Recent UFO sightings reported to the National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC) have included an uptick in sightings of fireball UFOs. The most recent surge in the fireball reports include sightings that are scattered throughout most of North America. Peter Davenport, director of the National UFO Reporting Center, has been discussing these sightings in detail on various radio and podcast programs for at least three years.
The most recent surge of these UFO sightings occurred at the end of November, and continued through the first two weeks of December. "Fireball" is a NUFORC designation for a type of UFO that emits bright light that either obscures the craft being witnessed, or represents something completely new, and fairly bizarre, even for a branch of study that frequently stretches the limits of the human imagination. These fireball UFO sightings frequently include initial confusion with natural phenomena like shooting stars.
A great example of this kind of UFO report can be found in the NUFORC files from December 6, 2016, for a sighting outside of Austin, Nevada.
"I immediately radioed my wife (we had picked up some 2-way radios for the trip) and said, 'Quick! Look in front of us at that shooting-...'. I didn't finish my sentence because as I was speaking, it began to slow down without fading.Austin, Nevada, is located about 250 miles Northwest of Area 51 and Papoose Lake, and almost directly east of Reno. That alone gives weight to this report as worthy of a second look, as many sightings near military and defense research locations could be easily explained with current technology if witnesses can get a good look at the UFO, or take pictures during the sighting. But what are these fireball UFO sightings, and how do they fit with what is known?
"It then came to a stop, pulsated or barely flashed (not very bright, though) and then another one appeared to the right (east) of the original light/object. About a second later, a third one appeared (again, on the right) and now there were three of them! in a line. Almost like Orion's Belt.
"About a second or two after the appearance of the third and final light, the original one disappeared (like someone turning off a light switch), then the second one followed suite. The third one, however, made an arcing maneuver towards where the original light was and then disappeared.
"My wife (who is going to file a separate report) came over the radio and said what I was thinking, 'That's not a shooting star.'"
This is where almost everything described in these sightings is open to fairly whimsical speculation for undisciplined observers. That could be the result of the moniker, to be sure. Not many people associate bright lights with the term "fireball," so that UFO designation could lead some researchers or observers to believe that others are, or were, reporting sightings with the relatively fluid dynamics of a flame.
That isn't what these witnesses are describing, and it does work as a rough and ready term to get a handle on these fireball UFO sightings. The UFO report above was selected precisely because it gives great insight into what witnesses are seeing. In this case, the witness describes a peculiar arcing movement before the UFO disappears from view.
Breaking that down into more manageable terms, the witness was initially confused and believed that he had seen a shooting star. The witness then observed the UFO come to a stop and then the UFO sighting ended with no resolution to what was witnessed as two others joined in, and one jumped positions before disappearing. According to the NUFORC report, the sighting lasted for 10 to 15 seconds.
While a time frame of 15 seconds seems like a blink of the eye, it is actually a significant enough time frame to get a decent look at what is being seen. In this case, the witness only states that the UFO was "right out my front windshield." There is no scale to determine the size of the craft, except for in the case of the last UFO that bolted toward another terrestrial-based aircraft in the sky before disappearing.
Other fireball UFO sightings report bright flashes that look like explosions, sharp movements at angles, and other odd movements. In the interest of full disclosure, this writer filed a report of a UFO sighting with NUFORC in December of 2013. In it, I described a bright light UFO at high altitude that made a sharp turn at a high rate of speed. The full report can be found here in the NUFORC files. I remembered my confusion when it was listed as a fireball UFO, but in reality, that would be the only way to define it, as I saw no shape in the UFO, only the light in the sky. To this day, I am still shocked by the precision of the movement of anything I estimated to be moving that fast.
Fireball UFO sightings receive very little coverage outside of the UFO research community, but it would be fair to say that as they fall into the broader consciousness, more research will be pointed toward this phenomenon. But, it would also be fair to concede that perhaps some of these sightings of fireballs represent an incomplete picture of what is going on. Some could argue that these are nothing more than poor identifications, and not a phenomenon at all. What it is, only the sky and time will tell, and only if people are watching carefully.