The following UFO account wasn’t quite as dramatic as the one in the picture, but I’m forever grateful for my experience…
I was aboard a jet cruising at an altitude somewhere between 30 to 35K feet, watching cloud puffs floating above the rural landscape below, casting relaxing, transient shadows on open fields, roads, and farmhouses. Clearly it was a very “fair-weather” kind of day in Iowa or Illinois, or wherever we were – about halfway between New York and Denver one afternoon in late July of 2000. (updated from original)
According to my Field Guide to North American Weather, if the clouds were Cumulus humilis, which they appeared to be, then they were probably originating a mile or less above ground. (If you could only run toward them, you’d be there in a matter of minutes….)
Suddenly and very unexpectedly, I saw directly below us, in the top layers of the puffy clouds, a disk, apparently “hiding” – at least from those on the ground – among the cloud tops. I could hardly believe what I was seeing from the vantage point of a jet window: an apparent extraterrestrial vehicle hovering over Midwestern farmland on a summer afternoon!
Appearing flat but still 3-dimensional, the disk resembled a horizontal coin – and indeed I remember quickly noting that it was about the size of a coin at arm’s length. As we continued past it over the span of several seconds, I finally managed to draw back and give the window to my travel partner Lyn, who luckily caught a brief glimpse of the UFO.
There was no question it was a fairly flat, disk-shaped object. No discernible reflection bounced off its topside that would indicate it was domed. It was, in fact, pronouncedly discreet.
What was it doing? I mean, why was it there?
Now if I knew the likely height of those cloud tops, the real size of the UFO could be correspondingly approximated. The only problem is that I don’t know how wide the cloud bottoms were, which means I also have no real sense of how high the cloud tops were – where the disk was hanging out. All I really know is that Cumulus humilis are low-level clouds that, in any case, are no taller than they are wide.
I’m missing a critical piece of the puzzle! As mentioned, fair weather cloud bottoms tend to be a mile or less from the ground. Going off memory of many summers growing up in the rural Midwest, I’m estimating that the type of cloud in which I saw the disk was about a mile wide – perhaps larger.
By itself, the memory that the disk was the apparent size of a coin at arm’s length doesn’t tell us much about the real size of the craft, nor can I say with any certainty how large it was in comparison to the cloud. Was the disk a hundred feet in diameter? Five hundred? A thousand feet? Any of these numbers may be close.
For some reason, I really want to know the approximate diameter of the disk! To get a better idea, I need to figure out the distance between the disk and me.
My “best guess” may be skewed, but it’s all I have to work with for now. So if the cloud bottom was a mile off the ground, and if the cloud was a mile or two wide and perhaps a mile tall, that would put the cloud tops – and the disk – at around 15K feet in altitude. If the jet were cruising at 35K feet, that’s a difference of about four miles between the jet and the UFO.
With all that in mind, what would be the real size of an object appearing to be about the size of a coin at arm’s length at a distance of four miles? Anybody with a formula to figure this out, please feel free to share your calculations….
NOTES: Obviously, the picture accompanying this article is not specifically representative of my sighting. The picture is simply shared for two basic reasons: 1) it depicts a UFO partially obscured by clouds, and 2) it’s just a really, really groovy picture.
Also, for reference, unless you’re a Sasquatch, if you hold a dime at arm’s length it will just about cover the full moon. Try it.