Man Photographs a UFO in Riverdale Subdivision, Whitehorse, Yukon

September, 1997 


It was about 3 in the morning on Boswell Crescent, a street in the subdivision of Riverdale in Whitehorse, Yukon. A man was having trouble sleeping. He decided to get up and sit down at the kitchen table.  He could see a crescent moon through his window and  was admiring it.

He was facing his backyard which was adjacent to a greenbelt region within Boswell Crescent. He noticed that from the vicinity of the moon he saw a small white light that was moving slowly across the sky. It soon became apparent that it was moving towards him and was getting bigger.  In about a minute the light came down and was hovering directly over the pine trees at the back of his yard, about 100 ft (30 meters) away. Silent !  It was now blocking out the moon and was huge at this point ! He just sat there and stared at it for a while, couldn't believe what he was seeing! Although the light didn't hurt to look at, it lit up his entire backyard, the fence, the trees, everything.

He had watched it for 15 minutes when he thought, "hey, why not get the camera". He went downstairs to retrieve it, came back up and the object was still there!  He pointed the camera at the light. As soon as he did the object started moving away, almost as if it knew it was having its picture taken. He clicked the shutter, ...

.... the film auto-advanced and he took another. By this time the light had accelerated so fast it was a small point of light again and soon vanished in the distance. It traveled in a smooth arc and he was amazed at the acceleration.


Unfortunately the second photograph and the negatives have been misplaced.  However, significant analysis could still be performed on the first photograph as well as on the verbal description of the missing photo.  The size of the UFO and how fast it accelerated away was estimated.

The photographs were taken with a Pentax SF1 SLR 35 mm camera set on automatic exposure.   The lens was a standard 50mm focal length. The witness recalls he took the two photos as fast as the power winder on the the camera could wind them. The manufacturer of the camera was contacted who stated that the winder speed on the camera is about 1.8 frames per second, or 0.56 seconds between frames. The man recalls that the sound the camera made during the exposure suggested the shutter speed was fast.   This indicates there was plenty of light for an automatic exposure.

The first photograph shows the object just as it started to move away.  The 50mm lens produces a photograph that covers an angle of about 40 degrees in width.  The bright portion of the UFO covers a width of about a tenth of this, or about 4 degrees. The man estimates the object was about 80ft (24 m) above the ground, and about 100 ft (30 m) horizontal distance to the back of his yard.  He knew  it had to be at that approximate location in order to illuminate the trees and other objects in his back yard.  Using the two distances above one can calculate the diagonal distance from the man to the light which turns out to be128ft (39 m).  Using trigonometry, the diameter of the bright portion of the light works out to be about 9 ft (2.7m).

The man recalls that in the second photograph the moon was just protruding from the outside edge of the UFO and that the diameter of the light was about the same diameter as the moon (if it was full). We know that the angular arc of the moon is about 0.5 degrees and therefore by comparison so is the UFO in the second photograph. Assuming that the light is the same diameter as in the first photograph (9ft, 2.7m) we can calculate the distance to the UFO in the second photograph. This values turns out to be 1031ft (314m).  Thus,  the object covered a distance of 903 ft (275 m) in just 0.56 seconds!  Assuming a smooth acceleration, it would of been travelling at about 3224 ft/s (983 m/s) when the second photograph was taken. This is equivalent to 2200MPH (3540km/h) or Mach 2.9.  Yet there was no sonic boom reported.  The UFO had to accelerate at a rate of 179 g's (179 times the force of gravity) to match the above calculations.  Granted there are some uncertainties and assumptions in the above. However, even if we would allow for a generous amount of error in the time between photographs and distance estimates, the acceleration would still turn out to be impressive.  

The witness recalls that the moon phase was a waning crescent.  The time of the morning (3:00 am) and the phase of the moon (which the witness drew by hand) narrows the time of the event somewhere between September 21 and 27, 1997.   On October 10th, 1997 the man took the first photograph to work and had it scanned and recalls the incident took place one to two weeks prior to him doing so. This is consistent with the dates obtained from the lunar phase.   The man's window faces east which is also consistent with the location of the moon for that time and date.

- Investigated by Martin Jasek