Analysis of a Fragment Observed Falling from an Unidentified Aerial Object (UAO) Claymont Delaware, June 29, 2014 (CMS Case File: 57833)

Analysis of a Fragment Observed Falling from an Unidentified Aerial Object (UAO) Claymont Delaware, June 29, 2014 (CMS Case File: 57833)

Case File Information

Date of Event / Case File: 06/24/2014

Case File Details


Four witnesses of the event include a man, his wife, and two tenants who rent an upstairs room in their house. The tenants were outside about midnight on June 29th smoking cigarettes when they observed multiple orange-red unidentified aerial objects descend over their neighborhood. At the height of the event there were up to 24 objects. They were silent and floated irregularly. One of the tenants filmed the event using his SamSung Galaxy S5 phone. Toward the end, the objects appeared to slowly and silently move off into the distance in sort of a formation.

One orb was still floating behind the others and acting irregularly as if it were malfunctioning. It seemed to drop/jettison something that burnt wildly the whole way down to earth. This was now about 1 a.m.

Then the object instantly “darted” out of sight going in another direction than the other objects. (It went back “in the direction it came from.”) The ‘fireball’ dropped straight down, being a fairly windless night, taking about 10 seconds. It landed four houses up the street.

The yellow flame reached about 2’ in height, which was eventually stomped out. The residual fragment was retrieved and kept in a small Styrofoam container until MUFON investigators arrived. The objective is to identify the composition of the fragment to determine whether it is anything anomalous. Following is a photograph of the fragment.


  • The sample is composed of greater than 50 wt.% palmitic acid (a long chain carboxylic acid also known as hexadecanoic acid) which is dispersed in fine glass fibers. Small amounts of other components are present, which are mostly comprised of other long chain carboxylic acids. These are probably impurities that come along with the palmitic acid, i.e. not refined out. There are also trace amounts of quartz which are commonly seen in glass fibers and an unidentified ester-type impurity.
  • There are research publications on the use of palmitic acid as a phase change material (PCM)1 for thermal energy storage.2 More specifically, one recent publication discusses palmitic acid/SiO2 (SiO2 in fibrous glass form) composites for this purpose.3 There is visual indication that the glass fiber in this fragment may be one that is used in situations where it is exposed to high temperatures.4 So a possible speculation is that this fragment is from some sort of energy storage process related to the UAO.
  • The most common use of material containing glass fiber is insulation. And, in fact the fragment has the appearance of insulation. However, the presence of palmitic acid appears be unusual. Though one of palmitic acid’s properties is waterproofing, no reference was found for it being used in insulating products.
  • This fragment does not originate from Chinese Lanterns. Lanterns are made a myriad of recyclable and indigenous materials, none of which are of the composition noted above. In China they are traditionally made from oiled rice paper on a bamboo frame. The source of hot air may be a small candle or fuel cell composed of a waxy combustible material.5 Numerous websites describe many construction materials for making homemade lanterns. Indigenous materials like tree bark and fruit shells are used in some locations. Recycled materials are common such as: magazines, newspaper, plastic bottles, ribbon and string. Usually candles are the fuel source.

The Analysis



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Originating Organization: Phyllis Budinger

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