Commonly Misidentified Phenomenon - Please do not Report These

Before you file your report, please carefully review the list of commonly misidentified objects or phenomenon below.  If what you saw matches one of them, please do not report it!

1. Starlink Satellites

If you see a line of lights in the sky similar to those shown at right they are probably Starlink satellites, and not UFOs, so please do not report them.     The lights travel slowly across the sky in a straight line, and may disappear overhead or at the horizon.   Depending on atmospheric conditions and position, they also may appear as a blurry white line, or a single dots appearing and disappearing.   In all cases, the giveaway is more than one bright object travelling at the same speed on the same course. 

Please review the images and videos below before making your report, to make sure what you saw is not Starlink.

Starlink Images    Starlink Video 1    Starlink Video 2

You can also use the Starlink tracker at to see if the satellites were visible from your area when you saw them.

2. Rocket Launches

Residents of Florida, Texas and southern California can often witness rocket launches from Cape Canaveral or Vandenburg Space Force Base, respectively.   These sightings range from spectacular blazing lights followed by a long glowing trail, to a fuzzy dot in the night sky, to a strange looking swirling aura.   If you live in one of these states and see something like this, please check the Launch Schedule at RocketLaunch.Live to see if anything was launched within the last hour or so.   You can also use the RocketLaunch site to see what is coming up, so you can plan for what could be a spectacular experience.

3. Venus and Jupiter

Our Center receives many, many reports of Venus and Jupiter.   If you are seeing a very bright, intensely silver-white, stationary object near the horizon, it is likely Venus, and not a UFO.   Jupiter may appear higher in the sky but can also be extremely bright.   The best way to see if the object you are seeing is a planet is to use an app like SkyView on your phone.   The web site The Sky Live also has an interactive tracker where you can input your location and see where planets are right now.   

4. Objects in Photos or Videos not Seen with the Naked Eye, or Only Seen on Your Camera Screen

If you see something in a photo or video you took that you did not see with your naked eye, its probably a camera anomaly or artifact such as a lens flare.   Please do not report it.   For example, the photo to the right shot on an iPhone shows a green dot that was not visible to the naked eye.   This is one of many well know digital camera issues, as is documented here.

Please also review the images here to see if any match your photo.

Likewise, small objects moving through the frame of a video at high speed are often birds or insects passing by in the foreground.   Please make sure you rule this out before submitting such a report.

5. Pulsating Lights in Videos

Cell phone Videos taken of lights in the night sky, planets or stars often appear to pulse.   The object may seem to expand and contract, get brighter and dimmer, or appear as a “donut” or ring shape, due to the de-focusing and re-focusing of the phone’s lens.   This is especially true when zoomed in.   If your video shows this kind of phenomenon, do not assume the object was actually behaving that way, unless you actually saw it with your own eyes.   Please do not submit reports for such object behaviors that are only seen on video playback. 

6. Hoax and Joke Reports Will be Ignored

If you are thinking of submitting a hoax or joke report, save yourself the time and trouble.  It will be ignored and immediately discarded.

Online Report Form

Our preferred method of taking reports is through our online report form.  If you have verified that what you saw does not match any of the phenomenon listed above, and wish to to proceed to file your report, click the button below.


The Center’s hotline at  206-722-3000 is generally reserved for recent UFO reports.  However, brief queries may be submitted over the hotline number, and a member of our staff may be able to answer your question.  Information requests may also be sent via email to