CCU Astronomy professor explains Grand Strand UFO sightings

    (MGN graphic)

    Monday was World UFO Day and people all over the world looked up at the sky to see if they could spot something that's out of this world.

    Sometimes when we look up and it's not a plane or something that we can easily identify, we have questions.

    Before we talk about what's out there, let's clear something up: Not every UFO is extraterrestrial. Sometimes when we see something in the sky it's exactly what the term stands for, an unidentified flying object and that's what it is until someone can identify it.

    But CCU astronomy professor, Dr. Louis Rubbo, believes other life forms are out there.

    "Statistically there is life elsewhere in the universe.... Has it visited us? No. I don't think it has. You could easily find the evidence either through daily observations, and it turns out we can through archaeology find historical evidence as well," said Rubbo.

    CCU astronomy professor, Dr. Louis Rubbo (WPDE)

    We all have a picture of a UFO in our head.

    "Traditional flying saucers, the green flying saucers, the lights, and the beam coming down to pick you up, and the probing and all of those wacked out stories," said Bret Imler who lives in Conway.

    (MGN graphic)

    But not all UFOs are extraterrestrial.

    "It really is an unidentified flying object, so you can't argue with the unidentified part, it's just that particular person didn't know how to identify it. Someone else might be able to," said Rubbo.

    For some of the UFOs seen in our area, Rubbo says there's a good explanation.

    "I hear that a lot of the training exercises out of Shaw (Air Force Base) sometimes fly out over the ocean and drop flares and we're just not use to seeing that kind of light, especially at night, and especially if you're a tourist coming in from afar," he said.

    On the National UFO Reporting website, several reported seeing red or orange lights.

    "When you see a singular person reporting a UFO sighting, you kind of have to think maybe there's something more to it, but when you see groups of people, that's when it starts getting interesting. A lot of times it's just a meteor coming through," said Rubbo.

    Airplanes or meteors, you decide.

    "It could be that... Or it could be something else. Who knows?" said Conway resident Griffin.

    Dr. Rubbo says around this time of year, the planet Venus often gets mistaken as a UFO because it's so bright and close to the horizon, especially after sunset.

    If you'd like to access the National UFO Reporting Center website to report what you're seeing and see what others have reported, click here to see what's been reported in our area, click here.

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