Ukraine’s airspace has been busy this year—that’s the nature of war. But scientists in the country are looking to the skies and seeing something they didn’t expect: An inordinate number of UFOs, according to a new preprint paper published by Kyiv’s Main Astronomical Observatory in coordination with the country’s National Academy of Science.The paper does not specifically address the war, but in the United States, the Pentagon has long hinted, speculated, and warned that some UFOs could be advanced technology from foreign militaries, specifically China and Russia (though it hasn’t really given any evidence this is actually the case). The Ukraine paper is particularly notable because it not only shows that science has continued to occur during the war, but also explains that there have been a lot of sightings.
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“We see them everywhere,” the research said. “We observe a significant number of objects whose nature is not clear.”The paper is titled Unidentified aerial phenomena I. Observations of events come from observations made at NAS’ Main Astronomical Observatory in Kyiv and a village south of Kyiv called Vinarivka. According to the paper’s authors, the observatories took on the job of hunting for UFO’s as an independent project because of the enthusiasm around the subject.It describes a specific type of UFO the researchers call “phantoms” that is an “object [that] is a completely black body that does not emit and absorbs all the radiation falling on it.” The researchers also observed that the UFOs it’s seeing are so fast that it’s hard to take pictures of them.“The eye does not fix phenomena lasting less than one-tenth of a second,” the paper said. “It takes four-tenths of a second to recognize an event. Ordinary photo and video recordings will also not capture the [unidentified aerial phenomenon]. To detect UAP, you need to fine-tune the equipment: shutter speed, frame rate, and dynamic range.”So the researchers did just that using two meteor monitoring stations in Kyiv and Vinarivka. “We have developed a special observation technique, taking into account the high speeds of the observed objects,” the paper said. “The exposure time was chosen so that the image of the object did not shift significantly during exposure. The frame rate was chosen to take into account the speed of the object and the field of view of the camera. In practice, the exposure time was less than 1 ms, and the frame rate was no less than 50 Hz.”
The scientists divided the phenomenon they observed into two different categories: cosmics and phantoms. “We note that Cosmics are luminous objects, brighter than the background of the sky. We call these ships names of birds (swift, falcon, eagle),” the paper said. “Phantoms are dark objects, with contrast from several to about 50 percent.”
Sign up for Motherboard’s daily newsletter for a regular dose of our original reporting, plus behind-the-scenes content about our biggest stories.Using the cameras, stationed roughly 75 miles apart, allowed the scientists to make repeated observations of strange objects moving in the sky. The paper didn’t speculate on what the objects were, merely noted the observations and mentioned the objects’ incredible speeds. “Flights of single, group and squadrons of the ships were detected, moving at speeds from 3 to 15 degrees per second,” the research said. “Phantoms are observed in the troposphere at distances up to 10 - 12 km. We estimate their size from 3 to 12 meters and speeds up to 15 km/s.”The easy explanation would be that these are missiles, or rockets, or something else associated with the war. But the scientists insist that their nature “is not clear.”UFOs are back in the public consciousness after a string of sightings were caught on camera by Navy pilots. Congress has demanded answers and the Pentagon responded by saying it has seen some strange stuff but needed more time and money to study the phenomenon appropriately. Congress gave them both and the Pentagon opened the AARO to study the strange objects in the sky. A recent addendum in a Senate intelligence budget report said that the threat of UFOs was increasing “exponentially” and that the Pentagon’s new office needed to focus on the UFOs that aren’t “man-made.”Boris Zhilyaev, the lead researcher on the paper, declined to comment. Update 9/13/22: The original version of this article stated that the Kyiv study was a joint venture with the Pentagon and NASA. It was not. VICE has corrected the story and regrets this error.