More on Data Mining UFOs

UFO Shape Distribution Over TIme

More insights after analyzing 25+ years of sightings from the NUFORC database.

Many thanks again to Tim Renner for making the NUFORC UFO sightings dataset available on data.world.

Frequency of US UFO Sightings Normalized by Population

(Sort by “countByPop” to see which states report the most UFOs!)

statecountcountByPoppopulation
AK354.784394671551306731545
AL961.95791103129904354903185
AR772.55150646574933943017825
AZ2223.04998806795208577278717
CA8252.087961489790133739512223
CO2153.73345817554407775758736
CT1213.39383617644245743565287
DC70.9918540444265596705749
DE353.5943000562764698973764
FL4432.06260091554338321477737
GA1781.67648967174049710617423
HI271.9069520408624511415872
IA1083.42306192889539673155070
ID804.4766138892541681787065
IL2912.296433953730880412671821
IN1642.43604671802863236732219
KS792.711688475735882913314
KY1312.9321752061979474467673
LA801.7208764251545674648794
MA1802.590113278604246949503
MD1252.0675920657395036045680
ME765.6538700740656981344212
MI2682.68352695948284849986857
MN1372.42923651756001125639632
MO2173.5356830255279576137428
MS602.0160280953675372976149
MT625.8010176107666891068778
NC2382.269241932082161310488084
ND273.5430188094931907762062
NE351.80933908461917011934408
NH906.6190536077151691359711
NJ1771.99275178756590448882190
NM753.5768295841005632096829
NV702.2726121663967673080156
NY2941.511291428854593819453561
OH2902.48094378523581811689100
OK952.40082628859296683956971
OR1814.29140081517647954217737
PA3332.601158304385357712801989
RI262.45430972067123451059361
SC1633.16583908137061035148714
SD232.5998718150157294884659
TN1672.44395942500512936833174
TX3941.358813688054520528995881
UT832.58892973644695263205958
VA1762.06197186134785738535519
VT365.769332472207042623989
WA3154.1366306788552387614893
WI1592.7308166996826415822434
WV643.5711356267091931792147
WY233.9740202744147393578759

I was very surprised that northeastern states (ME, VT, NH) were at the top of the list.

Frequency of Reported US UFO Shapes Over Time

Distribution of Reported UFO Shapes

Reported UFO shapes have been relatively consistent over time. Describing a UFO as an unusual “light” is by far the most common. Also interesting is that there appears to have been a slight uptick in “fireball” sightings between 2012-2014.

Number of US UFO Sightings Reported over Time

Total UFO Sightings Over Time with 30 Day Moving Avg

There were 88,000 UFO sightings reported since 1994. The spikes are what’s interesting here. I call it the “4th of July Effect”. The blue line is the 30 day moving average, which helps to visualize trends over time. It appears that there was an uptick in sightings in 2020.

More detail on the 7 largest spikes:

DateSightings Count
July 4, 2010213
July 4, 2011165
July 4, 2012197
July 4, 2013180
July 4, 2014273
July 4, 2015173
Nov 7, 2015297

It’s not surprising that the top day for UFO sightings is consistently July 4th. Probably more than any other day people have their eyes in the sky because of fireworks celebrations. I would imagine there’s a good deal of misidentifying fireworks as UFOs.

The day to look into is November 7th, 2015. That’s an odd date and represents the most US UFO sightings ever reported in a single day. Perhaps a subject for a future post.

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