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An independent monthly newspaper serving the community since 1988
  Night Sky

Enjoy the starry night skies
Be a considerate neighbor. Reduce nighttime glare.
Shield your outside lights downward.
Let the stars light up the night.

Four different photos of a night sky phenomenon;

Hand drawing by another person of same sighting

February 2015 night sky

—Charlie Christmann

Unusual sights

Finally, Project Bluebook just released its files (at least some of them) to the public. Many of the UFOs gracing our night skies have been adequately explained by the project; some explanations, while plausible, seem to be a stretch. Yet, within these reports, a significant number have no explanation to what was in the skies.

After hearing about the release on the website, I decided to see what was available for a well-known incident that occurred (before I was born, by the way) in my hometown of Lubbock, Texas. On the evening of August 25, 1951, formations of lights were widely observed flying over and around the city. Project Bluebook’s only entry on the website shows only a few black-and-white photos of what people saw: a “V” shaped group of lights slowly and silently gliding through the night. The file lists the sighting as unknown objects.

Interestingly, on that same night, more lights were spotted over Albuquerque. The report file is marked “PRIORITY” and included the following witness statements: “Unidentified arcft estimated one and a half to two times size of a B-36, observed directly over Albuquerque at 0458Z [9:58 p.m. mountain time] by two witnesses. Traveling estimated three hundred to four hundred mph, heading approx. 160 degrees, estimated altitude one thousand feet. No running lights observed. Swept back wings chevron shaped. Six to eight brilliant mercury white lights on trailing edge wings. Acft reptd noiseless.”

The report also states the object did not show on any radar in the area.

One witness made a drawing of the Albuquerque flying wing.

The record card for this sighting shows the conclusion is “Unidentified” and “Unknown.”

Being known for our Roswell UFO incident in 1947, I thought I’d take a look in the files for other New Mexico incidents. Here are a few of those reported in the the database:

  • Corona, NM, August 12, 1951—a round yellowish white object streaked across the sky. Conclusion: meteor.
  • Tatum, NM, September 17, 1951—a quick sighting of orange ball-shaped UFO. Conclusion: not enough data.
  • Near Belen, NM, September 2, 1961—“Round silvery objects; erratic movements W-E. Disappeared to S at 50° elevation. Gave appearance of moving away, looked like reflection of sun on shiny surface. On two occasions emitted objects, small silver about 1/16 of main object.” Conclusion: reflection of Elephant Butte Lake by weather temperature inversion.
  • Roswell, NM, March 21, 1964—Bright object like chrome reflecting sunlight. Conclusion: not enough data.
  • Tijeras Canyon, NM, August 18, 1966—a brilliant white object directly over Tijeras Canyon. Conclusion: unknown.

Then in April of 1964, New Mexico had a wave of sightings. This is a very large file on all the April 1964 activities and is well worth investigation. The Air Force even suspected that NASA may have been testing a Lunar Module at White Sands and may have landed near Socorro. Here are the highlights:

  • Socorro, NM, April 24, 1964—A ten year-old girl was treated for “infra-red burns” on her face after she said she watched an “egg-shaped” object hovering near Lowell Elementary School Tuesday noon for about ten minutes. Conclusion: Unidentified/Unknown.
  • Socorro, NM, April 25, 1964—light going back and forth over a mountain. Conclusion: reflection of airport rotating beacon on clouds.
  • Socorro, NM, April 25, 1964—Socorro policemen spotted a landed object near the city that left indentions in the ground and scorched grass and bushes before taking off. Conclusion: possible lunar module test/ Unidentified/Unknown.
  • La Madera, NM, April 28, 1964—A state police captain got within two hundred feet of a huge metal object that looked like an egg-shaped butane tank. Conclusion: dump fire.
  • Edgewood, NM, April 28, 1964—A man reportedly shot at, and hit, a UFO. The shots bounced off. Conclusion: hoax.

One final report from the Albuquerque Traffic Control Center involved an America West Boing 757 flying over panhandle of Texas on May 25, 1995. From 39,000 feet, the First Officer and a flight attendant observed a row of white lights that flashed from left to right. Albuquerque Center reported no other traffic in the area. The pilots described the UFO as a cigar-shaped object as its lights illuminated the back drop of the thunderclouds three hundred to four hundred feet in length. Air traffic control then checked with NORAD, who reported tracking an unknown object that was at first stationary, but then accelerated and stopped again very rapidly. These quick darts were estimated at somewhere between one thousand and 1,400 mph. You can read the radio transcripts between the pilots and air traffic control at

So, at night, when you look up at the stars, you might scan the sky for something else visiting from beyond our solar system … or perhaps not.

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