I had to broach this topic eventually.
Do they or do they not exist? Or, more specifically are they or are they not “us”.
There are different camps of thought on this, ranging from “complete hoax” to “government coverup”.
Here are some of the explanations I’ve heard…
“Those of us who understand what we see in the sky don’t believe in flying saucers.”
This is a somewhat insulting and condescending comment, fundamentally saying that if you think you saw a flying saucer then you’re stupid. However there is some real logic behind the argument, though folks should probably find a nicer way to say it. 😛
Recently there were many phone calls to emergency services and the news media over a cluster of white balloons folks saw in the sky over New York. Folks call in UFO sightings regularly because of the planet Jupiter, which can be somewhat bright, moves in relation to the celestial sphere from night to night…albeit very slowly…and follows the celestial sphere as the Earth rotates under it during the night and from season to season…so Jupiter can easily surprise folks if they go outside and look up at a different time than usual. Our own Earth-orbiting satellites like the International Space Station and others can be seen regularly passing overhead. Comets, though uncommon enough to be front-line news events when they do occur, still tend to look a bit strange and might be mistaken for a UFO by uninformed people.
UFO stands for “Unidentified Flying Object”, so anything can be a UFO to anyone if they can see it and they don’t know what it is. The collection of RLL feeds in the sidebar of this blog are a good place to start when looking for references to events like comets and unusually large meteor sightings. Any good star map site like Your Sky can show you which planets and bright stars you can expect to find above you at any given time—or if you own a Droid phone you can simply run the appropriate app and hold your phone against the sky (No I’m not kidding! It’s wicked cool!). In fact, recognising something as a comet or planet might just be as simple as grabbing a pair of binoculars so you can see the object more closely.
However, just because folks who don’t understand the sky sometimes misidentify stuff like this, does not necessarily rule out the possibility of legitimate UFOs. One of the things that I hear a lot is that a person will be a skeptic until they see one, then after that witness—they believe. Many of those folks are well informed enough to understand the normal things they see in the sky like Saturn, satellites and such.
“UFOs are all just secret, experimental aircraft being tested by the military.”
Many are. There were quite a few sketches of the U.S. military’s SR-71 Blackbird, F-117 Nighthawk and B-2 Spirit that appeared in books and other sources on UFOs before those aircraft became known to the general public. The government might even tacitly encourage folks to call such sightings “UFOs” to maintain the secrecy surrounding such projects. This muddies the waters a bit for those who work to investigate UFOs independently.
I should point out that any aircraft that you see in a place where it doesn’t belong could be something dangerous, even if it isn’t from outer space. No country is totally at peace and your government’s air defense grid should be interested in anything you see that might be hostile. If you feel a need to call in something like this however then might I suggest you make your report without including any controversial and unsupported assumptions about the craft’s origins, if you want folks to believe you and take action. Just report what you saw and move on. I’m just saying.
And again, just because some sightings of unknown aircraft are in fact built by Earthlings, it does not automatically mean that all of them are.
“People who claim to have seen UFOs are just crack-pots or trying to get attention.”
This isn’t a very nice thing to say about anybody without knowing them personally, however this possibility should not ever be totally discounted either. Imagine how fast the sales of my book would go up if I could get on the news with a credible UFO story. An honest recognition of human nature dictates that we leave room for this possibility in each case.
Would an honest person do something like that? Of course not.
Is everybody honest? Of course not.
Should we apply this explanation with a broad-brush to all otherwise inexplicable UFO sightings? Of course not.
“Flying Saucers are impossible because the science behind them is impossible.”
It takes a lot of guts and arrogance to say something this ridiculous with a straight face. This is even sillier than the balloon story. Science learns new things every day that they thought they had straight the day before. To alledge on any one day that science knows everything is absurd.
“Government won’t admit to the existence of space aliens because of the effect it would have on the world’s religions.”
More silliness. How can a person claim that the aliens don’t believe in God? For all we know the aliens could all be Mormons!
Actually that would have a rather dramatic effect on the world’s religions wouldn’t it. 😉
Where do I stand? I believe that there is life on other planets and that some of that life is similar to us. We now use probes to visit other planets that orbit our sun and very soon we will possess the technology to send people (if we don’t already have that technology as I write this). If it is possible to somehow traverse the vast distances between stars within a reasonably short flight time, and I think that there could be, then of course someone could come here to study Earth the way we now study the Moon, Mars and Titan.
Personally, I don’t recall having ever seen anything in the sky that I couldn’t attach a down-to-Earth explanation to. But I refuse to discount the possibility.
What do you think? Please comment.
- bcultral: UFO sightings: the science (bbcfocusmagazine.com)
- Ufos-fake or Real? (socyberty.com)
- Alleged UFO hovers over Knott’s Berry Farm (gadling.com)
- UFO Sighting Reports (ufos.about.com)
- New York UFO Mystery: Solved? (huffingtonpost.com)
- UFOs explained, from N.Y. to Texas (cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com)
- It’s a UFO, by Jove (blogs.discovermagazine.com)
~ by Bill Housley on October 28, 2010.
Posted in In The News, Technology, Weird Science
Tags: Earth, Extraterrestrial life, Flying saucer, International Space Station, Jupiter, List of UFO sightings, Paranormal, UFO, Unidentified flying object