WVXU: UC professor offers scientific take on UFO sightings

Cincinnati Edition talks to UC assistant professor Daniel Cuppoletti about aerial phenomena

WVXU's Cincinnati Edition turned to University of Cincinnati assistant professor Daniel Cuppoletti to help explain what's behind reports of unidentified aerial phenomena.

The nonprofit Mutual UFO Network, which investigates reports of unexplained aerial phenomena, is moving its headquarters to Cincinnati. The group's volunteer investigators across the country pursue sightings of unidentified objects or aerial phenomena to try to find an explanation.

It's a subject that's getting more attention in recent years. Accounts of the inexplicable observations have captured the imagination of the public and national news media this year.

The U.S. Department of Defense is expected to present findings to Congress later this month on 10 years of military observations of these unexplained phenomena.

Cincinnati Edition host Michael Monks spoke to Cuppoletti, who provided a scientific perspective. Cuppoletti is an assistant professor of aerospace engineering in UC's College of Engineering and Applied Science.

"As a scientist, we have to have a hypothesis and validate it with data," he said.

"All of these videos released are sensor-based videos and infrared cameras. Sensors can be tricked," Cuppoletti said. "If you're a photographer and take a photo that has a lens flare, that's an optical phenomenon."

Cuppoletti has conducted research at the Air Force Research Laboratory and for military contractors. He said sky watchers might be disappointed if they are waiting for the U.S. government to provide much insight, particularly if the explanation involves classified military hardware.

But healthy skepticism is warranted, especially when it comes to speculation about spying by foreign adversaries or visits by extraterrestrials, he said.

"These are very unlikely scenarios," Cuppoletti said. "The U.S. intelligence community is 850,000 people with a budget of $60 billion. They are very focused on monitoring all of our coasts for national security."

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Featured image at top: A still frame from a video taken from a military aircraft. Photo/U.S. Department of Defense