Charted: Iowa's UFO hotspots
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 — 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.
🛸 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.
- A Pentagon report last year found that of 366 sightings, more than half were balloons, drones or "airborne clutter," Axios' Alex Fitzpatrick and Erin Davis report.
Yes, but: Federal officials were "struggling to explain" more than 170 of the reports.
🆇 Our thought bubble: The truth is out there.
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