In 2018, a modest 3395 people in the U.S. and Canada submitted their accounts of UFO sightings to the National UFO Reporting Center. In 2019, that number jumped to 5971.
Apparently, aliens are especially fond of flying their aircrafts over California, Florida, and Washington; according to ABC News, they were the three most popular states for UFO sightings in 2019, with 485, 385, and 222 reports, respectively. Nevada, home of the infamous Area 51, totaled only about 70 for the year.
Peter Davenport, director of the Washington-based organization, told ABC News that he didn’t have any insight as to why the number had jumped nearly 76 percent in just one year.
“One of the mysteries of ufology is there is a fluctuation in the number of reports over the years,” he said. “Some years it’s been low, but it’s gotten higher recently.”
American Astronomical Society spokesman Rick Fienberg, on the other hand, offered a few ideas to ABC News: Not only were Jupiter and Venus extra-visible last year, but SpaceX sent a total of 180 new satellites into space. Since the National UFO Reporting Center simply catalogs reports—it doesn’t investigate them—it’s likely that many are actually planets, satellites, or other easily explainable phenomena. As Fienberg pointed out, the u in UFO stands for unidentified, not unidentifiable.
“If you’re not keeping up with the news and not familiar with the skyline, you might mistakenly see an unidentified flying object. It may be unidentified to you, but known to others,” Fienberg said.
We’re not ruling out the possibility that extraterrestrial beings are getting more careless about concealing themselves and their vehicles as time goes on—they’ve supposedly been slipping up as far back as 1400 BCE. Find out about 12 notorious UFO sightings from history here.