NATIONAL AVIATION  REPORTING  CENTER  ON  ANOMALOUS  PHENOMENA

Results of an Informal NARCAP Advisor Survey
on Which Visual Phenomena Should be Studied

by

Richard F. Haines
Chief Scientist

February 24, 2001

An informal survey was completed on February 17, 2001 during NARCAP'S organizational meeting. Each participant-advisor present rated two things: (a) the current level of understanding by "mainstream science of each of twenty eight (28) different visual phenomena that occur in the earth's atmosphere, and (b) the degree to which any of these phenomena should become an area of concern to NARCAP? The NARCAP advisors and guests who took this survey consisted of highly educated individuals working primarily within many areas of science, technology, and aviation. They included astronomers, astrophysicists, aeronautical engineers, computer scientists, pilots and flight instructors, air traffic controllers, science journalists, and other specialties. The following results are considered only as advisory and will be used by NARCAP management in planning future activities.

(a) Current Level of Understanding by Mainstream Science?

Table 1 presents various statistics that summarize the participants' ratings to this question. The rating scale used was: 0 = none; 1 = pure speculation, 2 = partially understood, and 3 = well understood (by today's scientists).

Table 1

Results of Survey on Understanding
by Mainstream Scientists


 
ASTEROID
AURORA
BOLIDE
CHEMTRAILS
CLOUD
N of cases 16 14 8 11 14
Sum 136 105 36 66 105
Mean 8.5 7.5 4.5 6.5 7.5
Standard Dev. 3.83 2.54 2.19 2.95 3.28
           
  CONTRAIL EARTHQ. LIGHTS EBL FOO FIGHTER GREEN FLASH
N of cases 15 12 5 10 10
Sum 120 21 6 9 18
Mean 8.0 1.75 1.2 0.9 1.8
Standard Dev. 2.64 0.62 0.44 0.56 0.78
           
  GREEN FIREBALL LIGHTNING MARINE WHEEL METEOR METEORITE
N of cases 8 15 5 166 16
Sum 11 39 7 42 43
Mean 1.37 2.6 1.4 2.62 2.68
Standard Dev. .51 0.50 0.54 0.50 0.47
           
  MIRAGE MOCK SUN NOC. LIGHTS PARHELIA SKY FLASH
N of cases 14 11 10 5 7
Sum 29 27 17 9 11
Mean 2.07 2.45 1.70 1.80 1.57
Standard Dev. 0.47 0.52 0.67 0.83 0.78
           
  SPACE FLASH SPRITE SAINT ELMOS SUB SUN SUN DOG
N of cases 5 6 13 4 10
Sum 4 13 28 9 41
Mean 0.80 2.16 2.15 2.25 2.40
Standard Dev. 0.83 0.75 0.80 0.95 0.69
           
  UAP VOLCANO LIGHT WILL-O-WISP    
N of cases 14 9 5    
Sum 16 14 10    
Mean 1.44 1.55 2.0    
Standard Dev. 0.94 0.72 1.00    
           

Note 1. Expanding Ball of Light (see Haines, R.F., Expanding Ball of Light Phenomenon, J. of Scientific Exploration, vol. 2 no. 1, pp. 83-85, 1988)

(b) Should Become an Area of Concern to NARCAP?

Table 2 provides the survey results obtained to this question. The rating scale used was: 0 = no, never, 1 = perhaps, but only later, 2 = yes, but of lower importance, and 3 = yes, immediately.

Table 2 provides the survey results obtained to this question. The rating scale used was: 0 = no, never, 1 = perhaps, but only later, 2 = yes, but of lower importance, and 3 = yes, immediately.

Table 2

Results of Survey Concerning NARCAP
Interest/Concern in Each Visual Phenomenon


  ASTEROID AURORA BOLIDE CHEMTRAILS CLOUD
N of cases 16 16 10 15 16
Sum 17 12 13 29 10
Mean 1.06 .75 1.3 1.93 0.62
Standard Dev. 1.06 .93 0.94 .096 0.95
           
  CONTRAIL EARTHQ. LIGHTS EBL FOO FIGHTER GREEN FLASH
N of cases 16 14 11 12 12
Sum 21 31 20 22 16
Mean 1.31 2.21 1.81 1.83 1.33
Standard Dev. 1.30 1.12 1.08 1.12 1.16
           
