Equipment and Instruction for Investigating AOP Scientifically

by Bruce Cornet, Ph.D.

Date last modified: 09/15/2005

Table of Contents

Page 1,             Introduction

Page 2,              Minimum or Necessary Equipment

Page 3,           More Serious COTS Hardware and Software

Page 4,              Custom Made Equipment

Page 5,              Can One Person Do It All?

Page 6,               Field Procedure - Two or More People


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When studying any kind of phenomena using scientific instrumentation there are several factors that must be considered. These factors can be revealed by asking some basic questions like:

1. What physical characteristics of the phenomena am I trying to measure?
2. What instruments can I use to make the measurements?
3. How do the instruments work in principle?
4. Do the instruments require calibration?
5. What format do I want the data to be in?
6. What tools can I use to analyze the data?
7. What kinds of information about AOP do I wish to obtain?

AOP stands for Anomalistic Observational Phenomena (Baker, 1968).

Let's look at each of these questions, with the study of AOP in mind, to see if we can formulate a reasonable approach. An operational concept called Search for ExtraTerrestrial Visitation (SETV) involves the instrumentation of AOP through well-defined experiments using the latest Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) technology.

There are a vast number of AOP characteristics we could try to measure, but for the SETV experiment only a core set of features needs to be measured. AOP are considered to be real and physical and interact with the environment as governed by the laws of physics as we presently understand them. All real physical interactions involve the transfer of energy. That energy can be expressed in different forms -- gravitational, kinetic, thermal (heat), chemical, electrical, radiant, nuclear, and others. The physical presence of AOP would involve certain kinds of energy transfer. Because AOP can't be studied under laboratory conditions we need only consider energy we can measure indirectly at a distance. The kinds of AOP energy we can remotely measure are thermal, electrical, radiant and kinetic. These types of energy produce fields or waves that can be detected at a distance.

The temperature of the AOP can be measured indirectly because of the radiation it emits in the form of photons. The electric or magnetic field associated with an AOP can be measured because it will likely have an electric charge. The radiant energy or radiation from an AOP in the form of IR, visible, UV, X-rays or gamma-rays can be measured. Lastly, kinetic energy in the form of atmospheric pressure changes or ground motions can be measured.

The characteristics we want to measure are related to the physical interactions of the AOP with its environment. These interactions involve energy transfers and the AOP characteristics of interest are thermal or optical radiation, electrical or magnetic fields and pressure waves in the air or ground.

The most important problems of AOP investigation are:
(thanks R.B.-W.)

  1. Being in the right place at the right time (or pointing the instruments at the right place).  If one assumes that  AOP sightings are random and that they never return to the same place on any predictable time schedule, one must also make assumptions about what the AOP is doing when it is sighted. Such assumptions have the potential of being filters, which will hinder observation, and interfere with recognition, understanding, and success.  For example, a MUFON director (anonymous) continues to assume that AOP will not return to the same area on a regular basis, but refuses to examine the data collected by Cornet.  His assumption is that only conventional aircraft of human origin do that (near airports), but he fails to understand what the objective might be for the intelligence behind the activity (see If here, how would ETI communicate?).  He filters out the basis for ETI detection.  The data must be given higher priority than assumptions, presumptions, theories, or beliefs.
  2. Interpretation of ambiguous data, and having controls for alternative interpretations. The whole purpose behind collecting sufficient data from different sources of sensors and detectors is to provide different information which can be used to confirm and corroborate any interpretation made, which is based on one set of data (photos or video images, for example).  We need to be aware that advanced technology tends to be stealthy through efficiency (less waste heat,
    faster, etc., because interaction with the environment results in energy dissipation).
  3. Convincing a wider community that the phenomena recorded are what they appear to be. This will always be a problem when skeptics refuse to take an unbiased approach to the problem, and stick to certain extreme beliefs or assumptions, such as the SETI organization, which cannot accept the presence of near earth ET probes because humans cannot travel the extreme distance between star systems in one earth-based lifetime given current technology (so, how could ETI?). Galilleo could not convince his peers that moons exist around other planets, because that would challenge the assumption that earth was the center of universal circulation.
  4. The risk that detection could rapidly become a contact event, which carries with it many consequences and responsibilities.   After all, if Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss) had stollen all of the show in the movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and prevented the world scientific community an opportunity to record the event with instruments as they did at Devil's Tower, his story of being taken aboard an alien ship would be just another.............anecdote!

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Minimum or Necessary Equipment next.

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This page was last edited 09/15/2005