Shopping Cart
Your Cart is Empty
There was an error with PayPalClick here to try again
CelebrateThank you for your business!You should be receiving an order confirmation from Paypal shortly.Exit Shopping Cart

Tully physical trace case 1966 - RAAF papers now digitised

Well done Keith Basterfield, great research yet again !!!!!!!!!!

Keith Basterfield - Member of AURA in South Australia

Keith has kindly decided to share his vast array of information. He has spent decades collecting, writing and producing articles on ufology. We are very honoured to provide this blog page to Keith and we should all look forward to his entries.

Fireballs and UAP Sightings

An examination of aspects of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) from a scientific perspective.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

"Fireballs" and UAP sightings

Hi all,


I have recently noticed that there have been a number of media reports of objects in the sky, which although headlined along the lines of "UFO screams across the sky" or "UFO caught on video," (click here ) have all the characteristics of a piece of natural material burning up spectacularly in the Earth's atmosphere. I therefore, thought it appropriate to review the subject of "fireballs."

A typical Australian example, featured in the Bundaberg News Mail newspaper of 17 January 2015 (click here.) In part it read, "As Ryan Peat glanced up at the sky on Thursday evening he was left standing in pure astonishment after glimpsing what may have been life from another galaxy."

What had Peat seen which caused this gushing of words from the newspaper reporter? He simply reported seeing a bright blue flash of light in the sky. "It was travelling much like a shooting star but not as fast." It turned green and "...little specks of light started to trail behind it before it disintegrated." In my opinion, this has all the hallmarks of a "fireball." Note, that even Peat himself is cited in the article as saying "I now think it might have been a meteorite..."


"Meteor" is simply the name given to a piece of natural material burning up in the Earth's atmosphere. The word "meteor" is sometimes replaced with the words "falling star" or "shooting star." These three names refer to the same phenomenon. If you have ever seen a "meteor" in the night sky, you will know that it looks like a white coloured streak of light in the sky, for a fraction of a second. It appears, travels a short distance across the sky, and disappears.


A "fireball" is simply the name given to a bright "meteor," "shooting star" or "falling star." In astronomical terms, the name "fireball" is given to an object which is brighter than magnitude (an astronomical term for brightness) -4, which is about the brightest that the planet Venus gets. So, a "fireball" is a bright meteor.

A "bolide" is the name given to a "meteor" of brightness exceeding magnitude -14, which is brighter than the full Moon. If the brightness reaches -17 or brighter, it is given the name "superbolide." For comparison, on the magnitude scale the Sun is -26.

A "fireball" is more spectacular than most "meteors." It often leaves a very vivid impression, that often a witness fails to connect with the word "meteor." Note that the 17 January 2015 Bundaberg witness said what he saw was "travelling much like a shooting star but not as fast." Here he was initially implying that he thought that the object he was watching was not a "meteor."

On the 4 August 2014 a "fireball" was reported by hundreds of people living in Perth, Western Australia. It appeared as a blue-green light which travelled across the morning sky about 6am. One observer, Simon, stated that the "blue light descended relatively slowly." he said it lasted two to three seconds. It was photographed by the Australian Desert Fireball Network.

Australian websites such as that of Sydney Observatory ( click here) often carry reports which appear to be of "fireballs." For example,

January 06, 2015 at 9:00 pm, Michelle said:

Hi we live in Port Augusta South Australia and we were sitting outside around midnight and we saw a large light traveling roughly in an easterly direction which then quickly turned into a fire ball with a really large tail. It was traveling so fast we didn’t have time to record it as it dissapeared over the Flinders Ranges. No sound at all, clear starry sky and full moon. We haven’t heard of anyone locally that saw it but it blew us away because of the size and how spectacular it was!

January 03, 2015 at 11:24 pm, Vikkii said:

Just saw what I at first thought was a shooting star but it was super bright and travelled across the whole sky.

Spotted it from 30k south of yass and it went from NW to SE .

Beautiful clear sky tonight

Whatever it was it was very bright & had an amazing tail

January 03, 2015 at 1:07 am, Shirley said:

Around 20 min past midnight tonight (03/01/2015)a bright yellowish ball of fire appeared at the sky falling down easterly in quite a speed. Turning into red and appeared to explode and vanished. Never seen that before.

