Spotting UFOs: Do-It-Yourself Sky Watching Is Online
If you’re stumped, bewildered, and bewildered by reports of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) and possible visits from alien spacecraft, you can jump into action with do-it-yourself sky scouting gear.
With the low cost and high capabilities of today’s consumer technology, you too may be ready to document unusual occurrences.
Enter the world of Sky Hub, a global network of smart sensors designed to capture digital signatures of anomalous events. This participatory network of intelligent trackers with “edge processing” uploads data of unusual phenomena to a Sky Hub Cloud.
The driving forces behind the Sky Hub initiative are focused on the rapid growth and evolution of machine learning to streamline the analysis of large data sets and the increasing accessibility of artificial intelligence (AI) ready hardware . These advancements can be harnessed to probe the continuing and confusing behavior of UAPs and Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) that roam the skies.
Related: 7 things most often confused with UFOs
Work in progress
Sky Hub’s mission is clear: to connect a network of civilian-owned sensor arrays, use machine learning to catalog anomalous events, and share that data with researchers. The group itself is made up of dedicated volunteers.
The Sky Hub system is a work in progress, said Christopher Cogswell, chairman of the Sky Hub science advisory board. The group encourages individuals to join, but early adopters should be aware that the system software is currently in alpha release and hardware changes are still possible.
The ultimate goal is to create and host a worldwide digital UFO database that anyone can access under a Creative Commons license using Sky Hub’s open source software.
“I’ve long been interested in why certain technologies or scientific concepts have been readily accepted by society… while others are becoming hot spots,” Cogswell told Space.com. Searching for UAPs / UFOs “is not only an opportunity to do something interesting, but also useful,” he added. “There are a lot of reports of objects in the sky that we don’t know how to categorize and which, in my opinion, are interesting and worth investigating.
Cogswell said Sky Hub currently has 12 business units. Most are in the United States, but there is one in the United Kingdom and one in Brazil. For the most part, the units are standard, using a fisheye lens camera and other hardware. Suggested specifications, such as a microcomputer designed for machine learning and AI, are posted on the Sky Hub website.
“We don’t want to run before we can walk,” Cogswell said, but new ideas are always welcome. The cost of assembling a Sky Hub unit for deployment can range from $ 600 to $ 1000. “We are constantly trying to find cheaper alternatives. We want Sky Hub to be accessible to people, ”he said,“ and getting the public involved in this project with us is a laudable goal.
Sky Hub equipment has so far captured meteors, photographed the International Space Station, and even spotted flocks of birds, which appear to be a drone and a paraglider. “We are open to those in other areas who can use Sky Hub where optical measurements and characterization can be useful,” Cogswell said.
Diving into the UFO / PAN situation, “we look at this from a serious but skeptical point of view,” Cogswell said. “In my opinion, there is something interesting going on here that is worth investigating. You cannot deny that there are people who still report UFOs every year. If all is wrong, in my mind, it’s almost more interesting. How did something wrong become a social phenomenon like this? “
Related: UFO watch: 8 times the government searched for flying saucers
Search all over the sky
“There have been several such projects over the years to attempt to record UFOs,” said Robert Sheaffer, a noted writer on the subject and a skeptic of UFOs. There are already many meteor camera networks set up today in the United States and other countries, he told Space.com.
For example, the American Meteor Society maintains a large registry of all-sky cameras. In addition, many astronomy groups and private observatories use their own sky cameras to record weather phenomena and meteors, Sheaffer pointed out.
Sheaffer’s report at home: “People installing UFO cameras apparently don’t realize that there are already vast networks of automated cameras around the world. astronomers do not record. “
Fact: In August of last year, the Pentagon announced the formation of a UAP task force to better understand the nature and origins of UFOs. The task force’s mission is to detect, analyze, and catalog UAPs that could potentially pose a threat to U.S. national security.
Regarding the UAP situation, Scott Miller, president and professor of aerospace engineering at Wichita State University in Kansas, offers an interesting perspective.
“I have tried to follow the stories from the UAP. I suspect a lot of the sightings are still linked to covert aerial activity, not necessarily classified,” Miller said. Interestingly, I strongly suspect that all of the major defense contractors, and many new ones, have expanded their capabilities to rapidly prototype vehicles. “
Miller’s point of view focuses on entrepreneurs eager to attract US Department of Defense (DoD) dollars by building and piloting their own technology demonstrators. “There are probably a lot of vehicles funded by non-government funds that have, are or will steal,” he said.
Cool new things
There are UAP sightings that are very interesting and potentially unrelated to any new secret planes, Miller said. “However, keep in mind that if we had seen one of the first Have Blue stealth fighters in the 1970s, we would have said there was no way it was an airplane.”
The Navy’s famous “Tic Tac” UAP videos are interesting and confusing, Miller said, but there are a number of things he’s confused about.
“Specifically, why is it only the Navy that saw the Tic Tacs? I believe the Air Force and the Marines fly in the same airspace,” he said. “Also, I think all of the Navy sightings were from F-18 E / F Super Hornets. Is there anything in the systems of these E / F series aircraft that facilitates UAP observation, for example, radar signal processing issues, etc. .? “
The world of aviation, Miller suspects, is at a crossroads. “We have the potential to design, build and fly new vehicles in months, not years. The planes will not necessarily be production ready, but they can be used as technology demonstrators. new things, ”he says.
For more information on Sky Hub and the “how-tos” for building your own detection / tracking equipment, visit https://skyhub.org/.
Leonard David is the author of the recently published book, “Moon Rush: The New Space Race”, published by National Geographic in May 2019. A longtime writer for SPACE.com, David has been reporting on the space industry for over five decades. Follow us @Space dotcom, Facebook or Google+. This version of the story posted on Space.com.