What is a UFO?

One summer day, under a clear sky where the clouds appear fluffy and white, kids enjoy flying their kites. Suddenly, they saw something far above where their kites fly, a strange object that they haven’t seen before. It’s neither a bird nor a spaceship, it confused them as the object was unidentified.

People refer to it as a UFO or an unidentified creature or object flying. The term became popular in the 1950s that generally used for claimed observations of extraterrestrial spacecraft. In the late 1940s and all through the 1950s, UFOs were often referred to popularly as “flying saucers” or “flying discs”.  Meanwhile, if you want to know everything about SpaceX, click the given link.



What is a UFO and when exactly did this thing initially appear?

In the summer of 1947, at Roswell, New Mexico, a local farmer found piles of strange debris in a pasture. This was probably the best-known sighting of a UFO as believers of their existence thought of it as a real spacecraft that crashed and landed in the said area. And if you want to discover the Pinwheel Galaxy, click the link.

The officials from the nearby Roswell Army Air Force Base claimed the debris was simply wreckage from a weather balloon that has crashed.

In 1953, the United States Air Force (USAF) with the Project Blue Book, headed by Captain Edward J. Ruppelt coined the term UFO or “UFOB”, to refer to all similar incident reports. The initial definition of UFOB referred to “any airborne object which by performance, aerodynamic characteristics, or unusual features, does not conform to any presently known aircraft or missile type, or which cannot be positively identified as a familiar object”.

Capt. Ruppelt in his writings said the term ‘flying saucer’ is misleading when used to objects of every feasible shape and performance. Therefore, the military prefers the UFO acronym which is a general and less colorful, name. UFO pronounced as Yoo-foe stands for unidentified flying objects. Other phrases or terms that were officially used predating the UFO acronym include “flying flapjack”, “flying disc”, “unexplained flying discs”, and “unidentifiable object”.

Accordingly, the term was firstly restricted to that fraction of cases which remained unidentified after investigation, as the USAF was of interest in some potential national security reasons and “technical aspects”.

Despite the acronym UFO stands for Unidentified Flying Object, they are not always unidentified since most of them have been identified in the investigation as conventional objects or phenomena.

Many reported UFO sightings actually turn out to be something as simple as a balloon, and in most UFO detections, people believed that UFOs are actually just common objects like planes and clouds, or celestial objects like meteors and planets that seem unusually bright. Although some scientists believe that many of the UFOs were mere sightings of common objects that people failed to recognize, some other cases remain unidentified even after an investigation.

a galaxy with celestial objects, and a spaceship

A Flying saucer

If by a chance with your binoculars, you hunt for birds and then you suddenly turn your optical instrument into a weird aerial sighting or an object that resembled a sky-floating, a disc-shaped- they are referred to as a flying saucer. It was initially referring to any unknown flying objects in the sky, but it eventually extended its definition to mean sightings of crafts that were thought to be from other planets.This termbecame popular along with the term UFO.

Kenneth Arnold, a civilian pilot, had reported on June 24, that he had seen nine objects flying in formation near Mount Rainier. He recorded the time of the sighting and it yielded to a speed of discs to be over 1,200 mph (1,931 km/h). He also mentioned that the objects were flying in a saucer-like fashion. News then significantly had a role in the popularized “flying saucers” and “flying discs” term.

During the cold war, military personnel and pilots colloquially called a UFO as “Bogey” to report anomalies in radar blips andsuggest possible hostile forces that might be roaming in the area.

Despite the popular usage of the term UFO any alien spacecraft, ufologists and investigators favored to use the terms such as “unidentified aerial phenomenon” (UAP) or “anomalous phenomena”, as in the title of the National Aviation Reporting Center on Anomalous Phenomena (NARCAP) because of the public and media ridicule associated with the topic the initial term.

Aside from this interesting post, you can also read our article about the Hubble Space Telescope.