Ufology

Ufology

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Encyclopedia
Ufology is a neologism coined to describe the collective efforts of those who study reports and associated evidence of unidentified flying object
Unidentified flying object
A term originally coined by the military, an unidentified flying object is an unusual apparent anomaly in the sky that is not readily identifiable to the observer as any known object...

s (UFOs). UFOs have been subject to various investigations over the years by governments, independent groups, and scientists. The term derives from UFO, which is pronounced as an acronym, and the suffix -logy
-logy
-logy is a suffix in the English language, used with words originally adapted from Ancient Greek language ending in -λογία...

, which comes from the Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 λογία (logiā).

Etymology


According to the Oxford English Dictionary
Oxford English Dictionary
The Oxford English Dictionary , published by the Oxford University Press, is the self-styled premier dictionary of the English language. Two fully bound print editions of the OED have been published under its current name, in 1928 and 1989. The first edition was published in twelve volumes , and...

, one of the first documented uses of the word ufology can be found in the Times Literary Supplement from January 23, 1959, in which it writes, "The articles, reports, and bureaucratic studies which have been written about this perplexing visitant constitute 'ufology'." This article was printed eight years after Edward J. Ruppelt
Edward J. Ruppelt
Edward J. Ruppelt was a United States Air Force officer probably best-known for his involvement in Project Blue Book, a formal governmental study of unidentified flying objects...

 of the United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 (USAF) coined the word UFO in 1951.

Historical background


The modern UFO mythology has three traceable roots: the late 19th century "mystery airships" reported in the newspapers of western United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, "foo fighter
Foo fighter
The term foo fighter was used by Allied aircraft pilots in World War II to describe various UFOs or mysterious aerial phenomena seen in the skies over both the European and Pacific Theater of Operations....

s" reported by Allied airmen during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, and the Kenneth Arnold "flying saucer" sighting
Kenneth Arnold UFO sighting
The Kenneth Arnold UFO sighting was an incident on June 24, 1947, where private pilot Kenneth Arnold spotted a string of nine, shiny unidentified flying objects flying past Mount Rainier at then unheard of supersonic speeds that Arnold clocked at a minimum of 1,200 miles an hour...

 near Mt. Rainier, Washington on June 24, 1947. UFO reports between "The Great Airship Wave" and the Arnold sighting were limited in number compared to the post-war period: notable cases include reports of "ghost fliers" in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 and North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 during the 1930s and the numerous reports of "ghost rockets
Ghost rockets
Ghost Rockets Danish Spøgelsesraketter were mysterious rocket- or missile-shaped unidentified flying objects sighted in 1946, mostly in Sweden and nearby countries....

" in Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

 (mostly Sweden) from May to December 1946. Media hype in the late 1940s and early 1950s following the Arnold sighting brought the concept of flying saucers to the public audience.

As the public's preoccupation in UFOs grew, along with the number of reported sightings, the United States military began to take notice of the phenomenon. The UFO explosion of the early post-war era coincides with the escalation of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 and the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

. The U.S. military feared that secret aircraft of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, possibly developed from captured German technology, were behind the sightings. If correct, the craft causing the sightings were thus of importance to national security and of need of systematic investigation. By 1952, however, the official US government interest in UFOs began to fade as the USAF projects Sign
Project Sign
Project Sign was an official U.S. government study of unidentified flying objects undertaken by the United States Air Force and active for most of 1948....

 and Grudge
Project Grudge
Project Grudge was a short-lived project by the U.S. Air Force to investigate unidentified flying objects . Grudge succeeded Project Sign in February, 1949, and was then followed by Project Blue Book. The project formally ended in December 1949, but actually continued on in a very minimal capacity...

 concluded, along with the CIA's Robertson Panel
Robertson Panel
The Robertson Panel was a committee commissioned by the Central Intelligence Agency in 1952 in response to widespread reports of unidentified flying objects, especially in the Washington, D.C. area. The panel was briefed on U.S...

 that UFO reports indicated no direct threat to national security. The government's official research into UFOs ended with the publication of the Condon Committee
Condon Committee
The Condon Committee was the informal name of the University of Colorado UFO Project, a group funded by the United States Air Force from 1966 to 1968 at the University of Colorado to study unidentified flying objects under the direction of physicist Edward Condon...

 report in 1969, which concluded that the study of UFOs in the past 21 years had achieved little, if anything, and that further extensive study of UFO sightings was unwarranted. It also recommended the termination of the USAF special unit Project Blue Book
Project Blue Book
Project Blue Book was one of a series of systematic studies of unidentified flying objects conducted by the United States Air Force. Started in 1952, it was the second revival of such a study...

.

As the U.S. government ceased officially studying UFO sightings, the same became true for most governments of the world. A notable exception is France, which still maintains the GEIPAN
GEIPAN
GEIPAN , formerly known as GEPAN and SEPRA , is a unit of the French Space Agency CNES whose brief is to investigate unidentified aerospace phenomena and make its findings available to the public....

, formerly known as GEPAN (1977–1988) and SEPRA (1988–2004), a unit under the French Space Agency CNES
CNES
The is the French government space agency . Established under President Charles de Gaulle in 1961, its headquarters are located in central Paris and it is under the supervision of the French Ministries of Defence and Research...

. During the Cold War, British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, Canadian
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, Danish
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

, Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, and Swedish governments have each collected reports of UFO sightings. Britain's Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom)
The Ministry of Defence is the United Kingdom government department responsible for implementation of government defence policy and is the headquarters of the British Armed Forces....

 ceased accepting any new reports as of 2010.

Status as a field


Ufology has generally not been embraced by academia as a scientific field of study, even though UFOs were during the late 1940s and early 1950s the subject of large-scale scientific studies. The lack of acceptance of ufology by academia as a field of study means that people can claim to be "UFO researchers", without the sorts of scientific consensus
Scientific consensus
Scientific consensus is the collective judgment, position, and opinion of the community of scientists in a particular field of study. Consensus implies general agreement, though not necessarily unanimity. Scientific consensus is not by itself a scientific argument, and it is not part of the...

 building and, in many cases peer review
Peer review
Peer review is a process of self-regulation by a profession or a process of evaluation involving qualified individuals within the relevant field. Peer review methods are employed to maintain standards, improve performance and provide credibility...

