NEW DISCOVERIES IN BETTY HILL'S STAR MAP
5. The Discovery
ANY months passed by before we here in Germany finally obtained a specimen of John G. Fuller's long out-of-print book, "The Interrupted Journey." Here we saw Betty and Barney Hill's original sketches for the first time. From MUFON-USA we obtained photocopies of Mrs. Fish's article from the UFO-Symposium 1974 and from Stanton T. Friedman, an offprint of the "The Zeta Reticuli Incident" from ASTRONOMY magazine. Thanks to all.
Betty Hill's map and Margorie Fish's Zeta Reticuli interpretation are shown in schematic form in figure 1.
Actually, there were only minor details that puzzled us. But even these minor details led us to our discoveries. Those who know Betty Hill's map will remember the small circle which is located approximately half way between the middle and the upper margin of the sketch. This small circle was not contained in Mrs. Fish's sketches in the MUFON article (see her sketch in the Proceedings, pages 77f).
Such a conspicuous object could not be seen in the picture of her model on page 5 of the ASTRONOMY magazine offprint, whereas it could be seen in the sketch, drawn by the magazine's artist, on page 10, where it had no name. What was going on with this small circle? Why did no one identify this object?
Furthermore, we realized that Mrs. Fish had marked only one of circles of her "Zeta Reticuli" with a little curved "equatorial" line in her MUFON article (see left and click), whereas in the article of ASTRONOMY magazine this little curved line was found in each of the circles in the various sketches. Since we could compare the sketches with the original in Fuller's book, we noticed that the small curved lines were drawn in e a c h of the circles by Betty Hill, too. What then was their meaning?
Why do "Zeta Reticuli I and II" (shown as "(=)" in figure 1a) have these "abdominal bandages?" Do they symbolize something? An equatorial line? Orbits? Ring-shaped structures like Saturn and Jupiter? Perhaps the big circles in the foreground ARE Saturn and Jupiter.
While Mrs. Fish's "Journey into the Hill Star Map" has remained controversial in the astronomical community since it as published in 1976, it has gained broad acceptance in the mainstream UFOlogy community. Against this quasi-orthodoxy, our idea seemed to be almost too bold. However, with the energy of this little flicker that there might be something true in our thoughts, we switched on the computer . After some inputs to the program, the sky that Betty and Barney Hill had seen in the night from 19 to 20 September lit up on the monitor in front of us. We adjusted the southern direction and discovered the planets Jupiter and Saturn very close to each other to the left of the Moon. When we here on Earth see two planets very close together in the sky, this means that in reality they are staying in the same sector of space in their orbits. In fact, the orbits are very far apart to each other and so they only seem close together due to the perspective of our line of sight.
If you are having difficulty visualizing this, imagine a globe, with its lines of latitude and longitude. Instead of a globe of the Earth, however, it is transparent, with a transparent disk inside, where the equator is. The sun is at the center of the globe, with the orbits of the planets drawn as circles on the disk. This equatorial disk is called the "plane of the ecliptic," which is often shortened to the "ecliptic plane" or simply the "ecliptic." Because all the planets lie in the ecliptic, we need only the sun-centered (i.e., "heliocentric") longitude to specify where a planet is. (Readers may wish to consult an introductory astronomy text for illustrations and further explanation.)
If we look at the geometry of the planets on the night of the Hill's abduction, we draw a line from the Earth to Jupiter (from a point on the 3rd orbit to one on the 6th orbit). Now extend the line to Saturn's orbit, and we will find Saturn very near to the intersection of the line and the orbit. If we now look along the line from the Earth end towards the Saturn end, the real distance between Jupiter and Saturn is visually foreshortened so that they look very near each other. When dealing with outer planets, this visual situation occurs when they have a similar heliocentric longitude, as they were that night (see table 2).
Mrs. Fish assumed that the two big circles in the three-dimensional map perspective stood in the foreground. What would happen if we instead assumed that the circles were Jupiter and Saturn in the foreground? With some circles and dots of our graphics program, we made a position-true copy of the planetary constellation of that memorable night from the sight of an observer at 90 N ecliptic latitude (i.e., directly above the North Pole of the solar system - the Sun) with a view directly down on the orbits of the planets. Then we switched to perspective mode and decreased the ecliptic latitude. (Recalling our globe model, we are moving from the North Pole down to the Equator.) We stopped at 30 N ecliptic latitude (equivalent to the latitude of the pyramids of Gizeh) because going further down South would risk loosing the top view on the plane of the ecliptic (i.e., the view of the planetary orbits).