Information you need to know:

* "Fireballs" can be seen both at night and during the day
* They can develop two kinds of trails, namely trains and smoke trails. Smoke trails have been reported to last up to 45 minutes after the "fireball" has gone
* They can show vivid colours, ranging from red through to blue
* There are two types of reported sounds associated with them, namely sonic booms, and electrophonic sounds. The latter can be heard as hissing static, sizzling or popping sounds
* The natural material which was see as a "meteor" can range in size from a few grams up to 60 tons
* Pieces of material falling away from the parent body due to the atmospheric heat, may be reported as "sparks," "sparklers" or "little stars. " Note that the Bundaberg witness reported seeing "little specks of light started to trail behind..."
* the typical duration of a "fireball" sighting is 2-10 seconds, although there are reported observations lasting 30 seconds
* their trajectory across the sky can be from any direction to any other direction. However, they are sometimes reported to travel horizontally across the sky, perhaps even from horizon to horizon
* bright "fireballs" may be observed from a single Australian state, or sometimes they pass over a number of states.

In summary:​

If you receive a UAP report which matches the descriptions given in this post, then strongly suspect that the cause is a "meteor" of some kind, possibly a "fireball." Often if you search the Internet you will then find other observations reported of that same UAP. With sufficient observations scattered over a wide enough are, it might be possible to triangulate the path of the "fireball."


1. Each Australian state has an astronomical society which welcomes reports of "fireballs."

3. The Australian Desert Fireball Network (click here) has been successful in photographing fireballs and welcomes reports of such observations.

4. There are networks of Australian amateur astronomers who observe "meteors" including "fireballs" and who welcome reports. One such network is the Eastern Australia Meteor Network (click here.)

Current research projects - August 2011

I am currently working on two longer term research projects.

(1) A catalogue of "high interest" Australian UFO cases from all states.

My 1997 book, contained a listing of several hundred "high interest" UFO reports from all over Australia. I thought I had lost the original list, when transferring items from one computer to another. However, I have recently found a copy on an old CD. I am, now working to put it into a format where I can make it available to other people. Apart from this list, I know of no-where else that you can find a listing of interesting cases from Australia. If you'd like a copy of the catalogue, please email me at [email protected] and I will forward you a copy. Please bear in mind that it ends around 1996.

(2) A look at the year 1954 in Australian ufology.

In re-reading some of Jacques Vallee's books, I re-discovered the 1954 French wave of events. For those who haven't come across this wave, it involved dozens of close encounter cases all over France. That made me look at reports from 1954 in South Australia which forms part of a lengthy, two part catalogue of observations from South Australia (email me if you'd like a copy of these two files - they form the best listing of reports from South Australia going back to 1902). This led me to thinking of what reports were coming out of other states of Australia in 1954? This has led me to obtaining digital copies of relevant stories which can be found in the digitised newspaper collection of the National Library of Australia. This is a longer-term project as there are literally dozens, if not hundreds of UFO sightings from 1954 Australia.

September research. 2011

Australian 'flying saucer' reports prior to 1951.

The official record about 'flying saucers' (as UFOs were known in the 1950's), as uncovered by the Disclosure Australia project's examination of Australian government files, began in mid 1950. I became intrigued as to what reports may have been made in Australia prior to 1951?

I therefore spent some time recently chasing down Australian newspaper articles on the topic of 'flying saucers' by using the digitised Trove collection of newspapers in the National Library of Australia. I found 30 such newspaper articles covering the years 1947 to 1950, most of which have never previously been published in the UFO literature.

I have prepared a catalogue of these reports, to make the data available to other researchers. It is titled "Australian 'flying saucer' reports prior to 1951 as revealed in newspapers." I have uploaded a copy in MS Word format to the VUFOA docshare. Happy reading.

"Angel hair" cases.

Over the years, reports of "Angel hair" have appeared in the UFO literature. There has been debate about whether it is associated with spiders, or is a real feature of the UFO phenomenon. I took time to gather together the most comprehensive listing of known Australian 'angel hair' falls; and analysed the data in multiple ways. I have uploaded the resultant article in MS Word format to the VUFOA docshare. I welcome comments; additional cases; or informed debate.

Australian abduction cases.

Numerous accounts coming out of Australia were looked into by Australian UFO researchers in the last two decades of the 20th century. However, in the last ten years, the number of Australians making such claims has dramatically declined. A catalogue of then known Australian abduction accounts was prepared by myself some years ago. I have uploaded a copy of this catalogue to the VUFOA docshare.