, that otherwise shape and influence scientific paradigm
Paradigm
The word paradigm has been used in science to describe distinct concepts. It comes from Greek "παράδειγμα" , "pattern, example, sample" from the verb "παραδείκνυμι" , "exhibit, represent, expose" and that from "παρά" , "beside, beyond" + "δείκνυμι" , "to show, to point out".The original Greek...

s. Even among scientifically inclined UFO research efforts, data collecting is often done by amateur investigators.

Famous mainstream scientists who have shown interest in the UFO phenomenon include Stanford physicist Peter A. Sturrock
Peter A. Sturrock
Peter Andrew Sturrock is a British scientist.An emeritus professor of applied physics at Stanford University, much of Sturrock's career has been devoted to astrophysics, plasma physics, and solar physics, but Sturrock is interested in other fields, including ufology, scientific inference and in...

, astronomer J. Allen Hynek
J. Allen Hynek
Dr. Josef Allen Hynek was a United States astronomer, professor, and ufologist. He is perhaps best remembered for his UFO research. Hynek acted as scientific adviser to UFO studies undertaken by the U.S. Air Force under three consecutive names: Project Sign , Project Grudge , and Project Blue Book...

, computer scientist and astronomer Jacques F. Vallée
Jacques Vallée
Jacques Fabrice Vallée is a venture capitalist, computer scientist, author, ufologist and former astronomer currently residing in San Francisco, California....

, and University of Arizona
University of Arizona
The University of Arizona is a land-grant and space-grant public institution of higher education and research located in Tucson, Arizona, United States. The University of Arizona was the first university in the state of Arizona, founded in 1885...

 meteorologist
Meteorology
Meteorology is the interdisciplinary scientific study of the atmosphere. Studies in the field stretch back millennia, though significant progress in meteorology did not occur until the 18th century. The 19th century saw breakthroughs occur after observing networks developed across several countries...

 James E. McDonald
James E. McDonald
James Edward McDonald was an American physicist. He is best known for his research regarding UFOs. McDonald was senior physicist at the Institute for Atmospheric Physics and professor in the Department of Meteorology, University of Arizona, Tucson.McDonald campaigned vigorously in support of...

.

As a pseudoscience


Ufology has sometimes been characterized as a partial or total pseudoscience, which many ufologists reject. Pseudoscience is a term that classifies studies that are claimed to exemplify the methods and principles of science, but that do not adhere to an appropriate scientific methodology, lack supporting evidence or plausibility, or otherwise lack scientific status.

Feist thinks that ufology can be categorized as a pseudoscience because, he says, its adherents claim it to be a science while being rejected as being one by the scientific community
Scientific community
The scientific community consists of the total body of scientists, its relationships and interactions. It is normally divided into "sub-communities" each working on a particular field within science. Objectivity is expected to be achieved by the scientific method...

 and because, he says, the field lacks a cumulative scientific progress
Scientific progress
Scientific progress is the idea that science increases its problem solving ability through the application of some scientific method.-Discontinuous Model of Scientific Progress:...

; ufology has not, in his view, advanced since the 1950s. Cooper states that the fundamental problem in ufology is not the lack of scientific methodology, as many ufologists have striven to meet standards of scientific acceptability, but rather the fact that the assumptions on which the research is often based are seemingly highly unlikely to be true.

Methodological issues


Scientific UFO research suffers from the fact that the phenomena under observation do not usually make predictable appearances at a time and place convenient for the researcher. Ufologist Diana Palmer Hoyt argues,
On the other hand, skeptics have argued that UFOs are not a scientific problem at all, as there is no tangible physical evidence to study. Barry Markovsky argues that, under scrutiny by qualified investigators, the vast majority of UFO sightings turn out to have mundane explanations. Astronomer Carl Sagan
Carl Sagan
Carl Edward Sagan was an American astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, science popularizer and science communicator in astronomy and natural sciences. He published more than 600 scientific papers and articles and was author, co-author or editor of more than 20 books...

 stated on UFO sightings, "The reliable cases are uninteresting and the interesting cases are unreliable. Unfortunately there are no cases that are both reliable and interesting."

Peter A. Sturrock states that UFO studies should be compartmentalized into at least "the following distinct activities":
  1. Field investigations leading to case documentation and the measurement or retrieval of physical evidence;
  2. Laboratory analysis of physical evidence;
  3. The systematic compilation of data (descriptive and physical) to look for patterns and so extract significant facts;
  4. The analysis of compilations of data (descriptive and physical) to look for patterns and so extract significant facts;
  5. The development of theories and the evaluation of those theories on the basis of facts.


Denzler states that ufology as a field of study has branched into two different mindsets: the first group of investigators wants to convince the unbelievers and earn intellectual legitimacy through systematic study using the scientific method, and the second group sees the follow-up questions concerning the origin and "mission" of the UFOs as more important than a potential academic standing.

UFO categorization



The "UFO" is unidentified flying object. Because it is unidentified, the classification and categorization are impossible. However, ufologists have proposed different systems for the classification.

Hynek system


Developed in the 1970s, J. Allen Hynek's original system of description divides sightings into six categories. It first separates sightings into distant- and close-encounter categories, arbitrarily setting five-hundred feet as the cutoff point. It then subdivides these close and distant categories based on appearance or special features:
  • Nocturnal Lights (NL): Anomalous lights seen in the night sky.
  • Daylight Discs (DD): Any anomalous object, generally but not necessarily "discoidal", seen in the distant daytime sky.
  • Radar/Visual cases (RV): Objects seen simultaneously by eye and on radar.


Hynek also defined three close encounter
Close encounter
In ufology, a close encounter is an event in which a person witnesses an unidentified flying object. This terminology and the system of classification behind it was started by astronomer and UFO researcher J. Allen Hynek, and was first suggested in his 1972 book The UFO Experience: A Scientific...

 (CE) subcategories:
  • CE1: Strange objects seen nearby but without physical interaction with the environment.
  • CE2: A CE1 case that leaves physical evidence, e.g. soil depressions, vegetation damage, or causes electromagnetic interference
    Electromagnetic interference
    Electromagnetic interference is disturbance that affects an electrical circuit due to either electromagnetic induction or electromagnetic radiation emitted from an external source. The disturbance may interrupt, obstruct, or otherwise degrade or limit the effective performance of the circuit...

    .
  • CE3: CE1 or CE2 cases where occupants or entities are seen.


