More than a half-century after mapmaker Sergio Loaiza snapped a high-resolution picture of a flying disc over Costa Rica, many conspiracy enthusiasts still claim that it is the best photo ever captured of a UFO in known history.
At a glance
- Researchers just released one of the best ever photos of a UFO ever captured on film
- A research photographer snapped the photo in 1971 while flying over the Central American rainforest
- Modern digital photography technology helped enhance the photo with analog light
Loaiza took the picture in 1971 while flying over the Lake Cote rainforest scouting a hydroelectric project, Metro reports. He set up his camera to automatically shoot in 20-second intervals from 10,000 feet for the National Geographic Institute; and according to reports, he didn’t even see the UFO during his initial flyover.
In fact, the presence of the UFO in the picture remained undiscovered for a decade, during which engineers studied the old film for a separate project. Out of all the pictures, only a single frame, time-stamped at 8:25 a.m., contains the metal disc in it. Researchers estimate the object’s size somewhere between 120 to 220 feet in diameter when it flew low over the rainforest that day in 1971.
New York Times reporter Leslie Kean called the UFO photo the ‘best ever’ released
“There was this disc object and you clearly see the sun reflecting off this round object that’s got a little dot on the top,” Kean said. “And what’s important about it is that it was a government photo.”
Luis Elizondo, former director of AATIP, a secret investigatory effort funded by the U.S. government to study unidentified flying objects, essentially admitted that sightings still occur to this day.
“Although I was not around during this incident, pilot reports of smooth, shiny, lenticular craft are not new,” Elizondo said. “In fact, even to this day, pilots, both civilian and military, continue to witness these types of craft. And oftentimes, they display performance capabilities well beyond state of the art.”
Though no official government agency has commented on the photo in question yet, nobody has debunked it, either. Photography experts corroborate the authenticity of the photo, meaning that Loaiza did not doctor or double expose the original.
How the photo made it to the mainstream
Fifty years after the object’s flight, UAPMedia acquired a ‘drum scan’ copy of the photograph from a Costa Rican citizen. A drum scanner is akin to an expensive digital camera. Photographers use drum scanners to scan reflective and transparent materials up to an extremely high resolution.
Drum scanners reproduce the image with analog light, delivering the most detail possible in each color channel. The machine then converts the reproduced image into a digital file.
Therefore, thanks to modern technology, UFO enthusiasts can now see the reproduced contact negative (the original resides in a Costa Rican museum) in a new, exciting, highly-detailed light. The contents of the photo, of course, remain a high-resolution mystery from a bygone era.