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A Very Detailed Map of UFO Sightings


Based on data from the National UFO Reporting Center, the map below displays over 90,000 reports of UFO sightings dating back to 1905. Each circle corresponds to a reported UFO, with the size representing the number of reports received.  Thanks also to the Mutual UFO Network for allowing me to reproduce images and videos from their website.

UFO Sightings Map
Check out the interactive UFO map to read the details of each UFO report, and in some cases view the photo / video evidence

The most reported UFO sightings

Assuming more reported sightings = more credible, these are the 10 most credible UFO sightings in recent history in the U.S.

1)  Tinley Park Lights, Tinley Park, IL (10/2004) – 77 reports

2)  Cone of Light, East Coast (9/2009) – 75 reports

3)  Tinley Park Lights, Tinley Park, IL (10/2005) – 72 reports

4)  Phoenix Lights, Phoenix, AZ (3/1997) – 65 reports

5)  Blue-Green Fireball, the Midwest (7/1997) – 63 reports

6)  Tinley Park Lights, Tinley Park, IL (8/2004) – 45 reports

7)  Blue-Green Fireball, the Midwest (11/1999) – 43 reports

8)  Washginton Fireball, Renton, WA (7/2012) – 40 reports

9)  Rockford Lights, Rockford, IL (1/2001) – 25 reports

10)  Lights Over NJ Turnpike, Carteret, NJ (7/2001) – 25 reports

From let to right: N.America seen from orbit, UFO sightings since 1905, Density map of 24h of traffic (FAA, 2008).
From let to right: N.America seen from orbit, UFO sightings since 1905, Density map of 24h of traffic (FAA, 2008). CLICK FOR BIGGER VIEW

Some possible explanations

Illinois is involved in 6 of the 10 UFO sightings listed above, as well as several other mass UFO sightings further down the list.

I thought that was interesting because when you look at the total UFO reports per capita, IL actually ranks pretty low compared with other states.

Hover over the map to see how the states measure up

My initial thought was that it must have something to do with O’Hare Airport, the busiest airport in the U.S. through most of this period.

Are there many UFO sightings around other busy airports?

The five busiest airports in the U.S.

The blue markers are the five busiest airports in the U.S.

Aside from Chicago, it does not appear there is much correlation between mass UFO sightings and big airports.

One pattern I did notice was that many of the mass UFO sightings occur particular dates.

Here is what you get if you plot the number of UFO sightings for each day of the year.


UFOs seem to have a penchant for firework displays.

Both #5 and #8 in the list above occurred on the Fourth of July. And in both cases, the UFOs were described as “fireballs.”

Aside from the obvious explanation, it could just be that more people are looking up at the sky on those nights.

Take a look at these three videos of the “Washington Fireball” UFO sighting and see whether you think they are actually fireworks.

Some of the bigger UFO sightings also coincide with large meteor showers or space craft launches. Though when I looked into it, the effect did not come out very strong.

If you have any other suggestions, please let me know, and I will add them here.

Update:  A few people asked about seeing a comparison of UFO sightings vs military bases.

Here is a plot of all military installations, ranges, and training areas. Though without an idea of which ones to focus on, I think there are too many to draw any real conclusions.


And here is the trend of reported sightings over time. For the past 20 years, it has been growing at a pretty steady rate of about 350 additional reports each year.



Attribution and methods:

  1. Thanks to NUFORC for making their data available, and to MUFON for allowing me to use the images and videos from their website.
  2. To get the coordinates of the reports, I used Open Geocode and the Google Maps API to geocode each one by city and state.
  3. To group the reports together by UFO, I used a very simple clustering algorithm, which looked at coordinates and the dates.
  4. The videos and images were added manually from MUFON’s database and from Youtube.
  5. For the map, I created the base tiles using Mapbox Studio, and used the Mapbox API for the features.
  6. The animations were done with D3.

View interactive map


Source of map is www.metrocosm.com


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    • Of course. Mass halucinations, weather balloons, swamp gas, Venus(!), meteors and what else.May I recommend a few good books, ‘The UFO Experience’, ‘Beyond Top Secret’, ‘Flying Saucers from Outer Space’, just to name a few. Listen to Stanton Friedman and then decide if you really think that 90.000 people are just imagining. Good luck!

    • Janaka Suduwadewage I seen tons of ufo’s, legit ones, I know what meteors and planets look like….what people see are real, not fake or easily brushed off as explainable.

    • I’m not saying that what those people saw is not real.
      I just say it is not logical to be aliens/UFO.
      and the reason to say that is because a alien civilization that have the technology to travel between solar systems have no reason to come to earth.
      and even if they send something.
      their technology is beyond our technology on all fronts.
      include military, stealth, nanotechnology, spy technology you name it.
      so if they want to send something to earth, we humans are not able to find it.

      think about it.
      we humans have the technology to build chips a size of 0.0001mm we are busy developing nanotech.
      we have satalite in orbit that can zoom in and make a picture in 4K resolution of somebody’s t-shirt text.
      if we humans can do that.
      how far such a alien civilization must be.

      important rule: the progress of development of civilization we can read on their transportation technology achievements.

