The Skeptic’s Guide to the Pentagon’s UFO Videos

Last week, the U.S. Navy officially published three videos of UFOs[1] originally reported on by The New York Times[2] and published by former Blink-182 frontman Tom DeLonge’s UFO research group, To the Stars Academy.

“[The Pentagon] is releasing the videos in order to clear up any misconceptions by the public on whether or not the footage that has been circulating was real,” it said in a press release[3]. “The aerial phenomena observed in the videos remain characterized as ‘unidentified.’”

The footage chronicles three separate incidents filmed by Navy pilots between 2004 and 2015. Though the footage had already been leaked and public for a few years, the official release set off a wave of speculation online. Does the footage show drones, or a form of advanced aircraft, or—the most tantalizing—extraterrestrial crafts?

The videos are called “GIMBAL.wmv,” “GOFAST.wmv,” and “FLIR.mp4.” We have seen countless blurry, easy to dismiss footage of suspected UFOs since people were able to get their hands on cameras. These videos, which document what both the military and UFOlogists call “Unidentified Aerial Phenomena,” (UAP) are different. They are compelling footage and accompanying audio that’s been captured and released by the military. They are accompanied by credible eyewitnesses who are pilots with hundreds of hours of flight experience, not a couple of drunk people who saw some flashes over a lake and snapped photos on their cell phone.

While the videos have been exciting for years to UFOlogists and the general public, very few people think that they are actually aliens, and there is a sect of skeptics who have analyzed the footage and say that there are earthly and logical explanations for what we’re seeing here.

The U.S. Navy hasn’t released an official explanation for the footage and didn’t provide one with this most recent release. That’s not for lack of journalists trying to pry the information out of the Pentagon[4].

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