On the pleasure of finding things out.
Half a year after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in spring 2022 the Ukrainians published a UFO study.
It was claimed that not one, but two meteorite observing stations had discovered something extraordinary at the same time:
flying objects moving faster than the unaided human eye can see.
“The eye does not fix phenomena lasting less than one-tenth of a second,” the paper said. “It takes four-tenths of a second to recognize an event. ” – Ukrainian UAP study
One observing station was based in the capital of Kyiv and the other in the village of Vinarivka, 132 km to the South.
The Ukrainian astronomers detected the UFOs with specialized meteorite detection equipment:
“Ordinary photo and video recordings will () not capture the [unidentified aerial phenomenona]. ” – Ukrainian UAP study
The equipment was 132 km apart, meaning that they could triangulate the speed, position and size of the objects really good.
Triangulation is a technique that astronomers do all the time. For instance it’s used to determine the distance of stars.
The objects measured between 3 and 12 meters and were clocked at speeds up to 54 000 km per hour (33554 mph)!
The Ukrainians first published their findings on a pre-print server named Arxiv:
“Unidentified aerial phenomena,
I. Observations of events”
written by B. Zhilyaev, V. Petukhov, and V. Reshetnyk https://arxiv.org/pdf/2208.11215.pdf.
Scientists use Arxiv to receive feedback from peers before publication. Arxiv also provides public access to papers that might otherwise be hidden behind paywalls.
However, the findings of the Ukrainian study were quickly published in mainstream journals, for instance by the “American Military News”: https://americanmilitarynews.com/2022/09/ufos-spotted-everywhere-over-ukraine-say-scientists/
Everybody assumed (without basis in fact) that the Ukrainian UFO sightings were somehow related to the raging Ukraine – Russia conflict. – Erich Habich-Traut for the Contact Project
At one stage “The Jerusalem Post” wrote:
“Are there UFOs, UAPs in the skies of Ukraine? Study says yes”:
But not everyone agreed.
Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb who had gained worldwide fame in 2018 with his theory that comet Oumuamua was an extraterrestrial probe was aware of the Ukrainian study.
But he hadn’t looked at it closer until he was asked by the director of the new UAP office in Washington DC to write a short paper about it.
The Contact Project first heard of Avi Loeb’s “debunking” of the Ukrainian study from his email:
“You might enjoy the essay and related paper below.
I was reluctant to even read the Ukranian paper, but on Monday night I was visited at home by the director of the new UAP office in DC and he asked me to write a short scientific paper on UAP. So yesterday morning at 4.30AM (before my routine morning jog) I had a look at the Ukranian paper and within an hour figured that they got the distance to their dark objects wrong by a factor of ten (or else there would be a huge fireball around each of them as a result of the friction with the air. Alter correcting that everything falls into place, with the parameters of artillery shells As Feynman noted, there’s a great pleasure in figuring things out.
There is no way out of this argument because they claim the objects are dark, meaning that they block light. The cross-section with photons implies that the objects must interact with air molecules.” – Avi Loeb
According to his email, Avi gave the “Ukranian” (sic) paper a quick once over, before his daily morning jog at 4:30 am. Within one hour he had already concluded that the objects could not move at the speeds claimed by the Ukrainians (because the air would burn around them from friction) and they were, in fact, artillery shells:
“UAPs or Russian shells? Israel-born astronomer, Ukraine nix UAP study” https://www.jpost.com/science/article-719773
Avi Loeb argued that the Ukrainian astronomers had not done due diligence and made a miscalculation error on the speed of the UFOs by a factor of ten. He said that was because they had not triangulated the distance of the objects and only estimated their distance.
Then Avi Loeb said the UFOs were in reality (Russian) artillery shells.
From there the “debunking train” quickly gathered steam until essentially every publication that had previously had a positive spin on the story denounced the Ukrainian astronomers findings as mistaken Russian artillery.
I scratched my head.
When were the observations made?
How did Avi Loeb know that the UFOs were artillery? The Russian bombardment of Ukraine had started after the 24th of February 2022. There was not a single mention in the Ukrainian UAP paper of when the observations were actually made. Only a vague reference in the footnotes to an Astronomical Schools Report from 2021.
Clearly, that was an omission. To find clarity on the matter I wrote two letters to the Ukrainian astronomers:
“Dear Mr. Zhilyaev, Avi Loeb has made a comment regarding your paper on Arxiv, that your observations are those of artillery shells. Do you believe this to be a possibility?”
– The Contact Project
That first letter got no reply.
Avi Loeb’s comments about artillery shells became the de-facto explanation for UAP in the Ukraine.
A few weeks later I decided to write a second letter to the Ukrainian astronomers, being more precise in my question. I also put Avi Loeb in the BCC, in case he wanted to clarify his argument:
“Dear Mr. Zhilyaev,
writing on behalf of the Contact Project, (https://contactproject.org) I’m curious about your UAP sightings.
Arxiv: “Unidentified aerial phenomena I. Observations of events,”
by B. Zhilyaev, V. Petukhov, and V. Reshetnyk
I would like to note that your preprint archive paper does not say precisely WHEN your observations took place and I am curious about that date.
In your references (2) regarding “phantoms”, you quote a publication from 2021, a date well before the Russian invasion in 2022.
(2) Zhilyaev B.E., Vidmachenko A.P., Petukhov V.N., et al., 2021, Astronomical Schools Report, 17, N 1-2, 1-8
Is it correct then to assume that at least some of the observations that are the basis of your preprint paper are from a time when there were no artillery shells flying through Ukrainian skys?
From my reading of your paper I understand that you had access to two observation stations. You probably triangulated the object distance from that?
What do you say?” – The Contact Project
This time I did receive a short reply from the lead astronomer of the Ukraine UAP study:
“We have been watching UAP since 2018.
We do not associate their activity with the war in Ukraine.
Observations from 2 points are carried out for the purpose of triangulation.” – B.E. Zhilyaev
It was as I thought: the Ukrainians had claimed nowhere to have made their observations in 2022 during the war.
Instead the UFO/UAP sightings date back to the year 2018. Furthermore the Ukrainian astronomers had not “estimated” the distance of the objects, instead they had used two observation posts to triangulate the distance scientifically. This also made it possible to calculate their size.
And that is the reason why Avi Loeb is wrong about his findings about the Ukrainian UAP UFO study.
It is important to be persistent and to read between the lines to find the truth.
PS: Avi Loeb is honorary member of the Contact Project organisation
#aviloeb #uap #UFO #ukraine #contactproject #SETI #astronomy
Reference: “Unidentified aerial phenomena I. Observations of events,”
by B. Zhilyaev, V. Petukhov, and V. Reshetnyk
Follow this story and more on
A proposal to make radio contact with UAPs/UFOs