Feb 26, 2024 - News

Mapped: Here’s where you can see UFOs in Atlanta

👽 Reported UFO sightings per 100k residents
Data: National UFO Reporting Center, U.S. Census; Map: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

Perhaps Outkast was hinting at something otherworldly when they released "ATLiens."

State of extraterrestrial life: Metro Atlanta had 1,334 UFO sightings per 100,000 residents between 2000 and 2023, according to the National UFO Reporting Center, a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization where people can file reports of unusual phenomena.

  • Fulton County had 285 UFO sightings, Gwinnett County had 207, and Cobb County had 183.

The big picture: That's about 21.4 sightings per 100,000 residents, below the national average of 34.3.

  • For comparison, Nevada's Lincoln County — home of Area 51 — logged 820.9 sightings per 100,000 residents.

Why it matters: Discussions about UFOs and UAPs (unidentified anomalous phenomena), are now more mainstream amid a push for answers from lawmakers and others.

Between the lines: Some people consider UFOs national security concerns because these unidentified objects could be experimental craft from Russia, China or other U.S. adversaries.

  • The Defense Department in 2022 created the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office to research UAPs.
  • A 2023 Pentagon report found that among 366 UAP cases examined, more than half were balloons, drones or "airborne clutter" — but many instances were left unresolved.

Details: Anyone can submit a report to the UFO center, but volunteers there work to weed out what they consider obvious hoaxes or false reports.

  • Only a fraction of people who see something unusual file a report, says Christian Stepien, the organization's chief technology officer.
  • "I would estimate that people who see stuff that they think is a UFO or that is an actual UFO — we think maybe 5% report it, maybe not even that."

Famous encounter: Years before his presidency, Jimmy Carter said he saw a large self-luminous UFO in the sky in Leary, Georgia, in 1969, two years before he became the state's governor, Fox 5 reports.

  • Carter pledged during his 1976 presidential campaign that he would push the government to publicize "every piece of information" on UFOs, adding that "I am convinced that UFOs exist because I have seen one."

Yes, but: Once Carter became president, he said releasing that information could have adverse "defense implications" and pose a threat to national security, History.com reports.

What they're saying: Columbus, Georgia, native Sean Kirkpatrick — the Pentagon's first UFO tracking director — told Politico the Pentagon needs to be less secretive about UFOs.

  • "If there is a void in the information space, it will be filled with the imagination of the public right and the conspiracies and these accusations," Kirkpatrick said.

The bottom line: There's still no proof aliens live among us.

  • But the truth, as they say, is out there.
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