The Lubbock Lights: Introduction
By Francis L. Ridge

At 9:10 p.m. on Aug. 25, 1951, Dr. W. I. Robinson, professor of geology at the Texas technological College, stood in the back yard of his home in Lubbock, Texas and chatted with two colleagues. The other men were Dr. A. G. Oberg, a professor of chemical engineering, and Professor W. L. Ducker, head of the department of petroleum engineering. The night was clear and dark. Suddenly all three men saw a number of lights race noiselessly across the sky, from horizon to horizon, in a few seconds. They gave the impression of about 30 luminous beads, arranged in a crescent shape. A few moments later another similar formation flashed across the night. This time the scientists were able to judge that the lights moved through 30 degrees of arc in a second. A check the next day with the Air Force showed that no planes had been over the area at the time. This was but the beginning: Professor Ducker observed 12 flights of the luminous objects between August and November of that year. Some of his colleagues observed as many as 10. Hundreds of nonscientific observers in a wide vicinity around Lubbock have seen as many as three flights of the mysterious crescents in one night.

Carl Hart Jr.
On the night of Aug. 30 an attempt to photograph the lights was made by 18-year old Carl Hart Jr. He used a Kodak 35-mm camera at f3.5, 1/10 of a second. Working rapidly, Hart managed to get five exposures of the flights. The pictures exhibited by Hart as the result of this effort show 18 to 20 luminous objects, more intense than the planet Venus, arranged in one or a pair of crescents. 

It seemed an ordinary Lubbock night when ... The first sightings began on the night of August 25 at 9:20 pm and continued for the next several evenings.  Witnesses said they saw "dots" of lights flying in "U" and "V" shapes, passing in two and three-second intervals.  The number of dots reported in the formations ranged from eight to nine to 20 to 30.  The lights appeared in the northeastern part of the sky and proceeded in a straight line to the southwest.  The color of the lights were "about like the stars, only brighter," while others said they were either a blue or white with a slight yellow tinge to them.  Others described them as appearing "as a string of beads," moving roughly in a semi-circle, and were "soft, glowing, bluish-green."

Lubbock Lights, 1. Lubbock Lights, 2.

Another group of lights came over three minutes after the first group had been sighted.  Officials at Reese Air Force Base and the Civil Aeronautics Administration both reported that to their knowledge, there were no jet planes flying in the area on the nights of the sightings. The photographs were taken at 5:30 pm and 10:37 pm.  The three Texas Tech professors examined the 18-year-old's photographs, but could find no explanation for the photos. Witness Roger Dods heard a slight rustling or whooshing sound as the objects passed overhead.  He reported seeing them at 10:37 pm. In late September, a report on the Lubbock Lights reached the Air Force.  The Air Force examined the pictures in great detail and could neither prove nor disprove their authenticity. Captain Edward J. Ruppelt, the Air Force officer who became the first director of Project Blue Book, traveled to Lubbock to investigate the case.  Ruppelt later wrote a very good book about his experiences as a UFO investigator, called "The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects."

Dr. J.C. Cross, head of Tech’s Department of Biology, examined the 35 mm photographs, and asserted, "It definitely wasn’t caused by birds."  In Matador, reports were made of a "noiseless aircraft flying at a low altitude, without aid of propellers or wings."  They said it was different from any aircraft they had ever seen.

Research Group

Professors at Texas Tech who saw Lubbock Lights (left to right),
Dr. Oberg, Prof. Ducker, and Dr. Robinson, discuss them with Dr. E. L. George.

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Bluebook File Photo

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