The idea of Unidentified Flying Objects or UFOs is enjoying renewed popularity the past few months, largely due to the revelation that the Pentagon has been secretly devoting millions of dollars to the investigations of possible sightings for years now.
Public interest on UFOs tends to be cyclical. Some would even assume that reports of strange objects flying in the sky have died down since the last airing of X-Files on TV.
The dominant presence of the internet now has given independent organizations devoted to the serious- and even not-so serious-study of UFOs the reach they need to compile massive amounts of data regarding sightings and even alleged interactions with everything from flying saucers to time machines. Groups like The National UFO Reporting Center maintain large self-reported databases, but the thing is it’s rather hard to distinguish which are based from honest reporting or just the products of the imagination of mad men and internet trolls.
Nonetheless, there are interesting things worth pondering on from such data aggregators, especially in looking for trends in sightings that may offer reasonable explanations for regions with abnormal high rates of sightings.
Data analyst Adam Crahen took one of the largest databases maintained by National UFO Reporting Center last year and plotted all 58,828 reports submitted between 1995 and 2014 on a map of the United States. The final product shows a green swath across nearly the entire U.S. suggesting that UFOs are indeed here and American airspace could be full of them.
More sightings are reported in areas of the country that are heavily populated. There is also one big reveal about the greener patches of the map. An interesting trend shows that many of the regions that seem to show a high frequency of UFO reports coincide with the locations of military installations. The conspiracy-minded may simply assume that alien visitors are interested in what the U.S. military is doing. Others might conclude that many of the supposed UFO sightings may be nothing more than misidentified military aircraft, after all.
Military aircraft are often mistaken for UFO in American skies because their shape and behavior don’t adhere to the norms humans have been used to. Sometimes, it’s just a case of testing never before seen platforms. For example, a bright light flying low over a rural region and moving in a seemingly unusual manner could be Martians but it could also be a Blackhawk in the distance. Perhaps that could be the explanation for almost 60,000 sightings spread out in 19 years.
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