Let Me Take You Where the (UFO) Action Is..
At last check, the United States was in above average viewing mode for UFOs. Well, at least for the western half of America (as can be seen from the opening visual aid). In the leading map of the U.S. the red, orange, and pale orange hued states are getting well over what is average for a U.S. state (factoring in state population and area in square miles). States like North Dakota and Indiana (of a dirty gold or tarnished brass color) are average and states like Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and West Virginia are below average (of an olive color and light or grayish shades of blue green).
This map is the result of my investigating UFO sightings for the last half of 2011, gleaned from both the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) and the National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC) raw data. My interest in this period is not just because it is looking at the latest data, but also because this period is a record setter. It is likely the highest concentration of sightings in a six month period since the 1970s. Looking at sightings for last year (see graphic below) and comparing the monthly totals of NUFORC data for 2011 (bar graph) to the average monthly values for the previous ten years (line graph), we see that most of the months in the last half of 2011 were exceptionally big ones.
Looking again at the NUFORC data, starting out in July, we have the second biggest UFO sightings month of all time (only surpassed by a July two years earlier). This is followed by records set in August, October, December and January (2012). August was not only the biggest August in at least the last eleven years (and likely the past 30 years), but the third highest of any month ever. Similarly, October was the biggest October ever and the fourth highest month on record. December, usually the slowest month of the year, had it's biggest December for sightings ever and it was the only time a December made it into the top 50 months of all time. Although December places second to last out of the last six months of 2011, it is the highest month when looking at how many times it was above its average (1.55Xs compared to 1.42Xs for October, 1.37Xs for July, and 1.27Xs for August). What that may indicate is that December could likely have been when a present wave of activity peaked and that things should begin to wind down at this point but, at the same time, it should probably take a few more months for things to get back to normal (unless there is another wave due in the coming summer months). The first month of this year got off to an intense start with a record number of sightintgs on the 1st of the month as well as the last day of the prior year. Both December 2011 and January 2012 registered about 500 sightings by NUFORC and were the highest totals for those two months on record there (January also had 1.49Xs more sightings than is average for that month or very close to December's 1.55Xs its average).
In an earlier hub (Where to Really Go to See UFOs) I tried to give a better determination of what states were the best to see a UFO than one could get from MUFON's monthly UFO report totals by state. I think I did a good job but realized lately that I could probably do better. My reasoning is due to the fact that when one looks at just a month or two of data, it is hard to get a precise read on the status of sightings in states with small populations and thus a small number of sightings as well. At least in those areas, the bigger the pool of data the better. This time I expanded current sightings from 51 days to 6 months. In the spreadsheet illustration below you can see how it gives a better representation in most cases of these smaller states. Wyoming for example moved from 11th to 3rd place in the rankings, giving what I believe is a more accurate view of the situation there (mostly due I feel to the greater amount of data). Conversely, New Mexico went from 3rd to 12th place (practically switching places with Wyoming). This is partly due to there being such a big difference between the sighting numbers between the two sources (again this kind of thing happens more often in the states with smaller populations/sighting totals). There were big differences in the two sources of data with larger states as well, however. MUFON had more than twice as many reports for Missouri as NUFORC did (perhaps because that state is closer to MUFON's Texas state headquarters). Looks like Missouri had a major flap in early October, racking up 46 sightings in 5 days. The resulting high number of sightings for the period studied caused that state to jump from 13th to 8th place on the list. Another success story is Texas, moving from 12th to 7th place. Both these last two states had been ranked as average by me earlier but moved up into the significantly above average category.
© 2012 Joseph Ritrovato