1: Take a random picture of the sky.


Step 2: Photograph the butterflies painted on a wall.


Step 3: Select the centermost one, crop it using IrfanView. You can already notice the slight blur!


Step 4: Add Super Nova effects using GIMP - the more the better. Position the novae randomly or in cunning patterns to appear scientific, like landing gear lights.

Butterfly with Super Nova effects

Step 5: Change the color scheme of the butterfly image to vaguely resemble that of the sky background. Done using IrfanView.

Butterfly with color scheme changed

Step 6: Copy the butterfly image and paste it onto the sky. Make sure the butterfly is pasted OFF center. It is also very important that it appears small - as if filmed from a distance - but not too small. Ideal ratio is 1:7.

Sky with the butterfly pasted

Step 7: Convert the image color scheme to grayscale. Grayscale is so much more authentic.

Sky with butterfly - gray

Step 8: It's time to reduce the resolution to compensate for our lousy photo-editing job. Make sure you pixilize the image enough to make it impossible to discern the shape while retaining the barest of silhouettes. I have averaged 4x4 pixel segments, which means I have reduced the resolution 16 times.

Sky with butterfly - gray and pixelized

Step 9: It's very important to blur the image so the deliberate pixilization is not so apparent. And of course, making it smaller helps. We have just created a rather authentic UFO photo! But a few more steps are needed.

Sky with butterfly - blurred and made small

Step 10: Take the original butterfly picture, make it gray and pixilize it. Then insert it into the authentic image above as a zoom-up of the sighting, granting scientific depth to the picture. Enlarge it again, reducing the resolution once more, add an arrow to make sure no one mistakes WHAT part of the picture is being zoomed up. Most importantly, add a border to the zoom section, otherwise your efforts will be wasted! These last bits can be done using Open Office. And that's it, you have a perfect UFO sighting!

Real UFO

My photo-editing skills suck. Nevertheless, in about 15 minutes of hard work, I was able to create the masterpiece above. Imagine what people with real skills can do. I'm going now. Need to go up on my rooftop. UFOs are about to fly past and I wouldn't wanna miss them.

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