Are UFO Sightings on the Rise? Despite Modern Challenges, Sightings Still Occur

Are sightings of mysterious objects in the skies over America and other parts of the world on the rise?

That’s what many people are saying, according to one of the leading websites covering military-related news and interests.

“There has been a spike in U̳F̳O̳ sightings across the nation,” read a recent article at Military.comwhich asked, “are there just more people looking up in the sky or is it something else?

According to figures cited in the brief article, there were close to 7,200 U̳F̳O̳ sightings logged in 2020, up more than 1,000 from the previous year. The article did not provide details on the source for these figures, although it appears they draw from data collected by the National U̳F̳O̳ R̳e̳p̳o̳r̳t̳i̳n̳g̳ Center (NU̳F̳O̳RC), according to figures cited by other outlets.

Founded in 1999, has been owned by employment powerhouse Monster Worldwide since 2004, and in addition to news related to the military, it also provides information on veteran employment, education, and other related services through its many blogs and newsletters.

Asking whether the release of a widely anticipated report to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence earlier this year might have played a role in the apparent surge in U̳F̳O̳ reports, the article points to such recent military activity as part of what has brought U̳F̳O̳s “back into the mainstream media.”

But are there really more U̳F̳O̳ sightings taking place, or is all of the interest in the topic causing more people to look up?

Several factors might help to account for recent surges in U̳F̳O̳ sightings, especially during 2020. As the coronavirus began to spread throughout world populations after its emergence near Wuhan, C̳h̳i̳n̳a̳ in late 2019, quarantines and shelter-in-place orders in many countries grounded people around the world, who instead of heading out and enjoying their normal nightly routines were likely stuck at home. Not surprisingly, early figures from around mid-2020 noted that sightings of U̳F̳O̳s appeared to coincide with more people staying at home during the pandemic.

A group of Starlink satellites photographed passing over California (Credit: Unsplash)

Also in the months leading up to the pandemic, SpaceX began its ambitious effort to place its Starlink satellite arrays into orbit, which also managed to produce a few U̳F̳O̳ reports as observers watched the peculiar-looking “trains” of satellites moving through the air in sequence. But can the effects of more people stuck at home, and more objects placed in orbit, account for all sightings of U̳F̳O̳s logged in recent months?

According to recent NU̳F̳O̳RC data, several recent sightings do appear to describe unusual objects in our airspace, for which things like satellites do not offer any kind of likely explanation.

In an incident that occurred in July over Hawaii, an 11-year-old boy reported seeing a triangular aircraft fly over his home at around 6 PM local time, which appeared to resemble now-classic descriptions of large, triangular aircraft of unknown provenance that have been logged by NU̳F̳O̳RC and other organizations that follow U̳F̳O̳ reports for decades. Two months later, a pilot flying as a passenger on a commercial aircraft reported seeing three objects that he could not identify, in a striking observation of unidentified aircraft that he called aerodynamically “impossible.”

There are, in other words, what appear to be “good” U̳F̳O̳ reports being logged by organizations like NU̳F̳O̳RC, whose operations have been tirelessly maintained by researcher Peter Davenport now for several decades. However, despite the many quality reports that NU̳F̳O̳RC receives, its phone hotline also receives occasional hoax calls as well.

“We have made this appeal regarding ‘prank’ calls before,” wrote Davenport in a post on April 1, 2021, “but we feel compelled to make it again.

“Our Hotline is being deluged with overtly hoaxed calls, usually dozens per day, and those calls are impairing our ability to offer what we believe is a very important service to the world.

“If you have been encouraged by some childish website, or by a misdirected social-media site, to place a foolish prank call to our Hotline, we would request that you refrain from placing such a call.”

Even despite the number of prank calls that NU̳F̳O̳RC receives, it has held its position as a leading resource for information on U̳F̳O̳ observations now for decades, and provides valuable metrics about what people are seeing, and how often they are seen.

While questions about the recent “spike” in sightings remains up for debate, one thing does seem clear: U̳F̳O̳ sightings are still frequently reported, despite the numerous challenges that researchers and organizations like NU̳F̳O̳RC obviously face.  Even with the recent surge in public U̳F̳O̳ interest, the steady stream of sightings of unusual objects in our airspace logged by NU̳F̳O̳RC over the years suggests that their presence has endured, regardless of how much media attention U̳F̳O̳s may or may not receive at any given time.

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