University of Utah and Recent AARO Director Publish Study of NUFORC Data

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In a study published today on, researchers at the University of Utah collaborated with Dr. Sean Kirkpatrick, the recent director of the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO), to analyze 98,000 reports from the National UFO Reporting Center Data Bank.  Their article,  “An Environmental Analysis of Public UAP Sightings and Sky View Potential,” offers an interesting perspective on UAP sightings.

Key Findings from the study include:

  1. Geographical Factors: The study leverages Bayesian regression to explore how local environmental factors like light pollution, cloud cover, and nearby aircraft or military installations impact UAP sightings.
  2. UAP Hotspots: The study found that the Western US and Northeast have reported higher numbers of UAP sightings, possibly influenced by physical geography and cultural factors.
  3. Data Reliability: The study acknowledges the challenge of verifying UFO reports but finds value in the spatial patterns observed.

Environmental and Sociocultural Considerations:

  • Natural phenomena and human-made objects (such as drones or aircraft) are considered potential explanations for some sightings. We at NUFORC have long acknowledged that the majority of the reports we receive fall into this category.
  • The study suggests that sociocultural factors, including public interest spikes following popular media on aliens, can influence sighting reports.


  • The research offers an explanation of why UAP sighting reports vary spatially, unsurprisingly emphasizing the importance of visibility and air traffic.
  • It opens new avenues for exploring UAP sightings, considering both environmental context and sociocultural factors.

Implications for Future Research:

  • Further analysis could include examining sociocultural influences, regional differences, and temporal trends in UAP sightings.
  • The study advocates for a scientific approach to UAP research, free from stigma, to better understand these unexplained phenomena. We wholeheartedly agree!

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Edward

    I’m trying to remember what was happening in 2015 to make popular culture a factor in that year standing out in particular. I can’t think of a reason to differentiate it and they are mostly reported a day or two after occurring. Social media and YouTube being already well established by then. What then explains the decline up until 2017? The California cold spot is interesting and almost comical. It’s frustrating knowing that unreported is by far greater and that there is no real set for rest of world, but still excellent to see it broken down. Great reading, thanks for all the hard work.

  2. Mary White

    Many parts of US do not have internet. A large number of people do not even know where or how to make a report.
    Also many are afraid to report. I suspect that what we see reported to MUFON and NUFORC is likely a very small percent of
    what is actually seen and experienced.

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