Then we rotated the whole solar system around its North-South axis until Jupiter and Saturn were placed in the lower right corner of the monitor. With a pulse rate of 120 we witnessed the result of our manipulations: on the bottom right was Saturn and, closer to the center of the screen, was Jupiter. As we know from the VOYAGER probe (but which Betty could not know), both planets have rings of different extent and size, as well as numerous moons and bigger satellites from 5262 km (Ganymede, Jupitersystem) down to 16 km (XIII Leda, Jupitersystem) diameter. The characteristic ring around Saturn is already clearly visible from Earth with strong binoculars or a small telescope. In the same way the two strong North- and South- equatorial bands on Jupiter are easily to identify as brown horizontal lines (the "railroad tracks") across the planet's tiny visible disc.
The solar system with labels and orbits The same with Betty's pattern
In both sketches above you look down south at the Solar System from an angle of 30 degrees above the ecliptic plane (click at the sketches to enlarge)
On the monitor (see figure 2), was our Earth above the center and a little bit shifted to the right. Left of her, Mercury and Venus had their actual positions and below the center, Mars sat on his place. With the cursor we drew connection lines from Saturn to Jupiter, from there to Earth, to Mercury, Venus and Mars. With a slight groan we leaned back. In front of our eyes was dancing, somewhat crookedly, but already with an unmistakable resemblance of a major part of the pattern seen in Betty Hill's "star map." And right at the place of the small circle we saw in Betty's map and which was missed in Mrs. Fish's sketch, was located the SUN.
The similarity to Betty's map was so provocative that there was no way back for us. The champions Zeta Reticuli I and II had a new challenger: our own solar system.
Carl Sagan and Steven Soter criticized Marjorie E. Fish's model of Betty Hill's map in a 1974 issue of ASTRONOMY, saying: "However, we can always pick and choose from a large random data set some subset that resembles a preconceived pattern. If we are free also to select the vantage point (from all possible directions for viewing the projection of a three dimensional pattern), it is a matter to optimize the desired resemblance. Of course such a resemblance in the case of selection from a random set is a contrivance - an example of the statistical fallacy known as 'the enumeration of favourable circumstances'."
Now it was a matter of finding a planetary constellation that matched the Hill pattern completely. Moreover, unlike a star field where one is free to "pick and choose" from a set of what are essentially fixed points, here no single planet could be arbitrarily placed elsewhere to bend it to one's own pattern. There only could be a simultaneous changing of all planetary positions according to their real relations as determined by planetary mechanics.
Now it was necessary to use another computer program which displayed especially and in detail the positions of the planets . When Saturn and Jupiter are in the lower right corner in the foreground, it must be viewed from above the ecliptic and between the orbits of Saturn and Uranus looking in the direction towards the inner solar system. While the heavy lines there would be between Saturn and Jupiter, the solid lines would come radially out of Jupiter and connect the inner planets. But which ones? During a first test, Mercury was disturbing with a separate line that wasn't in the pattern of Betty's map. We changed the date a bit and could see how the planets were moving. Now it was clear that we had to choose another date but it should be one in immediate connection to the period of the abduction. We had to go back to Betty's story once again.
There is a period of about one month after the abduction where two important events happened. One night, Betty started to have nightmares which continued the next five nights. In her dreams, the whole abduction scenario took place again. After five nights her dreams about the abduction abruptly stopped and never occurred again. The other event happened during a trip through a lonesome landscape near Portsmouth where Betty rushed in great panic as they approached another car that blocked half of the road as if it had a breakdown.
Some dark dressed people were standing around the car. Betty suddenly felt really terrified by the appearance of this small dark group and started to open the front passenger door to jump out and run away. Barney was deeply concerned about her reaction, and they sped away as fast as they could. Both were unable to explain this panic reaction.
On October 19, one month after the abduction had taken place, Walter Webb, at that time from Hayden Planetarium, Boston, received a letter from Richard Hall, at this time Assistant Director of the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena. Attached to this letter was a copy of a letter from Betty Hill. Webb investigated the more serious reports about UFO events around in the New England area . After he had read the letter he decided to investigate the case and to drive to the Hill's home what he finally did on October 21, 1961.
After that time nothing similar to nightmares or strange encounters happened again. It seemed to us as if here was a significant intersection in the course of the story, as if the "Others" exerted a certain control on things for a short while after the abduction and then finally terminated this. As a coincidence with Webb the phase of serious investigation of the whole case started.
So we chose to look for the planetary constellation the date of October 20, 1961, 1:00 am, exactly one month after the abduction event. After this period of time all planets had moved a short distance in their orbits. A remarkably larger step was done by Mercury, the fastest planet in our solar system. Again we connected the planets with lines and - there it was!
