SAN DIEGO (KSWB) – Have you experienced an aerial phenomenon? You aren’t alone.
According to the National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC), roughly 2,000 unidentified flying object (UFO) sightings have been reported in the U.S. so far this year.
NUFORC is a non-governmental, nonprofit corporation that investigates UFO sightings. The center says it receives, records, corroborates and documents reports from individuals who believe they have witnessed an aerial phenomenon.
Since its founding in 1974, NUFORC says it has processed over 170,000 reports, which are listed online by date and location. The center explained that guaranteed anonymity to callers is a longstanding policy of the corporation.
NUFORC makes available to the public all of its data in summary form with the time, location, duration of the sighting, and a short summary describing the UFO. The organization notes that it can’t validate the information provided in reports but it does remove “obvious hoaxes.”
In 2023 alone, hundreds upon hundreds of UFO sightings have been reported in the U.S., according to an analysis of NUFORC’s data. Sightings have also been reported in every state, but some see much more of the alleged activity than others.
California, the most populous state in the U.S., boasts 237 sightings in 2023 alone, followed by Florida at 170 and Washington state at 108. As for individual cities, Portland, Oregon, had 12 reported sightings this year, followed by Seattle with 11 and Los Angeles with 10.
The fewest sightings were reported in Rhode Island and the District of Columbia — 2 and 3, respectively — and Montana and North Dakota had only four reported sightings each. And surprisingly, just 23 UFO sightings were reported in Nevada, home to the mysterious Area 51 and a recently reported “non-human being” encounter.
The interactive map below shows how many UFO sightings were reported in each state, according to NUFORC’s data.
Of those reported this year, 98 have been reported in Texas as of Aug. 7. That’s the fourth-highest number of sightings reported in the U.S., and five times higher than neighboring Louisiana.
The only states with more reported UFO sightings than Texas are California, Florida, and Washington.
According to the reports, one of the most recent sightings in Texas was described as, “a bright light larger than an aircraft suddenly appeared in the sky and moves east. It then becomes brighter and projects a blast.” The length of time UFOs were present in Texas varies widely, as some are reported to last as long as two hours, while others were seen for mere seconds before they disappeared.
Some of the sightings can be explained away, like Starlink Satellite trains or Venus and Jupiter, two common night-sky occurrences NUFORC asks people not to report. The organization also asks that you don’t report an object you can see in a photo but not with your naked eye, noting the UFO is “probably a camera anomaly or artifact such as a lens flare.”
Congress talks UFOs
UFO sightings have been a popular topic among even federal lawmakers recently.
In late July, the U.S. House Oversight Committee held a hearing on whether the U.S. has been concealing evidence of non-human aircraft.
A whistleblower, Retired Air Force Maj. David Grusch, testified that the nation has in fact concealed what he called a “multi-decade” program to collect and reverse-engineer “UAPs,” or unidentified aerial phenomena, the official government term for UFOs.
Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick — a career intelligence officer named a year ago to lead the Pentagon’s All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office, or AARO, which was intended to centralize investigations into UAPs — called the claims “insulting” to employees who are investigating sightings.
The Pentagon “has no information that any individual has been harmed or killed as a result of providing information” about UFO objects, Department of Defense spokeswoman Sue Gough said. Nor has the Pentagon discovered “any verifiable information to substantiate claims that any programs regarding the possession or reverse-engineering of extraterrestrial materials have existed in the past or exist currently.”
The Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies have been pushed by Congress in recent years to better investigate reports of devices flying at unusual speeds or trajectories as a national security concern.
The Pentagon, as well as the White House and NASA, have previously stated they have no reason to believe unexplained objects are extraterrestrial while National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby said there are “no hard and fast” answers after the hearing, but that it is being taken seriously.
The Associated Press and NewsNation’s Stephanie Whiteside contributed to this report.