Re-examination of the 22 August 1968 Zanthus WA event

I have recently been taking another look at the existing data on the 22 August 1968, Zanthus, Western Australia, aircraft encounter.  I found some material in the Department of Defence's RAAF UFO files, which is the original source material.

I was fortunate to be able to locate and interview one of the pilots involved in the encounter, after 43 years. Some new material emerged including a paranormal connection.

I have uploaded a copy of my report to VUFOA docs.

I welcome comments from readers."

Cold Case Investigations - October 2011

One of the ongoing research projects which I have been undertaking for a year now, is the re-examination of old UFO cases. So far, I have looked at the 1942 Timor Sea silver disc hovering over a Dutch warship; the 1944 Bass Strait aircraft encounter; the 1965 Qantas Tasman Sea sighting, and the 1968 Zanthus aircraft encounter, amongst others.

Despite the passage of time, I have been able to locate new information on many of these cases. For example, I found new material which shone light on the 1965 Qantas Tasman Sea case from New Zealand Government Defence Department files; and managed to locate, after 43 years, one of the Zanthus case pilots.

I have documented my findings on the blog

I would encourage other people to conduct similar retrospective investigations, which could add new information to some of these classic cases.

Visit to Canberra.

One of the pleasures of taking a holiday interstate, is the opportunity to meet with fellow researchers.

On a recent trip to Canberra, my wife and I dined with Shane Ryan. Shane has been conducting an indepth capaign to get to the bottom of the April 1966 Westall, Victoria, event. In this event dozens of school students, teachers and others were involved in a complex scenario. Elements of the event include aerial sightings; marks on the ground; official intervention; a lack of Government documentation and a thus a mystery which has endured 45 years.

A chance to meet face to face with a fellow researcher for several hours, allowed for an exchange of a large amount of information.

If you read this and are planning to come to Adelaide in the future, then members of the Australian UFO Research Association (AURA) would like to meet and chat with you here. To contact AURA email [email protected]

Frederick Valentich disappearance -November 2011

In 2004, as part of the Disclosure Australia Project's examination of Australian Government UFO files (see I submitted a Freedom of information request to the federal Government's Department of Transport. The request was for the accident investigation file on Frederick Valentich who disappeared, while flying a plane, over Bass Strait on 21 October 1978.

The Department's response was "I understand that file V116/783/1047 has been destroyed by the National Archives of Australia."

Recently, I discovered that the file is actually in the National Archives. I have submitted an application for access to that part of the file which is more than 30 years old.

Early Australian UFO history -December 2011

I have been continuing my research into the early history of the Australian flying saucer/UFO phenomenon.

One of the unanswered questions I wanted to resolve was just when did the RAAF start investigating flying saucers?

A search through official Australian government UFO files led me to believe that the answer was 1950. However,

I came across a couple of newspaper clippings which suggested a start date as early as 1947.

For more information on this, please take a look at the Australian UFO blog at

where I have posted on this topc.

Adelaide pilot sights flying saucer over South Korea-1952-January 2012

One of the things I enjoy about UFO research is the international co-operation between researchers. Recently, Jan Aldrich of Project 1947 in the USA asked me if I had come across a report from Korea in 1952, involving an Australian pilot from Adelaide, South Australia, my home town?

A bit of research by myself, uncovered a document from the USAF Project Blue book on an Internet site. This gave excellent details about the observations of one Ken Smith of Adelaide. Sadly, I also found an Adelaide newspaper item which recorded the pilot went missing, believed killed, shortly after reporting the UFO. For full details of this case please take a look at

An old and famous photographic case from 1954.

Sometimes it pays to re-examine old UFO cases. A case in point is said to have occurred in April 1954, on the Western/South Australian border and features in numerous books, magazines and Internet sites. Three young men were driving from WA to SA when a classic flying saucer was seen at close range and photographed over 100 times. The story goes that an RAAF helicopter appeared and the crew demanded the cameras and film. However, an examination of the account casts doubt on the story, particularly the details about the helicopter. A search, appears to indicate that none of the three RAAF helicopters in Australia at the time, could have been involved. For the full story go to

Newly Released RAAF Documents - Jan 2012

A while ago I located a RAAF UFO file ( File series A9755 control symbol 4) in the National Archives which I just had digitised. Last night I took my first look at it, and was surprised to find on the file, newspaper clippings about Valentich. Also on this file are dozens of UFO reports made to the RAAF around the time of Valentich's disappearance. As you know, the RAAF has always maintained it did not investigate the Valentich incident, so the papers on this new file are the closest to the RAAF's file on the event.

