Date: 10 May 94 00:03:07 GMT Robert Sheaffer ( April, 1994 President C

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From: (JamesOberg) Date: 10 May 94 00:03:07 GMT Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364) Message-ID: <2qmivr$> Newsgroups: alt.paranet.ufo Robert Sheaffer ( April, 1994 President Carter's "UFO" Is Identified as the Planet Venus by Robert Sheaffer (published in _The Humanist_ magazine, July-August, 1977, p.46) President Jimmy Carter's widely-reported "UFO sighting," which he made public while Governor of Georgia, was in fact a misidentification of the planet Venus. Several errors of identification within Mr. Carter's report demonstrate that the eyewitness testimony of even a future president of the United States cannot be taken at face value when investigating UFO sightings. The incident occurred in Leary, Georgia, about forty miles from Plains, on the evening of January 6, 1969. Mr. Carter was the local district governor of the Lion's Club, and had come to Leary to boost the local chapter. While standing outdoors at approximately 7:15 pm, waiting for the Lion's Club meeting to begin, Mr. Carter reported seeing a single "self-luminous" object, "as bright as the moon," which reportedly approached and then receded several times. Mr. Carter reports that his "UFO" was in the western sky, at about 30 degrees elevation. This almost perfectly matches the known position of Venus, which was in the west-southwest at an altitude of 25 degrees. Weather records show that the sky was clear at the time of the sighting. No other object generates as many UFO reports as the planet Venus. Venus is _not_ as bright as the moon, nor does it actually _approach_ the viewer, or change size and brightness, but descriptions like these are typical of misidentifications of a bright planet. Every time Venus reaches its maximum brilliance in the evening sky, hundreds of "UFO sightings" of this type are made. At the time of the Carter UFO sighting, Venus was a brilliant evening star, nearly one hundred times brighter than a first-magnitude star. Mr. Carter is in good company in misidentifying Venus as a UFO. Many highly trained and responsible persons, including airplane pilots, scientists, policemen, and military personnel, have made the same mistake. During World War II, U.S. aircraft tried to shoot down Venus on numerous occasions, believing it to be an enemy aircraft. In October of 1973, Ohio Governor John Gilligan made headlines by reportedly sighting a UFO. Governor Gilligan's "UFO" turned out to be a misidentification of the planet Mars. My investigation revealed that many of the details published concerning this incident were widely misreported. These errors significantly hindered the investigation. The location of the sighting has been widely misreported as Thomaston, Georgia, and the year as 1973. In his handwritten UFO sighting report, mailed to the International UFO Bureau in Oklahoma City, Mr. Carter incorrectly recalled the date as sometime in October 1969. However, official records from the Lion's Club International headquarters in Oakbrook, Illinois, give the date of Carter's Leary Lion's Club speech as January 6 of that year. Attempts to determine the date by interviewing numerous Leary residents had been unsuccessful. Mr. Carter made no mention of any "UFO sighting" in his report filed with the Lion's Club.


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