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By Andrew Follett

Sightings of flying saucers and other strange aerial phenomena have fallen to record low rates in the U.S., according to data from the National Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) Reporting Center.

Despite the general decline in sightings, the U.S. still has a higher rate than in any other country. Americans spot strange flying objects at rates 300 times higher than the global average. The data shows U.S. observers are spotting significantly fewer flying saucers than in previous years, but are seeing many more strange lights in the sky.

“[I]t seems a lot more plausible that someone would see strange lights in the sky than a flying object with a concrete shape (like a saucer),” Sam Monfort, a graduate student at George Mason University who compiled UFO tracking data, told Universe Today. “Seeing a shape implies that the object is pretty close to you, “and if it’s that close why didn’t you take a video of it?”

Astronomers estimate that intelligent alien life probably does exist, despite the lack of credible UFO reports.

An astronomy study estimates that the odds of humanity being the only civilization in the universe are less than one chance in about “10 billion trillion.” Researchers used a simplified version of the famous Drake Equation, and concluded that the number of advanced alien civilizations in the universe is equal to the number of habitable planets multiplied by the likelihood of a technological species developing on one of these planets. The study estimates there have been roughly 10 billion alien civilizations in the history of the universe.

Most self-proclaimed “UFO aficionados” are politically neutral, with 30 percent of them having no political preferences, according to a survey published last month.

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