UFO sightings in Canada hit a 10-year low in 2019, but the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and exciting new celestial phenomena lead experts to suspect numbers will take off.
Since 1989, Winnipeg-based Ufology Research has compiled sightings of unexplained flying objects. Last year, there were 849 UFO sightings in Canada.
“Most of the cases that we receive are things like airplanes and planets and stars or, perhaps, a fireball or a satellite,” said Canadian UFO Survey research co-ordinator Chris Rutkowski.
Despite declining numbers over the years, 2020 has proven different. Rutkowski said in the first six months of this year, there was a 30 to 50 per cent increase in cases.
With many Canadians working from home or laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rutkowski suspects it’s provided them more time to stargaze. Other aspiring astronomers have been drawn into the outdoors to catch a glimpse of Comet NEOWISE.
Others have misidentified Starlink satellites launched by SpaceX as extraterrestrial. One such report came out of Saskatoon on May 24, 2019. An observer reported seeing a string of seven lights moving north to south at a steady pace, appearing to dim and pulsate.
Rutkowski compared the apparent stringed-lights to pearls on a necklace.
“They are very fascinating. We get reports from literally across Canada when these things are launched,” Rutkowski said.
Ninety-seven per cent of UFOs spotted in Canada last year could be explained, according to the Canadian UFO Survey.
Robert Burns of Prince Albert, Sask., told Global News he’s seen three UFOs in his lifetime, including two in a recent five-day period. He encourages people to keep an open mind.
“It’s always easy to dismiss something until you’re going through something that you can’t explain yourself,” Burns said.
Saskatoon’s Sean Brown said in his lifetime he’s seen five UFOs, which are partially why he created an online community dubbed Saskatchewan UFO Sightings. He said the Facebook page has allowed people to share their experiences, often debunking misidentified objects.
Brown considers himself a believer, though he’s not sure whether there are aliens, a government conspiracy or something else afoot.
“I think that there’s something going on out there.”