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NEW DELHI: Amped by conspiracy theories on social media, plenty of science fiction novels, movies and TV series along with some truly exhaustive investigations into UFO sighting incidents, the World UFO Day has gradually become an annual phenomenon celebrated on July 2. Here is all you need to know about it:
What is a UFO
A UFO is an Unidentified Flying Object that cannot immediately be identified or explained. The term is widely used for making claims about sighting an extraterrestrial spacecraft i.e. a spacecraft that does not belong to Earth and humans.
Why do we have a World UFO Day
World UFO Day is an awareness day celebrated by UFO enthusiasts to educate people about the ‘undisputed evidence’ that UFOs are real and to get governments de-classify files about UFO sightings. Some celebrate the day on June 24 which is the date that aviator Kenneth Arnold reported a UFO sighting for the first time in the United States. Some others observe the day on July 2 which is the day when the supposed Roswell UFO crash took place in 1947.
Roswell UFO incident
In July 1947, a crash took place near Roswell in New Mexico which led to the speculation that the object was a “flying disc”. The United States Army Air Forces, however, later said that it was just a weather balloon which crashed. The curiosity around the incident only bolstered and led to exhaustive investigations by enthusiasts who believed that the US military was trying to cover up the incident. In turn, the conspiracy theories around an ‘alien spacecraft’ crashing near Roswell met with an equally thorough counter of claims debunking speculations.
Kenneth Arnold’s UFO sightings
Kenneth Arnold was an American aviator who claimed to have seen nine objects flying in a tandem which could not be identified, while he was flying his aircraft near Mount Rainier, Washington on June 24, 1947. Arnold’s claim is widely regarded as the first to have sparked theories around alien objects on Earth. The US Air Force formally listed the Arnold case as a ‘mirage’. Arnold had described the shape of the object as “flat like a pie pan” or “saucer-like” which led media to coin the term “flying saucer” and “flying disc”. By 1977, Kenneth claimed that they “have 15 million witnesses…who have seen something.”
Pentagon releases UFO videos
In April 2020, the US Department of Defense released three declassified videos of “unexplained aerial phenomena”, decades after Kenneth Arnold’s UFO sightings and Roswell UFO incident. The Pentagon said it wanted to “clear up any misconceptions by the public on whether or not the footage that has been circulating was real”. The videos had already been leaked in 2007 and 2017 and some had claimed that the videos showed UFOs. In its statement, the Department of Defense had said, “The aerial phenomena observed in the videos remain characterized as ‘unidentified’.”
How do enthusiasts celebrate World UFO Day
Most people organise UFO-themed parties or gather around to watch skies using telescopes and hold discussions about various UFO conspiracy theories. Sci-fi reading events and film screenings of movies about space exploration have become a common phenomenon.

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