Are we alone in the universe? This is without a doubt the most fundamentally sought after question of our age, or perhaps any age. It may well be a rhetorical question and many theoretical physicists and astronomers believe this is something that might be impossible to guess or tell, citing that communication between two highly civilized societies and planets would be nigh impossible. This is down to the sheer vastness of space. Distances are incomprehensibly vast to the average person on the street, so imagine trying to cover those colossal distances...
Recently, the world stood still in astonishment as a major discovery was unearthed by the Kepler planet hunting telescope. The mission of Kepler, since 2009, has been to ferret out the presence of planets around other stars, termed “exoplanets.” By locating a regular dip in light in front of a star, Kepler is able to ascertain the position of a planet and the telescope’s discoveries have run into thousands so far, even revealing the Holy Grail of exoplanet spotting, one or two Earth sized planets orbiting in the “Goldilocks Zone" - an area around a star where liquid water is possible, indicating a high chance of life.
Within the last month however, Kepler noticed a large object fly past a star and several rapid objects all at once afterwards. Speculation has abounded, vis-à-vis the kind of celestial objects these are. They range from space debris to comets, yet the organization concerned with hunting extraterrestrial life, SETI, posited an instance that was far less mundane to our fertile imaginations. Perhaps we had finally glimpsed an alien super structure orbiting a star? Something like the hypothesized Dyson Sphere, theorized to harness a star’s energy to meet the consumption needs of a highly advanced alien civilization.
Now that alien life is abuzz throughout the media again, here is a rundown of the most shocking UFO sightings.
12 Phoenix Lights
One evening in March of 1997 in Nevada and Arizona, USA, thousands of people reported spotting a vast V-shape of seven lights in the sky. Orbs and triangles were also said to have been witnessed by residents that clogged police lines voicing their concerns over the unexpected illuminations. Dana Valentine observed the lights with his father as the lights passed up to 500-feet directly above him: “we could see the outline of a mass behind the lights, but you couldn’t actually see the mass.” The military provided an excuse that some found hard to swallow. According to them, it was the National Guard firing diversionary flares during training.
11 Texas Sighting
Quintero and Jose Salvador from Texas captured a large rotating object the size of an estate car, producing a vibration around them. The footage has even been endorsed as real by experts, yet opinion as always is divided online. Some see this as some of the most convincing footage and imagery of a UFO ever, whilst the rest deride it as a fake.
10 The Chiles-Whitted Encounter
Two World War II pilots, Clarence Chiles and Charles Whitted, veterans turned airline pilots in 1948, sited and narrowly missed a craft that resembled a phallic object. The object was said to have floated next to their plane and both pilots got a look at the vehicle for a maximum of 15 seconds and even a passenger attests to witnessing the UFO. All descriptions agreed on seeing a rocket-like ship with glaring lights on the underside. According the US Air Force Investigation on the matter, Chiles and Whitted sent a radio signal to confirm if they had not accosted an experimental craft of any kind. Not only was the ship spotted by pilots and passengers, but also from the ground and even in the Netherlands a month prior to this incident!
9 Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of the United States, also claims to have witnessed a ship from out of this world. Filing an official report in 1973 detailing an event that transpired four years earlier, in 1969, he describes how he saw a white light moving across the night sky. The future President watched amazed at the white radiance cover the sky, turning from white, to blue and then to red. The bizarre light then reverted to its original white hue before disappearing into thin air. However, when Carter assumed position in the White House, he asserted instead that what he witnessed was involved with the military. This u-turn itself suffices to get the conspiracy theory bunch reaching for the tin foil hats!
8 Green Fireball Sightings
This happening refers to a series of sightings in New Mexico in the years between 1948 and 1955. These were not isolated incidents, they were more or less witnessed by all in the state between those years. A military investigation was launched into the phenomenon, which sparked official concern due to the light’s close vicinity to the Los Alamos National Observatory. The observatory serving as a place where vaporizing bombs were being cooked up. The government backed investigation, searching everything from meteors and comets to manmade objects, still bore no fruit and the event remains a mystery.