Except for a branch which had to leave right of Jupiter, the complete pattern in Hill's map formed by the dots which were connected by heavy or solid lines was present: one line to the right led to Earth (that Betty couldn't find), the line a little left of this went to Mercury and then a little bit curved around the Sun (the small "forgotten" circle in Fish's sketch) to Venus. In our model, the long horizontal and curved line we have seen in Betty's map more in the foreground, went below the Sun right to Mars. In Betty's sketch it was slightly more stressed than the line to Earth was. If the size of the lines was equivalent to the importance that was given to them by the "Entities" than here was good reason for especially delicate speculations. Remember the ongoing discussion about the so called "unusual surface features" on Mars as well as the Phobos II and Mars Observer Missions.
We had erected the outline - the skeleton - of the pattern in Betty Hill's map. Now only the rest was missing, the target locations of the so-called "expeditions." We first thought that the two broken lines coming out of Mars should be further connections to the outer planets. Actually, at that time the three missing planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto were all on the "left side" of Betty's map. It would have been too good if we could have included them into the pattern but they were too far out and would have seriously distorted the pattern.
Additionally, there were the dots left to find connected by a line that started from Venus and connected expedition places unknown to us so far. Furthermore, the right offshoot of Jupiter was still missing that, according to the size of its connection line, must have been a place of frequent visits. The whole thing became suspenseful because what should be there?
Intuition is one of the most important human qualities, and without intuition we wouldn't have reached this point. Therefore, we think it necessary to state some of the thoughts that led us from one discovery to the next one. If we were to find out how things could continue, we had to try to put ourselves in the role of a UFOnaut. What would we do if we, as a species that has been spacefaring for many hundreds of years, entered an alien solar system?
First we quickly would determine how many planets are part of this solar system. From previous analysis of the central rotating star we would know the distance of the life-zone around the star. We would approach near this habitable zone "from above" or "from below" the orbital plane of the inner planets and would complete our analysis.
Actually, if there would be life-forms on any of the planets, we would study their state of development from a discrete distance at first. Certainly, we would place our own security first in any encounters with the life-bearing worlds. We would send out patrols - both unmanned and manned - to determine what is going on and would choose a place that would provide us with a maximum vantage point without being detected.
After this, we would deal with the most obvious: our supplies. We would possibly need energy (of some kind) and raw materials such as ores to make ourselves more at home, to establish an infrastructure, or conceivably, to be able to make the return journey. If we classified the life-forms that we had located as "primitive," then perhaps we could land on their planet and do some mining undetected. If the life-forms had reached a higher lever of technological development, especially if they could perform some simple spacefaring, our own security would be paramount, and we would have to go prospecting in the more distant environs. Then we would identify the relatively narrow belt of asteroids orbiting around the central star. There, we could prospect for the needed resources. Of course, only the larger ones would be suitable for our purposes because of their more stable orbit and their gravitation. To determine that, we had to send some expeditions.
After this indispensable fantasy trip to our own future (or past...) it became very clear: to find the missing positions of the rest of the dots to match the pattern of Betty Hill's map, we should look for a solution in the belt of asteroids. The large number of known asteroids would make it easy to draw arbitrary lines to positions of asteroids in the vicinity of Mars, Venus and Jupiter to get a pattern according to the Hill's model. We couldn't expose ourselves to Sagan's and Soter's criticism at this juncture, and so, with respect to the thoughts in the chapters above, we restricted ourselves to the following conditions: only the largest asteroids should included in our concept and then only if they were in positions corresponding to Betty's map on October 20., 1961. An exciting search began.
One of the most beautiful astronomical books we possess is "The New Solar System" from J. Kelly Beatty and Andrew Chaikin . On page 293 is a table listing the 46 largest asteroids with radii down to 87 km. We took this table as a database for our search for the targets of the expeditions and made up 4 groups of asteroids with the help of the database of our computer program (that contains about 5000 asteroids).
These were ranked by descending size: asteroids 1-10, asteroids 11-20, asteroids 21-30 and asteroids 31-46. We gradually added the planetary constellation of the night of 20.10.61 to each of the groups of asteroids and analyzed the compatibility of the overall picture to the "Hill pattern".
We first constructed a sketch where all 6 planets (our skeleton) and 46 asteroids where symbolized by equal-sized dots, except the Sun, which was symbolized by a tiny circle (as in the Hill map). Of course, it would be simple in this chaos of dots to produce a "Hill pattern" by drawing corresponding lines. This stopped immediately when we added perspective to our sketch and additionally plotted the orbits. There, the wheat separated from the chaff. Dots which were so comfortably located beside Venus were, in reality, far above or below the ecliptic plane on this side of the sun (according to Betty's viewpoint). Several times we changed the angles of the ecliptic longitude and latitude for the several groups of asteroids and achieved, step by step, a selection of the only possible asteroids.
