Majority of UFO Sightings Can Be Explained.


Majority of UFO Sightings Can Be Explained.

Yes, the majority of UFO sightings can be explained.

First, there is a lot of human made technology flying around out there most people are unfamiliar with. Then there is modern day technology like professional and amateur drones that are constantly causing sighting reports. There are rocket lift-offs that can cause unusual spiraling effects in the sky, then there’s our buddy Elon Musk with his Starlink satellites that create a pearl necklace effect in the sky when they exit the Payload Bay venturing into space.

The majority of false sightings are made by inexperienced witnesses that aren’t up to date with current technology. People who are unfamiliar with space technology become alarmed when they see how a normal rocket interacts within our atmosphere when launched. Then there’s satellites. On a New Moon night when the sky is extremely dark, you can see satellites moving from horizon to horizon. Some like the Iridium satellites, will cause a flare when their solar panels rotate and reflect the light from our Sun during their orbits. There are websites which track Iridium Flares and will tell you what time and where to look in the night sky to catch a flare sighting.

Websites like ( track not only Iridium satellites but Starlink trains too! (Elon’s communication satellites which cause that pearl necklace effect I mentioned earlier.) There are a lot of websites you can visit that will tell you how to see satellites and the space station. When the International Space Station flies over head on a dark night, it looks like a bright star moving across the night sky. You can go to to learn more about the ISS.

Even high-flying commercial aircraft are constantly being mis-identified as a UFO. If you can see their red and green external strobe lights, then that’s a clue it’s a plane, but sometimes commercial airplanes are flying too high and all you see is a blinking light.

Note on plane strobes:
The right wingtip of an aircraft blinks a green light, the left wingtip blinks a red light, and a white light is located on the tail and sometimes also on the wings. These lights allow other aircraft while flying, know if what they see is a plane flying in their direction or in the opposite direction. One thing a pilot told me on how to remember if an aircraft is coming or going in front of you is. “Green then red, turn right, or you’re dead”. Yeah, that will work.

Airplane strobe lights are the most common UFO sighting reports I get from night sightings, the second are satellites reflecting light from our Sun as they move across the night sky, and the third is planes during the day.

If an airplane is flying towards your line of sight, you may not be able to see it depending on the size and distance. If the plane banks to the left or right on a sunny day, just for a moment you may see a flash of light. The light is the Sun reflecting off the wings. When the plane completes its turn and levels off, then it can’t be seen anymore. Thus, the witness just experienced a flash of light in the sky during daylight.

Other false UFO sightings pertain to our planets and stars. Too many people can’t believe how bright these night objects can be. Venus is our brightest planet, then Jupiter, then the binary star, Sirius. After that it’s Alpha Centauri a Binary Star system, then Arcturus and then Vega, which are both stars. Most people thought Polaris our North Star was the brightest, but it ranks around 48th of the bright stars in the night sky.

Note: The easy way to remember how to find the North Star, if you ever get lost at night, is to find the “Pointer Sisters”. Looking at the Big Dipper, or Ursa Major, two stars, “the Pointer Sisters” are pointing to the North Star “Polaris”, which is the end of the handle of the Little Dipper or “Ursa Minor”. Once you find the Big Dipper on a starry night, it’s easy to find the Little Dipper. Just think of the Big Dipper pours into the Little Dipper or vice versa. When you see both, it’s easy to find the North Star. Don’t mistake The Pleiades formation as the Little Dipper, that’s way too small, a lot of people get confused and it’s nowhere near the Big Dipper, Ursa Major.

For centuries ship Captains have been navigating the Northern seas using celestial navigation. They always knew where North was, because of Polaris. Interesting note, Polaris was dimming over the last couple of decades but now it appears to be getting brighter. The star belongs to a class of stars known as Cepheid variables, or pulsing stars.

The two most common planets responsible for UFO sightings are Jupiter and Venus.

According to the current Farmer’s Almanac, these are the best times of the year to see those two planets. (

When Is Venus Visible in 2024?
Mornings: January 1 to April 8 (Best seen: January 1 to February 11)
Evenings: July 30 to December 31 (Best seen: October 5 to December 31)

When Is Jupiter Visible in 2024?
Mornings: May 3 to November 2 (Best seen: November 14 to December 6)
Evenings: January 1 to April 26 December 7 to December 31 (Best seen: December 7 to December 28)

Many people who report UFO sightings are too quick to judge. They may see a bright light in the sky just after sunset and think they’re seeing a UFO or Mother ship. In actuality, it could be a planet or a star. As the light dims after sunset, bright stars and planets can be seen. If it’s a planet that’s moving due to its orbit and we’re moving due to the Earth’s orbit, then the bright light can appear in the low horizon and slowly move. Thus, some people think it’s some sort of slow-moving Mother Ship.

