Idaho has highest per-capita UFO sightings in the country, report says
Nicole Blanchard, Idaho Statesman
BOISE (Idaho Statesman) – Idaho has earned a reputation for pristine views of the night sky, even opening the country’s first International Dark Sky Reserve near Stanley. But in the past year and a half, dozens of Idahoans have looked to the stars and seen something they couldn’t quite explain, according to a new report.
On Wednesday, satelliteinternet.com, a website that researches and writes about satellite internet access for rural communities, released a report that found Idaho has the highest number of sightings of unidentified flying objects, or UFOs, per capita.
Tim Tincher, a researcher for the website, told the Statesman in an email that the company wanted to see if satellite internet equipment was being mistaken for UFOs.
“The satellite internet industry has been transforming with the launch of new low-orbit satellite internet services like SpaceX’s Starlink, which promises to bring much faster internet to people all over the U.S.,” Tincher wrote. “We were curious to see if people were mistaking visible Starlink satellite trains as UFOs in the sky and wanted to take a further look into the data from the National UFO Reporting Center.”
The National UFO Reporting Center is an organization that collects monthly witness accounts of unidentified flying objects via its website and hotline. Researchers with satelliteinernet.com looked at the number of UFO sightings reported to the National UFO Reporting Center between January 2019 and June 2020 and, using Census Bureau data, calculated the rate of UFO sightings per 100,000 people in each state.
Over the last year and a half, the Center received 164 reports of UFO sightings in Idaho. By sheer numbers, it’s not the most for any state — that title goes to Florida, which reported a staggering 567 sightings in the same time frame — but Idaho’s relatively low population means our state had 9.18 UFO sightings per 100,000 people, according to satelliteinternet.com.
Our neighbors to the northeast in Montana were a close second, with 9.17 UFO sightings per capita. New Hampshire, Maine and New Mexico (home to Roswell, known for its alien- and space-themed businesses and UFO history) rounded out the top five.
According to the National UFO Reporting Center’s web database of sightings, the last UFO sighting in Idaho was in Bonners Ferry on April 18.
“While out watching Starlink with my wife and two children, we noticed a light that at first we thought was an additional satellite in a different location and direction,” the report reads. “We noticed it moved in large distances across the sky in a split second. For example one moment it was in one spot and the next in a totally different, with no trail to be seen. At one point we witnessed it make a very defined turn, and followed by a second 900degree turn back to the original area. It appeared as though it were falling from the (sky), but was continuing to move from place to place. It appeared to be a bluish white in color.”
Another report from Nampa on the same night was determined by the Center to be a Starlink satellite. Satelliteinternet.com encouraged night sky viewers to keep tabs on planet movements and satellite launch schedules to avoid making the same mistake.
And though many of the reports, according to notes from the UFO Reporting Center in its database, are potentially just satellite sightings, that hasn’t discouraged Americans from believing in the possibility of the paranormal. Satelliteinternet.com linked to two surveys in its report that show more and more people in the U.S. believe extraterrestrial beings exist and may even visit Earth.