On October 20, 1961, 1:00 AM UT (Universal Time), there were at the right time at the right place:
This selection produces a valid match in the computer program for 30 ecliptic latitude (i.e., direction of view from 30 ecliptic North down to ecliptic South) and 95 ecliptic longitude.
We deliberately chose to not attempt to interpret all the small dots Betty had plotted beside the main pattern. We originally concentrated only on the main pattern for several reasons. First, the three dots to the left (identified as 7, 8, and 9 in figure 2) were not emphasized in Betty's original sketch. This was brought up and interpreted by Mrs. Fish, possibly after some talks with Betty. Second, Mrs. Fish discounted some more small dots that Betty had drawn equal in size to the ones in the triangle. Remember, that she even dropped from her analysis, the small circle above the center that caught one's eye in Betty's original sketch. Third, even in Fuller's book there are two different sketches of Betty drawn at different times with additional dots in different locations. Fourth, as we have written previously, we do not trust Betty's astronomical abilities (as the "leader" had not done, too) in drawing three-dimensional star maps. This ice was too thin to walk across so we initially concentrated on the things that have been repeated several times more or less identically: the main pattern.
But in the meantime many have asked us about the three dots (numbered 7-9 in figure 1). We have since revisited the original material we used for our discoveries.
On the left hand side of the sketch, inside this horizontal laying V-shaped part, Betty drew three dots. Mrs. Fish found her correspondence in objects which she gave the numbers 13, 14 and 15 in her MUFON Proceedings paper. No. 13 is HD 13435, No. 14 is GC 2794 and No. 15 is Kappa Fornacis.
It is striking, that the pattern of these three suns in Mrs. Fish's sketch is more similar if not identical to three dots we have in our material: No. 13 (Fish) is Asteroid Winchester, No. 14 is Asteroid Nemesis and No. 15 is Asteroid Elpis. We always stayed with our initial assumption only to look for the 40 biggest asteroids. These three asteroids formed a triangle at that time.
But we have another triangle there which would be more impressive because one member is a star. It is HD 41335 (SAO 132793) with visual brightness of 5.2m (i.e., a 5th magnitude star) which is near the limit of visibility with the naked eye. Left of this star we have two asteroids which all together create a wonderful triangle: asteroid Hermione and Asteroid Eunomia.
Which triangle did Betty remember? If any...
We would plead for HD 41335 (which would become No. 8 in Figure 2 left side; the triangle there is not quite right, No. 8 must be moved to the right and No. 7 and No. 9 to the left), No. 7 would become Hermione and No. 9 would become Eunomia. Both asteroids are far more than 100 km in radius (bigger than Winchester, Nemesis and Elpis) and they were above the ecliptic plane at that time, which means closer to the supposed point of view behind Saturn.
And there are more dots in Betty Hill's "map". These weren't mentioned by Mrs. Fish at all. In our analysis of 1993 we found at least 6 asteroids which match additional dots of Betty' sketch.
Again we would like to stress that it was our original intention only to deal with the main pattern in Betty's drawings, because this seemed to have been recollected accurately and repeatedly by her. We do not trust her other dots very much as we have explained in the text: she was not good at drawing and she could not draw perspective. Perhaps she distributed the smaller dots in the sketch without any correspondence to what really might have been in what was shown to her, just to indicate that something else was there.
During the demonstration of the map by the "leader", Betty Hill leaned backwards against the examination table and didn't change her position. Consequently, she saw the three-dimensional map only from one viewpoint during the whole time. She memorized exactly this view of the map and recalled it in this way. Who knows what would have happened to the main pattern if she had changed her viewpoint?
This is most important because many of the critics on Betty's accounts, Mrs. Fish's findings, and our discovery are based on the "arbitrariness of the vantage point". You MUST search for only this one perspective, not for hundreds or, with the help of a computer, for millions because Betty had only this one perspective as she watched the map and so she had drawn the sketch. In any model you MUST simulate Betty's vantage point in the space ship as she looked into a "map" that itself had a vantage point and perspective, too. The view in the "map" was not randomly created but rather deliberately chosen by the "leader" because its purpose was to show something very special to Betty.
Naturally, our "model" matches best Betty's pattern from one angle, too, which is 30° Northern ecliptic latitude and 95° ecliptic longitude. But even if we neglect perspective as, for example at 90° ecliptic latitude (i.e., the view directly down from the Pole) or other ecliptic latitudes, great parts of the pattern remain visible! Only the asteroids at great angle of orbital inclination above or below the plane of planetary orbits move significantly. Beside this, we found perspectives where the "Hill pattern" hardly could derived from (for example, at 0° ecliptic latitude and 310°ecliptic longitude). But this was exactly what Marjorie E. Fish, we, and others were searching for: a realistic correspondence to Betty's pattern.
Mrs. Fish's interpretation Betty's drawing Koch / Kyborg interpretation
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