Russell Crowe’s UFO sighting explained

Oscar winning actor Russell Crowe has received a ton of attention, and ridicule, for posting a series of pictures he said show a UFO flying past his home in Sydney.

Some of the initial criticism suggested Crowe was simply trying to drum up attention for a new film project. And as CNET’s Chris Matyszczyk points out, the photos weren’t even taken by Crowe—they were shot by cinematographer Duane Manwiller—four years ago.

That contradicts claims made by Crowe himself, who says the images were shot while he and a friend were attempting to capture images of fruit bats.

Even Crowe’s manager seems baffled by the Twitter postings. When asked by the London Telegraph for an explanation, Grant Vandenberg said, “I have no idea.”

As it turns out, the real explanation turns out to be far less exciting than anyone thought.

ParaBreakdown’s Phil Poling does an excellent job of breaking down Crowe’s video.

First, Poling explains that the video is not in fact time lapse photography, it’s a timed exposure, a fairly commonly technique that often results in stretched or other unusual looking lighting effects. Second, whoever took the images used a telephoto lense, which distorts the perceived distance in the images.

“The third part of the equation is location, or viewpoint,” Poling says in the video.

“I was a little surprised that Russell didn’t realize what the photo actually was. But then again, it does look a little strange when subjected to photographic trickery,” he explains. “But the truth is, he sees this every day right outside his window coming from the marina.”

“That’s right, it’s a sailboat,” Poling said.

So, could this be Crowe’s way of telling the world he’s up for doing another "Master and Commander" film?

You watch watch Crowe's original UFO video posting below: