Whittlesea UFO? January 15th 2004

THE AGE Newspaper Melbourne

Whittlesea's alien lies in the eye of the beholder

By Stephen Cauchi
Date 24 Jan 2004

Is it a bird, is it a fly? Or could it be a UFO? The image captured by a Whittlesea traffic engineer earlier this month.

Is this a Martian payback for NASA's invasion of the Red Planet? If so, they've
chosen to land at the City of Whittlesea.

The above UFO photo, taken on January 15, caused a stir on radio and TV yesterday as excitement mounted over an alien visitor.

A Whittlesea traffic engineer took the photo while assessing street signs and road markings on Beveridge Road. He did not notice the UFO while he was taking the digital photo, only when the image was printed.

The City of Whittlesea yesterday posted the photo on its website with a disclaimer. "This council has no opinion about the object. We just do not know what the object could be and would welcome any explanation . . . the image has been referred by council to the chief defence scientist, (the) Defence Science & Technology Organisation, and the Civil Aviation Authority.

"Council is considering referring it to NASA."

Council spokesman Jim Linton said the engineer did not see anything with the naked eye at the time. "It was a quiet day. We don't know if it's a computer glitch, we don't know what it is."

But the UFO spokesman for the Australian Skeptics, Steve Roberts, thinks it's a fly or a small bird. Dr Roberts, who interviewed the engineer yesterday, said the photo was the only one of about 10 that showed the object. "The object is very much out of focus, but the background is in focus, therefore it's near the camera," he said. "It also explains why no one else saw it."

As for the talkback callers who said they did, Dr Roberts said that was a common occurrence. "Unfortunately, it's known that if you make a claim, people will come and support it," he said.