Later, Hynek introduced a fourth category, CE4, which is used to describe cases where the witness feels he was abducted by a UFO. Some ufologists have adopted a fifth category, CE5, which involves conscious human-initiated contact with extraterrestrial intelligence.

Vallée system


Jacques Vallée has devised a UFO classification system, where the UFO sightings of four different categories are divided into five subcategories:
  • Close Encounter (CE): As per Hynek.
  • Maneuver (MA): Trajectory discontinuity in flight.
  • Fly-by (FB): No observed discontinuity in flight.
  • Anomaly (AN): Unusual lights or unexplained entities.


The five subcategories can apply to all previous categories of sightings:
  1. Sighting
  2. Physical effects: for example, radar sighting
  3. Life form or living entity
  4. Reality transformation: witnesses experienced a transformation of their sense of reality (often corresponding to the popular characterization of the incident as an abduction)
  5. Physiological impact: Such as death or serious injury


Thus, the Vallée categorization categorizes cases as MA-2, AN-1, CE-4, for example.

Alleged academic ridicule


Stanton Friedman considers the general attitude of mainstream academics as arrogant and dismissive, or bound to a rigid world view that disallows any evidence contrary to previously held notions. Denzler states that the fear of ridicule and a loss of status has prevented scientists of pursuing a public interest in UFOs. J. Allen Hynek's also commented, "Ridicule is not part of the scientific method
Scientific method
Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of...

 and people should not be taught that it is." Hynek said of the frequent dismissal of UFO reports by astronomers that the critics knew little about the sightings, and should thus not be taken seriously. Peter A. Sturrock suggests that a lack of funding is a major factor in the institutional disinterest in UFOs.

Ufology and fringe theories


In addition to UFO sightings, certain supposedly related phenomena are of interest to some in the field of ufology, including crop circles, cattle mutilations, and alien abductions and implants. Some ufologists have also promoted UFO conspiracy theories, including the alleged Roswell UFO Incident
Roswell UFO incident
The Roswell UFO Incident was the recovery of an object that crashed in the general vicinity of Roswell, New Mexico, in June or July 1947, allegedly an extra-terrestrial spacecraft and its alien occupants. Since the late 1970s the incident has been the subject of intense controversy and of...

 of 1947, the Majestic 12
Majestic 12
Majestic 12 is the alleged code name of a secret committee of scientists, military leaders, and government officials, supposedly formed in 1947 by an executive order of U.S. President Harry S. Truman...

 documents, and UFO disclosure advocation.

Skeptic Robert Sheaffer
Robert Sheaffer
Robert Sheaffer , in Chicago, IL is a freelance writer and a prominent investigator of unidentified flying objects, Christianity, academic feminism, and many other subjects...

 has accused ufology of having a "credulity explosion". He claims a trend of increasingly sensational ideas steadily gaining popularity within ufology. Sheaffer remarked, "the kind of stories generating excitement and attention in any given year would have been rejected by mainstream ufologists a few years earlier for being too outlandish."

Likewise, James McDonald has expressed the view that extreme groups undermined serious scientific investigation, stating that a "bizarre 'literature' of pseudo-scientific discussion" on "spaceships bringing messengers of terrestrial salvation and occult truth" had been "one of the prime factors in discouraging serious scientists from looking into the UFO matter to the extent that might have led them to recognize quickly enough that cultism and wishful thinking have nothing to do with the core of the UFO problem." In the same statement, McDonald said that, "Again, one must here criticize a good deal of armchair-researching (done chiefly via the daily newspapers that enjoy feature-writing the antics of the more extreme of such subgroups). A disturbing number of prominent scientists have jumped all too easily to the conclusion that only the nuts see UFOs".

Surveys of scientists and amateur astronomers concerning UFOs


In 1973, Peter A. Sturrock conducted a survey among members of the San Francisco chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics is the professional society for the field of aerospace engineering. The AIAA was founded in 1963 from the merger of two earlier societies: the American Rocket Society , founded in 1930 as the American Interplanetary Society , and the Institute...

, where 1175 questionnaires were mailed and 423 were returned, and found no consensus concerning the nature and scientific importance of the UFO phenomenon, with views ranging equally from "impossible" to "certain" in reply to the question, "Do UFOs represent a scientifically significant phenomenon?" In a later larger survey conducted among the members of the American Astronomical Society
American Astronomical Society
The American Astronomical Society is an American society of professional astronomers and other interested individuals, headquartered in Washington, DC...

, where 2611 were questionnaires mailed and 1356 were returned, Sturrock found out that opinions were equally diverse, with 23% replying "certainly", 30% "probably", 27% "possibly", 17% "probably not", and 3% "certainly not", to the question of whether the UFO problem deserves scientific study. Sturrock also asked in the same survey if the surveyee had witnessed any event which they could not have identified and which could have been related to the UFO phenomenon, with around 5% replying affirmatively.

In 1980, a survey of 1800 members of various amateur astronomer associations by Gert Herb and J. Allen Hynek of the Center for UFO Studies
Center for UFO Studies
The Center for UFO Studies is a privately-funded UFO research group. It was founded in 1973 by Dr. J. Allen Hynek, the Chairman of the Department of Astronomy at Northwestern University in Illinois....

 (CUFOS) found that 24% responded "yes" to the question, "Have you ever observed an object which resisted your most exhaustive efforts at identification?"

Notable studies, panels, and conferences in ufology


Project Sign, Project Grudge (USA, 1947–1949)




The first official USAF investigations of UFOs were Project Sign (1947–1949) and its successor Project Grudge (1949). Several hundred sightings were examined, a majority of them having a mundane explanation. Some sightings were classified as credible but inexplicable, and in these cases the possibility of an advanced unknown aircraft could not be ruled out.
The initial memos of the project took the UFO question seriously. After surveying 16 early reports, Lt. Col. George D. Garrett estimated that the sightings were not imaginary or exaggerations of natural phenomena. Lt. General Nathan F. Twining expressed the same estimate in a letter to Brig. General Schulgen.

Flying Saucer Working Party (UK, 1950–1951)



The United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence, alarmed by reports of seemingly advanced unidentified aircraft, followed the US military's example by conducting its own study on UFOs in 1950. A research group was formed based on the recommendation of the chemist Henry Tizard
Henry Tizard
Sir Henry Thomas Tizard FRS was an English chemist and inventor and past Rector of Imperial College....

