Case File Status: Unidentified
The following case was submitted to The Black Vault / TBV Investigations on August 1, 2018. It was shot by an amateur astronomer / photographer taking a video of the moon. The video was submitted for analysis, and due to the nature of the video, it was assigned to multiple investigators for multiple perspectives.
Lead Case Investigator: Monica Salazar
Additional Analysis done by: Jim Kerr, Michael Glenn and Paul Wright
The following was the original testimony, as submitted by the witness. It was sent to John Greenewald, Jr. of The Black Vault through a mutual friend, and the identifying name has been removed. The witness is not a “UFO enthusiast” nor a “UFO Hunter” but captured the video by chance. It has been edited slightly for clarity.
“Hello I am a friend of ___________ and I want to report a sighting.
It was the day after the Red Moon (or Blood Moon) and the weather was clear. To record the passage of the Moon I used the follow equipment:
-Sky-Watcher Maksutov SkyMax 127/1500 OTA
-Pentax HD DA AF 1.4x rear converter
Thank you for your attention, best regards.
The following high resolution video was submitted for analysis.
Original / Uncut Video
Cropped to Highlight “Anomalies”
by Monica Salazar, TBV Investigations
The video was recorded on July 29th, 2018, at 1.08 AM.
In the beginning of the video you can see a zoomed in image of the moon. The clear details of the moon show that it was obviously a high powered camera with an adequate zoom lens. As mentioned by the witness, the specs of the camera are as follows:
-Sky-Watcher Maksutov SkyMax 127/1500 OTA
-Pentax HD DA AF 1.4x rear converter
(ALL meta data is listed below, for reference)
You can clearly see all the craters and detailed lining of the moon showing a good camera focus. At about 2:52 (of the “original” video) you can see a dark object cross in front of the moon. Taking the zoom into consideration, it appears that the anomaly is flying at a high altitude. If these were bugs, birds or bats flying much lower to the ground, most likely they would be out of focus and not appear in the video, or if they do, be largely out of focus given the focal length of the lens in conjunction with the clarity of the moon. Objects nearer to the lens would largely be invisible or drastically out of focus.
The height is very hard to determine, since there are no reference objects in the frame, other than the moon. We know the moon is 252,088 miles away from Earth, but to properly give some kind of calculation, another “reference object” needs to be in the frame to compare. Since there is none, it is highly speculative to try and pinpoint an exact altitude.
Later in the video at about 3:10 a greater wave of objects pass through the same view. I was able to count at least 38 objects in total. The objects seem to travel at a relatively fast speed. Judging by the speed the earth is rotating (1600km/hr) and the way the moon moves across the screen I would have to say the anomalies are traveling faster than any commercial jet plane (about 740-930 kph or 500 knots) in my best estimation.
This case was reviewed by other investigators and their opinions vary on what the objects might be. However, everyone, including myself, is in agreement that there is no evidence in the raw video that it has been tampered with, manipulated or is a CGI hoax.
Additional analyses are as follows:
Jim Kerr, TBV Investigations
“I am not only an amateur astronomer but a ufologist as well. Since approx 2011, I have followed and researched videos and photos of unidentified objects traversing the moon. There are many good examples on the internet, but there are also those that are migrating flocks of birds. In all the footage I have analyzed, I have never seen the large number of objects as depicted in TBV case # 257854.
On 08-08-2018 I downloaded the video from case # 257854 to Sony Vegas video editing software. In this edited version, I shortened the length of the video. There is no sound in this edited version as I didn’t want to voice my opinions in the video. There are repeating clips with several different video effects along with cropped footage in an attempt to identify these objects. I sent the video to John Greenewald for distribution to the assigned investigators.
Keep in mind; this footage is not in sharp focus which is no fault of the camera or operator. Due to the earth atmosphere, video footage and objects will appear to slightly shift, morphing, pulsate and slightly go in and out of focus. With that said, the objects also appear slightly out of focus appearing to change shape slightly and morph in size. Is this because these objects were close to the lunar surface or outside earth’s atmosphere at an unknown distance from the moon? That, of course, is a possibility but let’s talk about the flight characteristics of these objects. Some of the objects are traveling faster and slower than others. Also, some change course slightly coming closer to one another.
