back to article Pentagon opens up about its database of 400 smudges that may or may not be UFOs

A US House of Representatives subcommittee on Tuesday heard from Pentagon officials on reports of and investigations into unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) – a category that encompasses unidentified flying objects (UFO) and saves room for optical illusions, lens flare, smudges in photos, and other possibilities like …

  1. ravenviz Silver badge

    “This is the way it's been done for billions of years. Small moves, Ellie. Small moves.”

    - Contact (1997)

  2. Winkypop Silver badge

    Who comes all that way, but…

    …doesn’t drop in for a spare Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator?

  3. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    An incredible still from the subcommittee hearing

    I clicked the button to enbiggen it, but I still saw only clouds and reflections...

    1. Joe W Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: An incredible still from the subcommittee hearing

      Incredible, ain't it?

      (yeah, I fail to see anything meself, clearly we are brainwashed sheeple)

      I'm happy my coffee is still brewing, otherwise "as if to pander those disinclined toward science, reality, data, and the possibility that some things may not be easily explained" would have caused some serious discomfort. Hot coffe expelled through the nose or pushed up the sinuses is no fun at all.

      1. Lamb d'Oh Mega

        Re: An incredible still from the subcommittee hearing

        You shouldve got the clip from the end of the video where the shiny metal sphere flies past, its less than a second that its visible in the whole clip. Did you miss it, or did you use a clip with nothing in it on purpose to prove a point, which was>?..

    2. John70

      Re: An incredible still from the subcommittee hearing

      You need to click on the "source" below the image. It's a video of the event.

      Round about 46:33 the camera man will pan to the right and you barely see a spherical object. Lasts about 2-3 frames.

      The video is repeated a few times for the committee to highlight how fast and hard it is to see it.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: An incredible still from the subcommittee hearing

      Poorly chosen thumbnail from the video. Though there are only 3 frames that show anything unusual at all. 45:48 in the Youtube clip, pause and use comma and full stop to go frame by frame.

      It looks spherical to me. I'd say it's a balloon.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: An incredible still from the subcommittee hearing

        I wondered about a bit falling off the aeroplane, but a balloon fits better...

  4. SBU

    An incredible still

    of smudges and blurs. Can I see and interview of an actual alien rather than infrared photos of geese?

  5. Mishak Silver badge

    Picture quality

    Like him or hate him Elon Musk's tweet is compelling.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Aliens are a distraction

    As long as people keep going down the path of arguing for or against the "It's Aliens" belief, time and effort will be wasted that could have been better employed on the much more important point :

    "Some UAP appeared to remain stationary in winds aloft, move against the wind, maneuver abruptly, or move at considerable speed, without discernible means of propulsion"

    I couldn't care less where they come from - what I want to know is how they do that? That's a much more interesting, and potentially valuable, question to answer.

    Scientists should be jumping all over that one.

    1. iron Silver badge

      Re: Aliens are a distraction

      There isn't much science to be gained from investigating visual phenomena that do not physically exist.

      1. Lamb d'Oh Mega

        Re: Aliens are a distraction

        Yes but these phenonema reflect radar, splash when hit water, and have many other physcical side effects, like the physical objects they are.

  7. trindflo Bronze badge

    The things you are interested in are not unidentified

    The things we're really interested in (for instance the Phoenix Lights) are just secret, and there isn't going to be much about them in the database. No problem showing off the stuff that truly is unidentified, although I'm grateful our government is finally starting to trust us a little after that War of the Worlds thing.

  8. Plest Silver badge

    Yeah, aliens would travel billions upon billions of miles across space to visit some backwards planet where a bunch of monkeys have taken over and are slowly killing everything in sight, including themselves, on their little floating oasis with nowhere else to go when it all goes kaboom!

    Any aliens pick this up, do yourselves a favour and don't bother wasting your time on us!

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      It's not hard to imagine a possible scenario...

      We like to visit zoos and safari parks that can be several hours drive away. We go on holidays to get up close and personal with the wildlife on other continents.

      If a hypothetical alien race could travel between star systems in a few hours or few days, what's the difference?

      For us, a trillion miles is a hell of a long way. For a hypothetical alien race that has mastered FTL travel, it's nothing (not stating that TFL is possible; we don't know enough about physics and universe to completely rule it out, so for discussion's sake here let's simply assume it is possible and we just don't know how).

      1. ThatOne Silver badge

        > We like to visit zoos and safari parks

        Nice theory, but if I were the aliens I would just plant a huge amount of camouflaged webcams all around the planet and watch the local wildlife from the comfort of my armchair. Spending all that fuel just to play hide & seek with the locals is suboptimal.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          If I were an alien looking at what humans get up to as a species, I'd back away mumbling "Hell No" and slap a warning beacon in space saying "Do Not Disturb (they are disturbed enough)".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They're called "teasers" I believe:

      "Teasers are usually rich kids with nothing to do. They cruise around looking for planets that haven’t made interstellar contact yet and buzz them.” “Buzz them?” Arthur began to feel that Ford was enjoying making life difficult for him. “Yeah,” said Ford, “they buzz them. They find some isolated spot with very few people around, then land right by some poor unsuspecting soul whom no one’s ever going to believe and then strut up and down in front of him wearing silly antennas on their head and making beep beep noises."

