A light flashes in the sky, a shape emerges that you cannot quite identify as manmade. Could it be a UFO? My strict definition, that object is both flying and unidentified. If you’re like thousands of others across the United States who have seen these, you’ll submit it through an online form or by calling a hotline. In 2015 alone, there were over 6,000 UFO reports, many including shapes and other details. We’ve plotted every one of these reports on the BatchGeo maps below.
View 2015 UFO Sightings, sum clustering in a full screen map
We’ve used our map clustering feature to show an overview of the more than 1,000 cities that had two or more potentially extraterrestrial sightings in 2015. This accounts for more than half of the overall sightings. The sum clustering shows the total reports for a region, and you can click a cluster to zoom into the area. Once you get to an individual marker, its contents will show the details of the most recent sighting.
All 6,267 reports are available in the detail map below, but this overview map gives a good idea of where you’re most likely to see a UFO—or, at least, where people are more likely to report them. This data was gathered by the National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC).
While reports are predictably more common in higher population areas, big cities like New York and Los Angeles do not make the top 10. Phoenix had the most reports with 42, followed closely by Las Vegas at 41. Tucson, Portland (OR), and Chicago round out the top five, with around 25 reports each. Orlando, Boise, Albuquerque, San Diego, and Seattle complete the top 10.
Famous UFO landing spot Roswell, New Mexico, only had two reports in 2015, the same number as Roswell, Georgia.
View 2015 UFO Sightings in the US (detail) in a full screen map
The above detailed version of the UFO data shows every report from 2015. This can be great fun—or research—browsing the sightings near you. The details in the reports are sometimes humorous, sometimes insightful, as NUFORC attempts to explain some as satellites or stars.
One of the most interesting pieces of data in the reports are the shapes of the UFOs. The classic “flying saucer” disk is not as popular as you might expect (198 sightings, 10th most common). That said, circle (#2) and sphere (#5) were common. Seen in 20% of the reports, by far the most common “shape,” simply describes the UFO as light.