Back in September 2011, there were widespread flight cancellations across China that were blamed on inclement weather. It was an unusually large disruption to the air traffic across a large country, so some took to the net to ask “What was really going on?” One theory that arose was that the nation’s airspace had been shut down because the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force was engaging UFOs.

Over time, however, the rumors subsided and became the stuff that urban legends are made of. Until now, that is, as a discovery on Google Map’s satellite images has turned up what appears to be two planes following a rapidly moving, blurry white object. It’s an image that many are theorizing to be that legendary close encounter.

During the time of the rumors, naturally photos had emerged but were quickly written off as simple Photoshop jobs. However, this discovery is considerably more accusation-proof since it was done by the cold, indifferent cameras used by Google to patch together a map of the area. It’s online for anyone to see, go ahead and take a look!

Here in the skies above Zhumadian, Henan Province we can see a blurry white object which has two contrails indicating that it’s moving across the sky at high speed. Not too far from it, we can see the shapes of two planes that appear to be in pursuit of the unidentified craft. Some suspect that these two planes are PLA in pursuit of the fuzzy UFO.

It seems a little unlikely, though, as the copyright watermark on the image says 2013–two years after the rumored encounter. On the other hand, that doesn’t guarantee the photo was taken at that time, and some could argue that this is simply another later UFO incident that was snapped by Google’s all-seeing eye.

Whether genuine or not, it’s nevertheless an interesting image, and understandably makes people wonder, especially since Google Map’s Satellite View is basically a mosaic of satellite and ariel photographs pieced together to make what you see in your browser.

Sometimes these photos are taken at different times of day because of cloud coverage or technical glitches, and this can lead to some jarring changes in lighting or landscape like in the image below. It’s understandable to have a few hiccups here and there when trying to create a composite photo of the entire world.

map change2

That being said, it’s possible that the white blur is simply another plane that got cropped out of this tile in the mosaic. However, if that were the case we would probably be able to see some sort of line or change in hue on the ground to indicate a change in image.

More likely, this UFO might be a third plane flying at a higher altitude which makes it out of focus. Imaging satellites fly at a constant altitude and keep a constant focal point to ensure and even clarity of the ground. If a plane is flying closer to the camera lens then it will appear out of focus compared to lower flying planes. It’s kind of like when you take a photo outside and an insect flies in front. The resulting image might be clear except for a fuzzy spot that’s hard to identify.

Those are two possibilities but there is no definitive answer on what this Google Map image actually is. Whether it’s an optical illusion, UFO, Iron Man, or impish Google employee, all boils down on what you want to believe. But even if it’s just for a minute, can we all say that it’s aliens?

Source: Google Maps, Qian Zhan (Chinese)
Original Article by Meg Sawai

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