Salty Sam’s Fun Blog for Children

Number 345

l.F.O.s and U.F.O.s


Hello Everyone



l have written three blog posts about space this year, but there were still some things from space l did not mention, so l thought l would catch up with myself this week.


Do you understand the title of the blog post?


lFO stands for identified flying object and UFO stands for unidentified flying object.


ldentified flying objects are things that we see in the sky and we know what they are.


And Bill and Bob’s paper aeroplanes in the garden as well l suppose.


The word UFO is often used to refer to alien space ships.  But UFO really means something you see but you don’t know what it is. 


An alien space ship is called an alien space ship.


As to whether they exist or not – well that is a matter of opinion.


There are so many things in the sky that are not stars or planets.


Other things that astronomers study besides stars are comets.


A comet looks like a blurred star travelling in huge orbits around the Sun, not in a rough circle like the planets but in an oval path.  Sometimes they come close to the Sun.  The heat from the Sun has the effect of releasing clouds of gas and dust which stream behind them like a tail. 


The head of a comet is a frozen ball of ice, gas, dust, chunks of rock and metal. 


Bright comets are very spectacular and their tails can be several hundred million km long – composed of plasma and rays formed by the interaction with the solar wind.  The tail always points away from the Sun.


lf they pass closely enough to Earth, they are so bright, you will not need a telescope to see them.  The sight of a comet in the night sky used to terrify people.  They viewed the spectacle as a sign of impending disaster.  Comets were the one small space body that ancient peoples knew about because they put on a display that could be seen without a telescope. 


We know a lot more about lFOs than ancient peoples because of all the research astronomers have done over the last few hundred years.


As the comet gets further away from the Sun, the gas and dust freeze back into a huge snowball.


Halley’s Comet was seen by William the Conqueror and was featured in the Bayeux Tapestry recounting historical events in 1066. 


lt passes by every 76 or 77 years. 


lt was last here in 1986.  There are Chinese records of it dating back to 240BC. 


Write a note in your diary to see it in 2062.


The comet Kohoutek will not be seen again for thousands of years.  lt travels far beyond Pluto and takes 75,000 years to complete each orbit of the Sun.


Besides the comets that circle the Sun there is also an asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.  This is like about 30,000 mini planets in orbit.  They are actually rocky balls that are too small to be called planets.


Between Mars and Jupiter there is a large belt of asteroids.  There are millions of asteroids whirling around in this belt.  The largest of them is called Ceres which is just over 1,000km or 612 miles across.  This is about the same length as Britain. 


They can be hundreds of miles across or just several feet across.


Asteroids are solid pieces of rock left over when the planets were formed 4,600 billion years ago.  At that time, the Solar System was a huge cloud of gas and dust. The centre of this cloud came together to form the Sun, and it grew bigger and became very hot. 


The other parts of the cloud formed the other planets and their moons.


There are also wandering asteroids called lcarus, Adonis, Eros and Hidalgo that, instead of orbiting the Sun in the asteroid belt, go both closer to and further away from the Sun.  Eros is 23km/14 miles across but the others are smaller.


Asteroids can sometimes be called planetoids or minor planets. 


They can be dangerous if they hit Earth, which is why scientists like to keep an eye on them!


They are pitted and cratered and covered in dust.  Some of them have their own companion moon.  They are also very cold with a surface temperature of minus 73 degrees Celsius.


Asteroids have a diameter of greater than one metre, whereas a meteoroid has a diameter that is less than one metre.


Comets have a different composition.  They are dust and ice rather than minerals and rock.


Meteoroids and comets whizz through space, some set on an orbit and some randomly.


Have you ever seen a streak of light dart across the sky too fast to be a planet and then just disappear?


This is a meteoroid, a lump of rock sucked into the Earth’s atmosphere by gravity.  Most of these space bodies burn up long before they hit the ground as they fall through the atmosphere.  Most meteoroids are no bigger than a grain of sand or dust by the time they reach the ground.


ls it nice to know that cosmic dust has fallen on you at some time?


Some are big enough to reach the surface of the Earth though and then they are called meteorites.  More than 1,000,000 tonnes of meteorites fall on Earth each year. 


The largest meteorite ever to hit the Earth in living memory was found in Namibia in 1920.  lt weighs nearly 60 tonnes and is nearly 3m/10ft long and about 2.5m/8ft wide.  lt is called the Hoba Meteorite.


When the Earth formed, it was probably bombarded by meteors covering it with craters like those that we can still see on the surface of the Moon.  Most of ours have been worn away by wind or rain or flooded by larva escaping from volcanoes.


Large meteorites blast a hole in the ground like a bomb crater.  ln the Arizona Desert there is a huge crater, just over 1km/3,280ft wide.  lt was made 27,000 years ago by a giant meteorite which must have weighed as much as 2 million tonnes.


An even larger crater was found in Antarctica; it is 240km/149 miles across and 800m/2,625 ft deep.


The heaviest meteorite to fall on Britain recently was 46kg/101 lb, it fell on Leicestershire in 1965.


A meteorite is a solid piece of debris that can come from a comet, asteroid or meteoroid all originating from outer space.  They usually are rocks or rocks with metallic deposits.


You can buy them online if you want to save your pocket money up.


So what about UFOs?


From time to time, newspapers report strange objects being picked up on radar screens or flying across our skies.  What are they?  Are they flying saucers from other galaxies or are they secret military planes that no government wants to admit to having.


Sometimes, these moving bodies are filmed and move so fast that nobody can believe they are man-made objects.


No one knows for sure – so they are logged as unidentified flying objects or UFOs.


Many UFO sightings may be due to clouds, camera flashes, sun light reflecting off aeroplanes, balloons sent up into the atmosphere by meteorologists (weather predictors) or other optical illusions.


