Phoenix Lights of 1997
One of the Most Documented and Important Mass Sighting ever Recorded

Phoenix Lights of 1997Phoenix, Arizona - Nevada, and the Mexican State of Sonora - March 13th, 1997

Documentary about the Phoenix UFO which was seen in the skies over Phoenix in 1997. Is this an illusion, a prank, some sort of government experiment or was it a UFO from an alien species? The Discovery channel looks into this event to help uncover the truth.

UFO buffs call it the most documented and important mass sighting ever recorded.

But still today, the military and government can only offer questionable explanations as to what the anomalous lights truly were.

The strange phenomena has never been duplicated or reenacted.

Many experts and witnesses insist that what appeared in the Arizona skies was something beyond this world.

The Phoenix Lights (sometimes referred to as the "lights over Phoenix") were a series of widely sighted optical phenomena (generally unidentified flying objects) that occurred in the skies over the U.S. states of Arizona and Nevada, and the Mexican  state of Sonora on March 13th, 1997.

A repeat of the lights occurred February 6th, 2007, and was filmed by the local Fox News TV station.

Lights of varying descriptions were seen by thousands of people between 19:30 and 22:30 MST, in a space of about 300 miles, from the Nevada line, through Phoenix, to the edge of Tucson.

There were two distinct events involved in the incident: a triangular formation of lights seen to pass over the state, and a series of stationary lights seen in the Phoenix area.

The United States Air Force (USAF) identified the second group of lights as flares dropped by A-10 Warthog aircraft which were on training exercises at the Barry Goldwater Range in southwest Arizona.

Witnesses claim to have observed a huge carpenter's square-shaped UFO, containing lights or possibly light-emitting engines. 
There was minimal news coverage at the time of the Phoenix UFO incident. In Phoenix, a small number of local news outlets noted the event, but it received little attention beyond that.

But on June 18th, 1997, USA Today ran a front-page story that brought national attention to the case. This was followed by news coverage on the ABC and NBC television networks.


Phoenix UFO - Unsolved Mysteries

The first event—the "V", which appeared over northern Arizona and gradually traveled south over nearly the entire length of the state, eventually passing south of Tucson—was the apparently "wedge-shaped" object reported by then-Governor Symington and many others.

This event started at about 8:15 over the Prescott area, and was seen south of Tucson by about 8:45. Proponents of two separate events propose that the first event still has no provable explanation, but that some evidence exists that the lights were in fact airplanes.

According to an article by reporter Janet Gonzales that appeared in the Phoenix New Times, videotape of the v shape shows the lights moving as separate entities, not as a single object; a phenomenon known as illusory contours can cause the human eye to see unconnected lines or dots as forming a single shape.

Mitch Stanley, an amateur astronomer, observed the lights using a Dobsonian telescope outfitted with a TELEVUE 32mm Plössl eyepiece, which produces 43x magnification. After observing the lights, he told his mother, who was present at the time, that the lights were aircraft.

According to Stanley, the lights were quite clearly individual airplanes; a companion who was with him recalled asking Stanley at the time what the lights were, and he said, "Planes". However, no pilots have yet been found who admit to flying such a formation that night, and many witnesses continue to insist that they actually saw the entire object blocking the stars.

Fife Symington, the governor at the time, was one witness to this incident; he later called the object "otherworldly."

In March 2007, former Arizona Governor Fife Symington III  said that he had witnessed one of the "crafts of unknown origin" during the 1997 event, but noted that he did not go public with the information.

Shortly after the lights, Symington held a press conference, stating that "they found who was responsible".

He proceeded to make light of the situation by bringing his aide on stage dressed in an alien costume. In an interview with The Daily Courier in Prescott, Arizona, Symington said, "I'm a pilot and I know just about every machine that flies.

It was bigger than anything that I've ever seen. It remains a great mystery. Other people saw it, responsible people. I don't know why people would ridicule it".

Symington had earlier said, "It was enormous and inexplicable. Who knows where it came from? A lot of people saw it, and I saw it too. It was dramatic. And it couldn't have been flares because it was too symmetrical. It had a geometric outline, a constant shape."

Symington also noted that he requested information from the commander of Luke Air Force Base, the general of the National Guard, and the head of the Department of Public Safety.

But none of the officials he contacted had an answer for what had happened, and were also perplexed.

Later, he responded to an Air Force explanation that the lights were flares: "As a pilot and a former Air Force Officer, I can definitively say that this craft did not resemble any man made object I'd ever seen. And it was certainly not high-altitude flares because flares don't fly in formation".

