When you think of a UFO, you probably think of a shiny, metal spacecraft in the shape of a disc. That is what is portrayed as the “classic” UFO, but interestingly enough, most UFO sightings are simply moving lights that have an unknown origin. One case of these strange sky lights is known as the Green Fireball Wave of 1948-1951.
Green fireballs are literally what they sound like--giant, green, round objects that appear to be on fire. The fireballs were seen throughout the southwestern United States, although they seemed to cluster in New Mexico. The first known sighting of the fireballs was on December 5, 1948. The objects were seen twice by two pilots who were flying over New Mexico, 22 minutes apart. Many just shrugged the encounter as a meteor, but the witnesses insisted it was not a meteor. The military was more concerned.
The next day, the Air Force formed a study of the fireballs. Two of the investigators encountered another fireball under similar circumstances as the two pilots. The Air Force then contacted Lincoln La Paz, a well known expert on meteors, to consult on the study. La Paz later encountered one himself and concluded, due to the lack of speed and sound, that the fireballs were not, in fact, meteors.
After study of the atmosphere from the places where encounters happened, La Paz found that there was an unexplained amount of copper particles in the atmosphere. La Paz said that this was more proof that the fireballs weren’t meteors, because there is no evidence showing copper particles coming from meteors.
Eventually the study decided to try and photograph the objects. Project Sparkle came from this, the official title for the attempt to photograph the fireballs. Due to lack of funding and equipment failure resulting in no pictures, Project Sparkle was shut down. Those who were involved speculated from their observations that the objects weren’t natural but were artificially made, some say by extraterrestrial craft.
Unusual lights are still seen in the sky today, the most famous being the Marfa Lights in Texas and the Naga Fireballs seen above the Mekong River in Thailand.
Strange and Unusual Phenomena by Jerome Clark and Nancy Pear
The UFO Encyclopedia by Jerome Clark