SETI Scientist Debunks Latest 'UFO' Footage

A cloud hides the sun in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. In a video filmed by an Argentinian pilot, two objects appear to be in the shape of saucers, but this may be an optical illusion caused by the rolling shutter of his cellphone's camera. Andrew Redington/Getty Images

A video uploaded Thursday on YouTube shows an Argentinian pilot filming what one online group says are two UFOs passing by in midair. However, even an astronomy researcher at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute who spends his life in search of aliens isn't convinced this video is the real deal.

The video, published by UFO Today, was apparently filmed by a veteran civilian Argentinian pilot from the cockpit of his private aircraft. It's not clear when the video was filmed, but it was uploaded to YouTube on March 29.

Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the SETI Institute in California, told Newsweek that, in his opinion, this video isn't very convincing. Aside from its overall "ambiguous" nature, he said, the first sign that the video may be inaccurate is that it was filmed by a pilot out of the cockpit window in midflight.

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"Why is this guy using his cellphone to make videos while he's flying around?" Shostak asked. The researcher pointed out that from the way the camera is pointed, it seems the pilot anticipated the UFOs before they even appeared on screen. "He's there to photograph these things, and that's a bit suspicious."

In addition, even though the objects appear to be in the shape of saucers, this may be an optical illusion caused by the rolling shutter of the camera on the cellphone, Shostak explained. This rolling shutter means that the top of the image was taken at a slightly different time than the bottom half. As a result, the image may be warped.

"You don't want to judge too much on the fact that they [the UFOs] kind of look like saucers," Shostak said. "They could be baseballs."

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Lastly, Shostak suggested that based on his quick calculation of how far away the objects appear to be, combined with how fast they might be traveling, the video is likely of a bird or perhaps another aircraft passing in the sky. But he admits there's really no way to confirm exactly what is caught on camera.

While some stargazers look to our own skies for signs of alien life, Shostak has his gaze set far behind what can be seen with the naked eye. Working with SETI, Shostak and his team aim giant satellites at nearby star systems in the hopes of picking up some signs of life.

So far, the program has not had much luck, but that doesn't mean they're giving up anytime soon. And with some of the most respected scientists in the world predicting we'll make contact with alien life within the next century, the surplus of fake UFO videos isn't likely to slow down.