In 2018, a modest 3395 people in the U.S. and Canada submitted their accounts of UFO sightings to the National UFO Reporting Center. In 2019, that number jumped to 5971.
Apparently, aliens are especially fond of flying their aircrafts over California, Florida, and Washington; according to ABC News, they were the three most popular states for UFO sightings in 2019, with 485, 385, and 222 reports, respectively. Nevada, home of the infamous Area 51, totaled only about 70 for the year.
Peter Davenport, director of the Washington-based organization, told ABC News that he didn’t have any insight as to why the number had jumped nearly 76 percent in just one year.
“One of the mysteries of ufology is there is a fluctuation in the number of reports over the years,” he said. “Some years it’s been low, but it’s gotten higher recently.”
American Astronomical Society spokesman Rick Fienberg, on the other hand, offered a few ideas to ABC News: Not only were Jupiter and Venus extra-visible last year, but SpaceX sent a total of 180 new satellites into space. Since the National UFO Reporting Center simply catalogs reports—it doesn’t investigate them—it’s likely that many are actually planets, satellites, or other easily explainable phenomena. As Fienberg pointed out, the u in UFO stands for unidentified, not unidentifiable.
“If you’re not keeping up with the news and not familiar with the skyline, you might mistakenly see an unidentified flying object. It may be unidentified to you, but known to others,” Fienberg said.
We’re not ruling out the possibility that extraterrestrial beings are getting more careless about concealing themselves and their vehicles as time goes on—they’ve supposedly been slipping up as far back as 1400 BCE. Find out about 12 notorious UFO sightings from history here.
[h/t ABC News]
Venus is visible in the evening or morning sky for most of the year, but this Thursday, the second planet from the sun won’t be alone in its spot above the horizon. As Travel + Leisure reports, Venus, also known as the “evening star,” will appear right next to a crescent moon following the sunset on February 27, resulting in a rare celestial “kiss.”
Why will Venus be close to the moon?
Venus is often among the first “stars” to become visible at twilight (though it’s really a planet), and it’s the brightest object in the night sky aside from the moon. Between January 1 and May 24, it shines brightly above the western horizon. For a few weeks in early May and late June, Venus is washed out by the light of the sun, and from June 13 to December 31, it’s easiest to see in the eastern sky around sunrise.
This week, Venus will be in the perfect position to share a “kiss” with the night’s brightest object. All the planets, including Venus, appear to traverse the same path across the night sky called the ecliptic. The moon follows a similar trajectory, and on some nights, the celestial body seems to come very close to the planets that also occupy the plane. This effect is just an illusion; while they will appear to be nearly touching on Thursday, the moon will actually be 249,892 miles from Earth on February 27, while Venus will be 84 million miles away.
The Moon just entered its “new” phase on Sunday, and it will only be partially illuminated by the time it meets up with Venus. The waxing crescent moon will rise in the perfect position in the western sky on Thursday to create a joint spectacle with our planetary neighbor.
When to see Venus and the moon “kiss”
The kiss between the moon and Venus can be spotted in the hours after sunset on Thursday, February 27. When you notice it getting dark, head outside and look to the southwest horizon if you live in the Northern Hemisphere. That will give you your best chance at catching the special event. If you miss it this week, you won’t have to wait long for your next opportunity to see the Moon kiss Venus: The two bodies will return to a similar position on March 28, 2020.
This content was originally published here.