, and was involved in similar work, such as "Project Sign". After less than a year, the directorate, named the "Flying Saucer Working Party" (FSWP), concluded that most observations were either cases of mistaken identity, optical illusions, psychological delusions, or hoaxes, and recommended that no further investigation on the phenomena should be undertaken. In 1952, the directorate informed Prime Minister Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

, after his inquiry about UFOs, that they had found no evidence of extraterrestrial spacecraft. The FSWP files were classified for fifty years and were released to the British public in 2001.

Project Magnet, Project Second Story (Canada, 1950–1954)



Project Magnet, led by senior senior radio engineer Wilbert B. Smith from the Department of Transport, had the goal of studying magnetic phenomena, specifically geomagnetism, as a potential propulsion method for vehicles. Smith believed UFOs were using this method to achieve flight. The final report of the project, however, contained no mention of geomagnetism. It discussed twenty-five UFO sightings reported during 1952, and concluded with the notion that "extraterrestrial space vehicles" are probable.

Along with the Smith group, a parallel committee dedicated solely to dealing with "flying saucer" reports was formed. This committee, called Project Second Story, was sponsored by the Defence Research Board, with its main purpose being to collect, catalog, and correlate data from UFO sighting reports. The committee appeared to have dissolved after five meetings, as the group deemed the collected material unsuitable for scientific analysis.

Project Blue Book (USA, 1951–1969)


As a continuation of Project Sign and Project Grudge in 1951, the USAF launched Project Blue Book, led by Captain Edward J. Ruppelt
Edward J. Ruppelt
Edward J. Ruppelt was a United States Air Force officer probably best-known for his involvement in Project Blue Book, a formal governmental study of unidentified flying objects...

. Under Ruppelt, the collection and investigation of UFO sightings became more systematic. The project issued a series of status reports, which were declassified in September 1960 and made available in 1968. Project Blue Book was terminated in December 1969, following the report of the Condon Committee. Until then, 12,618 incidents had been investigated, the grand majority of which explained by conventional means. 701 cases, around 6%, remained "unidentified". Officially, the USAF concluded from the project that the phenomena investigated were of no concern to national security, and that there was no evidence the sightings categorized as "unidentified" were caused by extraterrestrial aircraft.

Project Blue Book Special Report No. 14 (USA, 1952–1954)




Ruppelt contracted a team of scientists from the Battelle Memorial Institute
Battelle Memorial Institute
Battelle Memorial Institute is a private nonprofit applied science and technology development company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. Battelle is a charitable trust organized as a nonprofit corporation under the laws of the State of Ohio and is exempt from taxation under Section 501 of the...

 to evaluate the early sightings gathered by Project Blue Book. They conducted analysis, primarily statistical, on the subject for almost two years. The study concluded that the more complete the data was and the better the report, the more likely it was that the report was classified as "unidentified". However, the report emphasized the subjectivity of the data, and stated that the conclusions drawn from the study were not based on facts, but on the subjective observations and estimations of the individual. Furthermore, the report summary and conclusion stated that "unknowns" were not likely something beyond the era's technology, and almost certainly not "flying saucers".

Robertson Panel (USA, 1953)



Before the final Battelle report was published, the Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

 (CIA) had developed an interest in UFOs as a national security issue, and set up a committee to examine existing UFO data. The panel, headed by mathematician and physicist Howard Percy Robertson
Howard Percy Robertson
Howard Percy Robertson was an American mathematician and physicist known for contributions related to physical cosmology and the uncertainty principle...

, met from January 14 to 17, 1953. It concluded unanimously that the UFO sightings posed no direct threat to national security, but did find that a continued emphasis on UFO reporting might threaten government functions by causing the channels of communication to clog with irrelevant reports and by inducing mass hysteria. Also, the panel worried that nations hostile to the US might use the UFO phenomena to disrupt air defenses. To meet these problems, the panel stated that a policy of public education on the lack of evidence behind UFOs was needed, to be done through the mass media and schools, among others. It also recommended monitoring private UFO groups for subversive activities.

The recommendations of the Roberson Panel were partly implemented through a series of special military regulations. The December 1953 Joint-Army-Navy-Air Force Publication 146 (JANAP 146) made publication of UFO sightings a crime under the Espionage Act. The Air Force Regulation 200-2 (AFR 200-2) revision of 1954 made all UFO sightings reported to the USAF classified. AFR 200-2 revision of February 1958 allowed the military to deliver to the FBI names of those who were "illegally or deceptively" bringing UFOs to public attention.

Condon Committee (USA, 1966–1968)




After the recommendations of the Robertson Panel, the USAF wanted to end its involvement in UFOs, and pass Project Blue Book to another agency. In October 1966, the USAF contracted the University of Colorado
University of Colorado at Boulder
The University of Colorado Boulder is a public research university located in Boulder, Colorado...

, under the leadership of physicist Edward U. Condon, for $325,000 to conduct more scientific investigations of selected UFO sightings and to make recommendations about the project's future.
The committee looked at ninety-one UFO sightings, of which 30% was unidentifiable. The report concluded that there was no "direct evidence" that UFOs were extraterrestrial spacecraft, that UFO research from the past twenty-one years had not contributed anything to scientific knowledge, and that further study was not justified. As a direct result of the Condon report, Project Blue Book was closed in December 1969. Many ufologists, however, were not satisfied with the Condon report, and considered it a cover-up
Cover-up
A cover-up is an attempt, whether successful or not, to conceal evidence of wrong-doing, error, incompetence or other embarrassing information...

.

RAND Corporation paper (USA, 1968)


The RAND Corporation produced a short internal document titled "UFOs: What to Do?", published in November 1968. The paper gave a historical summary of the UFO phenomenon, talked briefly about issues concerning extraterrestrial life
Extraterrestrial life
Extraterrestrial life is defined as life that does not originate from Earth...

 and interstellar travel
Interstellar travel
Interstellar space travel is manned or unmanned travel between stars. The concept of interstellar travel in starships is a staple of science fiction. Interstellar travel is much more difficult than interplanetary travel. Intergalactic travel, or travel between different galaxies, is even more...

, presented a few case studies and discussed the phenomenological content of a UFO sighting, reviewed hypotheses, and concluded with a recommendation to organize a central UFO report-receiving agency and conducting more research on the phenomenon.

