UFO sightings are nothing new. The Puritans reported strange sightings and lights in the sky as early as the 1600s. With the advent of movies about outer space and unidentified flying objects came even more sightings. The National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC)  has an entire website dedicated to the “collection and dissemination of objective UFO data.” The organization curates reports of UFO sightings in the U.S. and Canada via a web form and a phone hotline, which has operated almost continuously since 1974. NUFORC logged a total of 4,655 sightings in 2017, down from the 2016 total of 5,619.

A recent report came from New Mexico on December 14. A woman reported that she and her husband saw a triangular object with bright green lights near Santa Fe. She claims they “saw an object flying across the Interstate in a southeasterly direction. It appeared triangular with bright green lights around its entire periphery.”

“From my husband’s perspective, it appeared larger than a full moon,” she reported. “By the time it crossed my field of vision (I was in the passenger seat), it appeared slightly smaller than a full moon. It was perhaps several hundred feet in front and above us and appeared to be moving at about 100 mph or less. It seemed to be heading down and then it vanished.”

NUFORC spoke with the witness via telephone and “found her to be very eloquent, and very sober-minded. We suspect that she is an excellent witness.”

NEXT: The Number of UFO Sightings by State

California far and away submitted the most reports of UFO sightings, topping the list with 490 in 2017. Florida was next with 308, followed by Washington (192), Arizona (180), and New York (170). New Mexico, home to the famous 1947 UFO sighting in Roswell, came in at number 25 with 73 reported sightings. Perhaps surprisingly, Nevada, where the legendary Area 51 is located, reported only 55 sightings, coming in at number 29 overall. N. Dakota, Hawaii, and S. Dakota had the fewest reports, with 6, 13, and 16 respectively.

50. N. Dakota 6

49. Hawaii 13

48. S. Dakota 16

47. Vermont 17

46. Wyoming 17

45. W. Virginia 18

44. Alaska 19

43. Mississippi 21

42. Delaware 22

41. Nebraska 25

40. Rhode Island 28

39. Arkansas 30

38. Louisana 34

37. Maine 35

36. Iowa 40

35. Idaho 41

34. Montana 47

33. Oklahoma 47

32. Kansas 49

31. N. Hampshire 49

30. Indian 53

29. Nevada 55

28. Alabama 60  

27. Kentucky 62

26. Utah 67

25. N. Mexico 73

24. Minnesota 81

23. Wisconsin 83

22. Illinois 85

21. Maryland 86

20. Tennessee 88

19. Massachusetts 99

18. Virgina 99

17. S. Carolina 103

16. Missouri 111

15. N. Jersey 111

14. Oregon 111

13. Georgia 113

12. Texas 116

11. Michigan 121

10 N. Carolina 135

9. Connecticut 146

8. Ohio 146

7. Colorado 147

6. Pennsylvania 161

5. New York 170

4. Arizona 180

3. Washington 192

2. Florida 308

1. California 490

Some recent reports out of California include: an “orange light flying in the sky that was changing direction very rapidly” in Sacramento; “a small, quiet, blinking object; it’s movements were very smooth, unlike a plane or a helicopter” in Carmichael; a “group of about 25 chevron shaped crafts all glowing a soft orange color” in Daly City; a “large, dull red-colored, round object with a darker brownish glow around the outside going very fast” in Watsonville; and a “RED light seen at night gliding together and lights disappearing one by one along with sound” in Hawthorn.

I’ll leave it up to readers to decide how credible these claims are. Many of them could be attributed to drones, weather balloons,  military aircraft, or the recent SpaceX launch that rattled Californians. And NUFORC cautions readers to be on the alert “for flawed, or hoaxed, reports, particularly among those that have been submitted by individuals who elect to remain anonymous, and/or who provide no contact information with their reports.”

The site noted that they’ve been receiving a large number of prank calls to the hotline. “If you are one of the many young people who are placing prank calls to our Hotline, we would request that you cease using our telephone lines for recreational purposes!!” they wrote. “The bulk of the calls we are now receiving over the Hotline are prank calls, and often obscene, and we are requesting that callers of all ages not use our Hotline for frivolous purposes.  These nuisance calls have become an extreme inconvenience to the people who run the UFO Center, and they are interfering with our ability to provide an important service to people who wish to submit serious reports to our facility.”

NUFORC does provide a list (dating back to 1936) of what they believe are “the more dramatic, and/or more well documented, cases that have been reported to us over the last decade.” You can read that list here.