Unidentified flying objects (U.F.O.s) were recognized officially by the U.S. Government last year, and the Defense Department officially revived a secret program called the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force to study these sightings.

When spooky things appear in the sky, witnesses have often been reluctant to report them for fear of mockery by others, especially in the halls of government.

These days, fewer people are laughing.

Unidentified flying objects, or unidentified aerial phenomena as the government calls them, have been taken more seriously by U.S. officials in recent years, starting in 2007 with a small, secretly funded program that investigated reports of military encounters. Last year lawmakers asked the secretary of defense and director of national intelligence to submit an unclassified report on what the government knows about U.F.O.s. An unclassified version of that report is due to be released this month. (Senior administration officials briefed on the report’s findings told The Times the report will present few firm conclusions, but that it found no evidence the aerial sightings were alien spacecraft. Read more about that here.)

“There are a lot more sightings than have been made public,” John Ratcliffe, the former director of national intelligence, told Fox News in March. Quite a few of them, he said, “are difficult to explain.”

Read more at The New YorkTimes.

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