Frances Barwood, the 1997 Phoenix city councilwoman who launched an investigation into the event, said that of the over 700 witnesses she interviewed, "The government never interviewed even one".

Phoenix Lights UFO Report
on US News

There was minimal news coverage at the time of the incident. In Phoenix, a small number of local news outlets noted the event, but it received little attention beyond that.

But on June 18th, 1997, USA Today ran a front-page story that brought national attention to the case. This was followed by news coverage on the ABC and NBC television networks.

The case quickly caught the popular imagination and has since become a staple of UFO-related documentary television, including specials produced by the History Channel and the Discovery Channel.

Various theories to what was seen in the night sky over Phoenix was presented in these news reports. Some believed it was a military exercise, many believe it had nothing to do with the military.

UFOs have long been witnessed near military installations that contain weapons of mass destruction such as nuclear weapons. There is a military facility near Phoenix, the Luke Air Force Base which is a United States Air Force base located about 15 miles (24 km) west of Phoenix, Arizona.

If this was an actual UFO which is generally referred to as a Black Triangle UFO or Silent Vulcan, than it is believed that the
Luke Air Force Base and the surrounding areas may hold weapons of mass destruction within its facilities such as nuclear weapons.

Phoenix UFO - CNN Larry King

Larry King covers MUFON, the Texas Stephenville sighting, the Phoenix lights in 1997, and more.

Special guests were MUFON investigator Ken Cherry, Stanton Friedman, James Fox, Texas Stephanville witnesses, and Phoenix Lights witnesses.

Once again, debunker James McGaha was also brought in towards the end of the show.

There is some controversy as to how best to classify the reports on the night in question.

Some are of the opinion that the differing nature of the eyewitness reports indicates that several unidentified objects were in the area, each of which was its own separate "event".

This is largely dismissed by skeptics as an over-extrapolation from the kind of deviation common in necessarily subjective eyewitness accounts. The media and most skeptical investigators have largely preferred to split the sightings into two distinct classes, a first and second event.

The Phoenix Lights
March 13th, 1997

The Lights Appear:
March 13, 1997, was the onset of this extremely compelling account of various and sundry phenomenal lights which moved over the state of Arizona. These lights, though referred to as the "Phoenix Lights," were actually witnessed in at least five other cities. Phoenix has the distinction as the first Arizona city to report the unknown light sources, which were initially spotted over Superstition Mountains, east of the city, at about 7:30 PM.

Six Points of Light:
The first reports indicated an object of six points of light, immediately followed by a report of eight connected lights, with a separate ninth, which moved in unison with the eight. The formation was seen again over the Gila River just before 10:00 PM. In a matter of minutes, the enormous, lighted structure had made its way over the southern part of the city of Phoenix. By this time, literally thousands of people had witnessed the object.

More Than One Mile in Length:
The enormous object was extremely low, and mountainous areas could be seen behind the craft in pictures, therefore giving photographic experts scale to approximate the elevation from the ground, and the distance from the camera. This would enable an estimate of the craft being a whopping one mile or more in length! The color of its lights were described as "blue-white," to "yellow-white," to "amber."

Silhouettes of People:
A dramatic description of the mother-ship was made by a group of real estate agents who had subdivided property over the northern part of Phoenix. They would get a close-up view of the gigantic object. They estimated the craft to be a staggering two miles wide as it flew at a low altitude near Phoenix. They could see dozens of bright lights along the leading edges, and also a row of windows with "silhouettes of people."

Blocked Out the Stars:
Among the most reliable witnesses of the craft's movements that first night were two airplane pilots, one retired from an airline, and another from Vietnam, who was also a U. S. Marshall. Though seeing the object at different times and places, both men described a craft of "immense size," measuring up to a mile long. The Marshall could also see the city lights of Phoenix reflecting from the bottom of the massive object, while it "blocked out the stars."

F-16s Blast Out of Luke AFB:
A truck driver had been observing two amber colored UFOs moving ahead of him southward for two whole hours. The two UFOs hovered nearby. While his truck was being loaded, the driver walked upon a pile of materials to get a better look at the two UFOs. He could make out two identical "toy, top-like amber orbs" with a white glow to them. A band of red lights pulsated on the craft as it hovered near the Luke AFB runway. Suddenly, two F-16s "blasted out of Luke with their afterburners on full."