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Towards A Natural "plasma" Explanation Of Certain Ufo Phenomena

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The subject of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO's) may initially create knee-jerk reactions in people as soon as the subject is brought up. And such a reaction may well be understandable. Much of the discourse on the subject that can be found on the internet seems to be associated with theories about extra-terrestials, or secret and nefarious governmental technologies. When people observe strange mobile phenomena in the skies, strange lights and unusual morphologies - they often start to reach conclusions about aliens or conspiracy theories. Skeptics, however, do approach these phenomena with a more careful and scientific mind. Indeed, a large majority of UFO reports have turned out to be fully explainable via mundane natural or manmade phenomena. Some of course, are blatant hoaxes. Other sightings, however, remain mysterious and unresolved. These more credible sightings are considerably harder to find and research.

In this article, I will attempt to offer an explanation for at least some of the unexplained UFO observations in our skies. The often aetheric and dynamic and variable morphologies of the observed phenomena do challenge the notion that they are neccessarily manmade or extra-terrestial vehicles. The behaviour of electrodynamic ionized particles (plasma) in certain double-layer regions of our lower atmosphere deserves serious consideration as a possible driver of these sightings.

Current studies remain inconclusive

In 1967, a conference took place in Boulder, Colorado on the subject of UFO's and plasma phenomena. Several experts attended - hailing from various university departments around the US, as well as military and governmental research laboratories. UFO research website "Project 1947" has a summary of the proceedings:-


Two choice quotes from the summary are of particular note:-

"Participants with a background in theoretical or experimental plasma physics felt that containment of plasma by magnetic fields is not likely under atmospheric conditions for more than a second or so"

"All participants agreed that the UFO cases presented contained insufficient data for a definitive scientific conclusion."

Thus, plasma phenomena was obviously given serious consideration for the conference to be organised and go ahead. Unfortunately, it seems that assumptions about plasma behaviour led to the conclusion that our lower atmosphere could not support such plasma phenomena for anywhere near the amount of time that matches the actual observed UFO phenomena.

In the 1990's the UK government was involved in a series of scientific studies regarding possible natural causes for UFO phenomena. Summaries from these studies became part of a series of declassified documents that the Ministry Of Defence released to the public in 2006. The main conclusion reached from a review of scientific studies was that UFO phenomena are most likely (albeit not certainly) some form of electrical "plasma" phenomena in the atmosphere:-

"Considerable evidence exists to support the thesis that the events are almost certainly attributable to physical, electrical and magnetic phenomena in the atmosphere, mesosphere and ionosphere. They appear to originate due to more than one set of weather and electrically-charged conditions and are observed so infrequently as to make them unique to the majority of observers. There seems to be a strong possibility that at least some of the events may be triggered by meteor re-entry, the meteors neither burning up completely nor impacting as meteorites, but forming buoyant plasmas. The conditions and method of formation of the electrically-charged plasmas and the scientific rationale for sustaining them for significant periods is incomplete or not fully understood"


It is worth noting that the MOD report does not go into detail about the specific types of plasmas and the environmental conditions required for their manifestation. Albeit various triggers for the plasma phenomena are explored.

One theory, mentioned in the declassified documents - suggests that UFO phenomena could be explained by buoyant plasmas that are formed from particular types of entry of meteors into our atmosphere. The report states:-

"It also seems reasonable to assume that any material which, having sped through the atmosphere at enormous velocity and attained a very high ionisation temperature, must exist in gaseous form before dispersing. It is postulated that it may, instead of (or as well as) forming a gaseous plasma viewed as a visible luminous stream, form (due to variations in atmospheric density and other factors) a single or several plasma bodies."

"Many meteors are of no consequence being microscopic in size. They would not produce a plasma with sufficient energy. However, some of the meteors which have reached the surface as meteorites are known to contain magnetic and other elements. On entering the atmosphere they may already have properties (e.g. electrical or magnetic currents) of unknown magnitude, of which we are unaware and which may influence their final form as they come towards the earth."

"They will either completely burn up, impact as meteorites or, from the rationale above, it is therefore suggested that under certain conditions the residual material from a meteor could form a buoyant plasma or 'fireball' in the lower atmosphere"

The results of a study:-

"It is noted that the co-incidence of peak meteor dates and UAP reports is statistically very high and cannot be due to chance"

It seems meteors were the strongest natural correlation with UAP (UFO) reports - as sunspots and solar flux variations were ruled out as having a correlation.



It is interesting how little attempt is made to explain why so many meteors simply flare up and discharge in our atmosphere as very transient fireballs - without producing dynamic plasma formations. Indeed, many UFO formations that are reported - show horizontal movements across the lower atmosphere as well as a variety of dynamic behaviour. The 1967 Plasma UFO conference found that such plasmas cannot be sustained in the lower atmosphere for more than "a second or so". What is causing these plasmas to last so long within the lower atmosphere? After all, the MOD states that the UFO phenomena is not confined to our upper ionized atmospheric layers.

The declassified material leaves the mechanisms for formation, an open question:-

"The precise electrical and atmospheric conditions for UAP formation cannot be determined from the evidence available."


In this article, I will offer an introduction to the nature of plasma in space and in the laboratory. I will then present evidence to suggest that plasma phenomena and electric currents in the universe present the same morphologies as can be observed in UFO phenomena. I will show that the same electric field and double-layer conditions for cosmic and laboratory plasma phenomena can potentially be applied to our lower atmosphere. The implications of this are that our lower atmosphere can, at least, temporally - behave like a quasi-neutral plasma with specific boundary regions (between alternating "double layers" of opposing charge) that can sustain powerful electric fields and highly complex and dynamic buoyant plasmas. These plasmas may account for a good deal of UFO sightings. Specific case-studies are presented here for comparison purposes with plasma instabilities and states - such as Birkeland Currents, Bennett Pinches, and Perratt instabilities.

Continues here:-


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And going on from that,


I read his book, 'Worlds in Collision' many years ago - he was ahead of his time in ascertaining the surface temperature of Venus.

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