For millennia, people have seen and chronicled green fireballs. Green fireballs aren’t exceptional, according to nineteenth-century accounts. New Mexico had an unusually high number of bright green fireball sightings in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
During the Cold War, most of the sightings were near military sites or highly sensitive scientific training regions, which drew the attention of the US government.
The first atomic bomb was detonated in Alamogordo in 1945. In July 1947, numerous individuals in Roswell witnessed a bizarre aircraft thought to be a UFO crash to the ground, and many think there was a cover-up. In 1965, a similar occurrence occurred in Kecksburg, Pennsylvania.
The United States and the Soviet Union were locked in a weapons race during the peak of the New Mexico sightings. The prospect of nuclear annihilation was quite serious. Air raid exercises were held in schools, as well as personal and public bomb shelters.
Sightings of the Green Fireball for the First Time.
The first sightings occurred above Albuquerque, New Mexico in November of 1948. The fireballs soared low on the horizon, and authorities at Albuquerque’s Kirtland Air Force Base assumed they were similar to those employed by the military for training reasons based on witness statements.
At first, they were thought to be green flares. Authorities disregarded them until December 5, 1948, when the crew of an Air Force transport plane traveling near Albuquerque at a height of around 18,000 feet observed a bright green flame in front of them.
They reported the fireball to Kirtland, claiming that it traveled upward before leveling out; witnesses claim it wasn’t a meteor.
A civilian plane traveling near Las Vegas, New Mexico, claimed that a fireball had almost crashed with their jet the same night. The captain reported that he initially assumed the object was a shooting star, but that the course of the fireball ruled this out.
It started off as a reddish-orange tint, but as it got closer to the plane, it turned green. To prevent a collision, the pilot had to take action.
Fireballs were also seen near the nuclear research centers of Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories. They were characterized as having a saucer or pie dish form. These reports persuaded the Air Force that something weird was going on and that they needed to look into it.
Green Fireballs are being looked into.
Dr. Lincoln La Paz of the University of New Mexico’s Institute of Meteorics was called to assist with the inquiry. He was a meteor specialist who had worked in the area for over thirty years and published several articles on the subject.
When La Paz read the accounts, he assumed the fireballs were meteors. He gathered witness testimonies to determine the fireballs’ overall trajectory and constructed a flight route that would guide him to the general site of their impact.
On December 5th, individuals reported seeing at least eight separate fireballs. At none of the suspected impact locations, no sign of a meteorite was found.
The security of the Air Force’s military sites was a major issue. Over the next few weeks, the number of reports of green fireballs grew. They were visible nearly every night, but no meteorite was discovered.
One of these fireballs was seen in La Paz. It wasn’t a meteor, according to his expert assessment. During the months of December 1948 and January 1949, there was almost never a night without a sighting.
Theories regarding the Green Fireballs of New Mexico.
The fireballs were thought to be a Soviet research gadget or a prototype for a new missile system by others. The fireballs, according to La Paz, might be a man-made phenomenon rather than a natural one.
A conference was organized on February 16, 1949, to discuss the fireballs. The group couldn’t agree on the nature of the fireballs. Could they be man-made or a new form of natural occurrence?
To answer the enigma, the group opted to employ the Air Force’s Cambridge research center.
The Green Fireballs and Project Twinkle
The research began in the early 1950s. The goal of the operation was to picture the fireballs using a theodolite, telescope, and camera.
After a little more than a year, the study was terminated due to a lack of clear results. Nothing that looked like a green fireball has been captured on film. The argument over the green fireballs raged on.
It was a point of contention as to what they were. Were they balloons, planes, rockets, meteors, copper-bearing meteorites, or alien spacecraft?