UFO Explained By PAUL RAEBURN, AP Science Editor 01/28/87NEW YORK (AP) - Astronomical calc
UFO Explained By PAUL RAEBURN, AP Science Editor 01/28/87NEW YORK (AP) -- Astronomical calculations show that a Japan Air Lines pilot who claimed to see an unidentified flying object over Alaska last November was actually looking at Jupiter and possibly Mars, says a new report. "This is not the first time that an experienced pilot has mistaken a bright celestial body for a UFO, nor will it be the last," said the report by Philip J. Klass, a longtime investigator of claimed UFO sightings. "Jupiter was only 10 degrees above the horizon, making it appear to the pilot to be roughly at his own 35,000-foot altitude," the report said. The planet also was unusually bright, and located exactly where the pilot said he saw the UFO. The pilot, Capt. Kenjyu Terauchi, never mentioned seeing Jupiter or Mars. Mars was just below and to the right of Jupiter, and may explain Terauchi's initial report that he saw two lights, Klass said. Klass said Tuesday he has found, in hundreds of UFO investigations, that "they've all turned out to have prosaic explanations." He spoke in a telephone interview from Colorado, where he is vacationing. The Buffalo-based Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, which issued Klass' report, is an organization of scientists who investigate claims of UFO sightings, ESP occurrences and other so-called paranormal phenomena. Klass, who heads the organization's UFO subcommittee, is an editor with the magazine Aviation Week and Space Technology, and author of "UFOs: The Public Deceived." He has been investigating UFO sightings for more than 20 years. In his report, he said Terauchi's claims that the object followed him as he made a 360-degree turn are contradicted by what he told flight controllers at the time. John Leyden, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration in Washington, D.C., quoted from a summary of conversations between Terauchi and ground controllers in which the pilot reported losing sight of the object after completing his turn. The object reappeared a few moments later, according to the FAA summary quoted by Leyden. Paul Steucke, a spokesman for the FAA in Anchorage, said that Terauchi told FAA officials in an interview that the object stayed with him as he turned. Terauchi was over Alaska enroute from Europe, via Iceland, to Tokyo when he saw the mysterious light. According to Klass, who reviewed a complete copy of the transcript, the pilot never reported seeing Jupiter or Mars, even though they were clearly visible.
Morris Simoncelli, a spokesman for Japan Air Lines in New York, said, "We have no position on this as the airline. The captain said he saw something; he reported it. He followed procedures." A United Airlines flight and an Air Force C-130 cargo plane that were inTerauchi's vicinity at the time of the claimed sighting were asked to look forthe object, and neither reported seeing it. "I think that the Japanese pilotshould have been a little more skeptica
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