More reliable military testimony and technological advances in radar are responsible for a rise in the number of UFO sightings, said an expert.

According to the organization UFO Identified, which gathered data from local and national media, as well as FOI (Freedom of Information) requests, a total of 497 UFO sightings have been reported across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in 2022.

In comparison, there were 465 sightings in 2020 and 413 in 2021, which means that people saw more unexplained phenomena last year than they previously had.

In fact, there has been an increase in sightings across all countries, with the exception of Northern Ireland.

UFO expert Michael Soper, of Marston, Oxford, a member of the Contact International UFO research group, said it was due to a change in the status of UFO reports.

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He said: "For quite a long time they were reported as dot, dot, dot unknown but now as the US military and our own military are taking it more seriously reports are now coming from military observers.”

Mr Soper said technological advances which mean radar are operating at different parameters were also responsible for increased reporting.

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Mikey Galloway saw  strange lights from Yarnton Nurseries in February 2022


“Now we’re getting objects reported on several different types of radar – land, sea and aviation radar," he said.

He added: “And the public are not now ashamed to report them. There have been serious reports in The Guardian and The Times, always in the Daily Star. In the past it was chuckle-land but in fact it’s really quite serious.”

Mr Soper said when Chinese balloons were first spotted over the US recently the objects were breaching radar.

“They do say the extraterrestrial hypothesis was not ruled out,” he said.

But, he said, the research group has had few UFO reports in Oxfordshire.

He said: “We don't know why that is but we have had reports of objects that have just vanished in the sky – planes at high altitude that have turned to a different angle and vanished."

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Since 2009 the Ministry of Defence has released an annual log of UFO sightings.

Strange crafts, shafts of light and other unexplained objects were sighted eight times over Oxfordshire between 1986 and 1992.

But Mr Soper said there were lots more sightings reported than the MOD files revealed.

“There are very notable sightings that are completely absent,” he said, including categories for those that have electromagnetic effects and those that leave radioactive traces.

However, astronomer Mary McIntyre, a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society who lives in Tackley, said: "I keep seeing UFOs trending on Twitter and I'm a bit baffled." 

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Artificial light sources interacting with ice crystals in clouds in February 2023


"Venus has been very prominent in our western sky after sunset, and UFO sighting numbers always increase when Venus is visible because it can be incredibly bright. 

"If you point a mobile phone camera at a bright star or planet and zoom in, the camera will struggle to focus.

"What you then see is a blurry blob that is shimmering different colours because of atmospheric turbulence and because it's difficult to hold a camera still, that shimmering blob will appear to be bouncing all over the place. 

"I have seen several videos like this and it's just an out of focus star or planet."

She added that the past couple of years had seen a lot of launches of Starlink satellites leaving a plume from the thrusters as the spacecraft  gets itself into the correct orbit. 

"Additionally there are lots of natural atmospheric phenomena such as light pillars which people may not have seen before."

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She added: "Across the UK there are literally hundreds of meteor cameras and all-sky cameras which are recording the night sky from dusk until dawn and many of them are recording during daylight hours as well.

"We have five Global Meteor Network meteor cameras and an all sky camera ourselves in North Oxfordshire.

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"In all our years of being involved with meteor science, we have never seen a single thing on any camera, from anywhere in the world, that can't be explained by either a space launch or other natural phenomena."


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This story was written by Miranda Norris, she joined the team in 2021 and covers news across Oxfordshire as well as news from Witney.

Get in touch with her by emailing: Or find her on Twitter: @Mirandajnorris

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