    • Janaka Suduwadewage you’re thinking HUMAN…we humans know JACK SHIT. Think of this….they been seen for centuries….many ancient cultures, especially y the Dogon of Africa and the Native Americans speak of star people, who came from the sky, and mention SPECIFIC stars/star systems. Orion, the Pleiades, Sirius B…..(and the Dogon knew of Sirius B LOOOOONG before western society did….Sirius was only visually confirmed as recently as the 1970’s….and the Dogon made a metal model of the system, showing it as a binary star system)….and think of this…this might put your ‘logic’ in a loop….that the ET’s are here to help us….to prevent us from blowing ourselves up and the planet. That the ET’s are more humane than any human could DREAM of being….sounds like a pretty good reason to me.

    • Neil Vidican
      it is you who think human.
      if they have the technology to travel between solar systems.
      then they must have the ability to observe on a great distance.
      they should able to watch humans from out the dark edge of our solar system.
      and they should have stealth tech that humans never can break.
      and they should have the tech to build probes the size of 0.0001 with a lot more advance functions then what humans can do.

    • not really….why send a probe somewhere or watch from a distance? I highly doubt they’d have ‘important’ things like paying bills, paying taxes, bitching about politics, etc like we do. They can explore the universe and see what’s out there, seeing in person….why sit on one’s ass, twitteling one’s thumbs from a distance? Also, as I said, it seems they wanna help us and get us ready for “hey, you’re not alone, humans….it’s full of life….get used to it! 😉 “

    • that was based on if they have intrest in earth.
      if they have, they do not have the need to visit earth with a big device or ship.
      they could easily do it from great distance, or with microscopic probes.

      it is like humans who use a microscope to look at microscopic life.
      or when humans use a satellite or plane to watch some wild animals in distance without disturb them.

    • If you believe that an Alien Technology exists, then you cannot ignore the thousands of cases where there has been contact. If you don’t believe any of these stories, than you better join the debunkers.

    • Janaka Suduwadewage no one is simply going to be content to watch from a distance. a long history of ET contact has happened….you just don’t stop to look at it, or just listen to what guys like Neil Tyson says.

    • Neil Vidican
      what for humans is a great distance, is for a interstellar traveling civilization nothing.

      travel from Alaska to Texas by plane you travel 6 hours or so?
      try to do it by horce or on foot like people from 1400AD.

      same distance, yet for people from 1400AD its very great distance, but for people from 2016 its just 6 hours traveling.

      I’m not listing to others, I never heard Neil Tyson talking.
      what I wrote here came from my self, in my own words.
      it is my calculation based on development of alien civilizations.

      those sightings as you call it are human made objects.
      or natural made objects.
      or the power of suggestion.

      most sightings fit perfectly in its timeframe.
      most of the abductions also.

      I do not say noting is happend to those people.
      I just say it is not alien.
      as the descriptions of the tools and surroundings fit perfectly in the time frame.

      wy abduct, if you can steal DNA by a mosquito small probe.
      clone it, grow it, do some experiments on it, and destroy it again.
      far more easy for such alien civilization then abduct a human.
      remember we humans have all ready most of that technology, its our moral boundaries that stop us from development further.
      but a alien civilization that abduct have not those boundaries.

      my point is from a alien perspective these abduction and sightseeing’s are not the most easy way.
      it is the most stupid way for them.

    • Janaka Suduwadewage i dont believe in the abduction story, made to create fear porn and fear alien life. Sighting go back thousands of years, and cave painting and carvings depict creatures referred to today in modern times. And when writing and drawing was a new thing, the locals recorded things that happened to them or what they saw. Also, look at the Renaissance paintings various events, we see off objects flying in the sky. And why would aliens not have moral boundaries? From my own studies, they seem to be more humane than any human dreams to be. And considering many people died at the hands of our military industrial complex trying to get the truth out on alien life….that tells me the eT issue is more true than ever. Those in charge know something…something that has them sooo worried they do anything to make sue and try to keep us in the dark….I highly doubt it’s because of Russians or Chinese or Arabs.

    • Paintings and story’s are not good proof of anything.
      But then my comment is not based on writings and paintings.
      Its based on a development calculation of any civilization (human or alien).

      I use human civilization as a template.
      I compare the human civilization of 1950 and of 2016 and the years between them.

      A alien civilization that has the technology to travel between solar systems and beyond is far ahead above our own technology.

      Yet people see UFO’s that are more logical based on our own technology.

      It seems you are American?
      then yes, your leaders would be worried mostly because of other super nations like the Russians and the Chinese.

      and that part about moral boundaries, you think as a human in the current timeline.

      now its 2016 and people can get pregnant by use of artificial fertilization.
      its normal, its widely accepted by civilization and used widely.
      except for a few extreme Christians.

      But in the 80’s it was a different story, the Idea was very controversial.

      Same thing with cloning.
      Now we have strict regulations and rules about it.
      and it is highly controversial.
      But in the future it wil change and accepted by humans.

      An alien civilization that can travel between stars has already past these developments.

      I always assume that an alien civilization that can travel between stars has already all the technology that we humans have, and have it far more develop then we can now.
      So It would be from their perspective nog logical to fly around in earth atmosphere with big flying objects.

    • wrong. I know what planes look like. What many things I seen move in ways that our stuff can’t….like sharp turns, high speed turns, stopping on a dime, zig zagging, wobbling like they were on string (the result of anti grav drives at idle), etc. Don’t be too quick to instill some giggle factor, sir.

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