  GREEN FIREBALL LIGHTNING MARINE WHEEL METEOR METEORITE
N of cases 12 6 9 16 16
Sum 17 22 12 20 14
Mean 1.41 1.38 1.33 1.25 0.88
Standard Dev. 0.99 1.20 1.41 1.13 1.09
           
  MIRAGE MOCK SUN NOC. LIGHTS PARHELIA SKY FLASH
N of cases 15 10 13 8 10
Sum 23 6 33 6 17
Mean 1.53 0.60 2.54 0.75 1.70
Standard Dev. 1.25 0.70 0.88 1.17 1.16
           
  SPACE FLASH SPRITE SAINT ELMOS SUB SUN SUN DOG
N of cases 8 7 14 7 10
Sum 15 6 12 4 7
Mean 188 0.86 0.86 0.57 0.70
Standard Dev. 1.13 0.90 0.86 0.79 0.68
           
  UAP VOLCANO LIGHT WILL-O-WISP    
N of cases 13 11 8    
Sum 34 17 12    
Mean 2.62 1.55 1.50    
Standard Dev. 0.96 1.21 1.41    
           

The means from Table 1 were rank ordered from least to most "understood by mainstream science" (cf., Col. A of Table 3) with corresponding mean ratings of their "interest to NARCAP" (Col. B).

Table 2

Rank Ordered Mean Ratings of Phenomena
Judged Understanding by Current Science with
Corresponding Mean Ratings of Judged Interest to NARCAP





Visual Phenomenon A
Rank Ordered Mean
Ratings of Under-
standing by Current Science
B
Mean Rating of
"Concern to
NARCAP"

Space Flashes 0.80 1.88
Foo Fighter(s) 0.90 1.83
UAP 1.14 2.62
Expanding ball of light 1.20 1.82
Chem trail(s) 1.27 1.93
Green fireball(s) 1.38 1.42
UAP 1.14 2.62
Marine wheel(s) 1.40 1.33
Will-o-wisp 1.56 1.50
Sky flash(es) 1.57 1.70
Noctural light(s) 1.70 2.54
Earthquake light(s) 1.75 2.21
Green flash 1.80 1.33
Parhelia 1.80 0.75
Mirage(s) 2.07 1.53
St. Elmo's fire 2.15 0.86
Sprite(s) 2.17 0.86
Sub sun 2.25 0.87
Sun dog 2.40 0.70
Mock sun 2.46 0.60
Bolide(s) 2.50 1.30
Lightning 2.60 1.38
Meteor(s) 2.63 1.25
Meteorite(s) 2.69 0.88
Asteroid(s) 2.69 1.06
Cloud(s) 2.71 0.63
Contrail(s) 2.80 1.31
Aurora 2.86 0.75

It may be noted that these two columns of means differ significantly using a paired t test (t = 2.91; p = 0.007; df = 27) but do not possess a significant rank-order correlation (r = 0.73).

The primary purpose for administering this survey was to find out what visual phenomena our advisors felt we should focus on in future theoretical studies in order to provide needed informational preparation for our field studies. A score of 3 indicated that the advisor felt that that particular phenomenon should be of immediate concern to NARCAP, a score of 2 indicated it is of interest but of lower importance, and a score of 1 indicated that only later might NARCAP investigate it. We are, therefore, interested primarily with phenomenon having mean scores between about one and one-half to three (cf. Table 4). Note here, that there tended to be greater divergence of opinion in the lower mean scored items as indicated the larger standard deviation values.

Table 4

Rank ordered Visual Phenomena from Table 2.

  Mean SD

Unidentified Aerial Phen. 2.61 0.96
Noctural Lights 2.54 0.88
Earthquake Lights 2.21 1.12
Chem Trails 1.93 0.96
Space Flashes 1.88 1.13
Foo Fighters 1.83 1.12
Sky Flashes 1.70 1.16
Volcanic Lights 1.55 1.21
Mirages 1.53 1.25

The visual phenomena listed in Table 4 provides a useful guidance from our advisors on directions in which future research should proceed. The Executive Staff wishes to thank each participant for their assistance.

As NARCAP makes clear on its website and all of its reference documents, we take no public position on the origin or cause of unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) in particular but desire to let the data speak for themselves.



Copyright 2000 NATIONAL AVIATION REPORTING CENTER ON ANOMALOUS PHENOMENA