Feb 13, 2024 - News

Pennsylvania doesn't report many UFO sightings

๐Ÿ‘ฝ Reported UFO sightings per 100k residents
National UFO Reporting Center, U.S. Census; Map: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

Pennsylvanians have reported nearly 4,900 UFO sightings since the dawn of the millennium, per National UFO Reporting Center data.

Why it matters: Discussion and reports of UFOs โ€” or the more modern term, UAPs (unidentified anomalous phenomenon) โ€” have been going more mainstream in recent years amid a push for answers from lawmakers and others.

  • It's no surprise that Nevada's Lincoln Countyย โ€” home to Area 51, a top-secret U.S. Air Force base โ€” had the most reported UFO sightings among U.S. counties with 820.9 per 100,000 residents during that period.

Look up: The Philadelphia metro had 30.2 UFO sightings per 100,000 residents between 2000 and 2023, which trails the national average (34.3).

  • That comes to about 1,900 sightings during that time.

Zoom in: While Allegheny County logged the most sightings in the state, Tioga County, located far from city lights in northern Pennsylvania, had the most brushes with the unknown per capita.

  • These sightings roughly correlate to dark sky locations. That tracks, given that it's easier to see interesting stuff in the night sky when you're far from sources of light pollution.
  • Cherry Springs State Park, in Tioga's neighbor Potter County, is considered one of the best places for stargazing on the East Coast. Maybe it's great for spotting UFOs, too.
๐Ÿ‘ฝ Reported UFO sightings per 100k residents
Data: National UFO Reporting Center, U.S. Census; Map: Erin Davis/Axios Visuals

The intrigue: Pennsylvania has had its own (supposed) UFO crash-landing sites over the decades.

  • In December 1965, witnesses reported discovering an acorn-shaped object about the size of a small car that fell from the sky in the woods at Kecksburg.
  • And, in 1974, witnesses believe a UFO crashed into a pond in Carbondale, although some attributed the crash to a railroad lantern.

The bottom line: Despite rising public acceptance of UFO/UAP chatter, there's still no proof that we're being visited by extraterrestrials.

  • Many of these sightings are likely military activity (especially those near Area 51, which has a storied history of classified aircraft tests), satellites, scientific phenomena, etc.
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