U.F.O. The Sightings, Information and Resources Guide
The Sightings, Information and Resources Guide.........
What Is A UFO?
Unidentified flying object (commonly abbreviated as UFO or U.F.O.) is the popular term
for any aerial phenomenon whose cause cannot be easily or immediately identified. Both
military and civilian research show that a significant majority of UFO sightings have
been identified after further investigation, either explicitly or indirectly through
the presence of clear and simple explanatory factors (see Occam's Razor). The United
States Air Force, which coined the term in 1952, initially defined UFOs as those objects
that remain unidentified after scrutiny by expert investigators, though the term UFO is
often used more generally to describe any sighting unidentifiable to the reporting observer(s).
Popular culture frequently takes the term UFO as a synonym for alien spacecraft. Cults have
become associated with UFOs, and mythology and folklore have evolved around the phenomenon.
Some investigators now prefer to use the broader term unidentified aerial phenomenon (or UAP),
to avoid the confusion and speculative associations that have become attached to UFO.
Studies have established that only a small percentage of reported UFOs are actual hoaxes,
while the majority are observations of some real but conventional objectmost commonly
aircraft, balloons, or astronomical objects such as meteors or bright planetsthat have
been misidentified by the observer as anomalies. A small percentage of reported sightings
(usually 520) are classified as unidentified flying objects in the strictest sense
(see below for some studies).
Certain scientists have argued that all UFO sightings, in the strictest sense, are mis-
identifications of prosaic natural phenomena and historically, there was debate among
some scientists about whether scientific investigation was warranted given available
empirical data. Very little peer-reviewed literature has been published in which scientists
have proposed, studied or supported non-prosaic explanations for UFOs.
UFO reports became frequent after the first widely publicized US sighting reported by
private pilot Kenneth Arnold in 1947 that gave rise to the popular terms "flying saucer"
and "flying disc". Since then, millions of people have reported that they have seen UFOs.
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