I’ve actually witnessed this firsthand years ago during an outside lecture I was doing in September at the UFO Watchtower in Hooper, Colorado.

While I was lecturing outside, the sun started setting behind the near mountains. Suddenly a bright light appeared in the sky just over the mountain peaks. A person from the audience yelled, “UFO” during my lecture. Without skipping a beat, I yelled back, “Mars”!

The night before while camping at the Watchtower, I had my telescope out looking at planets and constellations. I knew Mars is best seen in September, so that was one of the planets I was observing. So, when the person yelled, “UFO”, I already knew it was Mars.

Not everyone is familiar with the night sky, and I understand that. I don’t judge, I’m just happy they’re looking. But when I tell you that light you thought was a UFO could be a planet, star, or satellite, it’s only after I’ve done some research to see what was visible at the time of your sighting. Now, I’ll never say you’re wrong about thinking it was a UFO, I’ll just say, these other things could be contributing factors to your sighting.

If you’re not familiar with the night sky, then think a moment about what you’re seeing and start eliminating what it could before you claim otherwise. I would prefer you report the sighting even if you’re not sure.

Me and my Schmidt Cassegrain Meade 8-inch telescope. Looking at this year’s solar eclipse using an 8-inch solar filter.

Watch the light for a bit. If it’s a star, then the light will slowly move along with all the other stars. A planet is a little different.

Rule of thumb on Stars and Planets:
Planets rise in the East and set in the west; stars will slowly move across the night sky. If the light twinkles, then it’s probably a star. (ie. Twinkle, twinkle, little Star.) If the light from the object shines with a constant brightness, then it’s most likely a bright planet like Venus or Jupiter.

Rule of thumb on Satellites:
Satellites move like planets but much quicker, around 17,000 miles per hour in a straight direction. The speed may vary due to its orbit. The faster the satellite, then the closer to Earth it is. Some satellites are in a geostationary orbit. This orbit equals the Earth’s rotational period or one sidereal day. Most communication satellites and television satellites like Dish Network and Direct TV, are in a geostationary orbit or a fixed location in the night sky. That’s why your satellite dish is pointing in one direction, it’s pointing at that geostationary satellite.

Be careful though, NOSS satellites, have double and triple formations. Naval Ocean Surveillance System (NOSS) conducts intelligence for the US. So sometimes you may see a pair of satellites traveling together.

When it’s not a satellite or a star?
Easy, when the moving light you’re watching, abruptly changes direction. Like right angles, or circular movements or even stops dead in the sky after observing it moving. Now you need to pay attention. But you also still need to assess the situation.

Could the light be a spotlight?
Could the light be from a drone?
Could the light be a helicopter or plane?
Could it be from a rocket launch?
Could it be fireworks?

Did it just land in front of me?!

During a daytime sighting:
Could it be an airplane?
Could it be a drone?
Could it be a high-altitude balloon? (From China?)

You also have to consider you might be seeing a Black Ops aircraft which consists of unfamiliar shapes and technology. When the Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk was in its testing phase, it was responsible for a lot of UFO sighting reports. So was the Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit. And now it’s the B-21.

F-117 Nighthawk photo courtesy Lockheed Martin.
B-2 picture courtesy of Northrop Grumman.
B-21 picture courtesy of Northrop Grumman.

All three of these aircrafts are stealthy to radar, but they use jet engines which can be heard. If one of these planes’ glides over you, then you won’t hear it, but if it flies over you, then you’ll hear the engine. Most of the time they are under power because they’re glide ratio isn’t the best. If you spot one way off in the distance, due to how sound travels and wind velocity and direction, you may not hear it because its sound isn’t traveling in your direction, so be aware.

There are a lot of factors to consider when you have a UFO sighting, some I’ve explained on this blog, and many others I didn’t mention. But the main thing to consider during a sighting is, try to remember as much as you can and document it, either by writing it down or simply using the audio recorder on your phone to explain what you saw. This really helps when reporting the sighting. It also gives you a chance to go over your info to see if your sighting is truly a UFO.

When and if you report a sighting, think about what the sighting could be first. Eliminate all possible factors before thinking otherwise. Once you determined what you saw was not a plane, planet, satellite or other, please report it. Even though it may not end up being an actual UFO, at least there was a learning process to determine what you saw, which makes us better investigators.

Yes, the majority of UFO sightings can be explained, but the ones that can’t be explained? Well, that’s when the fun begins.

Chuck Zukowski

Blog Links:

Farmers (ISS)
International Space Station – NASA
Lockheed Martin

Tags: Chuck Zukowski, UFO,

Category: The Z-Files

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