It is sort of an ongoing belief that astronomers don’t see UFOs… or as some of those claiming this say, “Alien spacecraft.” Some astronomers have seen things that could be classified as UFOs, meaning unidentified flying objects as opposed to spacecraft. Clyde Tombaugh who discovered the now demoted planet Pluto, had a sighting, but it was of rectangular lights passing overhead which could have been some kind of spacecraft or might have been some misunderstood natural phenomenon so strange that he had never seen anything like it. The point here that could be debated was if Tombaugh was claiming to see something alien. He did file a UFO report but that still is not the same as saying it was an alien spacecraft.
In working on another project, I was looking at the November 1959 issue of The A.P.R.O. Bulletin, and found, under the “Recent Sightings” banner (page 10) the following:
Rio de Janeiro, 13 July, 1959 (oh my lord the hated Bill Moore dating format that might have contaminated the MJ-12 Eisenhower Briefing Document… You’re welcome Stan...) – Three Brazilian astronomers followed, for twenty minutes, the trajectory of a lighted circular object (the lights were green) which occasionally emitted rays. From 2210 to 2230 [meaning 10:10 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.] Professors Luiz Eduardo, Mario Ferreira, and Silvio Vaz watched it from the Valondo Observatory of the University of Brazil. It evolved from the constellation of Alfa to the constellation of Paon after which it entered the southern triangle of the Southern Cross to finally disappear on the horizon. The trajectory was the arc of a circle. The mysterious object did not revolve about itself. According to the astronomers, it could easily be seen with the naked eye, being about twice the size of Venus. “I am persuaded that it was a Flying Saucer,” declared Professor Eduardo.
Okay, I know what you all are thinking because I’m thinking the same thing. But in the world of the Internet, I could check out some of this. I found a listing for Luiz Eduardo de Silva Machado (1927 – 1992) who could be the man mentioned in the report. He is listed as an astronomer who discovered asteroids, among other things. I found a couple of listings for the others but I’m not sure they are the right guys.
And, of course, there is a listing for the observatory. This tells me only that one of the men and the observatory wasn’t invented. This brief fact check was something that couldn’t be done when the story first appeared in 1959… and frankly, it is not all that great today.
However, if accurate, and I have no reason to doubt it at this point, it is just another sighting by astronomers. Instead of calling it a UFO, they gave a description and called it a flying saucer. It is the story of astronomers seeing a spaceship… and yes, I had to go to Brazil and 1959 to find this, but then I wasn’t really looking for it. I just stumbled across it and thought I would mention it.