New Frontiers in Science is an online journal that examines unexplained and controversial scientific phenomena. NFS publishes research and theories outside currently accepted scientific paradigms.

In this issue, NFS presents the first detailed analysis of the STS-80 video captured by astronauts aboard the space shuttle Columbia in December 1996. Access to articles in previous issues is provided through the NFS Archive.

Vol. 4, No. 4 (Summer 2005): Space Shuttle STS-80 Video Analysis

Anomalous Phenomena in Space Shuttle Mission STS-80 Video

Mark Carlotto

Analysis of video from Space Shuttle mission STS-80 provides new insight into a number of unusual events captured by a camera aboard the space shuttle Columbia in 1996. Three different phenomena are analyzed: 1) two slow moving circular objects, 2) a number of fast moving objects in space near the shuttle, and 3) a strange luminous apparition near the earth's surface. The two slow moving circular objects have attracted a great deal of popular interest due to their disk-like shape. One seems to appear out of a cloud layer, the other moves into the camera's field of view. It is argued that both are likely to be pieces of shuttle debris emerging from the spacecraft's shadow. The fast moving objects in space near the shuttle appear as bright streaks moving rapidly across the video frame. Analysis of their speeds and directions implies that they are not shuttle debris or meteors. Perhaps the most interesting observation is a rapidly moving burst of light that appears near the earth's surface off the east coast of Puerto Rico. Occurring well before sunrise, away from thunderstorm activity, and moving at an estimated speed of over 500 miles/sec., this is one of the most unusual phenomena observed to date by the shuttle. Its similarity to certain ground-based sightings suggests that it might represent the first observation of a new kind of atmospheric phenomenon from space.

Download article in PDF New! Click here to access raw Quicktime movie of event F1 (1.7 Meg).