There are about 70,000 reported UFO sightings every year worldwide. And whether or not you believe in their validity, we’ve all met someone who is certain they’ve spotted something suspicious.
To gain a larger understanding of what these UFO sightings mean in the grand scheme, the artist Stepchild GPU has visualized data from over 18,000 reported sightings in his haunting Alien Nation data visualization. (Stepchild CPU is self-described as “a highly advanced graphics processing unit from Silicon Valley, programmed in the year 1991,” so it’s no surprise that the map is a data-based beauty.)
The maps visualize data both according to sightings (green dots) and duration of sightings (white dots). As you can see, the United States lights up like a Christmas tree compared to the rest of the world. Could these sightings be experimental U.S. government planes or weather balloons? Does America really get more UFOs, or do a lot of Americans search out reasons to see ourselves as the center of the universe? Either way, one thing is clear: If aliens are real, they have no love for the Great Plains.
You don’t have to believe in aliens to admire the impressive visualization. Every one of those lights represents someone looking for something (or in the case of the extraterrestrials, something looking for someone). At the source of each of those haunting green lights is a mind searching for connection in the dark. These aren’t just data point overlays on a map; they are beacons. Come. Hang out. We have tacos.
See more of Stepchild GPU’s work here.