When housewife Sharon Rowlands filmed what appeared to be a UFO flying over her tiny Derbyshire village, little did she realise what rewards the footage would bring her.
The 6-and-a-half-minute tape has been snapped up by an American TV company for more than £20,000.
Mrs Rowlands can also be proud of the knowledge her film is being ranked as one of the best pieces of UFO video footage ever shot.
California-based Kiviat Productions, which snapped up the film, is currently negotiating with TV networks across the world to show the tape as part of its ‘Could It Be True?’ Series – but not before officials from NASA are given a preview.
Mrs Rowlands (44), who lives with husband Hayden (45), said: “I’ve watched UFO programmes and if there is such a thing, this is as good a photograpgh as you’re going to get.
“I was a complete and utter disbeliever but seeing this has made me think twice. It was huge and through the lens it looked like it was going to hit me. I couldn’t believe it – it’s like nothing else I’ve ever seen.”
The tape has been locked in a bank vault since her chance filming on October 5, 2000, with a camcorder which she had received only days earlier as a gift. Kiviat executive producer Robert Kiviat found Mrs Rowlands’ film while scouring the internet.
He said: “This is one of the top five pieces of video footage of UFOs ever taken.”
The Rowlands are just a couple living in a remote area with no agenda and no previous experience in UFO videos – they just appear to have had their camcorder out at the right time.”
A Meteorological Officer spokesman said there were no freak weather conditions on October 5 which could have caused the circular shape in the sky.
The American space agency NASA is believed to be interested in the Rowland’s photograph because of its marked resemblance to a photograph taken during the 1996, STS-75 mission. The photograph was taken by Astronaut Claude Nicoltier.
From 1970 to 1973, Claude Nicoltier worked as a graduate scientist with the Institute of Astronomy at Lausanne University and at the Geneva Observatory.
He then joined the Swiss Air Transport School in Zurich and was assigned as a DC-9 pilot for Swissair, concurrently participating part-time in research activities of the Geneva Observatory.
At the end of 1976 he accepted a Fellowship at the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Space Science Department at Noordwijk, Netherlands, where he worked as a research scientist in various airborne infrared astronomy programs.
In July 1978 he was selected by ESA as a member of the first group of European astronauts.
Under agreement between ESA and NASA he joined the NASA astronaut candidates selected in May 1980 for astronaut training as a mission specialist.
Mrs Rowlands’ footage capped a hive of activity in Bonsall which has seen villagers reporting 19 UFO sightings in just four months leading up to last October.
UFO enthusiast Omar Fowler founded the Derby-based Phenomenon Research Association 10 years ago and has been tracking UFOs since the 1970s.
He believes Bonsall is right up there with the foremost UFO hotbeds – including Mexico city, the USA, and Fleetwood in Lancashire.
Mr Fowler said: “I viewed Mrs Rowlands’ tape and I was amazed at what I saw. I consider it to be one of the most important sightings of recent years – comparing very well with a recent clip from Mexico – and it typifies activity in Bonsall.”
Mr Kiviat said he will show the tape to NASA optical physicist Dr. Bruce Macabbee.
“The Rowlands’ tape will shock a lot of people because the image shown is the same as one taken by NASA’s own cameras showing what appears to be a UFO hovering in space, maybe three miles wide,” Mr Kiviat said. “