An unidentified flying object, or UFO, is an unexplained mystery in the sky. What appears to be something mysterious could be just about anything, from a plane far off in the distance to a strange light in the sky.
Some say these unusual sightings are probably alien spaceships from among the stars – a popular yet unproven theory.
But scientists remain skeptical. They think most UFOs can actually be explained by a lot more ordinary things like natural phenomena, satellites, planes, and meteors.
To this day, no one really knows what those strange phenomena really are or where they come from. Perhaps it will take some brave space explorers to finally crack the code of this cosmic riddle.
UFO Facts for Kids
- UFO stands for “unidentified flying object.”
- People report seeing UFOs all over the world.
- No one knows for sure what most UFOs are.
- Some people think they are spaceships from other planets.
- Others think they might be natural phenomena or hoaxes.
- The government investigates some UFO sightings.
Unraveling the Mystery of UFOs
From angelic lights in medieval skies to UFO crash-landings in the present day, the phenomenon of unidentified airborne objects has been fascinating and bewildering people across the ages.
Bringing together science and pseudoscience, skepticism and folklore, belief and disbelief, UFO reports have captured imaginations for centuries, inspiring exploration of what could possibly be out there in the vastness of space.
Skywatchers all around seek their own anomalous evidence, from distorted truth to classic extraterrestrial encounters. With enough faith — or imagination — anything is possible.
Amidst the chaos of speculation and heightened states of belief come hard facts for those looking for them: official records kept by government institutions worldwide provide concrete studies on sightings and extraterrestrial activity dating back as far as 1947.
And this just goes further to tantalize us with enigmas flying far above our heads, remaining ever mysterious.
A Beginner’s Guide to UFO Terminology
UFO, or Unidentified Flying Object (UFOB), was first coined by the United States Air Force (USAF) in 1953 as a catch-all for all such claims responding to the Kenneth Arnold incident.
Initially, the USAF defined UFOB as “any flying object that, by performance, aerodynamic characteristics, or odd features, does not correspond to any presently known aircraft or missile type.”
Primarily created out of concern for national security and technical factors, the phrase became used more precisely over time.
The phrase “flying saucer” or “flying disc” began to be popularized following the Kenneth Arnold incident and the Avro Canada VZ-9AV Avrocar concept vehicle launch in the 1950s.
Additionally, during this period, UFOs were referred to as “bogeys” by military personnel and pilots due to their association with irregular radar blips that might signal an enemy presence.
The acronym UF0 soon thereafter became widely used both in technical literature and public conversations due to its widespread curiosity during the Cold War era and numerous investigations conducted on UFOs by groups like CIA Robertson Panel (1953), USAF Project Blue Book (1952) Condon Committee (1968) which found that UFO phenomena posed no danger nor scientific investigation worthiness.
Nevertheless, it is important to note other terms with similar meanings preceding UFO, including “flying flapjack, “unexplained flying discs,” “unidentifiable object,” etc., as well as more recently coined terms such as “Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon”(UAP)by ufologists themselves.
In aviation, military personnel may refer to unknown targets as Anomalous Aerial Vehicles (AAVs) or Unidentified Aerial Systems (UAS).
Ultimately what is clear is that UFO has been a distinct term since the 1950s and continues to be one today regardless of the debate over the classification of objects it identifies.
Investigating Alleged UFO Encounters
UFOs have long been the subject of intrigue and fascination. From Project Sign to Operation Saucer and beyond, governments around the world have devoted considerable time and resources to investigating the anomaly we all know as ‘the unidentified flying object.’
Yet with all this effort, no official outcome has yet been agreed on – is it a tangible extraterrestrial phenomenon or merely an overzealous national security issue?
At various points in history from 1946-2019, the mystery has drawn attention from the Swedish military’s ghost rocket inquiry to Project Twinkle in the U.S. Army/Air Force and Operation Prato from Brazil’s Air Force.
On a more global scale, France’s space agency Centre national d’études spatiales (CNES) has been researching UFOs for over forty years, followed more recently by Uruguay, which began its own investigation in 1989.
The myriad inquiries spanning multiple decades testify to the international mystery surrounding UFOs.
While inconclusive evidence still remains today, could it be that what appears too bizarre to be true is really just beyond comprehension?
The Rendlesham Forest incident involved alleged encounters of inexplicable lights in the Suffolk area of Britain. It has since been associated with UFO landing claims that began to surface in late December 1980, still debated by witnesses and researchers alike.
Valensole UFO Event
The Valensole UFO event took place in 1965 and quickly became one of France’s most notable UFO sightings. It began with a farmer claiming he was abducted by aliens on his farm, and ever since, it has gained traction within the UFO community, which has studied this case for numerous years.
In Pennsylvania in 1965, many people asserted they witnessed an object crash in the region. Residents remain divided as some claim it was a meteor while others insist it was some form of spacecraft – a topic still being discussed to this day.
Travis Walton declared he had been abducted by aliens back in 1975, an event which inspired the movie “Fire in Sky,” although it did exaggerate what actually occurred. This famous case is highly discussed amongst investigators and enthusiasts today due to its huge influence on popular culture.
On March 13, 1997, many Arizonians reported seeing mysterious triangular-shaped UFOS hovering over various cities before disappearing off the radar due to their mysterious turn-off sequence remaining unexplained to this day.
This event is commonly referred to as “The Phoenix Lights.”
What Can Astronomer Report Tell Us?
Astronomer reports are considered evidence by those who believe in UFOs and the possibility of extraterrestrial visitors to Earth.
In 1952, J. Allen Hynek surveyed 45 professional astronomers and found five reported UFO sightings, equating to around 11%.
In the 1970s, astrophysicist Peter A. Sturrock polled people for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and the American Astronomical Society (AAS), with 5% claiming a sighting experience.
Clyde Tombaugh, an astronomer who saw six UFOs over his lifetime, supported the theory that these unknown objects could be of extraterrestrial origin.
But Andrew Fraknoi, another astronomer, cautioned against assuming aliens were behind every unexplained phenomenon:
He taught students to exercise critical thinking in examining supposed UFO accounts, noting some only ‘appear mysterious at first’ but usually have mundane explanations when investigated further.
Gert Hleb and Hynek conducted a 1980 survey among 1800 members of amateur astronomy groups; 24% said they’d seen something they couldn’t identify despite their attempts to do so.
Overall, while astronomer reports may offer anecdotal evidence supporting beliefs about alien aircraft visiting Earth, skeptics question whether we should take such claims seriously without more scientific examination of these objects or events in question.