What does UFO stand for?
A: Unidentified flying object.
An unidentified flying object is what?
A: Any perceived aerial phenomenon that cannot be immediately identified or explained.
On investigation, most UFOs are identified as known
objects or atmospheric phenomena, while a small number remain what?
While unusual sightings have been reported in the sky
throughout history, UFOs did not achieve their current cultural prominence
A: The period after World War II, escalating during the Space Age.
The 20th century saw studies and investigations into
UFO reports conducted by whom?
A: Governments well as by organizations and individuals.
People have observed the sky throughout history, and
have sometimes seen unusual sights, such as what?
A: Comets, bright meteors, one or more of the five planets that can be readily seen with the naked eye, planetary conjunctions, and atmospheric optical phenomena such as parhelia and lenticular clouds.
One particularly famous example is Halley's Comet,
recorded first by whom?
A: Chinese astronomers in 240 BC and possibly as early as 467 BC.
As it reaches the inner solar system every 76 years, it
was often identified as a what?
A: A unique isolated event in ancient historical documents whose authors were unaware that it was a repeating phenomenon.
Such accounts in history often were treated as what?
A: Supernatural portents, angels, or other religious omens.
A woodcut by Hans Glaser that appeared in a broadsheet
in 1561 has been featured in popular culture as what?
A: "Celestial phenomenon over Nuremberg" and connected to various ancient astronaut claims.
According to writer Jason Colavito, the image
A: "A secondhand depiction of a particularly gaudy sundog", a known atmospheric optical phenomenon.
A similar report comes from 1566 over Basel and,
indeed, in the 15th and 16th centuries, many leaflets wrote of what?
A: "Miracles" and "sky spectacles".
On January 25, 1878, the Denison Daily News printed an
article in which John Martin, a local farmer, had reported seeing what?
A: A large, dark, circular object resembling a balloon flying "at wonderful speed".
Martin, according to the newspaper account, said it
appeared to be about the size of what?
A: A saucer from his perspective, one of the first uses of the word "saucer" in association with a UFO.
Reports of strange ships and artificial lights in the
sky were published in local newspapers for how long?
A: For the next two decades.
When asked his opinion of such reports what did Edison
A: "You can take it from me that it is a pure fake."
In the Pacific and European theatres during World War
II, round, glowing fireballs known as "foo fighters" were reported by whom?
A: Allied and Axis pilots.
Some proposed Allied explanations at the time included
A: St. Elmo's fire, the planet Venus, hallucinations from oxygen deprivation, or German secret weapons.
In 1946, more than 2,000 reports were collected,
primarily by the Swedish military, of what?
A: Unidentified aerial objects over the Scandinavian nations, along with isolated reports from France, Portugal, Italy and Greece.
The objects were referred to as what?
A: "Russian hail" (and later as "ghost rockets") because it was thought the mysterious objects were possibly Russian tests of captured German V1 or V2 rockets.
Most were identified as what?
A: Natural phenomena such as meteors.
The popular UFO craze by many accounts began with a
media frenzy surrounding the reports on June 24, 1947, that a civilian pilot
named Kenneth Arnold reported seeing what?
A: Nine objects flying in formation near Mount Rainier in the United States.
At the time, he claimed he described the objects flying
in a saucer-like fashion, leading to newspaper accounts of what?
A: "Flying saucers" and "flying discs".
Soon, reports of flying saucer sightings became a daily
occurrence with one particularly famous example being what?
A: The Roswell incident where remnants of a downed observation balloon were recovered by a farmer and confiscated by military personnel.