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FAQ › Education - General Astronomy Where do I report the discovery of a comet/meteor/UFO, etc.? Last updated: Wednesday, February 24, 2016 - 15:39 Transient astronomical phenomena such as comets, novae, supernovae, etc. can be reported to the Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams. Meteor(ite)/fireball reports to the International Meteor Organization. UFO reports to the National Institute for Discovery Science.
Why don’t astronomers see UFOs? I am often asked by friends and colleagues, “Why don’t astronomers see UFOs?” The fact is that they do. In 1977, Peter Sturrock, a professor of space science and astrophysics at Stanford University, mailed 2,611 questionnaires about UFO sightings to members of the American Astronomical Society. He received 1,356 responses from which 62 astronomers – 4.6 percent – reported witnessing or recording inexplicable aerial phenomena. This rate is similar to the approximately 5 percent of UFO sightings that are never explained. As expected, Sturrock found that astronomers who witnessed UFOs were more likely to be night sky observers. Over 80 percent of Sturrock’s respondents were willing to study the UFO phenomenon if there was a way to do so. More than half of them felt that the topic deserves to be studied versus 20 percent who felt that it should not. The survey also revealed that younger scientists were more likely to support the study of UFOs. UFOs have been observed through telescopes. I know of one telescope sighting by an experienced amateur astronomer in which he observed an object shaped like a guitar pick moving through the telescope’s field of view. Further sightings are documented in the book “Wonders in the Sky,” in which the authors compile numerous observations of unexplained aerial phenomena made by astronomers and published in scientific journals throughout the 1700s and 1800s.
"Most scientists have never had the occasion to confront evidence concerning the UFO phenomenon. To a scientist, the main source of hard information (other than his own experiments' observations) is provided by the scientific journals. With rare exceptions, scientific journals do not publish reports of UFO observations. The decision not to publish is made by the editor acting on the advice of reviewers. This process is self-reinforcing: the apparent lack of data confirms the view that there is nothing to the UFO phenomenon, and this view (prejudice) works against the presentation of relevant data."
Peter A. Sturrock, "An Analysis of the Condon Report on the Colorado UFO Project," Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol.1, No.1, 1987
"The definitive resolution of the UFO enigma will not come about unless and until the problem is subjected to open and extensive scientific study by the normal procedures of established science.
In their public statements (but not necessarily in their private statements), scientists express a generally negative attitude towards the UFO problem, and it is interesting to try to understand this attitude. Most scientists have never had the occasion to confront evidence concerning the UFO phenomenon.”
Dr. Peter A. Sturrock, Professor of Space Science and Astrophysics and Deputy Director of the Center for Space Sciences and Astrophysics at Stanford University (Survey of American Astronomical Society)