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Jimmy Carter's UFO Sighting

Section of March, 2009 Popular Mechanics Cover.

Popular Mechanics Explanation For Jimmy Carter's UFO Sighting.
Popular Mechanics Explanation For Jimmy Carter's UFO Sighting.

The March, 2009 issue of Popular Mechanics (PM) Magazine (PP 55 to 66) discusses the UFO phenomenon. Explanations for offered for all UFO sightings. They range from witness delusions to military aircraft. Of course UFOs can't be real and all can be explained.

The second graphic above is a clip from the article in which PM explains ex-President Jimmy Carter's UFO sighting as the planet Venus. I thought this worthy of investigation so looked into the specifics of Jimmy Carter's report and gathered some astronomical data for the period (October, 1969) when Jimmy Carter said that his sighting occurred. Here is what I found:

1. Carter's sighting occurred in October, 1969. He doesn't recall the exact date. (Some have felt that the sighting was later when he was governor of Georgia, because he listed his occupation as governor of Georgia. However, he did not make his report until September 18, 1973 at which time that he was governor of Georgia.)

2. The sighting time was listed as 7:15 PM EST. Carter stated that his sighting was "shortly after dark."

3. Ten to twelve witnessed the sighting.

4. The object was nearly as large as the moon.

5. The object was in view for 10 to 12 minutes. It came close, moved away, came close and then moved away. The object moved to a distance and then disappeared.

6. According to the Multiyear Interactive Computer Almanac (MICA) Venus would have set 5:11 PM EST (6:11 PM EDT) on October 1, 1969 and would have gradually set earlier as the month progressed setting at 4:55 PM EST on October 31, 1969. Obviously this is much earlier than Carter's sighting which he listed as occurring at 7:15 EST. (The exact date of the sighting is unknown and the President could have erroneously listed the time as EST when the correct time would have been EDT. Standard time would have began on Sunday, October 26, 1969. MICA software is produced by the U.S. Naval Observatory.

7. Sunset would have occurred at 6:23 PM EST (7:23 PM EDT) on October 1, 1969 and at 5:50 PM EST on October 31, 1969.

Given the above statistics there is no way that the sighting of the large apparent slow moving object could have been Venus. One wonders why established media would render such an explanation? Why don't they investigate their claims? Perhaps the saying coined by Stanton Friedman has some relevance here: "Don't bother me with the facts, my mind is already made up!"


Popular Mechanics, Something in the Sky, March, 2009, (PP 55-66) (Jerry Cohen Research Site)

U.S. Naval Observatory (

MICA Multiyear Interactive Computer Almanac Astronomical Software


From the Book - "Above Top Secret": During his election campaign of 1976 Jimmy Carter told the following to reporters: It was the darndest thing I've ever seen. It was big, it was very bright, it changed colors and it was about the size of the moon. We watched it for ten minutes, but none of us could figure out what it was. One thing's for sure, I'll never make fun of people who say they've seen unidentified objects in the sky. If I become President, I'll make every piece of information this country has about UFO sightings available to the public and the scientists. Following is the form Jimmy Carter filed with NICAP on Sep. 18, 1973. Only the questions that were responded to are listed.

Carter's responses are in quotation marks:

1. Name: "Jimmy Carter"
Address: "State Capitol Atlanta"
Occupation: "Governor"

2. Date of Observation: "October 1969."

3. Time of Observation: 7:15 PM EST

4. Location of Observation: "Leary, Georgia"

5. How long did you see the object?: "10-12 minutes."

6. Please describe weather conditions and the type of sky; i.e., bright daylight, nighttime, dusk, etc.: "Shortly after dark."

7. Position of the Sun or Moon in relation to the object and to you: "Not in sight."

8. If seen at night, twilight, or dawn, were the stars or moon visible?: "Stars."

9. Were there more than one object?: "No."

10. Was the object(s) brighter than the background of the sky?: "Yes."

11. If so, compare the brightness with the Sun, Moon, headlights, etc.: "At one time, as bright as the moon."

12. Did the object(s)-: a. Appear to stand still at any time?: "Yes."
   a. Change brightness?: "Yes."
   b. Change shape?: "Yes."
   c. Change color?: "Yes."

13. Did object(s) at any time pass in front of, or behind of anything? If so, Please elaborate giving distance, size, etc, if possible.: "No."

14. Was there any wind?: "No."

15. Did you observe the object(s) through an optical instrument or other aid, windshield, window pane, storm window, screening, etc.? What?: "No."

16. Please tell if the object(s) was (were)- Sharply outlined: "Yes."

17. Was the object - Self-luminous?: "Yes."

18. Did the object(s) rise or fall while in motion?: "Came close, moved away, came close and then moved away."

19. Or, if easier, give apparent size in inches on a ruler held at arm's length: "About the same as moon, maybe a little smaller. Varied from brighter/larger than planet to apparent size of moon." 21. How did you happen to notice the object(s)?: "10-12 men all watched it. Brightness attracted us."

20. Where were you and what were you doing at the time?: "Outdoors waiting for a meeting to begin at 7:30 pm."

21. How did the object(s) disappear from view?: "Moved to distance then disappeared."

22. Please estimate the distance of the object(s): "Difficult. Maybe 300-1000 yards."

23. What was the elevation of the object(s) in the sky?: "About 30 degrees above horizon."

24. Names and addresses of other witnesses, if any: "Ten members of Leary Georgia Lions Club."

25. Please draw a map of the locality of the observation showing North; your position; the direction from which the object(s) appeared and disappeared from view; the direction of its course over the area; roads, towns, villages, railroads, and other landmarks within a mile.: "Appeared from west about 30 degrees up."

26. Is there an airport, military, governmental, or research installation in the area?: "No."

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