di Michele Moroni

November, 2003

Briefly I will summarize the debate. In the summer of 2002 Teodorani (in cooperation with Dr. Gloria Nobili) published a report titled "EMBLA 2002: an Optical and Ground Survey in Hessdalen" (1). This report summarizes the data recorded on a previous expedition to Norway. It proposes a spectro-photometric analysis of the lights, observed by different instruments and gives some possible explanations on their origin.
Matteo Leone while reviewing Teodorani's (2) report underlined some inconsistencies in the techniques of the analysis and in the procedures that would likely introduce dark shadows. Critically analyzing the data declared by Teodorani, Matteo Leone realized that a correct procedure of analysis makes both spectroscopic and photometric results compatible with the ones expected in case of ordinary front lights of a car. To further support this hypothesis, Leone claims that during his expedition in Hessdalen Valley he observed through a small telescope the very same lights that were recorded by the instruments of Teodorani. He clearly realized that these lights turned out to be nothing else than normal car headlamps.
Massimo Teodorani replied to Matteo Leone (3) with an ignominious article that contained heavy accusations that were far away from a normal constructive scientific debate. These accusations mostly talk about "the debunking of the truth" and "the international movements to hide the results of his research". Apart from these unproven claims, Teodorani's reply lacks scientific contents. I can hardly image that these words belong to a scientist. Instead, Teodorani sounds like an extremist ufologist fanatic who has certain cultist tendencies
Certainly the debate between the two researchers was not confined to the academic world. In fact many people immediately started writing in support of either one or the other one. Unfortunately reading them (mostly in telematic mailing lists and newsgroups) it is clear that they are based on a basic, fast and completely superficial reading of the reports without pointing out the essential passages. In some cases it seems that their opinions were based either on sympathy or were biased since Leone or Teodorani belonged to research and ufological groups. This attitude common in ufology leads people to talk without having the necessary knowledge, producing only confusion and a messy noisy background.
Insightful are instead the works of other researchers especially Iacopo Nicolosi and Nicoletta Ricchetti (4). They show a good professional knowledge of the subject and point out the weaknesses of Leone's rebuttal.
Deeper and more technical considerations of Teodorani's work are necessary. I personally believe that Teodorani's report does not take in consideration several points of view and contains few mistakes that are underlined by Leone but some still remain unobserved.
That doesn't mean Teodorani is a second-rate scientist or his work is flimsy. Yet, the report was written in superficial way that doesn't allow the expert reader to find answers to naturally arising questions.
Leone's paper lacks neither mistakes nor inconsequence, but I think the whole work is definitely built on a sound base. I think Teodorani should reply to Leone's criticism in a detailed way while leaving the ridiculous accusations of debunking and defamatory conspiracies aside.

Let's now go inside the details of Teodorani's report by revisiting some consideration already suggested by Matteo Leone and introducing new ones.

1) In the paragraph titled "photometry" (page n.7) we read the following:

"By applying the technique of aperture photometry to the photographic sequence of Figure 1, it was possible to estimate an order of magnitude of the energy emitted by the light-phenomenon. This task has been accomplished by using the software Iris, after previous enhancement and resizing (image interpolation) operations have been carried out by using software Adobe Photoshop 5.5, by means of which small portions of a given photograph have been taken. Aperture photometry has been then applied by measuring the light-phenomenon on photo-frames by using concentric circles whose external radius matches exactly the radius of the light ball: in this way the apparent luminosity is directly calculated as a value in Erg/sec, then by multiplying by a factor 10^-7, the same parameter is obtained in Watts"

Beside the mistake in the description of the unit of measurement (the apparent luminosity should be expressed in Erg/s/cm^2 or in Watt/cm^2, much likely a careless mistake) it is unclear how Teodorani gets the values of the apparent luminosity, tabled at page 7. In fact the Iris Software only gives as output the counts number registered in the considered spectral band; this number is proportional to the apparent luminosity of the source. Closer attention by Teodorani is needed because the proportionality constant is not obviously known (technically is given from a procedure of convolution between the quantum efficiency and the spectral density curve of the source, all multiplied for another known constant). By being software for astronomy, Iris is only able to give the apparent magnitude related to the counts of the source (after a procedure of calibration with another known source). Due to these observations, it appears unclear how Teodorani could express a value in erg/s/cm^2 , writing it as being "directly calculated" by the software. Thus, I think the first passage needs clarification.

