I’m an astrophysicist – three explanations for eerie UFO sightings and it’s not aliens

According to an astrophysicist, there are other explanations for some of the so-called UFO sightings.

People have been claiming UFO sightings for years, but the government and researchers are trying to explain what might be real and what is an unidentified anomalous phenomenon (UAP).

Considering the UAPs aren't UFOs, then they must be something - but what are they?


Considering the UAPs aren’t UFOs, then they must be something – but what are they?

Not all UFO claims can be true, so this has led to hearings on Capitol Hill, reports from the Pentagon and a NASA working group designed to investigate more than 100 claims and bring about full clarification.

Which then led to these sightings being referred to as UAPs.

Most of the sightings came from military pilots who saw something strange on their sensors.

Considering the UAPs aren’t UFOs, then they must be something – but what are they?

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Jonathan McDowell, astrophysicist at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian has an explanation for what most UAPs are, according to Pop Sci.

McDowell is asked by countless people what sightings they may have seen and has compiled a list of the most common.

“I get a lot of social media questions and emails and occasional cold calls from random people who have seen something strange in the sky,” McDowell told Pop Sci.

Here’s a breakdown of three objects the UAPs typically belong to, according to McDowell, according to Pop Sci.


Rocket launches can leave behind residue that looks almost indescribable in the sky and can lead to a UAP sighting.

After a rocket launches, the exhaust plumes spread hundreds of miles across the sky, making space appear oceanic, McDowell explained.

“These are often described as jellyfish,” he said.

“People are much less able to recognize these as missile plumes, and they are often reported as UFOs.”


Many people confuse man-made space objects such as spacecraft and satellites with UFOs.

McDowell said the sightings “really throw people off” because they make it seem like they could be extraterrestrial.

An example of this was when SpaceX sent its Starlink satellites into the sky and they lined up in a straight line, resulting in a bizarre sighting.


Some people see celestial objects such as comets, meteors, space debris and even the planet Venus and think it is a UFO.

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“Venus is the classic UFO,” McDowell said.

“People are not used to seeing comets. So if they haven’t heard on the news that there’s a bright comet nearby, they might think it’s a UFO.”


TaraSubramaniam is a Dailynationtoday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. TaraSubramaniam joined Dailynationtoday in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: tarasubramaniam@dailynationtoday.com.

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