[History of Astronomy]
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Unidentified Flying Objects
Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) are any object in the sky that the viewer cannot recognise. Many are due to various natural phenomena (planets, meteors, aurora, high altitude clouds, flocks of birds) or human activity (satellites, balloons, aircraft). Some are hoaxes or mistaken observations. A few are unexplained.
Many people believe that UFOs are craft piloted by intelligent extraterrestrial life that are visiting the Earth. There is no evidence that this is so.
Believers often use the fact that some UFO sightings are unexplained to "prove" that these are intelligent visitors from other worlds. If a phenomenon is unexplained, it means there is not enough data to explain it. An unexplained observation does not prove an idea. Saying
is logically equivalent to saying
The following maps (from the UFO Database Website) show the distribution of UFO sightings around the world in the last 50 years.
The observations clearly follow national boundaries. There are a disproportional number in the English speaking countries of North America, northern Europe, and Australia. In the western hemisphere, the majority of UFO observations are confined within the borders of the USA.
This type of distribution is a cultural rather than an astronomical one. Appearances of the Virgin Mary are also distributed along country lines - this time confined to the Catholic countries.
Many USA believers of UFOs state that the reason there is no evidence of extraterrestrial visitors is because the USA State Department or the CIA suppress the information. However, the USA is only one of about 200 countries. It is difficult to conceive of a world wide conspiracy involving countries that are both friendly and hostile to the USA.
Stories of alien abductions are just that, stories. Without evidence we must discount them as we would stories of fairies, flying carpets or miracles.
© 2000 KryssTal
Maps from the UFO Database