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Thread: An in-depth review of the Cecconi Case Photos.

  1. #11
    Administrator Lee's Avatar
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    Nov 2011
    North West, UK
    It's always good to determine the provenance of any given UFO pictures, this set seems to have a very complicated history, like reading a detective story. Nice job, 11A! Looking forward to the next instalment.
    The OutPost Forum - "Breaking the Boundaries of Science, Exploring the Frontier of Understanding"

  2. #12
    Analysis of the Cecconi silver photograph

    by Antoine Cousyn (myself) and Francois Louange

    It tooks me more than two months efforts to finally succeed in finding the original B&W 6x6 plate, with the help of E. Russo from the Italian CISU. (Many thanks to him BTW)

    Here's the original scanned photography, resized (640x480) to fit within the forum screen:

    Photographic parameters

    • Picture taken on June 18th 1979, above the Treviso airport (Italy), with a Vinten F-95 camera

    • Film format 70x70 mm

    • Unknown focal length, with 4 possible preset values: 76 mm, 100 mm, 152 mm or 300 mm.

    Geometric parameters

    Consider the following points:

    O : camera’s lens
    H : vertical projection of O on the ground
    A et B : extremities of a known parcel on the ground
    B’ : projection of point A on OB

    Assuming points H, A and B are aligned (approximately), we have the following sketch in the vertical plane that contains H, A and B:

    • Known flying altitude:

    OH = 7000 ft = 2134 m

    • Known length of the AB parcel spotted on the ground:

    AB = 381 m

    • Unknown alpha angle between the OH vertical and the OA line

    Attempt to determine the focal length

    After inputting the film’s dimensions (70 mm x 70 mm) and the focal length (76 mm, 100 mm, 152 mm or 300 mm) into the Camera menu of our favorite analysis software, one may measure the alpha angle and infer the value of the r ratio, thanks to the Length/Distance function:
    r = AB’ / OA
    Knowing that:
    AB’ = AB cos alpha
    OA = OH / cos alpha
    One infers:
    r = (AB / OH) cos2 alpha
    alpha = arccos alpha (r / 0,17857)
    Measurements with IPACO (see diagram below) give the following results:

    IPACO, the new tool for photo and video analysis is now on-line!

  3. #13

    In order to determine the most probable value for the focal length, we shall make use of the horizon line, visible on the picture.

    Let us compute first the angle value between the line of sight towards the horizon and the horizontal from the camera, which is at an altitude of 7000 feet (2134 m).

    The following sketch shows the Earth, with its R radius, the previously defined points O, H and A, the horizon line and the horizontal passing through O.

    The wanted angle is delta:

    Knowing the values of the altitude OH = h'c' and of the Earth’s radius R:

    h'c' = 2134 m
    R = 6371000 m

    One computes:

    Delta = arccos [R / (R + hc)]
    Delta = 1,5 °

    The angle gamma between the camera’s line of sight towards point A and the camera’s line of sight towards horizon is inferred from alpha, previously estimated for each of the possible focal lengths, and from the delta angle:

    For each possible value of the focal length, we shall measure gamma with the Angle function of our favorite analysis software, and compare the result to that given by application of the previous formula.

    Measurement for f = 100 mm

    The most coherent result, expressed by a minimum difference in absolute value (taking into account simplifications in computations and uncertainties in measurements), corresponds to:

    f = 100 mm

    It should be noted that values of « gamma computed» and of « difference », indicated in the table above, increase or decrease if the flying altitude increases or decreases as compared to 7000 feet. More precisely, calculation shows that the “difference” would be null if we assumed:

    f = 76 mm and h = 7800 ft


    f = 100 mm and h = 6400 ft

    Without finally discarding the value of 76 mm, for which coherence is not very significantly worse, we shall therefore retain the value of 100 mm for the following study, bearing in mind that the residual uncertainty will not call into question the orders of magnitude which will be evaluated.

    IPACO, the new tool for photo and video analysis is now on-line!

  4. #14
    Study of the unidentified object

    The object appears approximately in the form of a “cigar” (cylinder), the nearest extremity of which is dark. Flying at an altitude slightly lower than that of the plane, it is lighted from above, which is compatible with natural lighting by the sun, and its main axis is parallel to the ground.

    The angular measurement of its diameter gives:
    3,473 °

    To this angular size corresponds a ratio between the diameter of the object and its distance d from the camera:

    Attempt to estimate the distance from the unidentified object

    If the nearest extremity of the object is really black or very dark, comparison of its apparent luminance with that of the darkest elements of the ground should provide information on the ratio between camera-to-object and camera-to-ground distances, taking into consideration atmospheric diffusion.
    The following illustration displays the measurement of the darkest pixel, respectively in 3 strips of the image and at the dark extremity of the object.