Project Identification (USA, 1973–1980)


In 1973, a wave of UFO sightings in southeast Missouri
Missouri
Missouri is a US state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2010 population of 5,988,927, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It...

 prompted Harley D. Rutledge, physics professor at the University of Missouri
University of Missouri
The University of Missouri System is a state university system providing centralized administration for four universities, a health care system, an extension program, five research and technology parks, and a publishing press. More than 64,000 students are currently enrolled at its four campuses...

, to conduct an extensive field investigation of the phenomenon. The findings were published in the book Project Identification: the first scientific field study of UFO phenomena. Although taking a specific interest in describing unidentified aerial phenomena, as opposed to identifying them, the book references the presumed intelligence of the sighted objects. Rutledge's study results were not published in any peer-reviewed journal or other scientific venue or format.

Studies by GEPAN, SERPA & GEIPAN (France, 1977–present)


In 1977, the French Space Agency CNES Director General set up a unit to record UFO sighting reports. The unit was initially known as Groupe d’Etudes des Phénomènes Aérospatiaux Non identifiés (GEPAN), changed in 1988 to Service d'expertise de rentrée atmosphérique Phenom (SERPA) and in 2005 to Groupe d'études et d'informations sur les phénomènes aérospatiaux non identifiés (GEIPAN).

GEIPAN found a mundane explanation for the vast majority of recorded cases, but in 2007, after 30 years of investigation, 1,600 cases, approximately 28% of total cases, remained unexplained "despite precise witness accounts and good-quality evidence recovered from the scene" and are categorized as "Type D". In April 2010, GEIPAN statistics stated that 23% of all cases were of Type D. However, Jean-Jacques Velasco, the head of SEPRA from 1983 to 2004, wrote a book in 2004 noting that 13.5% of the 5,800 cases studied by SEPRA were dismissed without any rational explanation, and stated that UFOs are extraterrestrial in origin.

United Nations (1977–1979)


Thanks to the lobbying of Eric Gairy
Eric Gairy
Sir Eric Matthew Gairy was the first Prime Minister of Grenada, serving from Grenada`s independence in 1974 until his overthrow in a coup by Maurice Bishop in 1979...

, the Prime Minister of Grenada
Grenada
Grenada is an island country and Commonwealth Realm consisting of the island of Grenada and six smaller islands at the southern end of the Grenadines in the southeastern Caribbean Sea...

, the United Nations General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

 addressed the UFO issue in the late 1970s. On July 14, 1978, a panel, with Gordon Cooper
Gordon Cooper
Leroy Gordon Cooper, Jr. , also known as Gordon Cooper, was an American aeronautical engineer, test pilot and NASA astronaut. Cooper was one of the seven original astronauts in Project Mercury, the first manned space effort by the United States...

, J. Allen Hynek, and Jacques Vallée among its members, held a hearing to inform the UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim
Kurt Waldheim
Kurt Josef Waldheim was an Austrian diplomat and politician. Waldheim was the fourth Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1972 to 1981, and the ninth President of Austria, from 1986 to 1992...

 about the matter. As a consequence of this meeting, the UN adopted decisions A/DEC/32/424 and A/DEC/33/426, which called for the "establishment of an agency or a department of the United Nations for undertaking, co-ordinating and disseminating the results of research into unidentified flying objects and related phenomena".

Project Hessdalen / Project EMBLA (Norway, 1983–present / Italy 1999–2004)



Since 1981, in an area near Hessdalen
Hessdalen
Hessdalen is a village and a long valley in the municipality of Holtålen in Sør-Trøndelag county, Norway. It is located approximately south of the city of Trondheim, approximately north of Røros mining town, and about southwest of Ålen/Renbygda. About 150 people live in the valley.In the...

 in Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

, unidentified flying objects have been commonly observed. This so-called Hessdalen phenomenon has twice been the subject of scientific field studies: Project Hessdalen (1983–1985, 1995–) secured technical assistance from the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment, the University of Oslo
University of Oslo
The University of Oslo , formerly The Royal Frederick University , is the oldest and largest university in Norway, situated in the Norwegian capital of Oslo. The university was founded in 1811 and was modelled after the recently established University of Berlin...

, and the University of Bergen
University of Bergen
The University of Bergen is located in Bergen, Norway. Although founded as late as 1946, academic activity had taken place at Bergen Museum as far back as 1825. The university today serves more than 14,500 students...

, while Project EMBLA (1999–2004) was a team of Italian scientists led by Ph.D.
Ph.D.
A Ph.D. is a Doctor of Philosophy, an academic degree.Ph.D. may also refer to:* Ph.D. , a 1980s British group*Piled Higher and Deeper, a web comic strip*PhD: Phantasy Degree, a Korean comic series* PhD Docbook renderer, an XML renderer...

 Massimo Teodorani from the Istituto di Radioastronomia di Bologna
Istituto di Radioastronomia di Bologna
The Istituto di Radioastronomia di Bologna is one of the Italian institutes that had already been part of the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche , now part of the Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica .Many learned researchers in astronomy, physics, engineering or...

.

Both studies confirmed the presence of the phenomenon and were able to record it with cameras and various technical equipment such as radar, laser, and infrared. The origin and nature of the lights remains unclear. Researchers from Project EMBLA speculated the possibility that atmospheric plasma had been the origin of the phenomenon.

Project Condign (UK, 1996–2000)



The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) published in 2006 the "Scientific & Technical Memorandum 55/2/00a" of a four-volume, 460-page report entitled Unidentified Aerial Phenomena in the UK Air Defence Region, based on a study by DI55 (a section of the Directorate of Scientific and Technical Intelligence of the Defence Intelligence Staff) codenamed Project Condign. It discusses the British UFO reports received between 1959 and 1997.

The report affirms that UFOs are an existing phenomenon, but points out that they present no threat to national defense. The report further states that there is no evidence that UFO sightings are caused by incursions of intelligent origin, or that any UFO consists of solid objects which might create a collision hazard. Although the study admits of being unable to explain all analyzed UFO sightings with certainty, it recommends that section DI55 ceases monitoring UFO reports, as they do not provide information useful for Defence Intelligence. The report concludes that a small percentage of sightings that can not be easily explained are caused by atmospheric plasma phenomenon similar to ball lightning
Ball lightning
Ball lightning is an unexplained atmospheric electrical phenomenon. The term refers to reports of luminous, usually spherical objects which vary from pea-sized to several metres in diameter. It is usually associated with thunderstorms, but lasts considerably longer than the split-second flash of a...

