Scanning for specific information: Us the article below to answer the following questions. Remember: You do not have to read the article word for word. Use the headings and look for key words from the questions as you scan the article.
- Who or what coined the term “UFO?”
- Some people believe the government has known about UFOs since 1947. What happened in that year? Where did it happen?
- What percentage of sightings do experts believe are truly “unidentified?”
- Name 2 possible explanations for what people believe are UFOs.
History of UFOs
Unidentified Flying Object (or “UFO”) is a term commonly used to describe lights or shapes in the sky. It was first coined by the United States Air Force in 1952 to describe sightings of mysterious objects in the sky that could not be explained even after careful investigation. Nowadays UFOs are spotted frequently, and feature in numerous movies and TV shows. Another popular name for such an object is, “Flying Saucer,” in reference to the round shape of many UFOs.
The first widely publicized UFO sighting was in 1947, by a pilot called Kenneth Arnold. Following this event, public sightings of UFOs increased dramatically. Movies and TV shows began featuring visitors from outer space, arriving on earth in flying saucers. With the popularity of these images, many people claimed to have seen lights in the sky. Some experts believe that people simply think they see UFOs because of the influence of TV and movies.
However, experts estimate that as little as 5% of these sightings could be called “unidentified.” Usually these lights are made by aircraft, satellites, or weather balloons. Top secret air force activities during the Cold War may have been responsible for many of the UFO sightings in America and Europe. Although not actually aliens, the secretive nature of these flying objects is definitely unidentified.
Another popular idea concerning UFOs concerns the role of world governments. Specifically, people believe that the US government has discovered alien life and operates a “cover-up” to hide the truth from the public. The most widely believed cover-up is that of the Roswell Incident. In July, 1947, a UFO supposedly landed in Roswell, New Mexico, and was examined and hidden by government agents. There have been many investigations into the Roswell Incident, however, these reports always claim that no such event occurred.