This year has seen numerous unique events in the skies with lunar eclipse, solar eclipse, and supermoons, reported the Deseret News. Now, the skies have become a topic of fascination for an entirely different reason: UFOs.

  • A recent and highly anticipated U.S. Department of Defense report will disclose government investigations into decades worth of incidents involving unidentified flying objects, or UFOs, said The New York Times and CNN.
  • The final report was released Friday, CNN reports.
  • Ahead of the report’s release, unnamed officials shared new details about the report’s contents with CNN and The New York Times.

The report does not provide evidence for UFO explanations involving aliens or other extraterrestrial life but cannot definitively rule out this possibility, BBC reported.

  • Primarily, the report concludes that the U.S. does not have an explanation for many aerial phenomena, reports Politico.

What UFOs did the report investigate?

The new report investigated more than 140 incidents of unexplained aerial phenomena in recent years, according to The New York Times and CNN. Most of these incidents were reported by U.S. Navy pilots but some incidents were reported by foreign militaries.

  • The specific incidents investigated are just beginning to be released.

According to The New York Times, the report investigated incidents from U.S. Navy pilots along the East Coast who reported almost daily sighting of mysterious flying objects from the summer of 2014 until March 2015. The pilots reported seeing a “spinning top” object without a visible engine or fumes that could reach hypersonic speeds, according to The New York Times.

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Why is this report so significant?

This report is the first of its kind, said CNN. For years, the U.S. government has remained reluctant to disclose any information about unexplainable aerial phenomena. The new report marks a significant shift in this mentality.

  • Investigating aerial phenomena and declassifying a report on the subject is a significant move to opening the topic for discussion, reports CNN.

What UFO explanations did the report rule out?

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The report is expected to rule out a number of explanations for the UFOs, said The New York Times.

  • Many of the sightings did not involve top-secret government projects, said the BBC. This means that sighting cannot be attributed to tests of previously undisclosed U.S. technology.
  • Many of the sightings did not involve weather balloons or other research balloons, wrote The New York Times. The objects moved in ways uncharacteristic of balloons.
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What did the report conclude about UFOs?

According to sources from The New York Times and CNN, the report makes few definitive conclusions about UFOs.

  • The report does not confirm extraterrestrial involvement, but it does not deny these possibilities, added CNN, BBC and The New York Times.
  • The report does indicate the concerning possibility that these sightings involved new technology from foreign powers, most likely China or Russia, says CNN.

The report concludes that many of the sightings — including the acceleration, direction change and submerging abilities of unidentified flying objects — remain difficult to explain, said The New York Times. The ambiguity of the report could mean that popular explanations of UFOs as alien spacecraft might not be ruled out.

  • “But it’s disturbing either way, you know, is this alien life or do adversaries or someone else have capabilities that far exceed anything we have the ability to understand track or counter? Either way it’s really bad,” said Rep. Michael Waltz of the House Armed Services Committee to CNN.

A declassified version of the report was released to Congress on June 25, reports CNN.

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