In my opinion, these objects are a flock of migratory birds, but of course, I could be wrong. From what I have observed even with these objects being slightly out of focus, they behave like migratory birds. My recommendation to investigators is, research the geographical location of this sighting for migratory bird activity along with their flight characteristics.”
The bird theory is addressed in detail below.
Michael Glenn, TBV Investigations
I followed Mr. Kerr’s advice and I was able to find flocks of one kind of bird that does migrate in the area of Rome which are the Starlings, however their pattern of flight does not seem to mirror that of the video. If you look at starlings’ migration pattern they actually form a giant cloud in the sky and they travel in the hundreds, not in just a few like depicted in the video.
Another migratory bird of the region is the Honey Buzzard. Here is a video of a migration of the Honey Buzzard, also not even close to resembling the anomaly movements, density, number of “birds” etc.
The movement of the objects seem to not mimic the flight of birds when comparing to other videos of bird migrations, not only those above, but other videos found online. There are also very few birds that can get tens of thousand of feet into the air. Given the detail on the moon and the size within the frame, if these were birds, they would have to be at a very high altitude to move that slow within the video. If they were fairly low to the ground, even for migratory birds, they would likely be seen going very fast through the video, and caught on very few frames of video. These appear to be very high, but the exact altitude can not be determined. In addition, birds migrate in much larger numbers, and even if only a small “group” of the larger migratory group was capture in front of the moon, the density of the birds do not match migratory patterns by most birds referenced for the region.
I would assume that the anomalies shown on the video are most likely not birds of any kind, at least, any birds that I could find. Any additional feedback from Italian/European bird experts is welcomed.
Based on the evidence, a flock of birds seems unlikely at this time.
Bats Flying In Front of Moon
You can see with this video, when objects (in this case bats) are much lower to the camera, they go through the frame very quickly. One example above is at 0:46 of the video, and it is very quick as the bat flies by. Another occurs at approximately 1:32.
Based on the evidence, bats flying across the frame seems unlikely.
Satellites Flying By
This is probably the closest match to the anomalies caught above. However, there are key differences. First, the anomalies above seemingly do not move in a straight line, and seem to even interact with each other. Satellites will traverse across a camera’s field of view in a straight or slightly curved line, but do not change speed or adjust course. In addition, investigator Jim Kerr assisted me in checking Stellarium to see if there were any satellites in the area that were possibly captured by the witness’ camera, and there were not. When I asked him to verify what was in the sky, he said:
“A search of Stellarium (equatorial view) showed nothing unusual with the moon from a view point in Rome, Italy on July 29, 2018 @ 1:08am. No satellites or asteroids were noted crossing the moon at that time.”
Below, you will find Stellarium screen shots for Rome Italy, July 29, 2018 @ 1:08am.
Balloons Caught on Video
There is a possibility that the objects could be balloons, but it is fairly unlikely. Given the assumed high altitude, for so many “toy” balloons (standard helium filled party balloons) to be released from the surface of Earth from a party or major event, and for them to reach such heights and maintain a relative “formation” by sticking together, is too coincidental. In addition, there is a case where a larger “Google Balloon” was captured by an amateur astronomer while photographing the moon. Although it is hard to discern the movement from the photograph, you can see that it does not appear to be a similar type object. In addition, weather balloon or “Google Balloons” never are launched together in such a quantity, so I think a type of weather balloon (or Google Balloon) is safely ruled out.
Based on the evidence, balloons seem unlikely.
Many of us all considered a hoax, but there is no sign or evidence of any digital manipulation. TBV Investigations’ Paul Wright also looked at the video, and sees exact characteristics when he views the moon through his high powered lens, including the “hazing” effect around it. He extracted the “meta data” of the video, and everything matches what the witness reported, in regards to the technical specs of the camera. It also appears to be the raw file, and not edited.
I do not believe this is some kind of bird migration, and although there are similarities to satellites crossing the sky, Stellarium does rule out such an explanation. Balloons are also highly unlikely and we find no evidence of a hoax or digital manipulation. Therefore, I rule out all plausible explanations at this time, with no other reasonable explanation to explore.
For now, I would close this case and I will classify it as Unidentified, however, I am always open to feedback or other angles to explore.
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Originating Organization: The Black Vault / TBV Investigations