Feb 12, 2024 - News

Charted: Iowa's UFO hotspots

πŸ‘½ Reported UFO sightings per 100k residents
Data: National UFO Reporting Center, U.S. Census Bureau; Map: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

At least 183 UFOs have been reported in Polk County since 2000, according to the National UFO Reporting Center.

  • That's the most in the state and 72 more than in Linn County, which ranked second.

Context: When factoring population, Polk drops to the 37th highest level of sightings among Iowa's 99 counties β€” just over 37 per 100K people.

  • Jefferson County has the most with 114 per capita.

State of play: Statewide, there have been almost 1,200 reports. Nationally there were more than 126,500.

  • In Iowa, only Wayne and Cherokee counties were UFO report-free.

πŸ›Έ Zoom in: An artist in 2021 reported taking a photo of a UFO "while out smoking" with a friend in Urbandale, only noticing a saucer in the snap after sobering up.

  • Another anonymous report included poor-quality photos allegedly taken after the person saw bright changing colors in the sky when leaving the Waukee Hy-Vee last year.

Reality check: While the center's volunteers work to weed out obvious hoaxes, anyone can submit to its database.

Yes, but: Federal officials were "struggling to explain" more than 170 of the reports.

πŸ†‡ Our thought bubble: The truth is out there.

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