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Fifty years ago, UFO sightings in the United States exploded

What happened to the UFOs? – Science News, June 26, 1971

Since 1968 the number of UFO sightings has dropped, along with public interest in them. … (A) scientific discrediting of UFO phenomena and the subsequent, though not necessarily related, decline in sightings presents an interesting pattern of behavior … UFO reports are usually made in five-year cycles and 1972 should be the beginning of another cycle.


Reports of unidentified flying objects had their ups and downs. By 2020, people in the United States have made more than 7,200 reports of UFO sightings – about 1,000 more than in 2019 and nearly 4,000 more than in 2018, according to the National UFO Reporting Center in Davenport, Washington. A quarter of last year’s reports in March and April, when much of the country was closed due to the pandemic. Many of these UFOs turned out to be drones or satellites (SN: 28/03/20, p. 24). In late April, the Pentagon officially released naval images of "unidentified aerial phenomena" that were shared online, which may have prepared some people to look for UFOs in their own gardens.

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