From: "Martin Shough" <>

To: "Francis Ridge" <>
Subject: Stuttgart #2: Jan. 28, 1953;Between Stuttgart and Rhein Main  Air Base, Germany (BB)
Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2011 11:20:53 +0100

The a/c heading was 300 deg, the two lights appeared to the left
and right of this course, near the horizon. They were just lights
with no discernable shape or size. One of them fluctuated in

The report says that the pilot "took necessary action to
determine if the lights . . . could be . . . stars shining
through cloud", perhaps suggesting an appearance like stars
through cloud. No indication of what this "necessary action"
might have been.

The lights appeared to move in the same direction and at the same
speed as the a/c and so they stayed in roughly the same relative
positions, apart from a couple of times drifting a little to the
side or up and down and then returning. This might be accounted
for by autokinesis (and/or possible small oscillations in the
crab angle of the a/c axis due to winds?)

Exact a/c location is unclear, but from 8,500ft in the
approximate area NW of Stuttgart at 2120 local (2020Z) on Jan 28
1953 Venus (mag -3.6) would have been close to setting at about
266 deg and Vega (mag 0.0) a little closer to setting at about
346 deg, thus left and right of the nose respectively.

The report says the a/c was flying between two cloud decks a
couple of thousand feet below and above it. "All observations
were between the cloud layers", suggesting a clear strip at the
flight level in which Venus and Vega could have been seen. The
left hand light fluctuated in intensity and as it appeared (from
the upper cloud?) the right-hand light disappeared, which would
fit the fact that Vega on the right was about 97 arcmin lower and
would have descended towards the lower cloud and/or horizon ahead
of it.

Bluebook has "ASTRO (star/planet)". I think there's every chance
were right this time.

Martin Shough
These are some indicative ground level astro data for the general
area (local time; adjust elevations for 8,500ft)

Magnitude: -3.6
Angular size: 23.77 arcsec
Phase: 0.526
Observed at 21:20:58  Jan 28 1953
Alt   1° 37' 13"   Az 266° 20' 23"
Rises  9:43:51   Transits 15:36:14   Sets 21:28:36

Name: Vega
3 Alpha Lyrae
Magnitude:  0.0
Observed at 21:19:35  Jan 28 1953
Alt   0°  0' 20",  Az 346° 29' 47"
Rises 23:55:49,  Transits 10:31:01,  Sets 21:02:17.