UFOs — unidentified flying objects — is the term most people use for sightings of unexplained entities seen in the sky. But to the government, those mysterious items are known as UAPs, meaning “unidentified anomalous phenomena” (The word “anomalous” simply means deviating from what’s normal or expected.) Now, the US Department of Defense has launched a website collecting publicly available, declassified information on UAPs.
For now, the general public will be able to read through the posted information. Soon, US government employees, contractors, and service members with knowledge of US programs can report their own sightings, and later, others will be able to submit reports.
“This website will provide information, including photos and videos, on resolved UAP cases as they are declassified and approved for public release,” the department said in a release posted on Thursday. “The website’s other content includes reporting trends and a frequently asked questions section as well as links to official reports, transcripts, press releases, and other resources that the public may find useful, such as applicable statutes and aircraft, balloon and satellite tracking sites.”
The site is live now at aaro.mil. The reporting tool for government employees, contractors and service members will be live in the fall. And if you don’t fall into one of those specific groups, keep watching the skies anyway, because “a mechanism for members of the general public to make reports will be announced in coming months,” the department said.
For now, one of the most interesting parts of the site is its trends section. Apparently, most reported UAPs are round, either white, silver or translucent, spotted at around 10,000 to 30,000 feet, 1-4 meters in size, and do not emit thermal exhaust. Hotspots for sightings include both the US East and West coasts.
Readers are able to leave comments on the videos. Of the “Middle East Object” video, one person writes,”Noticed I never saw it cast a shadow. But other objects have shadows.”
As CNET wrote in 2021, the mere fact that people see items in the sky that they personally cannot identify does not mean aliens are scoping out Earth for a visit — or have already stopped by. Many UAP cases have been attributed to “balloon or balloon-entities,” as well as drones, birds, weather events or airborne debris like plastic bags.