I think the papers should add something to the overall story, so well worth a look. To view it:

1. Go to
2. Click on search the collection
3. Click on search as guest
4. In keywords area type the words unusual aerial sigthings​
5. Click on search
6. Various files are listed
7. On the line for file A9755 4 click on the page symbol in the digital item column
8. This opens the digital copy of the 237 page file.

Here is another blog page I write for where I have summarised the details above


UFOs Scientific Research

Westall Cold Case Revisited - March 2012

I have commenced a "cold case" investigation of the 6 April 1966, Westall High School, Clayton, Melbourne, multi-witness event. It is anticipated that this review will take up to 12 months to complete, given the complexity of the event.

A "cold case" review starts by collecting together all the available original material from the time. It then proceeds by re-confirming points of data such

 as date, time, location, weather, witnesses' statements etc.

If living witnesses are available, and it is possibly to interview them, then this is undertaken, noting that past memories may not accurately reflect what happened at the time.

An analysis of all the data is then carried out; weighing up any divergent observations, and looking to determine just what was observed.

Finally, the results are published for peer-review and discussion.


Disclosure Project (2003-2008) - June 2012

Between 2003 and 2008, I facilitated a team of people in Adelaide who spent time and money locating and obtaining copies of Australian Government files relating to UFOs. The results of this effort may be seen at

Recently, I have been revisiting this work, and found that other UFO files have been released by respective Australian government departments and have quietly found their way into the National Archives of Australia where they are available to view, if you know they exist! An example of this was RAAF file series J63, control symbol 5/51/Air, which provided details of radar observations from Townsville in 1978, see

To see what happens, I have just logged FOI requests with Air Services Australia and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) asking them both to provide access to any documents they hold on "Unidentified Flying Objects." I have also asked CASA to search its ATSB's OASIS aviation occurrence database for reference to the term "UFO."

I will keep you posted on the outcome.

Regards Keith. 

January 2013

Thursday, September 6, 2012

National Archives - "Collection A-Z - now includes "UFOs"

Hi all,

The National Archives of Australia (NAA) has an alphabetical listing of topics which it features in its "Collection A-Z. Until now, 

this list has not included "UFOs."

Several months ago I submitted a copy of the final report of the Disclosure Australia Project to the Archives, together with a listing of all the relevant files we had found in the Archives. The NAA acknowledged receipt of this material and replied that it would allow NAA staff to better respond to public queries on the subject. Yesterday, I located a new page in the "Collection A-Z" which is titled "Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs.) The page reads:

"Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs)

The National Archives holds a number of records relating to unidentified flying objects (UFOs), flying saucers and other unidentified aerial sightings. Most of these records date from the 1950's, 1960's and 1970's when public interest in UFOs was high and many sightings were reported to commonwealth authorities.

There was no specific government agency responsible for the collecting and analysing of these sightings so responsibility fell on the Department of Air. The Department collected reports from defence force members, pilots and air traffic controllers, meteorologists and the general public.

During the peak of interest in UFOs the department investigated some reports, trying to establish whether the sightings could be attributed to low flying aircraft, weather balloons or meteorological phenomena.

Reports were also gathered by other agencies involved in air safety, research and intelligence including the CSIRO, the Joint Intelligence Organisation, the Weapons Research Establishment at Maralinga and the Department of Transport. The Department of Territories kept reports from Papua New Guinea.

Below is a selection of records in the Archives collection that relate to UFOs. To find further records of interest, you can search the collection."

There then follows a list of 8 digitised files you can access by following the links provided.

There are then two other links to additional resources.


It is very pleasing to see that the NAA now has this page up on their website, as it will offer an entry point to individuals looking for material on this subject.

You can see the page for yourself and explore the links by clicking here.

Latest Released National Archive Files - February 2013

Hi All,

Please take a look at details of the latest RAAF UAP file located

This is the second A9755 file recently partly digitised. Please take a look at​.html

FSR - Flying Saucer Review - February 2013

Hi everyone,

If you have hard copies of the Aust FSR (Vic edition) for July 1966 and Dec 1966, I would appreciate a scanned copy

of any pages dealing with the 2 April 1966 Balwyn event/photo.

Many thanks.


See my blog at: