Initiated during 2009 and in the framework of the International Year of Astronomy (1), The Unidentified Aerospace Phenomena (UAP) Observations Reporting Scheme is a project aiming at facilitating the collection of UAP reports from both amateur and professional astronomers, via a questionnaire to be downloaded from a dedicated website.
Astronomers and UAP
As stated by Astronomer F. Roach (3) the UAP phenomenon involves astronomers because the Unidentified Aerospace Phenomena are mostly seen at night in the sky, a domain that astronomers have long considered their own. It has often been claimed that astronomers never observe UAP and that for this reason such phenomenon cannot possibly exist. This was proven false in 1976, when over two thousand questionnaires were mailed by P.A. Sturrock, Professor of Space Science and Astrophysics at the Stanford University, to members of the American Astronomical Society, enquiring if they had witnessed any event which they could not have identified and which could have been related to the UAP phenomenon. A small but significant number (around 5% of the 1350 questionnaires returned) replied affirmatively (4).
I. Facilitate and enable the reporting of UAP sightings and collection of related instrumental records from the Astronomical community, through questionnaires to be downloaded from a dedicated web site:
- Approach the UAP controversial field from a professional, rational, scientific approach and without any a priori.
- Stimulate the submission of UAP reports that would have otherwise little chance to surface, encouraging witnesses to come forward with testimonies. We hope to greatly reduce individuals’ reluctance of reporting a UAP sighting, reluctance based either on the assumption that no one will believe them, the fear of ridicule, or that nothing will be done with such reports.
- Contribute towards the collection of instrumental and photographic records of unidentified phenomenon. Many IYA2009 observers will be equipped with technical equipment (telescopes, video-cameras, cameras with spectrographs), which creates an excellent opportunity to obtain supplementary non-narrative data.
II. Help engaging with the public in discussions about the science behind what is seen in the sky:
- Assist the public to become familiar with the difficulties in determining, and reporting various parameters such as coordinates, altitude, distance, speed and size; fundamental for an observational science as astronomy is.
- Allow people to double check their sightings against the most common nocturnal and daytime misidentifications, and learn more about the various natural or man-made phenomena that can give rise to false UAP sightings.
III. Stimulate the general public, enthusing young (and not so young) people and prompt them to start looking upwards and outwards to make sense of their place in the Universe.