When your brain makes something out to be something it isn’t – like seeing a weird-shaped cloud and thinking it might be an alien spaceship, this is called pareidolia. l wrote a whole post on this subject. (Blog Post 281) lf you hear things that aren’t there, like whispering voices when it is just the wind in the trees this is called audio pareidolia.


We know no other life is possible in our Solar System, but what about visitors from outer space?


Do our governments know about alien life that has visited our planet and won’t tell us about it?


Do some people know, but they are not listened to?


Do some people say that they have had encounters with aliens but are not telling the truth?  Or are they telling the truth?


Have a look in the picture gallery at the picture of a lenticularis cloud.  lt really does make you think of a space ship, doesn’t it?


Do some people take photographs of toys just to bring attention to themselves and like fooling people?


The place in Britain that has the most UFO sightings is Bonny Bridge in Scotland with about 300 a year.  The people there live under three flight paths for aeroplanes.


The most famous place in the USA for UFO sightings is Roswell.


Have you ever seen one in your part of the world?


During the latter part of World War ll, German scientists were developing aircraft that were saucer-shaped.  They took off from inside circular frames.  lt was a top secret development.  They still look strange objects when you see film of them today.


During the late 1940s and through the 1950s lots of fictional books and films about aliens coming to Earth were very popular.  People thought the idea was very scary.  Sometimes people liked to be scared.


Nowadays, people seem more interested than scared.


Many strange sightings of things that could be alien spaceships have been reported from all parts of the world.


Some have been discounted as hoaxes or explained away as phenomenon that we know about – but some still cannot be explained.


One of the most famous stories about aliens l will tell you about next week.


l warn you, it is not for the faint-hearted!



Bye bye everyone – don’t forget to subscribe to my blog!


lf you like my blog, please support it by telling all your friends and followers about it.


Thank you!


And see you again next Fun Friday!


Love and kisses



Salty Sam





Bill and Bob’s Joke of the Weekjokejoke


Bill:  How did the man who had his arm in a sling change a light bulb?


Bob:  l don’t know.  How did the man who had his arm in a sling change a light bulb?


Bill:  He kept the receipt and took it back to the shop!


Bob:  Eh?


Bill:  l’ll let you work it out.



Salty Sam © Christina Sinclair 2015

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material from this blog without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited.

Links may be used to



Picture Gallery


Halley’s Comet seen in the 11th century




Asteroid belt




The Hoba Meteorite


Hoba Meteorite


You can see how this lenticularis cloud looks like a flying saucer

(Guardian Newspaper)


Roswell alien hoax


Roswell street lighting






This week, Auntie Alice, with my help and that of Captain Jack and Bill, Bob, Henry and Emily, picked an enormous number of apples to put in store.

We took a lot of them to the Rocky Bay Café where they will use them to make a tasty and warming apple crumble to be put on the menu over the winter months.

When we got there, we found the owners, Sid and Ethel, washing down the tables and grumbling loudly to themselves.

They said that they had to be constantly washing the tables and chairs all summer because they had a sparrow problem.

Some sparrows have nested under their roof and although they are really cute, little birds they were causing a bit of a nuisance as far as their droppings were concerned and that was no good when you were serving up food.

Sid and Ethel were putting the tables away now because the customers would not want to sit outside in the winter weather.



Captain Jack and I said that we could come up with a solution to help them out.

We told them that we were very good at woodwork and had made Auntie Alice a beautiful dovecote earlier in the year.

We said we could make some nest boxes for the sparrows and site them right down the bottom of the garden.  We could then block up the holes at the bottom of the roof and there would be no more droppings down the wall and on the windows where the birds were constantly flying in and out of their nests.



Sid and Ethel thought this was a brilliant idea.

They didn’t want to make the sparrows homeless altogether.  They would need to clear the old nests out after making sure there were no youngsters in there.

They were sure the sparrows would love their new homes – and leave theirs alone.

There has been a huge decline in house sparrow numbers in recent years so we don’t want to do anything to make matters worse.

After Sid had paid for the apples we all went home and Captain Jack and I started looking for bird house designs that were suitable for sparrows.

When the nesting boxes are made and the sparrows have been moved away from the house, hopefully everyone will be happy.








Quick Quiz


Can you take the first letters of these types of transport to make another word which is a type of transport?


  1. Where did the Beatles live?
  2. Something that flies in the sky
  3. Your family may have one of these in your garage
  4. lt moves on a cushion of air and can travel across the land and water
  5. lt travels through the streets of the town on rails








lt’s the Weekend!




This is definitely a Christmas pudding and not a U.F.O. to hang on you Christmas tree.

Knit one half in dark brown yarn and one half in white yarn.



Using 4mm knitting needles and dk yarn cast on 30 stitches

Knit 8 rows of stocking stitch

Don’t cast off

Cut off the yarn leaving a length of about 20-30cm and thread this through the stitches on your needle and pull the knitting needle away



  1. Sew along the centre seam with right sides together using over-sew stitching
  2. Then sew along the side seams using the correct color yarn
  3. Pull in the brown end of the pudding
  4. Stuff the pudding
  5. Pull in the other end and leave a length of white yarn to hang the pudding up by
  6. Sew 3 French knots by wrapping red yarn around the needle 3 times onto the top of the pudding and add two holly leaves cut out of green felt between them



Please note that the material on this blog is for personal use and for use in classrooms only.

It is a copyright infringement and, therefore, illegal under international law to sell items made with these patterns.

Use of the toys and projects is at your own risk.

©Christina Sinclair Designs 2015sand

Quick Quiz Answers


  1. yellow submarine
  2. aeroplane
  3. car
  4. hovercraft
  5. tram





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