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Skylab UFO Analysis

Dr Bruce Maccabee has posted on his website his analysis – co-authored by Brad Sparks – of the Skylab 3 ‘UFO’ Sighting. This incident, which made the top 10 list for Paul Kimball’s Best Evidence documentary, occurred on September 20, 1973, when astronauts Alan Bean, Owen Garriott and Jack Lousma spotted what they described as a red “satellite”, which they photographed and mentioned during a subsequent debriefing:

LOUSMA: “Did you tell him about that satellite we saw?
BEAN: Yes, we saw a great satellite. We didn’t know if we told you about it.
LOUSMA: The closest and brightest one we’ve seen.
BEAN: Huge one.

Maccabee and Sparks use the available data to look at various explanations for the object, such as whether it was a Soviet satellite. After a lengthy analysis, they conclude:

The big question, then, is this: is it possible to prove that there was, or at least could have been, a (man-made) earth satellite which either reflected sunlight as red light (in the absence of atmospheric reddening of sunlight) or which had several bright red lights and which could have been within a few miles of Skylab for many minutes without NORAD/NASA detecting it? If an earth satellite, then its orbit was “uncomfortably ” close to the Skylab orbit and it certainly should have been picked up by NORAD at some time during its orbit. Based on the available information, these authors conclude that there was no man-made satellite that could explain this sighting and hence the object was truly anomalous. Further data are being sought.

Good to see detailed analysis such as this, rather than the usual mass of speculations and opinions.