; Magnetic and other energy fields produced by these "bouyant plasma formations" are responsible for the appearance of so-called "Black Triangles" as well as having hallucinogenic effects on the human mind, inducing experiences of Close Encounters.

Sturrock Panel Report (USA, 1997)


From Sept. 29 to Oct. 4, 1997 a workshop examining selected UFO incidents took place in Tarrytown, New York
Tarrytown, New York
Tarrytown is a village in the town of Greenburgh in Westchester County, New York, United States. It is located on the eastern bank of the Hudson River, about north of midtown Manhattan in New York City, and is served by a stop on the Metro-North Hudson Line...

. The meeting was initiated by Peter A. Sturrock, who had reviewed the Condon report and found it dissatisfying. The international review panel consisted of nine physical scientists, who responded to eight investigators of UFO reports, who were asked to present their strongest data. The final report of the workshop was published under the title "Physical Evidence Related to UFO Reports" in the Journal of Scientific Exploration
Journal of Scientific Exploration
The Journal of Scientific Exploration is a quarterly scientific journal of fringe science published by the Society for Scientific Exploration that was established in 1987...

in 1998. The study concluded that the studied cases presented no unequivocal evidence for the presence of unknown physical phenomena or for extraterrestrial intelligence, but argued that a continued study of UFO cases might be scientifically valuable.

COMETA Report (France, 1999)


COMETA (Comité d'Études Approfondies, "Committee for in-depth studies") is a private French group, which is mainly composed of high-ranking individuals from the French Ministry of Defence. In 1999 the group published a ninety-page report entitled "Les OVNI et la défense: à quoi doit-on se préparer?" ("UFOs and Defense: What Should We Prepare For?"). The report analyzed various UFO cases and concluded that UFOs are real, complex flying objects, and that the extraterrestrial hypothesis has a high probability of being the correct explanation for the UFO phenomenon. The study recommended that the French government should adjust to the reality of the phenomenon and conduct further research. Skeptic Claude Maugé criticized COMETA for research incompetency, and claimed that the report tried to present itself as an official French document, when in fact it was published by a private group.

"Disclosure Project" Press Conference (USA, 2001)


On May 9, 2001, twenty government workers from military and civilian organizations spoke about their experiences regarding UFOs and UFO confidentiality at the National Press Club in Washington D.C.. The press conference was initiated by Steven M. Greer
Steven M. Greer
Steven M. Greer is an American physician and ufologist who founded the Orion Project and The Disclosure Project.-Biography:Greer claims that he is a contactee who has coined the term "close encounter of the fifth kind" to describe human-initiated contact with extraterrestrials.-The Disclosure...

, founder of the Disclosure Project, which has the goal of disclosing alleged government UFO secrecy. The purpose of the press conference was to build public pressure through the media to obtain a hearing before the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 on the issue. Although major American media outlets reported on the conference, the interest quickly died down, and no hearing came forth.

Fife Symington Press Conference (USA, 2007)


On November 12, 2007, a press conference, moderated by former Governor of Arizona Fife Symington, was held at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. Nineteen former pilots and military and civilian officials spoke about their experiences with UFOs, demanding that the U.S. government engage in a new investigation of the phenomenon.

Notable cases in ufology



Below are short summaries of select famous cases in UFO research. All of the incidents remain subject to controversy.

Kenneth Arnold UFO sighting (USA, 1947)



On June 24, 1947 pilot Kenneth Arnold reported seeing nine metallic objects flying near Mt. Rainier, Washington. The term "flying saucer" was coined by an Associated Press
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

 reporter, Bill Bequette, who based it on Arnold's description of the objects.

Roswell UFO Incident (USA, 1947)



The Roswell Incident of 1947 ranks as one of the most publicized and controversial UFO incidents. The US Army recovered an object which crashed near Roswell, New Mexico
Roswell, New Mexico
Roswell is a city in and the county seat of Chaves County in the southeastern quarter of the state of New Mexico, United States. The population was 48,366 at the 2010 census. It is a center for irrigation farming, dairying, ranching, manufacturing, distribution, and petroleum production. It is also...

 in July 1947, allegedly an extraterrestrial spacecraft, and alien pliots, Many books on the incident have been written since the 1970s, and numerous alleged witnesses have spoken on the event. The USAF maintains
Air Force reports on the Roswell UFO incident
The two Air Force reports on the Roswell UFO incident, published in 1994/5 and 1997, form the basis for much of the skeptical explanation for the 1947 incident, the purported recovery of aliens and their craft from the vicinity of Roswell, New Mexico....

 that the crashed object was a top-secret military spy balloon, a part of Project Mogul
Project Mogul
Project Mogul was a top secret project by the US Army Air Forces involving microphones flown on high altitude balloons, whose primary purpose was long-distance detection of sound waves generated by Soviet atomic bomb tests. The project was carried out from 1947 until early 1949...

, many UFO
Unidentified flying object
A term originally coined by the military, an unidentified flying object is an unusual apparent anomaly in the sky that is not readily identifiable to the observer as any known object...

 proponents maintain that an alien
Extraterrestrial life
Extraterrestrial life is defined as life that does not originate from Earth...

 craft was found and its occupants were captured, and that the military covered it up.

July 1952 Washington D.C. UFO incident (USA, 1952)



From July 13 to 29, 1952, there was a major wave of UFO sightings over Washington D.C. Simultaneous radar and visual sightings were reported, of what appeared to be a group of UFOs flying over the city, and the Capitol Building
United States Capitol
The United States Capitol is the meeting place of the United States Congress, the legislature of the federal government of the United States. Located in Washington, D.C., it sits atop Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the National Mall...

. Fighter jets were scrambled to intercept the objects, which allegedly disappeared when the planes got close enough to engage, and reappeared when the jets disengaged. The USAF held a major press conference to respond to the media and public inquiry, and brought in Harvard astronomer Donald Menzel to explain away the sightings as being caused by temperature inversion.

