UFO Misidentifications

Below are some details that may assist in rationalising a UFO sighting. UFOs are often nothing more than misidentified aircraft, birds, balloons, clouds, satellites, stars, planets etc. Approximately 90% of reported UFOs have such rational explanations. So before reporting your UFO sighting, check out some of the details below...


Chinese Lanterns or Fire Lanterns are the most commonly misidentified as UFOs. Some facts are below:

lant 1

1. Such lanterns are cheap to purchase and easy

    to assemble.


2. They are seen in the night sky as an

    Incandescent Orange / White flickering ball of  



3. They can sometimes be seen to travel in lines or

    groups, especially when they are tethered to

    each other.


4. Sometimes they are seen to be different sizes.

    This is due to some being closer to you than



5. They can appear to be moving relatively fast.

    This is due top higher wind speeds at differing



6. They can sometimes appear to be travelling in

    different directions. This is due to multiple wind

    directions at differing altitudes.


7. Finally, they can sometimes be seen to fade out.

    This is due to the light source burning out. On

    closer inspection many often report a smokey tail

    or smoke coming from them. They are silent and

    can travel great distances.

Many Lanterns are launched on November 5th and December 31st and are often the cause of many local UFO flaps. Below are some photographs of what they look like:

lant 2 lant 3 lant 4

Other commonly misidentified objects are Novelty Balloons, and the worse being the silver coloured ones as these can often reflect sunlight making them look as if they are illuminated in some way. Novelty Balloons now come in all shapes and sizes and when a bunch of them get loose which are tethered together, they can make an impressive UFO.


Again, easy to purchase and sometimes used to generate video or photographic hoaxes. Some photographs below:

balloon 1 balloon 2

Solar Balloons are now available for the public to by which come in numerous shapes and sizes. Most are coloured black and can be very large in size which when seen causes many UFO reports. The cylinder shaped Solar Balloons are often reported as Cigar Shaped UFOs, as other are reported as large Black Triangles. Solar Balloons are made of a material that heats the air inside and causes them to lift. Soplar Balloons can travel thousands of miles and reach high altitudes. They can be purchased for around £10.00 each. They are relatively easy to get hold of and quick to assemble. Some photographs below:

sb1 sb2 sb3 sb4 sb5

With the sudden boom in electronics more and more unusual looking remote control aircraft are available. There are even ones manufactured to look like UFOs. These can easily be obtained at no great expense and are often seen in areas close to fields and parks. Some are shaped like discs and others are silver in colour causing the sunlight to reflect off them. Some photographs are below:

rc1 rc2 rc3 rc4 rc5

Birds and isects can also from time to time be misidentified as a UFO. Swarms of bees can look to be a dark moving mass in the sky and Geese at high altitude can look to be a cluster of white balls of light. Geese flying at night can even have the streetlights below reflect the light of their underbellies, causing orange / white lights to appear in the night sky. Some Photographs are below:

bird 2 bird1 birds3

Clouds can also be reported as UFOs. Such clouds are usually Lenticular and are disc shaped. Such lenticular cloud formation don't often take place here in the United Kingdom, but when they do, they seem to generate numerous UFO reports. Some Photographs are below:

cloud1 cloud2 cloud3

Aircraft are a favourite for misidentifications. Landing lights of an aircraft travelling towards you can be especially bright and sometime seem to be static. Remember most aircratf have white, green and red lights on them. The anti-colision lights usually flash red and these lights help you identify the position of the aircraft.


There are hundreds of things that could be misidentified as a UFO. The above are just a handful of the more common ones. If you have seen a UFO and have read through the above information and still believe that it was something strange that you saw, then please visit our page entitled ' Report Your Incident'. We would love to hear from you...

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