      1. Kane
        Thumb Up

        Rather childish really.

        1. Kane

          Clearly one person downvoted because they don't know that's how the quote finishes...

  9. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

    Vertical Video

    Stop it, rotate the camera around >_<

  10. ThatOne Silver badge

    Occam's chainsaw

    Nobody has ever managed to explain why aliens, after spending inordinate amounts of resources, fuel and time to come here, would just play hide and seek - for decades. Why, for crying out loud? I could understand them being here once, for a short period (it's an exploration mission trying not to disturb the wildlife), but not for half a century.

    Also there aren't any two similar UFO descriptions. What is this? The Intergalactic Spaceship Show? If explorers (invaders, harvesters) came all the way to our backwater, they would only have one (or at most two) different types of vessels, that's all. But here we have dozens of wildly different shapes and flight characteristics, and the only thing they have in common is they look "different" and can do "impossible" things.

    IMHO people did see something, but definitely not aliens. When I was a kid I saw a "UFO" too, actually in my case it was a meteor. I knew because I had some education, but I can imagine some uneducated kid desperately trying to explain what this extraordinary phenomenon might be, until he is offered the convenient explanation of UFOs... Even earlier in time it would had been a sign of [local deity], ordering you to [do zealot stuff]. *shrug*

    1. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

      Re: Occam's chainsaw

      I'm not arguing against the bulk of your post, but as to "there aren't any two similar UFO descriptions", (1) human eyewitness reports are frequently inaccurate and inconsistent - ask any plod or lawyer ("He's wrong, Constable, the getaway car was blue."), and (2) consider how many different ship and aircraft shapes and sizes humans have made.

      1. ThatOne Silver badge

        Re: Occam's chainsaw

        > the getaway car was blue

        But they all agree that it was a car. You'd rarely have witnesses saying the culprits got away in a car or van or maybe a semi truck unless it was a combine harvester.


        > consider how many different ship and aircraft shapes and sizes humans have made

        Here we're again in the intergalactic space ship show scenario! Please consider how many different aircraft shapes you'd see in an airport if you don't know much about airplanes (for instance if you're a small child). You'd be tempted to say "One shape", some are a little bigger and some a little smaller, they have different colors, but all are definitely of the same type...

        Now this would be an exploration mission, so you'd expect a bigger long range spaceship which stays in orbit, and one, at most two types of tenders doing the footwork down on the ground (and thus being seen). There is no reason why aliens would want to show off all the types of flying contraption they've ever built, from the brothers Wright's Flyer to a F-117 Nighthawk stealth bomber. Silly, wouldn't it be?

    2. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Occam's chainsaw


      in the years they've been visiting Earth, they've never once dropped some object that can't be rationally explained any other way. Nothing has fallen off of one of their vehicles. There isn't any life on Earth that isn't DNA based seeing as that would be a very good way to verify a second genesis if life is ever found on Mars. (Yes, some exceptions, but very well explained). They didn't have their pet choabock run off and get itself dead to be found later by humans.

  11. MachDiamond Silver badge

    I have lots of UFO photos

    Usually I throw the UFO photos away. I already know that they come from having a filter or two on the lens and a reflection is set up giving me an odd lenticular craft in the sky. Nearly all of those photos are of the out-of-focus fuzzy quality that are the stock in trade of believers. If I come up with one that's really good, I'll save it. So far, nothing worth saving. The IR images are the best. Blown out pixels on an IR camera can be very interesting. Cameras with 3-4 leaves to set the aperture rather than the many more that one finds in a high quality lens lead to those triangular or rectangular UFO's. Just throw a bright object in a night time photo out of focus and you can make your own images for the conspiracy sites. I don't think they'll pay you anything for them.

  12. Toni the terrible Bronze badge

    Most stuff that are thought to be UFOs are military exercises, not all from 'friendly' nations, intermittent camera and other detection kit flaws/mistakes, rarish unconfirmed natural phenomenon etc. Just because you can't work out what it was does not make it visiting aliens.

    The best one I heard was that actual UFO's aren't aliens but time travellars/viewers who if they make a big enough fuss cause a time line variance that results in vehicles of different shapes/colours/cultural changes/ evolutionary changes which arent noticed by them but are by us. They are just coming back to see what all the flaps about UFOs were. Or Not.

    Or Aliens are montitoring us and if we become a threat they will drop a asteroid on us, just like they did with the dinosaurs.

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