• November 23, 2020
 Amy’s Everyday Science: UFO? Monday evening object over El Paso mystifies residents

Amy’s Everyday Science: UFO? Monday evening object over El Paso mystifies residents

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s…something unusual?

As an avid sky watcher, I’m always interested in reports of unknown aerial phenomenon. Monday night, was just the type of thing I love. As reports came in of something strange in the skies above east El Paso, I jumped in my car to see if I, too, could spot this UFO.

Driving south on US 54, I could spot many things in the skies above Mexico. Most turned out to be planes, with one very bright, red light, skimming the horizon far to the south of Juarez. Still, this is not what I was on the lookout for. I exited onto Spur 601 and had my trusty navigator keep an eye out for what residents of the borderland were seeing.

Most of the time, UFO sightings can be attributed a misidentification of the planet Venus, but based on the most reputable report I’d gotten, this was not the case. The object seemed to change color, turning from bright white to red as the sun went down behind the mountains.

By the time I arrived near to where the object had been spotted, it was gone. It didn’t zip away at neck breaking speeds, nor did it just blink out of existence, or duck behind a structure. Instead, it faded, slowly, as if the batteries powering it had died.

This past weekend, the Geminid meteor shower had peaked. Could this have been a remnant of that? Perhaps a rogue meteor burning through our atmosphere? I’d seen one like that a few nights before the shower’s peak. But given that this did not flare up before fading away, I was skeptical.

My trustworthy witness stated that it looked similar a two stage weather balloon, but without the typical movements one might associate with such a thing.

So, what was the odd thing seen over the skies of east El Paso?

According to KTSM 9News Meteorologist Monica Cortez, she called the National Weather Service, and officials there said they launched a balloon just after 4 p.m., right about the same time the reported sighting started to come in.

Given eye-witness testimony, and its overall way of behaving, I’m solid in my belief that it was a man-made object of some type. It’s color changes were likely due to the reflectivity of whatever material it was made of, and the lack of a tail or flare up rules out a meteor.

Still, if anyone sees little green men wandering around, let me know.

And if you saw the object and were able to get any pictures of it, I would love to see them. You can email them to acooley@epheraldpost.com.

In the meantime, remember to keep looking up, because you never know what you’ll see, if you just keep your eyes to the skies.

Video below courtesy 9News El Paso/Monica Cortez

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Amy Cooley

A native El Pasoan, Amy Cooley attended Parkland High School before beginning her studies in physics at EPCC. With her love of dark skies increasing, she transferred to New Mexico Tech University where she earned her degree in Astronomy. Moving back to El Paso in 2008, she now wants to share her love of the cosmos with the city she calls home.

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