Do aliens like football or is the fact that some recent UFO sightings have occurred at football games just a coincidence?
Space.com makes this observation, noting one recent siting at a Scottsdale, Ariz., high school football game and one caught on national television as the Indianapolis Colts played the New Orleans Saints during Sunday Night Football.
Watch ABC's report about the "lit up object" in the sky during Sunday Night Football:
Space.com goes on to report that UFO enthusiasts, after closely examining the footage, do believe that the light is originating from some sort of aircraft. But naysayers are saying it was most likely an illusion brought on by an insect:
To Robert Sheaffer, a UFO researcher for Skeptical Inquirer magazine, the most likely explanation is a flying insect caught in a light. Moving objects stretch when photographed or videoed under low light conditions – for instance, the red taillight streaks in nighttime photos of moving cars – and a moving insect body can appear as a glowing rod or streak.
The insect's wing beats are rendered imperfectly by the camera's equipment as "lights" (actually brighter spots above and below the main body). This explanation is supported by the fact that the "lights" are not in the same place on the body throughout its movement; they move up or down, front or back, depending on the position of the wings at the exact moment the insect is caught in flight.
One weakness of that theory is that the UFO appears to go behind buildings, which of course it could not do if it were a nearby bug. But Sheaffer told Life's Little Mysteries that he believes that the illusion is "a consequence of how the CCD [charge-coupled device, used in digital cameras] and the camera electronics render faint objects against a non-blank background." In other words, a glitch created by the technical limitations of the camera.
Here is footage from the Arizona high school football game showing three lights appearing in the sky:
What is the most popular explanation, aside from UFO, accounting for these strange lights? Space.com says nighttime skydivers, but none have come forward at this time:
Skydiving at night is common, and sometimes skydivers attach burning magnesium flares to their boots. A video analysis shows that the lights are all continuously falling; they do not go higher or even maintain altitude at any time. Eventually the lights move more horizontally as they drift downward – just as you would expect after skydivers deployed their parachutes.
So why do these sightings seem to happen at football games? While extraterrestrials could be avid fans of the American sport, it's possible that the darkness and number of people watching the sky instead of the game increases the odds of seeing strange lights.