Cover image for The UFO enigma : a new review of the physical evidence
The UFO enigma : a new review of the physical evidence
Sturrock, Peter A. (Peter Andrew)
Publication Information:
New York, NY : Warner Books, [1999]

Physical Description:
xii, 404 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TL789.3 .S787 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
TL789.3 .S787 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
TL789.3 .S787 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
TL789.3 .S787 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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Most reports of UFOs are cases of error or merely hoaxes. However a certain percentage defy all rational explanation. This study examines a number of cases that have been well documented and corroborated, yet remain unexplained.

Author Notes

Peter A. Sturrock is emeritus professor of applied physics and emeritus director of the Center for Space Science and Astrophysics at Stanford University. He has received numerous awards including prizes from the American Astronomical Society; The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics; Cambridge University; The Gravity Foundation; and the National Academy of Sciences. His other publications include five edited volumes, two monographs, and over two hundred scientific articles.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Anyone who doubts that the UFO phenomenon deserves a scientific evaluation should read this book. Sturrock, an astrophysicist at Stanford University, selected a panel of eight scientists in various fields and brought them together in Tarrytown, New York, September 30^-October 3, 1997, to review the evidence for UFOs presented by eight UFO investigators (all but one with doctorates themselves) from four different countries. The result, unlike the much-criticized negative conclusion of the U.S. Air Force^-sponsored Condon Committee in 1969, was a recommendation that the scientific community set up a project to examine physical evidence related to UFO sightings. Sturrock reports on the panel's conclusions and summarizes the case studies they looked at, from UFO photographs and radar returns to interference with the electrical systems of cars and airplanes, ground traces, and debris analysis. In short, this is a sound professional study that contrasts sharply with the unauthenticated anecdotes and rank speculation that pass for UFO literature these days. --George Eberhart

Publisher's Weekly Review

If the truth is out there, why haven't we found it? A 1997 conference at the Pocantico center in Tarrytown, N.Y., assembled UFO researchers and distinguished air and space scientists to review theories and evidence concerning inexplicable lights, big disks and other odd, exciting stuff in the sky. If they produced no new conclusions, their work certainly makes informative reading. A professor emeritus of Space Science and Astrophysics at Stanford, Sturrock synthesizes the conference reports and deliberations into 120 carefully considered pages. One presentation (in Sturrock's summary) shows why some UFOs can be explained as weather-related phenomena. Another shows why UFO investigators and SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) radio astronomers don't get along. Sturrock calls for more, and more widely available, research into UFOs; he notes that physical scientists, while not trained to evaluate witness reports, can analyze material evidence. Most of the rest of the book is comprised of essays ("Post-Pocantico Reflections") and "Case Material" (about specific UFO reports) by a variety of hands. Richard Haines considers a Frisbee-shaped aerial object in a vacationer's photo; Jennie Zeidman reports on "A Helicopter-UFO Encounter Over Ohio." The ongoing French study called GEPAN or SEPRA emerges as a leader in recent studies of UFOs, decidedly on the back burner in the United States. All the contributors write in the impersonal, precise, deliberately colorless language proper to scientific journal articles. If the results are less than thrilling, they represent a hoard of raw information, and some admirably cautious reasoning, from which any reader who already cares about UFOs might be glad to learn. Photos, charts and diagrams not seen by PW. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Laurance S. RockefellerF. Louange and J.-J. VelascoF. LouangeV. R. EshlemanV. R. EshlemanV. R. EshlemanF. LouangeR. F. HainesR. F. Haines and J. F. ValleeR. F. Haines and J. F. ValleeJ. F. ValleeJ. F. ValleeJ.-J. VelascoJ. F. ValleeJ. Zeidman
Forewordp. ix
Prefacep. xi
Part 1. Historyp. 1
Chapter 1. Introductionp. 3
Chapter 2. UFO History: 1947 to 1967p. 8
Chapter 3. The Colorado Project and the Condon Reportp. 18
Chapter 4. Aftermath of the Colorado Projectp. 45
Part 2. Presentations at Pocanticop. 57
Chapter 5. Introduction to Pocanticop. 59
Chapter 6. Photographic Evidencep. 66
Chapter 7. Luminosity Estimatesp. 70
Chapter 8. Radar Evidencep. 74
Chapter 9. The Hessdalen Projectp. 78
Chapter 10. Vehicle Interferencep. 81
Chapter 11. Aircraft Equipment Malfunctionp. 85
Chapter 12. Apparent Gravitational and/or Inertial Effectsp. 89
Chapter 13. Ground Tracesp. 93
Chapter 14. Injuries to Vegetationp. 97
Chapter 15. Physiological Effects on Witnessesp. 101
Chapter 16. Analysis of Debrisp. 105
Part 3. Panel's Responsep. 109
Chapter 17. The Review Panel Processp. 111
Chapter 18. Panel's Conclusions and Recommendationsp. 120
Chapter 19. Panel Recommendations Concerning Implementationp. 123
Part 4. Post-Pocantico Reflectionsp. 129
Chapter 20. The Gepan/Sepra Projectp. 131
Chapter 21. Procedures for Analysis of Photographic Evidencep. 136
Chapter 22. Atmospheric Phenomenap. 139
Introductionp. 139
Electromagnetic Wave Ductingp. 140
Spritesp. 143
Chapter 23. SETI and UFO Investigationsp. 145
Introductionp. 145
SETI and UFO Investigations Comparedp. 146
Further Thoughts on SETI and UFO Investigationsp. 149
Chapter 24. The Next Fifty Yearsp. 152
Part 5. Case Materialp. 171
Chapter 25. Two Photographic Casesp. 173
Analysis of a UFO Photographp. 173
Photo Analysis of an Aerial Disk over Costa Ricap. 197
Photo Analysis of an Aerial Disk over Costa Rica: New Evidencep. 212
Chapter 26. Luminosityp. 216
Estimates of Optical Power Output for Six Cases of Unexplained Aerial Objectsp. 216
Chapter 27. Physical Tracesp. 234
Physical Analyses in Ten Cases of Unexplained Aerial Objects with Material Samplesp. 234
Chapter 28. The Trans-en-Provence Casep. 257
Introductionp. 257
Report on the Analysis of Anomalous Physical Tracesp. 259
Return to Trans-en-Provencep. 288
Chapter 29. The Mansfield, Ohio, Casep. 298
A Helicopter-UFO Encounter over Ohiop. 298
References in the Textp. 373
A Brief Guide to UFO Literaturep. 381
Acknowledgmentsp. 385
List of Acronymsp. 387
Indexp. 389
About the Authorp. 403