Are these Google Earth anomalies extraterrestrial artifacts?

William C. Treurniet, April, 2008

Summary. Three anomalies in Google Earth imagery were examined. The analysis showed organization and structure in the set of anomalies which suggests that they are unlikely to be chance image processing artifacts. (1) All three objects are tapered, and the rates of change in width per km are very similar. (2) Lines connecting the objects form an isosceles triangle. A line perpendicular to the base of the triangle creates two right-angle triangles with angles of 30, 60 and 90 degrees. (3) When the perpendicular of the triangle is extended, it passes almost exactly through the location of the magnetic north pole. (4) The angle between the axis of each object and the direction of the true north pole is 68 degrees. (5) The axis of two of the objects are at 90 degrees to each other, and the third is at 45 degrees to the other two. These relationships suggest that the anomalies are due either to a regularly recurring set of circumstances during satellite data acquisition or to intentional doctoring of the Google Earth images. The alternative is that they are actual objects on or near the ground.

The Google Earth (GE) program offers a means to discover things about the appearance of our world at particular moments in time. Occasionally, it shows things on the earth's surface that are quite unexpected. Such anomalies can sometimes be explained as processing glitches that occur when small photo segments are stitched together to create a continuous surface. However, this appears not to be the case for three widely separated but similar anomalous objects that appear in images of Greenland and areas near Baker Lake, Nunavut, and Gerstle River, Alaska. The locations of the objects and an explanation for their presence were given by Richard Boylan.

Boylan presents himself as humanity's representative on the Star Nations Council, an extraterrestrial political body. He claims to have intervened on our behalf to counter the negative effects of an earthly Cabal that has dealt dishonorably with the Council in the past. This Cabal is said to be a shadow government controlled by a powerful and wealthy human elite in North America and Europe. According to Boylan, the Cabal was behind the appearance of the GE anomalies in question. Each anomaly appears in the images as a totally non-reflective, oblong object. Boylan maintains that each object is an extraterrestrial navigation beacon similar to that pictured in the movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey. The Cabal retrieved the beacons from their positions in the solar system and placed them on the earth's surface. This was done using secret advanced space-faring technology. The objects have since been returned to their proper positions in space by the extraterrestrials with the help of Boylan and other human "good guys". However, the GE images are still viewable until they are updated.

Boylan's story does sound like fiction, and it might make an exciting movie someday. Nevertheless, there are features in the images that suggest the anomalies are not random artifacts of image processing. Perhaps they are non-random imaging artifacts, or perhaps someone modified the GE images to hide the original content. Or perhaps Boylan's story is true and the anomalies are real objects on the ground.

The following presents the images and a discussion of the relevant features. Notice that the Gerstle River anomaly has already been overlaid with an image strip that does not contain the anomaly. This indicates that, if the anomaly were actually an object on the ground, it is no longer there. The black object in Greenland is accompanied by another large, colorful, equally mysterious object which is ignored in this discussion.

Gerstle River  Baker Lake  Greenland 

Table 1 presents a list of properties of each of the three anomalies. The Width1 parameter is the width of the object at the right end. Width2 is the width at the left end. The Width change rate is calculated from the formula, (Width1-Width2)/Length, so it gives the change in width per kilometer of length.

Table 1. Properties of anomalies
Location  Latitude  Longitude  Length(km)  Width1(km)  Width2(km)  Width change rate 
Gerstle River 62° 10' N 141° 09' W 42.64 5.6 4.54 .0249
Baker Lake 62° 10' N 94° 45' W 45.8 2.95 1.83 .0245
Greenland 69° 02' N 42° 27' W 39.35 3.83 2.86 .0246

The table shows two features of note. First, the latitudes of the anomalies are quite similar - two are at latitude 62° 10', while the third is 6° 52' greater. Second, the Rate of change parameter values are similar for all three objects.

The relationships among the objects also do not appear to be random as shown in the following image. (Click on it to see a larger version including larger labels.) The image shows that the yellow lines connecting the objects form an isosceles triangle. An additional line drawn from the vertex perpendicular to the base of the triangle creates two right-angle triangles with angles close to 30, 60 and 90 degrees. Further, when the perpendicular line is extended, it passes almost exactly through the location of the magnetic north pole (81.3 N 110.8 W).

The green line segments at the vertices of the yellow triangle show the orientations of the objects, which are too small to be seen at this magnification. Notice that the line extending the Greenland object is exactly perpendicular to the line extending the Gerstle River object, and that the angle between the extended Baker Lake object and the other two is 45 degrees.

The light blue lines in the image connect each object to the true north pole. It is remarkable that the angle between this line and the object's orientation is almost exactly 68 degrees in each case.

