July 2 – World UFO Day

Posted on July 2, 2014

 Some people claim that, on this date in 1947, a space vehicle full of aliens crash landed near Roswell, New Mexico. 

For that reason, some ufologists (people who are interested in UFOs) celebrate today as World UFO Day. 

They want to, in their words, raise awareness of “the undoubted existence of UFOs.” 

One of the main ways of celebrating seems to be gathering together to look at the night sky – to look for UFOs.

I was looking at the group's file of “evidence” for UFOs, and I saw a mention that the number of UFO reports always jumps on World UFO Day

Let's think about that...

Obviously, nobody could believe that aliens have been monitoring our internet (and somehow understanding and translating websites written in English), and that at least one alien noticed that a tiny percentage of the world's billions celebrates UFO Day on July 2, and that the aliens therefore sent out their ships to travel however many lightyears to Earth so that they could be sure to make an appearance on that day!

So...I guess the only other explanation for more UFO reports on World UFO Day is that more people are looking for them. That makes sense. If you're not looking for ravens, you might not notice a one...but if you decide to look for ravens and keep a count of how many you see on a particular day, you are quite likely to spot a few.

But does that meant that there are always a lot of aliens buzzing around the world in their spaceships, waiting to be noticed? And, if you think about it, since the aliens wouldn't know which towns in the world have ufologists out looking for them, there would have to be an awful lot of aliens zooming through Earth's nighttime skies!

I wonder why aliens would bother!

Let's think some more. First, what does “UFO” actually mean? You probably know that it stands for Unidentified Flying Object.” If a UFO were clearly a spaceship, it would be an identified flying object, right?

In actual fact, UFOs do exist – I'm not saying that alien spaceships have been to Earth, I'm saying that UNIDENTIFIED “flying” objects exist – because people are often confused by what they see. It's hard to tell what a light in the night really means. 

Is it a tiny light on a dark, nearby object? Is it a large light on a farther-away object? Or is it an entire object, glowing from within, either tiny and near or large but quite far away?

Is it something people made (like an airplane or a weather balloon)? 

Is it a familiar nighttime object (like the planet Venus) made unfamiliar by clouds or other phenomena? 

Is it an optical illusion caused by air's ability to bend light and ice crystals' ability to create arcs or circles? 
It's a cloud. That really, really looks like a
flying saucer!

Is it a strange shaped cloud, or a weird sort of lightning, or other unusual weather phenomenon? 

Ball lightning, confounding
people for centuries!

Analysis of this photo shows it to be a hoax --
a hoax that has been photoshopped into multiple
"photos of UFOs."
Is it a hoax? 

Is it a flaw in the lens of a camera?

Is it a flock of birds? 

The only time I saw a UFO hovering over the city, I was the only kid among an excited group of kids who took the time to really check it out – and it turned out to be just a street lamp! (I know, lame, huh? But it was one of those tricky-angle-weird-lighting-conditions situations.)

This type of street lamp in Phoenix, AZ,
has been mistakenly reported as a flying
saucer many times.
  • One of my favorite astronomers, Phil Plait, talks about UFOs here.
  • And one of my favorite astrophysicists, Neil deGrasse Tyson, discusses UFOs here.

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