Hunting for aliens

Hunting for aliens


Sedona, Arizona, is famous for its rugged landscapes, its dramatic red rock formations and – in certain circles – its reputation as a hotspot of extraterrestrial activity.

The possibility of spotting alien life there certainly peaked these three boys' interest. They are waiting for Kim Carlsberg, a UFO researcher and author on the subject, to give them a UFO tour.

. SEDONA, United States. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Kim Carlsberg leads vehicles into the desert at the beginning of her Sedona UFO Sky Tour.

"We really do see UFOs every time!" promises her website.

. SEDONA, United States. REUTERS/Mike Blake

The moon shines over people taking part.

. SEDONA, United States. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Participants use military night vision goggles to scan the night sky.

. SEDONA, United States. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Reuters photographer Mike Blake, who took part in the tour, did not spy any alien space ships. But he did get a glimpse of plenty of satellites and - of course - the moon.

In UFO viewing circles it is frowned upon to yell out “satellite!”
Mike Blake, Reuters Photographer

Red rocks, pink jeeps, vortex tours, pan flute music and UFO tours. Welcome to Sedona, Arizona!

When you arrive it's easy to see why Native Americans considered Sedona a sacred place for centuries. It is stunningly beautiful.

And like most beautiful things on this planet, we humans have found ways to make money out of it. From parking passes to tours through the desert in pink jeeps, businesses flourish next to the vortexes.

But back to UFO's... As someone who has now been on a Sedona UFO tour, my advice is if you ever get the opportunity to take one yourself, go for it.

I brought my camera along out into the blackness of the winter desert just south of Sedona, where we met up with Kim Carlsberg, a well known speaker and author on the subject of UFOs.

From our meeting point we travelled a dirt road to a location that gave us an amazing view of the night sky. Kim had a truck full of lawn chairs, and we set them up in rows as if we were ordering popcorn and watching a movie. She also had five sets of military night vision goggles.

After a friendly introduction we were given instructions on UFO viewing etiquette, what we might or might not see, and how the night vision goggles worked.

Quite frankly, after dusk faded into the black of night I was pretty sure my chance to take pictures would be over.

It was a crystal clear night and the view of the sky was amazing. Slap on some military grade night vision technology and the millions of stars I was seeing became billions. It was shocking to see all the stars that are behind all the stars.

In UFO viewing circles it is frowned upon to yell out “satellite!” but that was pretty much what I saw. I think we spotted 29 in less than an hour.

There was discussion later about all the moving objects in the night sky: planes and helicopters are very easy to distinguish and with the added benefit of night vision goggles it is amazing to view all the satellites going in different directions, at different speeds, with different dimensions and reflecting different amounts of light.

As for extra-terrestrial life, well that's another question… I'm pretty sure out in the universe there is other life. If you consider the age of our planet and how long we as humans have been in existence, the likelihood of other intelligent life starting somewhere else a million or more years before us is highly probable.

I think about how far technology has advanced, just in my lifetime, and imagine how it will all play out ten thousand years from now. But then I ask myself: if I were that intelligent, why the heck would I want to come here?

Looking up into the night sky with night vision is completely mesmerising and worth the price of admission.

The unexpected object I got to see is really us as a planet, floating through time, unable to pin down the meaning of it all.