Tehran UFO Incident (Iran, 1976)



On the morning of September 19, 1976, a bright object was sighted and recorded by radar over Tehran
Tehran
Tehran , sometimes spelled Teheran, is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With an estimated population of 8,429,807; it is also Iran's largest urban area and city, one of the largest cities in Western Asia, and is the world's 19th largest city.In the 20th century, Tehran was subject to...

, Imperial State of Iran. Two Imperial Iranian Air Force F-4 Phantom jet fighters tried to intercept the object, but turned back, reportedly after an instrumentation and communications failure on both planes. The second plane's weapons system reportedly also died when it tried to fire a missile at a smaller object, which had emerged from the object pursued. The case is confirmed both by the statements of a senior Iranian military official and by a report from the U.S. Defense Department on the case.
Skeptic Philip J. Klass
Philip J. Klass
Philip Julian Klass was an American journalist and UFO researcher, known for his skepticism regarding UFOs. In the ufological and skeptical communities, Klass tends to inspire strongly polarized appraisals. Klass has been called the "Sherlock Holmes of UFOlogy"...

, after having examined the case, claims the witnesses initially saw an astronomical body, possibly Jupiter
Jupiter
Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest planet within the Solar System. It is a gas giant with mass one-thousandth that of the Sun but is two and a half times the mass of all the other planets in our Solar System combined. Jupiter is classified as a gas giant along with Saturn,...

, while equipment malfunction and pilot incompetence accounted for the technical malfunctions. Klass also pointed out that although being supposedly such a spectacular UFO case, it remained unclassified, and that there was no evidence of a follow-up investigation.

Rendlesham Forest Incident (UK, 1980)


From December 26 to 28, 1980, several bright UFOs were reportedly observed by military personnel in Rendlesham Forest
Rendlesham Forest
Rendlesham Forest is a 1500-hectare mixed woodland in Suffolk owned by the Forestry Commission with recreation facilities for walkers, cyclists and campers. Catering to enthusiasts of the 1980 Rendlesham Forest incident, there is a special UFO trail....

, Suffolk
Suffolk
Suffolk is a non-metropolitan county of historic origin in East Anglia, England. It has borders with Norfolk to the north, Cambridgeshire to the west and Essex to the south. The North Sea lies to the east...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

. In one case, a witness reported seeing a landed object, which he then touched and felt characters etched on its surface, before the object flew off. Later, military personnel found impressions and increased radioactivity measurements on the supposed landing site. The witnesses were all military personnel, including the deputy commander of the nearby Bentwaters Royal Air Force base, Lt. Col. Charles I. Halt. An official USAF memo dated January 13, 1981 documents the incident. An audio recording of the military investigation that took place on December 27 is also available to the public. Skeptic Brian Dunning
Brian Dunning (skeptic)
Brian Dunning is the host and producer of Skeptoid: Critical Analysis of Pop Phenomena, a weekly audio podcast dedicated "to furthering knowledge by blasting away the widespread pseudosciences that infect popular culture, and replacing them with evidence-based scientific reality." He is also the...

 of the Skeptoid
Skeptoid
Skeptoid is a weekly podcast created and hosted by American skeptic and author Brian Dunning. The show follows an audio essay format, and is dedicated to the critical examination of pseudoscience and the paranormal....

 podcast suggests the UFO and strange light sightings were misidentifications of the nearby Orfordness lighthouse
Orford Ness
Orford Ness is a cuspate foreland shingle spit on the Suffolk coast in Great Britain, linked to the mainland at Aldeburgh and stretching along the coast to Orford and down to North Wier Point, opposite Shingle Street. It is divided from the mainland by the River Alde, and was formed by longshore...

, the re-entry of the Russian Cosmos 749 rocket, and meteors.

Belgian UFO wave (Belgium, 1989–1991)



From 1989 to mid-1991, around 3,500 UFO sightings were recorded in Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

. On the night of March 30, 1990, hundreds of people reported seeing UFOs in the airspace over Belgium, and unknown targets were confirmed by radar. Two Belgian Air Force
Belgian Air Force
The Air Component, formerly the Belgian Air Force, is the air arm of the Belgian Armed Forces. Originally founded in 1909, it is one of the world's first air forces, and was a pioneer in aerial combat during the First World War...

 (BAF) F-16 fighters attempted to intercept the objects, with no success. The radar tapes were later analyzed by the BAF, who concluded that the anomalies could have been caused by processing errors on the on-board computers. Ufologist Renaud Leclet states that some of the sightings could be explained by helicopters with unusual designs, with which the public was unfamiliar.

Phoenix Lights (USA, 1997)



On March 13, 1997, from around 8:15 to 10 p.m. local time, hundreds of citizens in the city of Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona
Phoenix is the capital, and largest city, of the U.S. state of Arizona, as well as the sixth most populated city in the United States. Phoenix is home to 1,445,632 people according to the official 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data...

 reported seeing a formation of lights move over city and surrounding mountains, giving the impression of a large "V"-shaped object. Along with eyewitness testimony, video material and pictures of the lights exist. It was revealed that the visiting 104th Fighter Squadron of the Maryland Air National Guard
Maryland Air National Guard
The Maryland Air National Guard is the air force component of the militia of the U.S. state of Maryland. As a dual-status organization, it is also considered a reserve component of the United States Air Force.-Mission:...

 dropped illumination flare
Flare (pyrotechnic)
A flare, also sometimes called a fusee, is a type of pyrotechnic that produces a brilliant light or intense heat without an explosion. Flares are used for signalling, illumination, or defensive countermeasures in civilian and military applications...

s as a part of an exercise near Phoenix around 8:15 to 8:30 p.m.

United States


In the US, groups and affiliates interested in UFO investigation number in the hundreds, of which a few have achieved prominence based on their longevity, size, and researcher involvement with scientific credentials. The first significant UFO interest group in the US was the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization
Aerial Phenomena Research Organization
The Aerial Phenomena Research Organization was a UFO research group started in 1952 by Jim and Coral Lorenzen.The group, which was based in Tucson, Arizona but had many state branches, remained active until 1988....

 (APRO), formed in 1952 by Coral and James Lorenzen. The organization closed down in 1988. The National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena
National Investigations Committee On Aerial Phenomena
The National Investigations Committee On Aerial Phenomena was a civilian unidentified flying object research group active in the United States from the 1950s to the 1980s.-Overview:...

