More reliable military testimony and technological advances in radar are responsible for a rise in the number of UFO sightings, said an expert.
According to the organization UFO Identified, which gathered data from local and national media, as well as FOI (Freedom of Information) requests, a total of 497 UFO sightings have been reported across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in 2022.
In comparison, there were 465 sightings in 2020 and 413 in 2021, which means that people saw more unexplained phenomena last year than they previously had.
In fact, there has been an increase in sightings across all countries, with the exception of Northern Ireland.
UFO expert Michael Soper, of Marston, Oxford, a member of the Contact International UFO research group, said it was due to a change in the status of UFO reports.
He said: "For quite a long time they were reported as dot, dot, dot unknown but now as the US military and our own military are taking it more seriously reports are now coming from military observers.”
Mr Soper said technological advances which mean radar are operating at different parameters were also responsible for increased reporting.
Mikey Galloway saw strange lights from Yarnton Nurseries in February 2022
“Now we’re getting objects reported on several different types of radar – land, sea and aviation radar," he said.
He added: “And the public are not now ashamed to report them. There have been serious reports in The Guardian and The Times, always in the Daily Star. In the past it was chuckle-land but in fact it’s really quite serious.”
Mr Soper said when Chinese balloons were first spotted over the US recently the objects were breaching radar.
“They do say the extraterrestrial hypothesis was not ruled out,” he said.
But, he said, the research group has had few UFO reports in Oxfordshire.
He said: “We don't know why that is but we have had reports of objects that have just vanished in the sky – planes at high altitude that have turned to a different angle and vanished."
Since 2009 the Ministry of Defence has released an annual log of UFO sightings.
Strange crafts, shafts of light and other unexplained objects were sighted eight times over Oxfordshire between 1986 and 1992.
But Mr Soper said there were lots more sightings reported than the MOD files revealed.
“There are very notable sightings that are completely absent,” he said, including categories for those that have electromagnetic effects and those that leave radioactive traces.
However, astronomer Mary McIntyre, a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society who lives in Tackley, said: "I keep seeing UFOs trending on Twitter and I'm a bit baffled."
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