UFO Sightings: Where to Read the Pentagon's Declassified Info

You'll soon be able to submit your own reports of "unidentified anomalous phenomena."

Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
CNET freelancer Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Gael Fashingbauer Cooper
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The US Department of Defense has launched a website collecting publicly available, declassified information on UFOs. 

UFOs -- for, of course, unidentified flying objects -- is the term most people use in connection to sightings of unexplained entities seen in the sky. But to the government, those mysterious items are known as UAPs, or unidentified anomalous phenomena. (The word "anomalous" simply means deviating from what's normal or expected.) 

Anyone can now read through the government's declassified information on UAPs.

"This website will provide information, including photos and videos, on resolved UAP cases" once it's been "declassified and approved for public release," the department said. "The website's other content includes reporting trends and a frequently asked questions section as well as links to official reports, transcripts, press releases and other resources that the public may find useful, such as applicable statutes and aircraft, balloon and satellite tracking sites."

A reporting tool for government employees, contractors and service members will be live in the fall so they can keep adding information to the site.

If you aren't in that category, keep watching the skies anyway, because "a mechanism for members of the general public to make reports will be announced in coming months," the department said.

What kind of UFO information is out there?

One of the most interesting parts of the site is the trends section (PDF). Apparently, most reported UAPs are round; either white, silver or translucent; spotted at around 10,000 to 30,000 feet; 1-4 meters in size; and don't emit thermal exhaust. Hotspots for sightings include both the eastern and western coasts of the US.

There's also a small section of videos, with names such as DVIDS Video - Unresolved Case: Navy 2021 Flyby and UAP Video: Middle East Object. Readers can leave comments on the videos. Of the Middle East Object video, one person wrote, "Noticed I never saw it cast a shadow. But other objects have shadows."

As CNET wrote in 2021, the mere fact that people see items in the sky that they personally can't identify doesn't mean aliens are scoping out Earth for a visit -- or have already stopped by. Many UAP cases have been attributed to "balloon or balloon-entities," as well as drones, birds, weather events or airborne debris like plastic bags.