The Trindade Isle Case
November 27, 1958
Mr. Richard Hall
National Investigations Committee
On Aerial Phenomena
1536 Connecticut Ave., N.W.
Washington 6, D.C.
Dear Mr. Hall:
I have carefully analyzed the pictures and the reports of the Brazilian sighting. I have come at least to a tentative conclusion, which It pass on to you. At least my explanation accounts for all of the facts that I now have in my possession. If others should come up, I may have to alter the conclusion, since I am giving this one as by far the more probable of several alternatives.
I have in my possession one well-authenticated case of a saturn-like object, whose nature is known and clearly distinguishable in this particular instance. A plane, flying in a humid but apparently super-cooled atmosphere, became completely enveloped in fog, so about all one could see was a division where the stream lines were flowing up and down respectively over and under the wings. The cabin made a saturn-like spot in the center, and the wings closely resembled the appearance of the Brazilian photographs.
In addition, there was probably some specular reflection from the brilliant sunlight, from the plane itself. The intensity of this reflection often gives a false impression of the speed of the plane. When it brightens one assumes that the plane is coming in. When it fades one assumes that the plane is departing. This is all the more emphasized when you have the effect of what ordinarily is just a vapor trail, wrapped completely around the plane.
I do not have, of course, detailed meteorological phenomena that would enable me to evaluate whether the air was indeed supersaturated. However, the conditions in a tropical atmosphere are more conducive to this sort of thing than a more temperate zone.
In photographs taken of the object that I refer to, the propellers were clearly visible. However, they, too, could have been enveloped in the fog. Or, perhaps, the plane was a jet. Failure to observe the noise of the plane is so uncommon that we can discard it. Moreover, we do not have any information concerning the d.b. level of noise on shipboard.
I still do not have the significant information concerning the sizes of lenses, focal lengths, enlargements of the picture, etc., so that I can make the significant evaluation. We do not know how far from shore the ship was, and so on. I submit, however, that this is my best available explanation.
Donald H. Menzel
*NOTE: Some but not all grammar, typing and spelling errors have been corrected from the original letter.