7 The Kecksburg Incident
Glimpsed by many townsfolk of a small town near Pittsburgh Pennsylvania was more green fire. This time, numerous townsfolk of Kecksburg spied a streak of green fire mar the pre-dawn spring sky, before ostensibly crashing into a field nearby. It was described as being acorn shaped and inscribed with glowing hieroglyphic signs on the underside, making a u-turn slowly before colliding into the earth. James Romansky allegedly was able to view the craft for roughly 15 minutes before US military swooped in and cordoned the area off, with armed guards placed around the perimeter of the site. The official line went that this object was a Soviet satellite, yet the Soviets have denied this. Furthermore, a Freedom of Information request about the event, submitted to NASA in 2009, found that documentation on the happening was missing.
6 Lonnie Zamora
In 1964, a New Mexico traffic cop (why is it always New Mexico?) investigated a bluish-orange flame in the air that he’d noticed. Zamora alleged the flame was accompanied by deafening roaring and a silvery donut shape resolved from the flame. Accompanying the donut object appeared to be two figures dressed in white, only to fly off as soon as they had arrived. Zamora’s account is widely credited with the US Air Force taking UFO sightings more seriously.
5 Tennessee College Campus
At sunrise over Burritt College Campus, Tennessee, 1853, multiple students had their morning routines greeted by a UFO that a professor recalled later to the Scientific American. He detailed how one celestial object appeared as a small moon and another as a large star. The small light disappeared whilst the second morphed into a globe and furthermore an elongated shape. The smaller shape appeared again and the two UFOs shrank and rose in size for nearly half an hour on the horizon until these unexplained lights faded from view. The official stance at the time placed the phenomenon’s cause as a consequence of atmospheric moisture.
4 The Battle of Los Angeles
In 1942, only several months after the USA had entered World War Two, aircraft were spotted off the Pacific Coast in the early hours one February morning. Radar tracked a strange craft 120 miles from the shore, followed by an artillery officer claiming to have noticed 25 aircraft cruising at 25,000 feet. These sightings were proceeded by a balloon shape firing flares and aircraft batteries spying vehicles moving at more than 200 miles an hour. The default assumption of the military was of course, the Japanese. Desperate no doubt, to avoid another Pearl Harbor, the Air Force opened fire on the aircrafts, yet struck nothing but air. Any evidence of wreckages were absent and the government put the official wire out that it was a false alarm exacerbated by mass hysteria. Yet, such a frenzy over nothing and a flurry of reports spreading with the virulence of Californian wildfire suggests that there was something.
3 Frederick Valentich
One of the creepiest incidents of a potential UFO sighting involved Australian pilot, Frederick Valentich, who in 1978, spotted a weird aerial object over the skies and whilst above the Pacific Ocean and radioed back to the control at Melbourne. Valentich made a call asking if any traffic was below 5,000 feet and received a negative to that question. He then relays to Melbourne his sighting of a large airborne object with four bright lights. He also communicates how the craft zips by fast and then pauses in mid air, enabling Valentich to circle the craft. He describes it as having a green and a metallic exterior before it vanishes. Later Valentich radios Melbourne again to say the craft has returned and it is hovering over him. His last words were: “it is hovering and it is not an aircraft.” 17 seconds of squealing metal noises sound… and Frederick Valentich and his plane were never seen again.
2 Kanpur City Sighting
A kid with a penchant for nature photography certainly snapped something unnatural with his phone. Inspired by the shapes of the clouds over the morning sky in Kanpur City in India's Uttar Pradesh region, he began clicking away with his phone. Yet it was only when looking back through his latest images that he saw a bizzare shape, which was a UFO. The boy's father, Santosh Gupta, claims the UFO had red and white dots around the underside. Although in these days of Photoshop come greater scepticism. Yet Gupta claims the photos have been verified as real.
This is no doubt the most famous UFO incident of all time, yet again based in New Mexico. In 1947 it was believed that the government had captured an alien spacecraft that had crash landed on earth. The US government of course denied this and maintained that the apparent flying saucer glimpsed by UFO hunters was in fact a classified spying device. The incident has become a legend and is a benchmark of UFO hunter folklore. The story has even been adapted for the silver screen. Conspiracies abound as frequently as the hot motes of sand clog the New Mexico wind, some believe that the US government had captured aliens and performed autopsies, other say they communicated and they still visit facilities such as Area 51 in Nevada. Other theories exist that they acquired alien spacecrafts due to the crash and have been developing covert technology since the 50s. As usual, no solid confirmation has been attainable from either party and Roswell remains one of the most popular occurrences cited by UFO hunters.