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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 Alsace, on February 13, 2013:

Case number:



On February 11, 2013 a Russian Soyuz SL- 4 R/B rocket took off from Baikonur to put a Progress cargo spacecraft into orbit for deliveries to the International Space Station (ISS).

On February 13, 2013 at about 10:15 p.m., a stage of the fells down in the atmosphere, passing over Alsace and other areas.

That same day, the "Groupe d’Études et d’Information sur les Phénomènes Aérospatiaux Non Identifiés" (Study and Information Group on Unidentified Aerospace Phenomena, GEIPAN) informed on their website that they received sighting reports about it, and gives the explanation. Two days later, the regional newspaper Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace briefly mentioned three observations from the Bas-Rhin, and give the explanation GEIPAN had published.

Elsewhere, outside Alsace, at least one photo and at least one video of the event were captured and show what totally looks like a reentry or rocket debris.

At least one ufologist nevertheless still claims on his website that was a "real UFO", without giving any reason other than the claim that we are being lied to.


Temporal data:

Date: February 13, 2013
Time: ~10:15 p.m.
Duration: ?, ?, 2 minutes.
First known report date: February 13, 2013
Reporting delay: Minutes, hours? Various.

Geographical data:

Department: Bas-Rhin at least, transregional.
City: Grendelbruch, Entzheim, the Hohbuhl.
Place: Several places.
Latitude: 48.65
Longitude: 7.62
Uncertainty ratio: 70 km

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: Several, at least 3 independent groups.
Number of known witnesses: 3
Number of named witnesses: 2
Witness(es) ages: Adults.
Witness(es) types: Hikers, a lady, air traffic controllers.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: To GEIPAN, to regional Press.
Type of location: Various.
Visibility conditions: Night
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: N/A, re-entry.
Entities: No
Photographs: Yes, from elsewhere.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: ?
Witnesses interpretation: Plane on fire, meteor.


Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Rocket junk re-entry.


[Ref. gei1:] GEIPAN:

February 13, 2013

Atmospheric re-entry of a Soyouz stage on February 13, 2013

GEIPAN received several testimonies from eastern France, about a trail of fire, observed on February 13, at about 10:15 p.m.

It was the re-entry of a stage of Soyuz SL-4 R/B (listed 39083, or 2013-007B).

This launcher had put into orbit on February 11 a Progress cargo ship to the international space station ISS.

Note that that evening, only Alsace and East of France had a clear sky, this explains this phenomenon, though very spectacular, has been little noticed in France. If fragments arrived on the ground, they fell in Germany.

See additional information:

If you have observed this phenomenon, you can write a simplified report by using our FIREBALL form:

Geometry of the sightings, Scully software

Trajectory calculated from the Orbit bulletin obtained from


par Olivier Terrenère, published on 02/15/2013 at 05:00 | Seen 6227 times

February 15, 2013

Grendelbruch - Astronomy - A bit of a Russian launcher in the sky of the bas-rhin

The approximate trajectory of this flying object... finally identified. Document issued by the National Centre for Space Studies

On the night of Wednesday to Thursday, several witnesses observed in the sky a strange luminous phenomenon. In reality, it was not a UFO. But almost!

They were nighttime snowshoeing on the side of the Hohbuhl, on the heights of Grendelbruch, when these four hikers attended for a few seconds a show ... impressive to say the least.

Amid a clear starry sky suddenly appeared to them "a kind of object advancing silently with a long red trail behind. It seemed very close and it was going in the direction of the Alsace plain," said one of them, Strasbourg resident Philippe Thouault. Then the forest hid the light path to them.

The walkers first think they were dealing with a "burning aircraft" wishing to land at Entzheim. Then they consider the case of an asteroid entering the Earth's atmosphere.

They are not the only ones who thus wondered. 15 kilometers west of Strasbourg, a lady also observed the phenomenon "for two minutes." And in the control tower of the Entzheim airport "controllers have noticed something", also confirmed Grelet Antoine, the head of operations. But without a clue about its origin. "As always in these cases, we sent information to the CNES (note: the National Centre for Space Studies)."

Late yesterday afternoon, the explanation is finally coming from Geipan (*), this working group of the CNES based in Toulouse, specializing in the analysis of such phenomena.

Fallen in Germany?

And the cause of the mysterious "fireball" is neither an aircraft in distress, nor a shooting star. It was actually the "atmospheric reentry of a stage of Soyuz SL- 4 R/B," says director Xavier Passot. A rocket that, on February 11 from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, took off to pu in orbit" a Progress cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station ISS."

The clear sky in the east of France that night in particular explained that several observations have been made in our region, although the phenomenon has also been seen in Lorraine or Belgium.

Whether fragments arrived on the ground, it is in Germany that they fell, says the head of Geipan. The mystery is solved. But perhaps the concern that the sky will one day fall on our heads is not discarded for everyone.

(*) Geipan: study and information group on unidentified aerospace phenomena.

by Olivier Terrenère


City Date and hour of observation General shape
General color
HOHBUHL Wednesday 13 February 2013 ball, balloon or melon (3D)
Artificial reentry
Artificial reentry


As I was writing the file for this case, it was explained by the GEIPAN [gei1].

The former GEPAN added an I to its acronym, I for "Information", and was then: GEIPAN. And here, the work has been done, the information was given, and it is accurate information.

We also see that the three independent witnesses groups in Alsace mentioned very briefly by the newspaper Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace [dna1] did apparently not produce hysterical statements and did not call what they saw in the sky an alien spaceship.

One might therefore think that it was unnecessary to document this case, since "nobody" really filed a "UFO" sighting report. This would not even be a "negative cases," those cases in which the witness or witnesses themselves solve their own case right after thinking they were seeing a UFO.

But this is not so sure. I do not know what possible Alsatian witnesses reported to GEIPAN, and it may be they reported this event as a "true UFO". Maybe there are other reports I missed. Or someone in 10 or 20 years will suddenly report on this event as "the UFO I saw in 2013".

But there's worse than that.

At least one ufologist - I will not be specific, it is useless to advertise for the man - who says he "studies UFOs since 1969", and even published a photography of the event taken in Lorraine which shows what any ufologist, even beginner, should be able to recognize as meteor or space junk reentry, at least in potential, has found a way to claim that this was indeed a real UFO:

This ufologist managed to write that it is "according to some" a re-entry of debris from a Russian rocket, refraining from giving any source, date, name of the rocket etc.. - It would have revealed that "some" are not necessarily idiots, it could reveal that the explanation is obviously the correct one, that "some" have clearly shown that. The explanation being also indicated by the photo, the video and the witnesses descriptions.

And he asserts as "argument", therefore supposed to prove that this was a "real UFO": "On connaît la musique" ("We've heard this all before")... A conspiracy, of course.

Rocket debris enters the atmosphere, as expected, it is seen, it is described as such, it is quickly identified, but to this ufologist, it must be a real UFO. To think otherwise is disinformation, always. Everything must remain a real UFO, any trivial explanation is generally ignored or concealed, or denied without any further thought by this ufologist on his website, and he is not the only one who behaves like this.

And then, that same kind of ufologists moan about the lack of consideration from scientists for their "studies"... Bravo, really...


Rocket junk re-entry.

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
Editeur: Patrick Gross

Changes history:

Version: Create/changed by: Date: Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross March 23, 2014 Creation, [gei1], [dna1].
1.0 Patrick Gross March 23, 2014 First published.
1.1 Patrick Gross August 25, 2015 Addition [spa1].

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This page was last updated on August 25, 2015.