José Bonilla Observation

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One of Bonilla's photographs.

On August 12, 1883, the astronomer José Bonilla reported[1] that he saw more than 300 dark, unidentified objects crossing before the Sun while observing sunspot activity at Zacatecas Observatory in Mexico. He was able to take several photographs, exposing wet plates at 1/100 second. Although it was subsequently suggested that the objects were actually high flying geese, Bonilla is usually given the distinction of having taken the earliest photo of an unidentified flying object,[2] with some ufological literature interpreting the objects as either alien spacecraft or an unsolved mystery.

New research conducted by National Autonomous University of Mexico suggests that the unidentified objects may have been fragments of a billion-ton comet passing within a few hundred kilometers of Earth.[3][4]


  1. ^ Bonilla, José (1). "Passage Sur Le Disque Solaire". In Flammarion, Camille. L'Astronomie (in French) (Paris) IV: 347–350. 
  2. ^ Nickell, Joe (2005). Camera Clues: A Handbook for Photographic Investigation. University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 9780813191249. Retrieved April 8, 2005. 
  3. ^ KFC (October 17, 2011). "Billion-Ton Comet May Have Missed Earth by a Few Hundred Kilometers in 1883". The Physics arXiv Blog. arXiv. Retrieved 2011-10-19. 
  4. ^ The Week's Editorial Staff (October 18, 2011). "Did a massive comet almost wipe out humans in 1883?". The Week via Yahoo! News. Retrieved 2011-10-19.