Six Technical Questions regarding Douglas Trumbull’s UFOTOG project and a proposal for Robert Bigelow.
1. Is UFOTOG already operational?
2. What is the optical resolution and tracking capability of each system? This is commonly expressed as degrees, minutes, or seconds of arc, or can be described by actual discernible detail of an object at a specified distance.
This might need some discussion if there are multiple devices for optics, such as wide field and zoom, which I believe is the case.
A good way to express this would be to describe the ability of the system to detect, track and zoom in on a moving object.
A simple test case would be an automobile traveling on the highway at a distance of a mile or so – can we tell if it is 2-door or 4-door, etc?
A more difficult example is whether the system can detect the passage of the ISS, zoom in on it, and tell us how many solar panels are present, or if the shuttle is attached.
There are already examples of this type of tracking posted on websites, so it is becoming the standard for comparison.
3. What is the dynamic range of each optical system? This refers to the ability to obtain an image of a dim object in the presence of a bright one.
An example of how difficult this is can be found in the NASA all-sky meteor watch systems. When the full moon is in view, no stars can be seen because the optics adjust for the brightness of the moon, making it blind to the dimmer stars. If the gain is brought up to see the stars, then the moon becomes a huge blob of white with no discernible detail, being over-saturated.
The ability to see detail across a range of objects of widely varying brightness is perhaps the biggest challenge to getting good images of even known objects, and even more of a challenge for unexpected, unknown objects. There usually would be little opportunity to take a test exposure when dealing with UFO phenomena.
4. Are all of the monitoring instruments properly linked together, in the sense that they start working simultaneously as soon as an alarm starts?
It is extremely important (a fundamental thing) that all instruments (both optical and electromagnetic ones) are able to record automatically and with maximum time synchronicity the target, so that one is truly able to carry out a multi-wavelength and multi-mode study of the phenomenon’s variability (such as light amplitude, color, spectroscopic parameters, and electromagnetic/magnetic parameters).
In particular, a basic prerequisite is that electromagnetic instruments (magnetometer, microwave spectrometer, VLF-ELF spectrometer) are automatically started as soon as optical, IR and UV instruments are started.
5. Is there a radar aboard or is it planned to be implemented in the future?
The radar is mainly important in order to obtain target’s distance at any instant. Being able to know distance continuously allows one to relate this basic parameter with “apparent parameters” such as the received photometric flux, so that one is in a condition to measure *intrinsic parameters* such as absolute luminosity (at any given wavelength range), from which one can obtain the energy density, which is a truly fundamental parameter of real physical relevance when only photometry (optical, IR and UV) is involved (not the case of spectroscopy).
The same distance parameter can be also obtained using a Laser Range Finder: is it present aboard? The radar, if particularly sophisticated might furnish the “radar cross section” of the target too, which is also a fundamental physical parameter to be obtained. What is the kind of radar (if present): simple maritime radar, pulse Doppler radar with conventional mechanical movement or AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radar?
6. Is the tracking system also able to track objects that are moving (not too much, hopefully) a bit erratically in the sky? Have the possible mechanical inertial effects of the tracking system been tested yet? This is an extremely important factor when truly UFO-like phenomena are monitored. >>
A final comment and personal message for Robert Bigelow.
Dear Mr. Bigelow, I do appreciate your huge efforts in your endeavour for drastic innovation in science and technology. I have been following your projects since the beginning, and I believe that a UFOTOG like project should be financed soon. I know what kind of physics can be obtained from this kind of data, as well as I know in detail all the strategies and tactics to reach these goals. I can send to you a detailed proposal with scientific rationale. This would go much beyond (scientifically) research carried out at Skinwalker Ranch.
If you are interested, this is my e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org