J. Allen Hynek

By | May 1, 2009

Josef Allen Hynek was born on May 1, 1910 in Chicago, Ill. He died on April 27, 1986 at the age of 75 from a malignant brain tumor at Memorial Hospital in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Hynek was classified as an expert in astrophysics. He received a B.S. from the University of Chicago received in 1931 and completed his Ph.D in astrophysics at Yerkes Observatory in 1935.

He joined the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Ohio State University in 1936. There he specialized in the study of stellar evolution and in the identification of spectroscopic binaries. By 1950 he had risen to become a full professor. During World War II he worked for John Hopkins Applied Physic Laboratory

He is best remembered with research into unidentified flying objects. In 1949 he was invited by the US Air Force to become the astronomical consultant to Project Grudge, based at Wright Field (later Wright-Patterson AFB), in Dayton, Ohio. He continued in this position with the subsequent and much longer Project Blue Book.

By the time that the US Government discontinued Project Blue Book in 1970 he had changed his opinion from one of having some skepticism to one in which he believed that UFOs represent “an aspect or domain of the natural world not yet explored by science.” In 1973, four years after the cancellation of Project Blue Book, Hynek founded the Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS), based in Chicago.

He created a 6 point classification scheme for UFO’s.

Type of UFO sighting Description
Nocturnal lights Bright lights seen at night
Daylight disks Usually oval or disklike
Radar-visual Those detected by radar
Close encounters of the 1st kind Visual sightings of an unidentified object
Close encounters of the 2nd kind Visual sightings plus physical effects on animate and inanimate objects
Close encounters of the 3rd kind Sightings of occupants in or around the UFO


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