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National UFO Reporting Center
Sighting Report
Occurred : 8/30/2003 17:25 (Entered as : 08/30/03 17:25)
Reported: 9/2/2003 8:15:22 AM 08:15
Posted: 9/4/2003
Location: Ottawa (Canada), ON
Shape: Sphere
Duration:brief
Rotating, opaque sphere, bright and dark side, moving rapidly on a path curving downwards like curvature of "sky dome"

UFO Report Where: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Bridge over Canal between National Arts Centre and the Convention Centre, facing South, directly over centre of Canal Date: August 30, 2003 Time: About 5:20-5:25 p.m. Local Time Weather: Mostly clear with a few mid-altitude clouds; Calm: No wind on ground. No movement of leaves; No movement of cloud cover.

Note on Weather: An article in the OTTAWA CITIZEN newspaper, on August 31 reported that the Hot Air Balloons from the Balloon Festival were forced down in the South End of the city at dusk due to insufficient wind to carry them to better landing sites.

I was walking past the Convention Centre when I noticed a movement and stopped to watch a bright sphere move in a South West direction. When first seen, I was at about 45 degrees above the horizon, or about the height of the National Defence building. It was directly over the Canal and curved down towards the trees between the Canal and the National Arts Centre.

It was moving at a very rapid pace, faster than city traffic, and was only seen briefly, 2;about a minute at most but probably about 15-30 seconds. There were tourists and other passers-by but it did not occur to me to point out the object to them.

The object was a perfect sphere, very bright, probably from reflected light, as I watched it intently and it changed from bright to black. There was an intermediate quarter moon phase, so it was probably dark on one side and highly reflective on the other.

It was probably not one of the hot-air balloons from the Hot Air Festival as it had no basket, was not the usual tear-drop or fanciful shape or colour, and would have distinctly varied in size if it was passing over or coming down near enough to me to be framed by the National Defence Building and the National Arts Centre.

Because it was perfectly spherical, opaque to light, showed no sign of colour and changed from bright to dark, I eliminated the possibility of a toy balloon on the spot.

I made a point of trying to determine if it was one of those round pillow shaped greeting balloons which have a printed sight and a shiny metal side but it did not appear to change shape at all. If it was a balloon of that size (one foot, 30 centimetres diameter) it was closer to me on the ground than either the National Arts Centre or the National Defence building when I observed it, so a change in shape should have been visible.

At one point, I considered the possibility that it might be a helicopter or a large balloon (in the range, two to six foot diameter, one to two metres). It was difficult to determine scale as it was against a background of clear sky. The curve in its flight suggests that it was distant enough to appear to move along the curvature of the sky, but in that case it must have been bigger than a house. I don't recall seeing it actually pass behind the trees, so I may have been momentarily distracted at that point.

The next day I revisited the site to attempt to determine where I was standing while I stopped and watched the balloon. I remembered that the canal was directly before me the day before but acquired no new information on my exact position.

I did notice a couple of large advertising balloons attached to the stroller/perambulator of a child in the Rideau Centre Shopping Mall. They were advertising a story called Richards or something like (it definitely started with an "R." They were about 1.5 feet or 50 centimetres in diameter, transparent and green. It is unlikely that a metallic, two-coloured balloon was being used as a promotional giveaway as well, but they were within the possible size-range of the object which I saw.

I have to call this object a U.F.O. because the only evidence that it was a balloon was its shape and change of brightness, while the total absence of wind on the ground or at cloud level does not permit me to suppose that it was moving under wind power. Also, its path seemed curved with the curvature of the sky and if it was a wind it was taking a highly anomalous downward curve path. Do high speed air currents curve to the ground? I did, however, have the impression that the sphere was not much larger than a small aircraft, or smaller than a very large balloon, also that it may have passed lower than the National Defence Building, although I do not positively recall it passing in front of the building.

Being of a scientific turn of mind, I believe that the most probably explanation would be a balloon, but not a toy or greetings balloon but something larger than those and smaller than a Hot Air Balloon. To conclude this positively, I would have to assume, however, that there was a brisk, but invisible wind at an altitude in excess of the height of the National Arts Centre and the Convention Centre on the opposite side of the Canal (4 to 6 stories), a wind which was curving downward over a short distance, perhaps less than the distance to Confederation Park beyond the National Arts Centre. I noticed not the slightest breeze where I stood, no wind in the branches of the trees by the National Arts Centre (some of which are nearly as tall as the building), and no cloud movement.