July 4, 2020

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Mystery light likely atmospheric optical phenomenon, UFO expert says

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/1/2019 (536 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A bright, mysterious object spotted last week in the sky northwest of Lake Winnipeg was likely a partial sun dog, says a Winnipeg UFO expert and author.

The 19-second video clip of the strange light in the sky was taken sometime Friday afternoon, said Henry Traverse, who lives on Kinonjeoshtegon First Nation, 230 kilometres north of Winnipeg.

Traverse said his son, Phil Traverse, and granddaughter, Kiasha, shot the video and sent it to him while they were out fishing on the lake.

"I don’t know if it was a meteor shower, or a meteorite falling, I don’t know," Henry Traverse told the Free Press on Saturday.

The video was posted on an online UFO forum, but was definitely not anything alien, said Chris Rutkowski, who produces the annual Canadian UFO Survey that collects and analyzes reports of unidentified flying objects.

"The best guess at this point is a partial sun dog created by ice crystals in the air and reflecting off an aircraft contrail," Rutkowski said Monday.

Traverse said at the time the mysterious phenomenon is not new for the area.

"We’ve seen lights in the night, up further north where (I fished with) my sons," he said.

Rutkowski said this has been a good winter for interesting lights in the Manitoba sky.

"We’ve been having some perfect weather for sun dogs and other light effects this winter... What made this recent video interesting is that it wasn’t a classic sun dog, which is usually seen in pairs one on either side of the sun."

Scott Young, an astronomer and museum manager of the planetarium at the Manitoba Museum in Winnipeg, said he, too, accessed the video and agrees with Rutkowski's assessment.

Referring to what the fishers saw Friday as a "UFO" is debatable, said Rutkowski.

"Of the thousand or so UFOs reported each year, only a small fraction are left without easy explanations and, even then, it’s not assumed they are alien craft, but interesting observations of strange objects," he said.

"Some researchers insist that the term UFO is used only when an observed object cannot be explained even after investigation."

The 2018 Canadian UFO Survey (survey.canadianuforeport.com) is still being prepared, and is expected to be posted in the next several weeks, he said.


Carol Sanders

Carol Sanders

Carol Sanders’ reporting on newcomers to Canada has made international headlines, earned national recognition but most importantly it’s shared the local stories of the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home.

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