Carter and the UFO

How the heck could somebody confuse Venus for a supposed UFO that’s “300 to 1,000 yards away”? I’m not saying that what he saw was actually a UFO, but the explanation is even less likely than the UFO sighting.

Didn’t Carter have a degree in nuclear physics or something? This guy may not have been a popular president, but he was no dummy either. Has Agent Mulder looked into this…?

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Did Jimmy Carter really see a UFO? (20-Jan-1978)

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I, too, am confused by this. Seems like something is getting left out of the story. I was once tricked by a planet - I saw what looked like a really bright star that seemed to change colors from white to blue to red. I asked a friend who knows a little about astronomy, and he said it was definitely a planet that I was looking at. BUT, it was extremely obvious to me that it was more that 1000 yards away. And it stayed where it was until I got bored looking at it - it didn’t fly away. And what did the other 12 people who also saw the Carter UFO say about it? I’m not saying I disagree with the explanation - it just seems like some parts of the story are missing.

This guy thinks he has an explanation.

Apparently it’s an atmospheric thing, like when the moon sometimes looks really huge on the horizon.

This thread was just on the boards last week.

Have I missed something that’s caused two people to go back to a 1978 Cecil column within a few days of each other? Has this been on the news or something?

Ooh that was my 69th post.:smiley:

As I mentioned in the other thread, it is not unusual for the brain to mis-judge the distance to heavenly bodies. That’s one reason that the moon appears to be larger when it is closer to the horizon. Venus can be surprisingly bright when you really strop and take note of it. If you don’t know what it is, the brain interprets it’s unexpected brightness as closeness.

PS: JAPrufrock, are your trousers rolled?

According to the description Cecil cites, Carter described it as staying in the sky for 10 or 12 minutes, then fading off into the background. That sounds suspiciously like how a planet would appear near the horizon. It would be bright for several minutes, then as it approached the horizon it would be more and more difficult to see.

As for changing color, size, and brightness, these have already been explained. The changing thickness of air because of the low observation angle cause the color to change, from bluish white to more red, just like the sun changes from yellow to red or the moon looks orange when very low.

Another point to consider - I certainly don’t go in for the spaceship nonsense either, but Jimmy Carter attending the U.S. Naval Academy and not being able to recognize Venus strikes me as odd. From what I understand, midshipmen still studied Celestial Navigation in Carter’s day. I even have some of the textbooks that were used at the academy that were given to me by my grandfather - so I am inclined to believe that it wasn’t Venus, or E.T. returning for candy, but something that a reasonably well-adjusted, well-educated man couldn’t recognize in the night sky, i.e. a U.F.O.

It does seems rather remarkable that a dozen intelligent people could see the same thing and not one of them said, “Hey, that’s the planet Venus”. Particularly as the thing disappeared into the night sky. Venus doesn’t usually do that.

My father attended the US Merchant Marine Academy - the fifth and virtually forgotten service academy. Much of the training with regard to sailing the ships is of course the same. At the USMMA, the midshipmen are divided into two groups: the deckies who handle navigation, chain of command, ceremony, dealing with other ships and ports, etc, and the engineers below deck who handle, well, the engines. The engineers received very little training in navigation and so forth.

I am not familiar with the curriculum at Annapolis, but if it is similar… Carter, as a nuclear submariner, was all about the engineering. He may not have spent many nights on deck looking at the stars, particularly when his sub was underway.

“Have I missed something that’s caused two people to go back to a 1978 Cecil column within a few days of each other? Has this been on the news or something?”

AlaItalia = dumb

A big duh from me. Sorry. Carry on.

There’s one vital issue here that nobody ever asks, but which PROVES (to me) that Carter never really saw a UFO. The issue is: where was he when he made the announcement? And the answer is: he was in the middle of running for President and was losing in the polls.

He had just made a serious speech at a hotel to an audience of businessmen, when he found out that there was a convention of Star Trekkies and UFOlogists taking place on the next floor up(or maybe in the hotel next door, I dont remember)

When a shark sees blood, or a politician sees a large group of people, where do think he’s gonna go, and fast?
So, like a good pol, he told them what they wanted to hear–after all, he couldnt speak to people wearing Spock ears about economic policy and Social Security.

So under those circumstances, why put any faith in his “evidence” --particulary when you realize that he has never repeated it since?.