The symmetry in the positions of the objects at the vertices of a 30, 30, and 120 degree isosceles triangle, the centering of this triangular arrangement on the magnetic north pole, the 45 and 90 degree orientations of the objects relative to each other, the consistent 68-degree orientation of each object to the direction of the true north pole, all suggest strongly that the positions of the objects were not randomly and independently determined.

Possible explanations for the anomalies

Random imaging artifact

Clearly, if any of the anomalies appeared by itself, it would be immediately identified as an imaging artifact. A gap in the image mosaic could have resulted from some technical glitch. Google Earth images often contain strips that vary in brightness. It is rare, however, for such strips to be totally black. In fact, a search in Google Earth of a wide expanse of Siberia and Northern Canada revealed no other black, geometrical patterns. So what are we to make of three black geometric anomalies that have a number of simple relationships among them?

Could the properties of the satellite imaging system and its orbital path result in the demonstrated relationships among the anomalies even when they occur at random times and places? For a satellite in polar orbit, imaging glitches could have simple geometric relationships among them only if they occurred at the right instant during successive orbits. As can be seen in the reference, the polar orbit progresses around the earth in successive orbits. If there were a trigger event for the glitch near a certain latitude in each orbit, each anomaly might have the observed relationships between each other and the vector toward the north pole. This is most easily inferred from the orbits shown in the second figure in this reference. The trigger for the glitch would need to have occurred three times at exactly the right instant during successive orbits to produce most of the relationships observed in the image. There were only three anomalies, however, so one wonders what the trigger was and why it was activated only at those three particular times in the orbits.

Intentional image doctoring

Another possible explanation for the anomalies is intentional modification of the image. Perhaps parts of the image were obliterated to hide certain activities occurring on the ground. For example, military operations visible on the original image might have been erased for security reasons. The geometric relationships would have been a property of the operations being hidden.

Real objects on the ground

A related unexplained observation involves a YouTube video posted in September, 2007, containing Google Earth images of the Greenland object. Unfortunately, the video is no longer available online. In the following GE frame extracted from the video we can see six black dots near the oblong object. These are seen more clearly in the accompanying enhanced version of the frame. The dots are almost as big as the oblong object's width, so we can estimate their diameters to be at least 2-3 km. These dots were no longer in the online GE image after the beginning of December, 2007. Assuming that the dots were not fraudulantly added to the image shown in the video, the GE image must have been updated sometime before December. The updated image still shows the oblong object, suggesting that it is a real object on the ground. If it were a random image processing artifact, it should have disappeared after the update.

Let us consider the possibility that the dots seen in the video image are the spacecraft that Boylan says were used to relocate the beacons. Supporting clues are the donut-shaped patterns or tori adjacent to at least three of the dots in the enhanced image. The tori are only slightly larger than the dots, and might be nothing more than image coding artifacts. However, an earlier study of UFO photographs found that such tori often accompany UFOs, and that the presence of a torus may indicate the operation of a novel power source. Perhaps the tori beside the dots are evidence that the dots are images of Boylan's spacecraft. It seems rather unlikely that the spacecraft just happened to be there when the photograph was taken, but such a coincidence is not impossible. Perhaps the appearance of spacecraft in the earlier GE image was considered undesirable by someone who was in a position to update the image.

Original  Enhanced 

Five of the dots in the enhanced image are blobs that approximate circular disk-shaped craft. However, the remaining dot, the one closest to the bottom of the picture, has the shape of an equilateral triangle. UFOs in sighting reports often have either of these shapes. A sample of the disk-shaped dots and the triangular dot appear in the following cropped and magnified image. Notice also the toroidal shapes, possibly indicative of an energy source, beside the triangular dot and at each end of the oblong object.

Summary

The analysis of the objects' properties and the relationships among the three objects strongly indicate that they are not independent, random imaging artifacts. The objects are situated at the vertices of an isosceles triangle. The triangle is composed of two right triangles when a perpendicular is drawn, where each has angles of 30, 60, and 90 degrees. The perpendicular line, when extended, passes through the north magnetic pole. Also, two of the objects are oriented at 90 degrees to each other, and the third object is oriented at 45 degrees to the other two. Each object is at the same angle to a vector pointing to the true north pole. These relationships are evidence that the anomalies are not independent.

The most likely explanation is that the anomalies resulted from an imaging glitch that was triggered at similar northern latitudes in successive polar orbits of the imaging satellite.

Alternatively, someone may have gone to a lot of trouble to put doctored images on Google Earth. We can speculate that the image erasures may have occurred to hide operations on the ground that were visible in the original image.

Another possible scenario supported by a now unavailable YouTube video of an older GE image is Boylan's story that the objects are extraterrestrial beacons, stolen and placed there by a reputed human cabal, and then retrieved by representatives of the rightful alien owners. This scenario could be assessed further by retrieving and examining the older image from Google.

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