2) By accepting the correct measurement of luminosity discussed in the previous passage, it seems Teodorani assumes that the source emits the same amount of lights in every direction (isotropic emission). Basing on this assumption, he calculates the absolute luminosity this time with the correct unit of measure. The isotropic emission is a totally arbitrary assumption and I don't think at the moment there is a way to prove it (excluding simultaneous observations from two far observers). In cases when the light emits with different intensity in different directions Teodorani's evaluation of the absolute luminosity would be completely nonsense. Since the summer of 2002 some have speculated about the result of a triangulation, but at the moment after 16 months nothing has been published. Thus, I am sincerely starting to doubt about its existence.
Teodorani also assumes that the light which he recorded stayed visible for 5 seconds; this value he claims is the average duration for the showing of this specific light, which seemed showing itself many times in the same position. This only means that he did not measure the duration but he gave only a raw estimation (likely introducing a heavy mistake)

3) Teodorani evaluates the distance of the lights being 9 km, basing this result on a certain hypothesis that we assume as acceptable. He surprisingly decides to deduce the radius of the source from a comparison with the trees below ( 7) which are the ones of Heggsethogda hill, 4.5 km from the observing point of view. From the report it is totally unclear if the right proportional constant has been introduced. I wonder how come he did not calculate the dimension basing on the angular diameter and distance; the reasons of this choice are totally unknown.

4) Assuming the measurements in the passage n.1 are correct and the absolute luminosity isn't affected by the possible mistakes introduced in the passage n.2, Teodorani evaluates the effective temperature of the source assuming that it emits a blackbody. In case it really emits as a blackbody this is the real temperature of the emitting surface, at the opposite, they have not correlation at all.
Matteo Leone noticed that Teodorani mistakenly overestimates the temperature of an order of magnitude. In fact the effective temperature calculated by Teodorani is exactly like the one obtained by using the Boltzman formula of absolute brightness in CGS Units and using the Stephan-Boltzmann constant in the International System. Massimo Teodorani in his email to the Italian Mailing List "Ufoitalia" (May 18, 2003), incredibly replies accusing Matteo Leone of not having converted Erg/s to Watts before inserting the values in the correct formula.
Both Matteo Leone and I obtained the same results. They confirm that the mistake of Teodorani is clear and evident. I think it is necessary for Massimo Teodorani to revise his calculations with humbleness. Here there is an evident mistake and it is not right for him to cover it with generic accusations of debunking as he did.

Thus, the photometric part is based on 4 chained passages, one certainly wrong and the other 3 ones certainly doubtful.

Massimo Teodorani used a slide film Ektachrome 100 EPN and a low resolution spectrometer to evaluate the shape of the continuous spectrum of the source.

5) The choice to analyze the spectrum recorded on a commercial film is not easily understandable. In fact the film doesn't record the "real spectrum" of the source because it is strongly modified by the response of the support. Two different films can give spectra with different features especially at the shortest or longest wavelength.
To obtain the real spectrum from the recorded one it is necessary to use a procedure called "deconvolution". It is based on the knowledge of the so called "response matrix" of the film that gives its sensibility to different wavelengths. If the slide has been passed through a scanner, the response matrix of the scanner must be taken in consideration as well.
Matteo Leone realized that the spectrum showed by Teodorani (page. 11) is extremely similar to that of a car headlamp, without taking in consideration the deconvolution procedure.
In his reply to Leone's criticism Teodorani only wrote back the following:

"The sensitivity curve of the Kodak 100 Ektachrome film is not unknown to Teodorani et al. but the resulting spectrum, apart from some rough wavelength coincidences is different from the sensitivity curve mostly because of different ratios between the three peak amplitudes and because of a much higher amplitude of the single peaks".

This is a good reply because avoids taking blame. He avoids mentioning the words "I used" or "I did not use the correct response matrix of the combination film/scanner". Thus, I certainly invite Teodorani to tell this information without hiding it in puns.
In fact the Kodak Ektachrome 100 EPN is not a film for astronomy and then it is created and calibrated for daylight; that means the Response Matrix radically changes when used outside the range suggested by the house. In details, for an exposure time above 1 second, the film starts showing strong chromatic losses of balance, which become as heavier as the exposure increases, not to talk about a specific reciprocity effect that is a function not only of time but also of the wavelength.
Kodak itself doesn't know the exact expression of the response matrix for a long exposure time (though it supposes some kind of differential shifting), then how could Teodorani have known it?
For these reasons, I believe that by not having used a CCD device (beside procedural mistakes) strongly limited the precision of analysis. Then I only can ask Mr. Teodorani to clarify the reasons of his choice in the form that he prefers and giving him all the time he needs.

