A key characteristic of a UFO is that it is an unidentified flying object. Describing something as a UFO doesn’t necessarily mean that it is an alien spaceship or a psychic phenomenon, it simply means that it has not (yet) been identified.
The vast majortiy of UFOs sightings turn out to have a very ordinary explanation. In this case the sighting is reclassified as an IFO: an identified flying object.
Some of the most common forms of IFO responsible for UFO reports include (in no particular order):
- Bright planets
- The moon
- Satellite re-entry
- Laser light displays
- Wedding lanterns (fire balloons)
It’s important to remember that although the vast number of UFO reports turn into IFOs like the ones listed above, a stubborn minority refuse any conventional explanation and remain a mystery. Those who seek to debunk the entire UFO field often focus on the IFOs and brush off the unexplained sightings as hoax, error or delusion.