Looking for ET? Put down the binoculars, because Dr. Ron Milione has a magnetometer-based UFO detector that tracks airborne UFOs regardless of atmospheric conditions. Milione moonlights as an instrumentation designer for the “Ghost Hunters” TV series, so moving from ghosts to UFO’s isn’t that big of a switch – especially for Milione. The PhD electrical engineer is a fan of anomalous phenomenon, and a firm believer in the measurability of events. That’s why he built the UFO detector.

If you’re feeling mystified by the term “proton magnetometer”, think “UFO detector”, and here’s how our UFO detector works: Internally, the UFO detector contains a sensitive receiver that picks up changes in magnetic fields. So you point the UFO detector at the event you want to measure, the internal receiver gives off a signal if it picks up a magnetic field change, the internal signal gets amplified a couple of million times to usable levels, and the UFO detector beeps. Pretty cool, huh?

The UFO detector is point-and-shoot: you see something strange, you think it might be a UFO, so you aim, squeeze the trigger, and wait for the beep. Milione’s device can also be coupled to a graph-generator to keep a record of the measurements on paper. That makes it less mobile, but gives you a record of the event to look at in the future. Does it get false positives? Sure, it’s possible: the magnetometer will pick up nearly any time-varying magnetic field, which may even include the Earth’s own aurora. However, as a first-generation device Milione’s UFO detector is based on well established technology, so if this ends up becoming a commercial product you can bet the UFO detector will be thoroughly refined by the time it makes it to market.

“Ok, let’s define this concept: A magnetometer is a scientific instrument used to measure the strength of magnetic fields. Magnetometers are used in geophysical surveys to find deposits of iron because they can measure the magnetic pull of iron. Magnetometers are also used to detect archeological sites, shipwrecks and other buried or submerged objects. A magnetometer can also be used by satellites like GOES to measure both the magnitude and direction of the earth’s magnetic field. Magnetometers are very sensitive, and can give an indication of possible auroral activity before one can even see the light from the aurora.

My system with a chart recorder, it is possible to see the diurnal changes in the east-west component of the earth’s magnetic field, after nulling out the overpowering total and north-south components. I thought that it would be an interesting project to try adding a frequency counter to the proton magnetometer. It would be an interesting “backyard research science” project to use it to provide a measure of the earth’s total magnetic field as well as a UFO detector. The addition of a digital to analog converter can provide an output suitable for a chart recorder. However, a suburban backyard environment is a rather noisy one. Harmonics of the power line frequency extend well up into the audio frequency range. These compete with the decaying precession frequency tone. Connecting the sensor coils in differential series, sensor orientation and instantaneous sampling of the audio signal helps in contending with the noise.” – Ron Milione