| News |

Phoenix the Source of Most Balloon-Caused UFO Reports, Says NASA

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

NASA can always depend on the Phoenix area for UFO reports.

Our clear skies and large population apparently make the Valley number one when it comes to hysterical cries of alien invasion every time a research balloon goes up.

Following yesterday's media reports about the earthly origins of a spherical, translucent object in the sky, we called Bill Stepp, head of operations at the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Palestine, Texas, to ask how many times NASA balloon launches spurred UFO reports, and why people were so stupid. He didn't bite on the second question, but you can read his answer to the first question in this excerpt from his e-mail:

We launch between 15 - balloons a years from several different sites in the world. Generally, we will launch 4-6 balloons from Fort Sumner that will track over central Arizona. The only launch site that does not generate UFO reports is Antarctica. Typically, the location that will have the largest number of reports is the Phoenix area. Finally, we do not contact the various media, local law enforcement agencies, NOAA Weather Service, or the FAA to find out if reports have been made, nor do we keep trrack of the reports that are forwarded to us.

Without any official talley, I would personnaly not be surprized to hear someone guess that we were the subjects of several hundred reports each year.

Reports? Heck, in Phoenix, we don't just call in a report -- some of us make careers out of this kind of stuff.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.