 (NICAP), which formed in 1957 and shut down in the 1970ṣ, whose Board of Directors included former Director of Central Intelligence
Director of Central Intelligence
The Office of United States Director of Central Intelligence was the head of the United States Central Intelligence Agency, the principal intelligence advisor to the President and the National Security Council, and the coordinator of intelligence activities among and between the various United...

 and first head of the Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

, VADM
Vice admiral (United States)
In the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard, the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps, and the United States Maritime Service, vice admiral is a three-star flag officer, with the pay grade of...

 Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter
Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter
Roscoe Henry Hillenkoetter , born in St. Louis, Missouri, was the third director of the post-World War II U.S. Central Intelligence Group , the third Director of Central Intelligence , and the first director of the Central Intelligence Agency created by the National Security Act of 1947...

, was, at one time, the largest UFO organization in the country, with numerous chapters. In 1957, brothers W. H. and J. A. Spaulding founded the Ground Saucer Watch, which later became famous when, in 1977, the group filed a suit under the Freedom of Information Act against the CIA.

The two major UFO groups active today are the Mutual UFO Network
Mutual UFO Network
The Mutual UFO Network is an American non-profit organization that investigates cases of reported UFO sightings. It is one of the oldest and largest UFO-investigative organizations in the United States....

 (MUFON), founded in 1969, and the Center for UFO Studies
Center for UFO Studies
The Center for UFO Studies is a privately-funded UFO research group. It was founded in 1973 by Dr. J. Allen Hynek, the Chairman of the Department of Astronomy at Northwestern University in Illinois....

 (CUFOS), founded in 1973 by J. Allen Hynek. MUFON grew as the key members of NICAP joined the organization in the 1970s. CUFOS has tried to limit its membership to established researchers, but has found little academic acceptance.

United Kingdom


The British UFO Research Association
British UFO Research Association
The British UFO Research Association or BUFORA is a UK organisation formerly registered as "BUFORA Ltd"; dedicated to investigating UFO phenomenon in the British Isles...

 (BUFORA) is the largest and oldest of the active British UFO organizations. It traces its roots to the London UFO Research Association, founded in 1959, which merged with the British UFO Association (BUFOA) to form BUFORA in 1964.

Ukraine


The Ukrainian Ufologic Club (UFODOS) has released and placed on the Internet (ufobua.org.ua) a national archive of UFO evidences . It was complied based on people's evidences about strange flying objects over Ukraine. The "secret files" comprise about 500 eyewitnesses testimonies who saw UFO in Ukraine starting from the 17th century. According to UFODOS chief Yaroslav Sochka, the materials were collected from various sources, basically, Hydrometeorological Center of Ukraine Air Force and public ufological organizations.

Australia



The Australian Flying Saucer Bureau (AFSB) and the Australian Flying Saucer Research Society (AFSRS) were the earliest UFO groups established in Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, with both being founded in the early 1950s. The Australian Centre for UFO Studies (ACUFOS) was established in 1974 with links to the American CUFOS. Other currently active Australian UFO groups include the Victorian UFO Research Society (VUFORS), the
Australian UFO Research Network (AUFORN), and UFO Research Queensland (UFORQ).

Skeptic organizations



The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI), although not a UFO organization, has investigated various UFO cases and has given a skeptical review of the phenomena in its publications, often in the Skeptical Inquirer
Skeptical Inquirer
The Skeptical Inquirer is a bimonthly American magazine published by the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry with the subtitle: The magazine for science and reason....

magazine. Founded as the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) in 1976 by professor of philosophy Paul Kurtz
Paul Kurtz
Paul Kurtz is a prominent American skeptic and secular humanist. He has been called "the father of secular humanism." He is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo, having previously also taught at Vassar, Trinity, and Union colleges, and the New School for...

, the committee is notable for its member scientists and skeptics, such as Carl Sagan
Carl Sagan
Carl Edward Sagan was an American astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, science popularizer and science communicator in astronomy and natural sciences. He published more than 600 scientific papers and articles and was author, co-author or editor of more than 20 books...

, Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov was an American author and professor of biochemistry at Boston University, best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Asimov was one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written or edited more than 500 books and an estimated 90,000...

, Philip J. Klass, Ray Hyman
Ray Hyman
Ray Hyman is a Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon, and a noted critic of parapsychology.-Career:...

, James Randi
James Randi
James Randi is a Canadian-American stage magician and scientific skeptic best known as a challenger of paranormal claims and pseudoscience. Randi is the founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation...

, and Martin Gardner
Martin Gardner
Martin Gardner was an American mathematics and science writer specializing in recreational mathematics, but with interests encompassing micromagic, stage magic, literature , philosophy, scientific skepticism, and religion...

. The Skeptics Society, founded by science historian Michael Shermer
Michael Shermer
Michael Brant Shermer is an American science writer, historian of science, founder of The Skeptics Society, and Editor in Chief of its magazine Skeptic, which is largely devoted to investigating pseudoscientific and supernatural claims. The Skeptics Society currently has over 55,000 members...

 in 1992, has also addressed the UFO issue in its magazine Skeptic
Skeptic (U.S. magazine)
Skeptic is a quarterly science education and science advocacy magazine published internationally by The Skeptics Society, a nonprofit organization devoted to promoting scientific skepticism and resisting the spread of pseudoscience, superstition, and irrational beliefs...

.

See also


  • Extraterrestrial life
    Extraterrestrial life
    Extraterrestrial life is defined as life that does not originate from Earth...

  • Fringe science
    Fringe science
    Fringe science is scientific inquiry in an established field of study that departs significantly from mainstream or orthodox theories, and is classified in the "fringes" of a credible mainstream academic discipline....

  • List of Ufologists
  • Pseudoscience (list of topics)
  • SETI
    SETI
    The search for extraterrestrial intelligence is the collective name for a number of activities people undertake to search for intelligent extraterrestrial life. Some of the most well known projects are run by the SETI Institute. SETI projects use scientific methods to search for intelligent life...

  • UFOs in fiction
    UFOs in fiction
    Many works of fiction have featured UFOs. In most cases, as the fictional story progresses, the Earth is being invaded by hostile alien forces from outer space, usually from Mars, as depicted in early science fiction, or the people are being destroyed by alien forces, as depicted in the film...



Further reading


Ufology Books Collection

Academic books about ufology as a sociological and historical phenomenon

Pro-ufology

Skeptical opinions

Ufology studies

External links