Chris Rutkowski, Canada’s foremost UFO expert, is photographed in his Winnipeg home on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. Canadians are watching the skies more during the pandemic, which has led to a growing interest in astronomy and unusual calls to RCMP 911 dispatchers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Chris Rutkowski, Canada’s foremost UFO expert, is photographed in his Winnipeg home on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. Canadians are watching the skies more during the pandemic, which has led to a growing interest in astronomy and unusual calls to RCMP 911 dispatchers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

‘Aliens are coming’: Alberta RCMP 911 dispatchers fielding calls about UFO sightings

A longtime astronomer suggests people are simply watching the night sky more during the pandemic

A blinding flash of light, something unidentified overhead or aliens at the door. Somewhere the truth is out there.

Canadians appear to be seeing more “out there” while scanning the night skies in increasing numbers. The COVID-19 pandemic has people spending more time outdoors, which has led to a growing interest in astronomy and unusual calls to RCMP 911 dispatchers.

The Alberta centres received nearly 900,000 calls last year, and it’s the unusual ones — not requiring police, fire or EMS to be sent out — that tend to stand out in the minds of the 160 dispatchers.

“There were definitely some themes about unusual UFO sightings and satellites,” said Tracy Duval, acting operations manager in Red Deer, Alta.

“We were getting a lot of calls with the SpaceX satellite launches. They’re a very specific pattern in the sky, they’re not hitting the ground, and we can just explain very quickly to people that there are actual satellites in there.”

SpaceX is a U.S. aerospace company founded by business magnate Elon Musk.

Duval said there are some people who are convinced that aliens have already landed and are trying to break into their homes.

“It makes you chuckle (and) you say, ‘No, I’m pretty sure you’re all right’. People do think that,” she said.

“We have situations where people are (saying) … ‘No, it’s legit. The aliens are coming.’ Sometimes it’s making sure that they don’t actually have someone breaking into their house when they’re mistaking it for some extraterrestrial kind of experience.”

Evan Davis of Shellbrook, Sask., had his own close encounter while driving to work early in the morning in late February.

“It was just kind of twilight. The sun was coming up behind me and all of a sudden there was a flash. And then there was this big, huge fireball and it was leaving a lit trail that stayed for a second or two behind it as it fell,” Davis said.

“It’s something I won’t forget. It was spectacular and the whole thing lasted about six or seven seconds total. It lit up the whole sky and then it was gone.”

A comet fragment burning up in the Earth’s atmosphere did light up the early-morning sky over Alberta and Saskatchewan in February.

Winnipeg-based Ufology Research released a survey in March that indicated sightings of UFOs across Canada — levitating discs, erratic lights and floating triangular objects — increased by 46 per cent in 2020.

The centre’s Chris Rutkowski said the total of 1,243 sightings is one of the highest recorded in a single year.

A longtime astronomer suggests people are simply watching the night sky more during the pandemic.

“It’s been a real resurgence in astronomy,” said Ron Waldron, president of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada in Saskatoon, who noted telescopes are in short supply.

“People are suddenly noticing the night sky. They haven’t taken the time to notice it before, so what astronomers have been watching for years, and know exactly what it is, people are now looking up and saying, ‘I don’t know what that is, so it must be a UFO.’”

Waldron said more satellites are being launched “much to the bane of astronomers” and are visible to the human eye. So is the International Space Station on a clear night.

“(People) aren’t necessarily able to interpret what they’re seeing. There are no more unidentified flying objects up there during the pandemic than there were before.”

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

AlbertaRCMP

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP detachment. (Contributed file photo)
Surrey RCMP investigating 2 ‘suspicious’ house fires in Newton

Incident happened at 5:11 a.m., Sunday morning

Fraser Health held a COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Gurdwara Dukh Nivaran Sahib in Surrey, which would be in what the BCCDC refers to as the Panorama community, on Friday, May 7, 2021. Roughly 400 people pre-registered to get their vaccine the week before. (Photo: Lauren Collins
Surrey communities recording more COVID-19 cases also seeing lower vaccination rates

Those same communities were highlighted in the SPEAK survey, which highlighted disparities in the city

Twenty-nine staff members at Sunrise Poultry Processors Ltd. in Newton have tested positive for the virus, according to an information bulletin from Fraser Health Saturday (May 8). The health authority issued a 10-day closure order, effective May 7. (Image: Google Maps)
29 staff test positive for COVID-19 at Surrey poultry processing plant

Meantime, outbreak over at Surrey Memorial Hospital

The College of Massage Therapists of B.C. says Van (William) Dinh, a registered massage therapist in Surrey and Langley, has had his licence suspended while an inquiry committee panel investigates allegations of sexual misconduct. (Unsplash photo)
Surrey massage therapist suspended amid sexual misconduct investigation

CMTBC received complaint Van (William) Dinh allegedly exposed ‘sensitive areas of the patient’s body’

Hundreds gathered for a candlelight vigil Friday evening (May 7) to remember 29-year-old corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa, who was killed in last weekend’s brazen daylight shooting outside North Delta’s Scottsdale Centre mall. (James Smith photo)
Hundreds gather to remember victim of North Delta shooting

Corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa, 29, was killed in what police say was a targeted incident

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

After Bobby Henderson apologized online for his comments to a Toronto reporter, the Langley Rivermen announced that he was no longer team coach and general manager and in fact, had ‘parted ways’ with the franchise in March. (file/Twitter)
Former Langley Rivermen coach and GM apologizes for comments to Toronto reporter

Bobby Henderson blames stress due to the pandemic for his ‘disparaging’ remarks

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of May 9

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Most Read