Feb 8, 2024 - News

How many UFO sightings were reported in the Bay Area since 2000

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

Ever see a UFO? If so, you're not alone. The San Francisco Bay Area had 32.5 UFO sightings per 100,000 residents between 2000 and 2023, according to data from the National UFO Reporting Center data.

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

  • Some view UAPs as a national security concern — what people are seeing out there could be experimental craft from Russia, China or other U.S. adversaries.
  • Commercial and military pilots have also been increasingly public about their inexplicable sightings. That's a sea change from decades past when pilots who talked openly about such matters were often ostracized.

By the numbers: Nationally, there were 114,289 UFO sightings between 2000-2023, with an average of 34.3 sightings per 100,000 residents.

💬 Alex's thought bubble: The map above roughly correlates 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.

  • Hamilton County, for example, is smack dab in the middle of the Adirondacks, and home to some of the darkest skies east of the Mississippi.

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 actually file a report, says Christian Stepien, the center's chief technology officer.

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), scientific phenomena, etc.
  • But the truth, as they say, is out there.
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