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ALSACAT is my comprehensive catalog of UFO sighting reports in Alsace, the region is the North-East of France, whether they are "explained" or "unexplained".

The ALSACAT catalog is made of case files with a case number, summary, quantitative information (date, location, number of witnesses...), classifications, all sources mentioning the case with their references, a discussion of the case in order to evaluate its causes, and a history of the changes made to the file. A general index and thematic sub-catalogs give access to these Alsatian case files.

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Case of Thann, on October 18, 2009:

Case number:



In a listing of UFO sighting reports in the Haut-Rhin on their website, the Alsatian ufology association SPICA noted that on Sunday, October 18, 2009, at 09:14 p.m. a "luminous dot" was seen. It remained unidentified but SPICA strongly suspects it was a meteor.


Temporal data:

Date: October 18, 2009
Time: 09:14 p.m.
Duration: ?
First known report date: 2015
Reporting delay: Day, 6 years.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Thann
Place: ?
Latitude: 47.805
Longitude: 7.114
Uncertainty ratio: 4 km

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: ?
Number of known witnesses: ?
Number of named witnesses: ?
Witness(es) ages: ?
Witness(es) types: ?

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Listing of sightings by the regional ufology group SPICA.
Type of location: ?
Visibility conditions: Night
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: ?
Entities: No
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: ?
Witnesses interpretation: ?


Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Satellite, rocket and rocket fuel drop.



City Date and hour of observation General shape
General color
THANN Sunday 18 October 2009 at 09:14 p.m. luminous dot
Natural reentry
Strong hypothesis



With so little information, I would have made mine the proposed explanation.

However, another sighting report at that date and almost the same hour suggest another, artificial, explanation.

Readers located in France had reported to the staff of the popular astronomy magazine Ciel & Espace that they had observed at that same date at about 09:15 p.m. also, a luminous phenomenon in the sky often described as having the looks of a comet.

The magazine had discovered that it was the launch of the military "weather" satellite DMSP F18 from the United States. An Atlas rocket fired from Vandenberg AFB in California at 06:12 p.m. - French time - had followed a path passing over France, among other countries.

Above France, the upper stage of the rocket had been fired at 09:10 p.m. for 3 minutes, to put the satellite into orbit. There then had been a fuel dump, which could constitute the "circle" described by these witnesses.

The explanation, by Ciel & Espace.

Caption by Ciel & Espace:

Here is one of the few pictures showing the DMSP F18 satellite pass.
The object appears spun due to the exposure time of 13 seconds.
This remarkable picture was taken through a thin layer of clouds,
by Quentin DEHAIS, a 16 year old living near Le Havre.


Satellite, rocket and rocket fuel dump.

Sources references:

* = Source is available to me.
? = Source I am told about but could not get so far. Help needed.

File history:


Main author: Patrick Gross
Contributors: None
Reviewers: None
Editor: Patrick Gross

Changes history:

Version: Create/changed by: Date: Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross August 24, 2015 Creation, [spa1].
1.0 Patrick Gross August 24, 2015 First published.

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This page was last updated on August 24, 2015.