6) In the whole report Teodorani avoids to mention the error-bars associated to his measures; then it is impossible to know the precision of his measures. In the spectroscopic analysis not only does this important datum lack, but he refers to the unit of measure as "arbitrary unit" that prevents the reader to infer even a raw evaluation. This carelessness makes a comparison test between theoretical models and instrumental spectra extremely difficult to propose. Leaving Matteo Leone (and other researchers) almost unable to give the final prove to his assertions (if data lacks possible interpretations can be many!!). A so called "scientific report" without reference to the error bars would NEVER be accepted by a journal with a team of referees. Yet, judging the professionalism and the generosity of details of other Teodorani's reports he certainly knows this very well.

Conclusions of Teodorani are based on the combination of spectroscopic and photometric data. The procedures that he used to get his results are often full of gaps that lack in details and at least in a passage (n.4) show mistakes. For those reasons I think that, unless Teodorani provides some further good explanations, this report can't be considered as a starting point for interpretative considerations and has to be rejected.

I think Matteo Leone's rebuttal has a sound basis. His critique of Teodorani's report certainly stands (though Teodorani doesn't accept this) and I can judge it "acceptable". This word doesn't mean "exact" or "unquestionable", but rather it is worth of consideration and can be taken as a starting point for a scientific debate.
Though, Leone's paper is vulnerable to criticism in certain passages.

1b) The whole procedure, whose main-aim is proving that we are dealing with car- headlamps, assumes that the apparent brightness reported by Teodorani is correct while it is completely based on that questionable data (passage 1). If the measures of Teodorani were wrong, Leone's work would be partially compromised (though the excellent procedure developed would not be affected)

2b) As underlined by Iacopo Nicolosi and Nicoletta Ricchetti, Matteo Leone made a mistake evaluating some angular measures; the road on which Leone supposed the car is totally invisible to the observer. It is possible that the street is the one on Eggevollen Hill, 11 km far, but in this case, according to Leone's calculations, the absolute brightness would be much higher than the one expected by a couple of car-headlamps. I wouldn't pay much attention to this problem until we have a confirmation of Teodorani's evaluations of the apparent brightness. If that data was confirmed the strong case built by Matteo could start cracking.

3b) Matteo Leone showed, in qualitative way, how the continuous spectrum is extremely similar to the one expected by car headlamps convoluted by the typical response-matrix for a film... but doesn't make the comparison between the theoretic spectrum and the experimental one by a compatibility test (like a chi-squared test). Without a compatibility test Leone can certainly say "It is similar", Teodorani could reply "Not at all", and there is no way to go beyond this position.

Because of Teodorani's carelessness in evaluating the error-bars and giving the correct measure units the chi-squared test isn't easily usable, then I understand the reason because Leone did not propose it. If using other statistical tests was possible, I'm sure they will be proposed soon by Leone or Teodorani.

I hope these considerations will be accepted by Teodorani and Leone as what they are, i.e. pinpoints on methodological lacks that risk to mix up our knowledge on Hessdalen lights; they want to be a starting point and an invitation to revise something, to make it clearer and, in case, correct it. I don't doubt that both the concerned people will reply this contribute, to help clarifying my doubts. Knowing Matteo Leone and Massimo Teodorani as good scientists I hope a day they will work together to produce valuable works, leaving ignominious and nonsense accusations.

Note: After the publication of this article (Italian Version) Massimo Teodorani sent to my address a reply Email (private communication) declaring that not only he doesn't have any intention to reply my questions, but he warmly suggest to remove this article to avoid legal troubles. At the opposite I should thank Matteo Leone for his reply (private communication) declaring he is analyzing my considerations and he will produce a detailed integrative report soon.

(1) Teodorani, M. & Nobili, G. (2002, October). EMBLA 2002: An Optical and Ground Survey in Hessdalen. http://hessdalen.hiof.no/reports/EMBLA_2002_2.pdf
(2) Leone, M. (2003, April). A rebuttal of the EMBLA 2002 report on the optical survey in Hessdalen.
(3) Teodorani, M. (2003, April). M. Teodorani's reply to M. Leone's confutation of EMBLA 2002 paper.
(4) Nicolosi, I. & Ricchetti, N. (2003, May). A simplified digital elevation model of Hessdalen valley.


(*) Some comments originally appeared on the mailing-list Ufo-italia on 26 october 2003, and then modified for this online edition.

© Copyright (2003) Michele Moroni
© Copyright (2003) Comitato Italiano per il Progetto Hessdalen
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