Weird Octagonal Shape of Lake Huron UFO Explained by Experts

In the fourth case of a mysterious object being shot from the skies above North America in the past fortnight, an octagonal aircraft was taken out by U.S. fighter jets 20,000 feet above Lake Huron on Sunday.

The origins of this most recent UFO, now known as Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena, is still unknown, as are the origins of the second and third, shot down over Deadhorse, Alaska, on February 10 and above the Yukon in Canada the next day. The first of the four objects, identified as a Chinese surveillance balloon, was shot down on February 4. China has denied involvement with any of the other objects.

The octagonal shape of the fourth object is unusual. The first balloon was round, while the third was cylindrical. The octagonal structure also had no payload hanging underneath it, unlike the others.

However, its octagonal shape may not be so unusual if the object is a balloon.

A composite stock image of a UFO iStock / Getty Images

"This is quite a sensible shape to make a large gas balloon, as it's structurally efficient, keeping the amount of material needed relatively low, and it's not hard to, say, rotate such a craft for any number of reasons of control or payload alignment," Guy Gratton, an associate professor of aviation and the environment at Cranfield University in the U.K, told Newsweek.

"It's also the shape a lot of camera equipment using mechanical aperture mechanisms will tend to show small distant objects. So if a camera using mechanical shuttering is seeing something very distant, it might look to be such a shape—when it actually isn't (although clearly it's still seeing something)."

The octagonal structure may also provide streamlining to the object as it travels through the air.

"There are studies of octagonal shaped buildings that seem to have good aerodynamics in terms of wind resistance," Janet Bednarek, an aviation historian at the University of Dayton, Ohio, told Newsweek.

On the other hand, it also may be as a result of deliberate design to capture the imaginations of UFO spotters.

"One thought—an octagonal shaped balloon might look more like a flying saucer—a favorite UFO of yore. If a hoax, such a shape might be easier to build. And there have been balloon hoaxes before—i.e. Balloon Boy in 2009," Bednarek said.

The "balloon boy incident" of October 2009 occurred in Fort Collins, Colorado when Richard and Mayumi Heene released a homemade helium balloon in the shape of a flying saucer and claimed that their son was trapped inside. Richard Heene was sentenced to 90 days in jail and had to pay $36,000 to cover authorities' costs.

"So, at this point, the octagon shaped object could be just about anything—from a spy balloon to a hoax," Bednarek said.

We will learn more about this bizarre object once its debris has been recovered. So far, remains of only the first object, confirmed to be a Chinese balloon, have been successfully collected.

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