TECH
29/05/2014 10:42 BST | Updated 29/05/2014 10:59 BST

Mass UFO Sighting Turns Out To Be Google Falcon 11 Balloon

A mass UFO sighing which ripped across social media sites in 2012 has been explained at last.

It was Google.

People across the US state of Kentucky spotted what appeared to be a double vertical UFO, looking something like fluorescent bulbs, hovering in the sky.

The images spread across the internet, and while some suggested prosaic explanations just as many seemed ready to believe it was evidence of some alien cilvilisation.

youtube

"It would get so bright they would seem to merge, and you could see it very clearly with the naked eye," said one sceptical viewer, astronomer Allen Eploing.

"Then, it would dim down to almost invisible. … It wasn't like anything I recognized. Definitely not an airplane, and I've never seen a helicopter that looked like that."

The balloon remained at a height of about 60,000 feet for several hours, and the police were eventually called -- though to do what, exactly, wasn't clear.

Alas, the naysayers were right once again.

Google X Rapid Evolution team leader Rich DeVaul has admitted that the sighting was of one of its own balloons that went awry.

His team at Google X is currently developing airborne WiFi stations fixed to balloons, for possible deployment around the world as a cheap way to bring millions more people online.

DeVaul explained how the Falcon 11 balloon went "rogue" at "The Future is Here" festival in Washington DC. He also added that the work of UFO hunters in tracking the balloon was actually a huge help to the team.

"If you want to start a secret stratospheric program, and one project goes rogue, you can outsource your tracking to the UFO guys," he said.