The term Unidentified Flying Object... or 'UFO'... was first coined in the 1950s. Prior to this it was widespread, and not uncommon to hear the terms 'flying saucer' or 'flying disc', which in real terms can be misleading... as can the term UFO.
As Investigators we prefer the term 'Unidentified Aerial Phenomena' or UAP.
Identification and Classification
An unidentified flying object is defined as an object in the sky that is not immediately and clearly identifiable by any rational and standard criteria. However the term is widely used for claimed observations of extraterrestrial craft.
Most UFOs are later identified as conventional objects or phenomena (e.g., aircraft, weather balloons, clouds). Some of them are not identified, either because of lack of evidence or because no conventional explanation can be found despite extensive evidence. Some people consider the latter cases as possible observations of extraterrestrial space craft.
Of all the 'witnessed' sightings of UFOs, shapes and sizes vary from discs, spheres, triangular, V formation lights and cigar-shaped.
Below are a few logical 'sightings' that might be misinterpreted as UAPs:
Clarification of UAPs
After some careful and thorough investigations, the most common cause of UAPs can be determined to actually be:
- Astronomical objects (stars, planets, comets, meteors, etc.)
- Orbiting 'man-made' constructions like the International Space Station or left-over materials like satellites, etc.
- Aircraft - including drones
- Balloons - from toys to the huge research weather constructions
- Birds and insects - especially when they swarm in large clusters
- Unusual Cloud formations
- Light anomalies (searchlights, laser pointers and ball lightning)
- Mirages - including Fata Morgana
It is clear that, in modern times, most sightings can be identified clearly as aircraft, drones and searchlights, etc. But of those few that have no clear explanation then might there be something out there?
Not all sightings can have substantial logical explanations, especially if these objects have been seen by several witnesses and on numerous occasions. It is a fact that up to 20% of sightings can't be explained through rational and scientific means. Therefore these sightings can only be classified as unexplained in the strictest of conclusions.
Moon and Planets...
...caused just after sunset in the night sky and when Venus (top-left) and Jupiter (top-right) are in alignment. Venus looks larger but as Jupiter is seven times as far away as Venus from Earth it looks smaller - but both look like UFOs:
...caused by air from the troposphere forming unusual cloud patterns.
'Lenticular' clouds (created in the troposphere) are formed by wind direction and look spherical in shape similar to what is deemed a UFO:
...caused by air forces and rescue operatives around the world conducting flare training and rescue operations:
...caused by light being bent through differing temperatures in the superior (upper) narrow band just above the horizon. Commonly known as a mirage it can create the illusion of a ship on the horizon appearing to be floating in mid-air:
...caused by the worldwide obsession with these aerial machines.
The modern increase in drone sales and those persons flying (or learning to fly) them - and being silent = more UFO sightings:
...the most common example of mistakes for UFO sightings. The differing sizes and shapes of aircraft in modern times.