Updated: Aug 25, 2019
Birmingham UFO Group Case Report Author: Dave Hodrien Release Date: 03/01/2011
At 3.42pm on the afternoon of 15th November 2010, Mark Cutler was getting ready to go on a walk with his partner and daughters in Emsworth, Hampshire where they live. It was a clear day, calm and sunny, but due to the time of year was quite cold. The family were standing outside their house on Victoria Road. Mark’s younger daughter pointed up at a plane crossing the sky.
Mark glanced up at it. As he did so he also caught sight of a flash of light from a second object. He focused on it and could see a faint star-like light moving steadily but slowly from West to East. It was hard to judge exactly how big the object was or at what height it was at. The plane appeared to be at around 15000 feet, and the UFO appeared at a higher altitude than that.
Aerial map of Victoria Road where the sighting took place:
Mark wanted a closer look at the object so ran inside the house and got his binoculars. Returning outside he managed to locate the object again. He could see what appeared to be a dark brown-grey coloured roundish shaped object, with a distinctive pink flashing light at its centre. This light was flashing in a continuous pattern which seemed to change rhythm a couple of times. He was certain it was mechanical and not a balloon of some kind.
He took some video footage and still photographs of the object using his camera. At full 18x zoom the object was still not very close, and the object looked different to how it appeared through the binoculars. As the camera was on autofocus it kept losing focus on the object.
Mark watched the UFO for about 5 minutes before losing sight of it and being unable to re-locate it. During this time his partner was also able to see the object. He felt that it may have been some kind of military balloon, but if so what was the purpose of the flashing light on it?
Video & Photograph Analysis
Below is the video footage that Mark took of the object:
Here is a still taken from the footage:
Zoomed view of the object:
Zoomed view of the object with edge find:
A second still from the footage:
The photographs that Mark took are not as detailed as the zoom is not as good. Below are a couple of them:
Zoomed view of the first photograph:
Zoomed view of the first photograph with edge find:
Mark claims that through his binoculars the object looked dark, roundish in shape and had a flashing pink light at its centre. However this is not evident from the video footage or photos. These show a brightly glowing object, with no clear regular flashing light. If I just had the footage and photographs to go on I would suggest that it was a Chinese lantern which had been launched in daylight. I have launched lanterns myself in daytime hours and when viewed from below at an angle they look quite similar to this, both in their colour and shape. In the video the object is not seen to perform any manoeuvres which would suggest it was under intelligent control and not just drifting in air currents. The movement seen is down to camera shake and not the actual object moving.
Mark stated in his original E-Mail to me that the object appeared different on camera than it did when he viewed it through his binoculars, due to the lower zoom level and auto-focus. The famous saying “The camera never lies” is not strictly true in some circumstances. But perhaps a lantern could still be the explanation. Could the dark shape which he saw have been the lantern silhouetted against the sky? Could the pink flashing light have in fact been the flame flickering within it? Perhaps the brightness of the glow from it obscured these details when viewed through the camera lens. This is a possibility which must be taken into consideration.
Through binoculars the object reminded Mark of some UFO video footage taken by Anthony Woods from Southampton in the early 2000s. Anthony took many UFO videos, however one showed a peculiar-shaped black object with what appeared to be numerous flashing lights on it. Below are some stills of this object alongside CGI reconstructions:
This is an interesting sighting, and the witnesses description of how the object looked up close is intriguing. If the object really did have a regularly flashing pink light at its centre, then what could it have been? It is possible that an LED balloon could be the explanation. These come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are sometimes set to flash on and off. However these would usually be launched after dark. Due to its appearance and movement pattern on the video footage it is clearly not a conventional aircraft or helicopter. Perhaps it was some kind of weather monitoring balloon, however these are usually just white or silver in colour and do not have any flashing lights on them.
As you can see in the video/photo analysis section, I feel there is the possibility it was a Chinese lantern, and that through his binoculars the witness mistook it for something more unusual. Mark says he has launched lanterns before and knows what they look like, though he has never launched them in daylight. However the testimony of the witness must also be considered, so I would not put it out of the question that it was something else entirely. As with many other sightings it therefore remains unexplained.
Copyright Dave Hodrien 2011