Unidentified flying object

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Unidentified flying object (usually abbreviated to UFO or U.F.O.) means any unusual apparent object or phenomenon in the sky whose cause cannot readily be identified by the observer; though in popular usage it is treated as a synonym for alien spacecraft, being a potential explanation for some such sightings[1]. Widespread interest in UFOs arose after World War II, since when governments have investigated UFO reports, often from a military perspective, and UFO enthusiasts have investigated, written about and created organizations devoted to the subject.

Studies have established that the majority of UFOs are observations of some real but conventional object—most commonly aircraft, balloons, or astronomical objects such as meteors or bright planets—that have been misidentified by the observer as anomalies, while a small percentage of reported UFOs are hoaxes.[2] However, after excluding these incorrect reports, between 5% and 20% of sightings remain unexplained, and so can be classified as unidentified in the strictest sense. Proponents of the so-called extraterrestrial hypothesis believe that these unidentified sightings are of alien spacecraft, though various other hypotheses have been proposed.

While UFOs have been the subject of extensive investigation by various governments, and some scientists support the extra-terrestrial hypothesis, few scientific papers about UFOs have been published in peer-reviewed journals.[3] There has been some debate in the scientific community about whether any scientific investigation into UFO sightings is warranted.[4][5][6][7][8][9]

UFOs have become a prominent theme in modern culture[10], and this cultural phenomenon has been the subject of academic research[3].


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