UFOs over Boise? Six reports since 2023 – see them here. West leads US in sightings

Idaho is as great a place as any to find a pollution-free zone and spend a night gazing at the stars, searching for meteors and observing the constellations in the sky.

But every now and then, a mysterious lightning bolt may shoot across the sky and leave you confused. In the past, these were referred to as Unidentified Flying Objects, or UFOs, reminiscent of little green men and flying saucers.

Today, they are referred to as Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon, or UAPs, according to a 2023 report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office.

This doesn't happen to many of us. Still, the reports are widespread enough for the U.S. government to take note of them and for organizations like the National UFO Reporting Center and the Mutual UFO Network to track “sightings.”

Interestingly, a 2024 study by geographers at the University of Utah examined about 98,000 UAP reports between 2001 and 2020 and found that areas west of the Rocky Mountains tended to report much higher numbers. The Northeast, where many areas are free of light pollution, was the only area east of the Rocky Mountains to produce similar amounts.

Most of central and southwest Idaho — including Boise and Ada County — is in the highest hotspot classification level.

“The West has a historical relationship with the UAP – Area 51 in Nevada, Roswell in New Mexico and here in Utah we have the Skinwalker Ranch in the Uinta Basin and military activity at the U.S. Army's Dugway Proving Ground,” Richard Medina, lead author of the Study, says a press release. “There is also a strong outdoor community that enjoys recreation on public lands year-round. People are outside looking at the sky.”

UAP Reports in Idaho

Idaho is not the most active state for UAP reports. A 2022 study shows the Gem State has ranked 32nd in the nation since 1974.

But that could simply be due to the state's small population. During the same period, Idaho reported more UAP per 100,000 residents (420) than other states. Neighboring Montana was just behind Idaho in third place with 223 per 100,000 people.

UAP reports in Idaho often come from the west central mountains, where skies are typically darker and provide better conditions for detecting bright celestial objects. But people also report seeing things above Boise.

The National UFO Reporting Center tracks UAP reports for every U.S. state. Here are the six from Boise since the beginning of 2023. Local residents create these reports. Some attached photos and videos that can be viewed on the NUFORC website.

Dark object moving slowly after dark

Date and Time: February 20, 2024 – 7:06 p.m

Duration: 3-4 minutes

Shape: Change

Color: Black without lights

Estimated speed: 30 miles per hour

Media: Yes

Description: “A dark, slow-moving object that appears longer in the vertical direction. I watched for about a minute, trying to figure out what I was seeing. I went out on the deck, watched, and then tried to take a photo. I captured the object using the night mode setting on my phone.

The image quality is not good, but it looks like the object has rotated and now looks longer in the horizontal direction. My husband also saw the object. When I first saw it, it was moving parallel to our house and coming from the west. As it approached our house, it slowly turned north and gained altitude.”

Strange object with smaller elements hanging underneath

Date and Time: January 16, 2024 – 5:33 p.m

Duration: 2 minutes

Shape: N/A

Color: Black and gray

Estimated speed: 25 miles per hour

Media: Yes

Description: “The object was first observed at a higher altitude and was moving slowly from west to east. The object moved lower in a continuous motion until it was no longer visible behind buildings. There are several videos and photos of the entire sighting. No sound detected. The shape is difficult to describe.”

Vertically, slowly, then quickly towards the mountains

Date and Time: December 31, 2023 – 5:19 p.m

Duration: 5 minutes

Shape: N/A

Color: Black

Estimated speed: N/A

Media: Yes

Description: “I noticed this large, black, metallic looking object in the air. It looked like it was just floating along, barely moving at all in one spot. Then I could see that it was moving northeast. We lost sight of it behind clouds or over the mountains, or it simply disappeared completely.”

Two red, star-sized journeys from a lightning-filled storm cell

Date and Time: September 7, 2023 – 9:30 p.m

Duration: 5 seconds

Shape: star

Color: Red

Estimated speed: N/A

Media: NO

Description: “I went outside to watch a thunderstorm pass. I saw a red star-shaped object fly from a lightning-filled storm cell into the clear sky for five seconds and then disappear into another cell. Seconds later, another red object followed in the same direction. Traveling from south to north.”

V-shaped formation, very quiet

Date and Time: July 5, 2023

Duration: 30 seconds

Shape: formation

Color: Silver white

Estimated speed: N/A

Media: NO

Description: “V-shaped formation moving from south to north, low altitude, silver/whitish appearance of vehicle.” As we flew overhead, everything went quiet. We have a water pump nearby, and when they passed by, it was as if a cone of silence passed over us too. Me and my wife saw it clearly. This is the second time we have seen a similar formation and the same “silent” effect as it passed overhead.”

Seven lights in a V shape move completely silently from west to east

Time and date: May 27, 2024 – 11:45 p.m

Duration: About 30 seconds

Shape: formation

Color: White

Estimated speed: N/A

Media: NO

Description: “As we sat outside, my wife and I noticed seven AV-shaped lights moving completely silently from west to east. The lights appeared to be at an altitude very similar to the altitude of local aircraft approaching the Boise airport. The moon was bright, even though it was a crescent. The night was calm and there were hardly any clouds. It was a great night of stargazing.

At first I thought it was a satellite, but then I noticed other lights as it came into view. It passed almost directly over me, allowing me to see the V shape, but again, there was no sound. The night was strangely quiet. The lights were white and all seemed to be part of the same craft.”

Anna Harden

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