TIFFIN — Mayor Aaron Montz put speculation about UFOs in the skies to rest Sunday evening, providing an explanation for the “strange white dots” he’s been seeing in the skies above Tiffin recently.
“Have you noticed any strange white dots in the skies above Tiffin lately?” the mayor asked in a Facebook post on his official page.
“No, they’re not UFO’s, but they’re actually huge balloons over 50,000 feet in the air from Project Loon,” Montz explained.
Loon, a Google project, partners with mobile network operators globally to expand the reach of their LTE service. The goal is to expand coverage to places that lack it, supplement existing networks, and provide expedient coverage after natural disasters.
“While they may not look like much with the naked eye (or even a cell phone), the balloons are pretty neat looked at through a good set of binoculars or a telescope,” Montz wrote in his post.
Included in and around the balloons are antennas, solar panels, the flight capsule, and a parachute.
The balloons travel well above airplanes, wildlife, and weather events. They use autonomous navigation using algorithms and software, with operators providing continuous human oversight.