Unidentified flying objects
Mysteries have always fascinated human imagination. The quest in the unknown, the extension in the uncertainty, and the challenges of solving an impossibility have been deeply engrossing matters for people in all ages and generations. From this perspective the more enduring a mystery and the more obscure its solution, the more appealing is the mystery. This explains the reason why cases of Bermuda triangle, devil’s sea and reincarnation still attract millions of people and generate every possible set of theories in attempts to explain them.
In the same context, one of the most enduring, popular and intensely explored mystery concerns Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs), generally saucer shaped flying objects that hundreds of people have claimed to witness world wide and that are considered to come from extra-terrestrial intelligent beings. Although there is huge skepticism involved with origin of UFOs, there are no doubts as to the incidents of sightings themselves. Contrary to the perceptions that they are sighted by just illiterate people, UFOs have been observed and reported by scientists, professional astronomers, pilots, students and even presidents.
According to a 1979 survey among scientists and astronomers in US, more than 18 percent of them testified of definitely or possibly seeing UFOs and have been unable to account for their origin (Denzler, 2001). The governments and official astronomical associations around the world have tried to deny the existence of UFOs, but with persistent sightings and observations, and no rational explanation forwarded to explain their appearance, the deep mystery of UFOs continues to exist.
Although the incidents of observing mysterious and unidentified objects date back to earlier age, the sightings were invited official attention and exploration because they were thought to be mere imagination of poor and uneducated people and equate with reporting of ghosts, mermaids and monsters (Matheson, 1998). This, in the face of facts that even between 1890-1900, ore than 200 sightings of unspecified flying objects was reported in the leading scientific journals of the day (Denzler, 2001).
Although many of the sightings made national headlines in the US, leading newspapers later on dismissed the claims, attributing these sightings to alcohol, planetary movements, stars, comets or merely publicity hoaxes. Between 1900 and 1945 there were two significant phases of sightings all across the US and many parts of Europe where people reported seeing brightly illuminated flying objects with designs that was beyond human advancement (ibid).
The first modern documented incident of UFO sighting came from pilot Kenneth Arnold who reported on June 24 1947 seeing 9 metallic objects flying in a pattern that resembled saucers skipping over water (Denzler, 2001). Following the reporting an extensive investigation was launched in the matter by US Army and the UFO issue received national attention on the widest scale. There were hundreds of UFO sightings reported in the following years and even US president Richard Nixon claimed to have spotted UFO in 1969. The scientific community, however, has remained unconvinced on these claims.
For one, most of the claims, as they have observed, have perfectly rational explanations and they predominantly emanate from careless observations, or misinterpreted natural phenomena. For example, most of the UFO sightings and observations are caused by hurricanes, movements of planets and stars and even aeroplanes. As the sightings are usually reported in the night, it is very likely that combination of lights and rising hot air along with other natural factors may give appearance of saucers of light moving through.
But the real reason for denial of UFO existence is based on explanation of their origin. If scientists and astronomers accept that UFO claims are valid and sightings are genuine, then it immediately corroborate the claims of existence of extra-terrestrial intelligent life, since UFOs are thought to be spaceships of alien-extra terrestrial civilizations, coming from regions certainly beyond our planet.
And acceptance of the fact that intelligent life exists outside earth would be a great philosophical and ideological leap for science against very thin material evidence. On the request of US government NASA undertook to examine 500 objects allegedly part of UFOs but did not find anything extraordinary in their structure or material. The mystery of UFO has never found a perfectly rational explanation and there are many observations of brightly illuminated objects flying smoothly through atmosphere that are well documented but never explained.
Yet the scientists of NASA, US military and astronomers maintain that UFO observation is primarily linked people who are either unaware of many natural phenomena like appearance of meteors and planets and identify them as spaceships or with those people who are specifically and untiringly scanning the night sky in search for an unidentified flying object. These people, in their zeal and enthusiasm to prove their theories right would twist and turn rational facts or may be led by their prejudiced notions to accept identified flying objects as UFOs
The Lure of the Edge: Scientific Passions, Religious Beliefs, and the Pursuit of UFOs. Contributors: Brenda Denzler – author. Publisher: University of California Press. Place of Publication: Berkeley, CA. Publication Year: 2001 Alien Abductions: Creating a Modern Phenomenon. Contributors: Terry Matheson – author. Publisher: Prometheus Books. Place of Publication: Amherst, NY. Publication Year: 1998Sample Essay of EduBirdie.com