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

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a ‘person of interest’ in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
RCMP identify ‘person of interest’ in Kootenay National Park suspicious death

Police are looking for Philip Toner, who was known to a woman found dead near Radium last week

The southern mountain caribou, an iconic species for the Splatsin First Nation, is threatened with extinction, much to the dismay of the First Nation. (Province of B.C. photo)
Splatsin First Nation concerned over dwindling caribou herd

Southern mountain caribou at risk of extinction, will struggle to recover without habitat protection and restoration action - report

FILE - In this April 19, 2021, file photo, Keidy Ventura, 17, receives her first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in West New York, N.J. States across the country are dramatically scaling back their COVID-19 vaccine orders as interest in the shots wanes, putting the goal of herd immunity further out of reach. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
5 more deaths, 131 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

Those 18-years and older in high-transmission neighbourhoods can register for the vaccine

Five-year-old Bayne Krause poses for a photo with his mom Marianne. Bayne’s shirt reads, ‘I have Cystic Fibrosis. Help keep me healthy, please social distance.’ Photo: Laurie Tritschler
West Kootenay mom promotes awareness of cystic fibrosis

Marianne Krause wants people to know what it’s like for her five-year-old son to live with CF

A rolled-over semi along Highway 95. The RCMP have responded to nine collisions in the last month. (Brain Duchovnay photo)
Golden/Field RCMP recap last two months

The RCMP responded to 463 calls to service over the last two months

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko (35) makes a save on Winnipeg Jets’ Nate Thompson (11) during second period NHL action in Winnipeg, Monday, May 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Vancouver Canucks see NHL playoff hopes dashed despite 3-1 win over Winnipeg

Montreal Canadiens earn final North Division post-season spot

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
UPDATE: Winfield road open following police, coroner investigation

Pelmewash Parkway closure near Highway 97 connection

Kelowna resident Sally Wallick helped rescue a kayaker in distress a week and a half ago. (Sally Wallick/Contributed)
VIDEO: Kelowna woman rescues capsized kayaker in Okanagan Lake

Sally Wallick is asking people to be prepared for the cold water and unpredictable winds

The B.C. legislature went from 85 seats to 87 before the 2017 election, causing a reorganization with curved rows and new desks squeezed in at the back. The next electoral boundary review could see another six seats added. (Black Press files)
B.C. election law could add six seats, remove rural protection

North, Kootenays could lose seats as cities gain more

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the shooting of an Indigenous woman in the Ucluelet First Nation community of Hitacu. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation wants ‘massive change’ after its 3rd police shooting in less than a year

Nuu-chah-nulth woman recovering from gunshot wounds in weekend incident near Ucluelet

RCMP (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
High-risk takedown on Highway 1 following Shuswap shooting

Upon further investigation, the vehicle and its occupants were not associated with the shooting

Nurse Gurinder Rai, left, administers the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Maria Yule at a Fraser Health drive-thru vaccination site, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. The site is open for vaccinations 11 hours per day to those who have pre-booked an appointment. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID vaccine bookings to open for adults 40+, or 18+ in hotspots, across B.C.

Only people who have registered will get their alert to book

Most Read