Thursday, October 19, 2023


AARO and CUS and UAP


The latest AARO report on UAP has been released, and many UFO fans are panning it already, likely because it doesn't say that aliens are here. 

Actually, there is some interesting detail in the report, which I will get into another time, but what I'd like to do quickly is point out that for the first time, we have a decent breakdown of the cases that are being reported to AARO.

The latest AARO report includes a few pie charts, such as this one on UAP Morphologies (i.e shapes of UAP that were reported):

If this looks familiar to anyone who has been viewing the annual Canadian UFO Surveys, it's because the breakdown is very similar to what we've been finding over the past 35 years or so.

Here is the shape breakdown from the Canadian UFO Survey (CUS) for 2022:

Now, while it's not a perfect one-to-one comparison, it's really quite close to what we've been finding each year.

If we look a bit more closely:

Comparison between reported shapes of UAP in AARO vs CUS

 Shape                                             AARO             CUS


Orb/Round/Sphere                            25%                9%*

Rectangle                                          2%                  1%

Triangle                                             1%                  3%

Irregular                                             6%                 20%

Disk                                                    2%                  4%

Cylinder                                             1%                  0%

Oval                                                    4%                  2%

Not Reported                                     53%               

Ambiguous Sensor Contact                  5%

Point Source                                                            41%

Boomerang                                                              1%

Cigar                                                                        16%

Fireball                                                                      2%

A few things need to be noted right from the start. First, AARO grouped reported shapes of Orb, Round, and Sphere together, but there's no category of Orb in CUS. I've addressed this in previous discussions, and stated it explicitly in the Coding Key for CUS data:

If a witness states the object observed was an “orb,” it is important to determine if this was just a judgement on the part of the witness. “Orb” is commonly used by UFO fans to describe a simple light observed in the night sky, even at a great distance, believing the light to be a much larger object, or something that is spherical in nature, despite the human visual limitation and inability to determine an actual shape of a distant light. Therefore, “orb” should not automatically imply a spherical object.

Another major difference is the AARO category of "Not Reported." It's not at all clear what this means. Does it mean that the UAP didn't have a discernable shape? If so, was it a Point Source, as categorized in CUS? If not, where are the AARO reports of Point Sources, since all previous studies of UFOs and UAP have found that the majority of reports fall into that category? Were they radar returns only, perhaps, or Unambiguous Sensor Contacts?

One other thing to note is that AARO focuses mostly on military reports, with some recently from commercial pilots. The Canadian UFO Survey includes not only reports from pilots and cases obtained through the Canadian Department of National Defence, but also from civilians, which is different from the AARO dataset. That may factor into why there are other differences in the categories of reported UAP.

At any rate, it is good to see we are finally getting some breakdown of AARO data.

More, please.


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