    It appears that dark points on the ground are far darker than the object. This would imply, if the object was really black, that it would be farther away than the ground in the strips, i.e. farther than 10000 feet.
    If it had been 10000 feet away from the camera, the object would have had a diameter in the order of 200 m. On the other hand, the value of its h'ufo' altitude would have been inferred from the hc value of the camera’s altitude through the following simplified formula:
    h'ufo' = h'c' – d sin ( phi + gamma)
    where gamma is the above-defined angle and phi the angle between the camera’s line of sight towards the object and the camera’s line of sight towards the horizon line.

    h'ufo' = 7000 – 10000 sin (5,49 + 1,5)
    h'ufo' = 5800 ft

    Now, an object with a 200 m diameter, flying at an altitude of 5800 ft (1800 m), could certainly not have gone unnoticed from the ground, in particular in an urban area and on a relatively clear day.
    This only proves that the original assumption was wrong: the object was not completely dark, and therefore could be at any distance from the camera (less than 1000 ft).

    IPACO, the new tool for photo and video analysis is now on-line!

  5. #15
    Conceivable explanations

    The type of known object which is most comparable to the cigar-shaped object displayed on the photograph is a balloon: either an airship, or a toy “solar airship”.


    Modern airships, produced by around 15 manufacturers around the world (Airship Industries, Zeppelin , Goodyear, Huajiao Airship, Voliris, WDL, etc.) have diameters ranging from 8 m to 16 m, the value of 14 m appearing to be the most common one. They can fly at altitudes far higher than 7000 ft.
    Under that hypothesis, estimated distance between airship and plane:
    For a diameter of 8 m: 130 m
    For a diameter of 14 m: 230 m
    For a diameter of 16 m: 260 m

    However, the general aspect of the picture, the impression of the object’s closeness, and - above all - the object’s irregular shape, do not really suggest a commercial or military airship.

    Toy solar airship

    This type of toy has been popularized in France by the Pif Gadget fanzine (special issues in July 1981 and June 1982), but it already existed before in several countries, in particular in Germany, with the similar YPS fanzine (YPS n° 450 and Yps-Extra n°3 in May 1980: the Solarzeppelin triggered then a wave of UFO reports), Pif in Spain and Romania, as well as others in other countries.

    The solar balloon, or “solar UFO”, appears as a cylinder with a length from 2 to 3 m and a diameter from 60 cm to 2 m, 1 m being the most current value. Certain models are supposed to fly up to 9000 ft.

    Under that hypothesis, estimated distance between balloon and plane:
    For a diameter of 60 cm: 10 m
    For a diameter of 1 m: 16 m
    For a diameter of 2 m: 33 m

    The solar balloon hypothesis seems credible, if one considers:
    • The object’s aspect
    • The object’s color (dark but not black, because reflecting)
    • The order of magnitude of the length/diameter ratio
    • The closeness between the camera and the object
    • The existence of other rather similar testimonies or photographs, sometimes with the established presence of a toy “UFO airship”.
    • Examples found on the Internet for the same period (not checked):

    - Mestre (Italy), June 1979:

    - Hamburg (Germany), July 1980:

    It should be mentioned that if the photograph under study effectively displays a balloon of this type, it cannot be a model originating from Pif Gadget, taking into account the publication dates, later than the picture.

    (Provisional) conclusion

    No formal demonstration could be made, but the most credible rational explanation remains that by a solar airship (toy), which would have been photographed from the plane, at nearly the same altitude, from a distance of around 15 meters.

    Thanks for their help in this investigation to:

    - My partner François Louange
    - Edoardo Russo (CISU)
    - Gerald Drape of the German NARCAP and MUFON.
    IPACO, the new tool for photo and video analysis is now on-line!

  6. #16

    After a review of the testimony from the picture’s author, conducted investigations, availability of complementary data (photographs, radar...), the previously mentioned hypothesis, presented as the most acceptable conventional explanation for the photograph alone, seems unacceptable for the whole file, in particular because of the stability of the object’s attitude throughout the observation, as well as the altitude - far higher than 7000 feet - at which it would have kept being observed.
    At this stage, and without access to all available technical data, one may only file the Cecconi case as unexplained (until further notice).
    IPACO, the new tool for photo and video analysis is now on-line!

  7. #17
    Great work 11A. As usual
    "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth"
    Sherlock Holmes

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