WASHINGTON — “Are we alone?” July 2 is World UFO Day and seeks to answer that question as people gather together to watch the skies for unidentified flying objects.
The day commemorates the supposed UFO crash in Roswell, New Mexico, in July 1947, says NASA Solar System Ambassador and WTOP Space Contributor Greg Redfern.
“People see things that can not be explained. There’s no denying that,” he said on WTOP Wednesday morning.
World UFO Day, which was first celebrated in 2001, raises awareness of the “the undoubted existence of UFOs” and encourages world governments to declassify their files on UFO sightings, according to its website.
Redfern says that there are no government agencies studying UFOs right now, but there are ongoing efforts to study other life forms.
“There is bonafide scientific explorations going on right now to try and find intelligent life in the universe,” he says.
One of the groups researching other life forms is through the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. SETI is a private, nonprofit organization that uses scientific methods to search for intelligent extraterrestrial life, according to its website.
D.C. was once the focus of a UFO sighting, Redfern recalled.
In July 1952, air traffic controllers at then-Washington National Airport saw blips on radar screens. Similar blips were sighted by radar operators at Andrews and Bolling Air Force bases, The Washington Post reports. When planes attempted to intercept the signals, the pilots saw bright lights speeding away from them.
“I tried to make contact with the bogies below 1,000 feet,” pilot William Patterson later told investigators, according to The Post. “I was at my maximum speed but . . . I ceased chasing them because I saw no chance of overtaking them.”
D.C.’s UFO mystery was never solved although The Post reports some say a temperature inversion caused the radar blips and a layer of moisture in the atmosphere caused the reflection of lights.
Redfern says whether you’re a believer or not, World UFO Day should be a reminder for people to go outside and look at the skies.
“Hey, get out and look at the sky. And who knows, if somebody sees stuff, they can call it in to WTOP and we can all scratch our heads wondering what they saw.”