A very unusual UFO video has appeared on YouTube. It looks like a fireball -- an exceptionally large, bright meteor, or space debris -- blazing through the night sky, leaving a long, brilliant trail behind it.
As the following video shows, a mysterious circular orb appears to eject from the main object. But the orb doesn't travel the same downward path of the meteor -- rather, it appears to almost deliberately fly off in the opposite direction.
Unfortunately, it has all the telltale signs of being a hoax. Key details were missing. The person who posted the video refused to comment on it, and a video analyst who spoke with the Huffington Post believes that at least part of the recording may have been doctored.
The videographer, Ken Roberts, posted the incident to YouTube on Jan. 5 with the following description:
"I was driving home after work when this UFO or whatever you call it caught my eye. I pulled over in front of somebody's house to film it. I would have got a better shot but I didn't want to jump these peoples fence. Anyway I don't know what the hell to make of it. Couldn't have been a plane cause there was no noise. And I never heard a crash after either. The Orb thing flew straight up into the sky and disappeared. Sorry I didn't film that. I didn't know what to focus my attention on."
Except for that short narrative, Roberts casually mentions the incident happened in Southern California.
When we asked Roberts if he could simply provide us with the exact location, date and time of the event, he declined, telling us, "No thanks. I've had enough of this already."
The road to UFO credibility is often filled with detours. This is such a case.
When the video was first posted to YouTube, it was associated to Roberts' account. Comments were blocked, however, even after several websites posted stories on the supposed event. Just three days later, Roberts' name is nowhere to be seen on the page; instead, the following message has appeared: "This channel and all its content now belongs to UFO Viral Videos" and on this new page, comments are listed.
So, now, not only is the name of the original videographer of the meteor-orb not available, neither are the small, important details, like exact location, date and time.
While fireballs and meteors are common, the video is nevertheless stunning, because of the extra addition of that orb flying away from the main object.
But did Roberts capture a real aerial event on video?
HuffPost showed the video to retired U.S. Navy optical physicist Bruce Maccabee.
"It does look like a meteor, but that white dot going backwards is definitely not normal," said Maccabee, whose long career at the Naval Surface Warfare Center included optical data processing and various aspects of the Strategic Defense Initiative.
Maccabee, author of "The FBI-CIA-UFO Connection" (Richard Dolan Press), is suspicious about this meteor-orb video.
"As the presumably larger object is moving along to the left, this other thing seems to shoot out in a straight line, backwards. It's not like it started off going in the direction of the meteor -- it looks like it was ejected backwards. And it does look like a nice little round ball."
"I would assign it a partial credibility because of the way this orb seems to be ejected and goes in the opposite direction. Unless it could be proven to be a real video, I would suspect it's a digital hoax."
"Certainly [it would help] if there were other eyewitnesses who would report both the fireball and this orb. If this is a hoax, there could be witnesses to the fireball but not to the orb. Overall, it's interesting because if a meteor breaks up into pieces, it doesn't just eject things backwards."
OpenMinds.tv notes that the American Meteor Society received many reports of a fireball meteorite on Jan. 3, two days before the video was posted, but from northern California, not the exact area where the video in this story was supposedly made.
At this point, without additional helpful details from Roberts or other eyewitnesses, we can only speculate and wonder if the video depicts a combination of a real fireball with a UFO orb digitally added in.