Actually, I’ve pointed out planets to many dozens of (intelligent) friends and acquaintences, and the vast majority of them were surprised that they could “see” a planet. Unless one has a specific interest in astronomy, one tends to ignore the sky.

Does it all the time. Large bright objects (sun, moon) are quite visable even when touching the horizon. But depending on the atmospheric conditions, stars and planets can easily disappear before reaching the horizon just because of the thick atmosphere. And a distant cloud bank can make stars and planets disappear long before the normal setting hour.

It does seem that many folks don’t seem to realize which are planets and which are stars. But, if people were paying attention in HS science class they might actually have a clue to such questions.

These days though, unless you happen to live someplace with dark skies, with all of so called “light pollution” around the big metropolitan areas you’d do good to see some of the brighter objects. If you camp, you might consider trying some place out west where there are few towns and few really tall trees. Nothing like kicking back on a rock outcrop, on top of a mesa starring into the Milky Way.

While you’re doing that you might chance to see a satellite or two (generally shorty before dark or before first light, moving west to east or maybe south to north), depending on the time of year you might see some metor showers. If you happen to have a huge honking pair of large objective binoculars you could check out some open clusters, nebula, or perhaps Jupiter’s moons (should be able to easily see four of them).

No need for the huge honking binoculars. Depending on your latitude and eyesight, there are at least two open clusters, a globular cluster or two, a starbirth nebula, a planetary nebula, and three galaxies (not counting our own) that can be seen with the naked eye, and any sort of telescope or binoculars at all will show you Jupiter’s Galilean moons, Saturn’s rings and one of its moons, and a slew more of clusters and nebulae.

True enough, assuming you’re doing your looking in a nicely dark location. If you happen to be doing your looking from a large metropolitan local you can forget seeing any of Jupiter’s moons by naked eye except under the best of conditions. Since I’ve never been to Bozeman I don’t have personal experience as to what your night sky is like, but I guess that most clear nights the seeing is probably pretty good. I only made mention of the larger aperture since it allows more light to be gathered. Many of the 80 mm and 100 mm objective binoculars are 20 - 30 X magnification wise, which allows many of the doubles to be split. Of course its not all roses, they are generally more expensive and heavier. Should one have trouble holding such big binoculars still, it blows the benefits pretty much right out the window. I tend to like to have the best that I can get and as a result have a pair.

JAPrufrock writes:

> Didn’t Carter have a degree in nuclear physics or something?

Nuclear engineering would be a closer description. Actually, I don’t believe that it was possible in the late '40’s, when Carter graduated from college, to get a nuclear engineering degree. The first nuclear power plants were just opening up at that point, so I don’t believe undergraduate degrees of nuclear engineering had been created yet. He probably got his degree in mechanical engineering, since that’s the closest of the older engineering degrees. Incidentally, I don’t think there is such a thing as an undergraduate degree in nuclear physics. You would get an undergraduate degree in physics. Nuclear physics would then be what you specialized in during grad school.

I seem to recall that the peanut man pronouned it as “nuky-er” engineering. As for the military academies, there are at least a few few folks who are admitted because of family connections rather than their academic standing. But this seem to be true in all of the institutions of higher learning. Maybe that is case involving Jimmy Carter. Don’t know about the rest of you teeming millions, but Jimmy never has struck me as a brainiac.

When I was working at the Superconducting Super Collider in Texas, there was a fellow who was a department management type. This guy had his doctorate in physics, but didn’t seem to a clear grasp of the subject. But, maybe that’s why he was selected for management. As something addition to consider in somebody’s “title”, I noticed that when I was in college that there were people who very good at taking test, though if you quizzed them a few months later about the subject covered they wouldn’t have even the foggiest clue. Anyone think this might be related to that a lot of testing requires merely temporary memory and no real in depth knowledge of the subject at hand?

Flyfisher writes:

> Don’t know about the rest of you teeming millions, but Jimmy
> never has struck me as a brainiac.

Carter certainly didn’t get into the Naval Academy because of family connections, because he didn’t have any. I don’t think you know very much about Jimmy Carter. He was one of the most well-read Presidents we’ve ever had. He was also one of the smarter Presidents. He may not have been a very good manager, and you may disagree with his political decisions, but if your claim is “I disagree with his politics, therefore he was stupid,” I don’t trust your ability to judge anyone’s intelligence.