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

Just Posted

The draw for May’s Shop Local & Win contest takes place June 4, 2021. (Special to The News)
Open your wallet close to home and win

Maple Ridge - Pitt Meadows Chamber of Commerce hosts shop local competition

Brian Malfesi and his partner Vincent Jourdenais have qualified for the Tokyo Olympics. (Special to The News)
Maple Ridge kayak racer qualifies for Tokyo Olympics

Malfesi is first B.C. sprint paddler to race for Team Canada at Olympics in 33 years

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)
Chamber of commerce for Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows hosts Conservative leader

Erin O’Toole and MP Dalton part of online Zoom meeting on Monday

A photo of Telosky Stadium from the Maple Ridge Museum and Archives. (Special to The News)
Telosky Stadium opened in Haney on this day in 1950

Maple Ridge Museum and Archives marks special day in local sporting history

Transport 2050 is TransLink’s largest ever public engagement. (TransLink, Special to The News)
Last day to take TransLink’s planning survey

Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows residents can have a say in Transport 2050

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Bradley Priestap in an undated photo provided to the media some time in 2012 by the London Police Service.
Serial sex-offender acquitted of duct tape possession in B.C. provincial court

Ontario sex offender on long-term supervision order was found with one of many ‘rape kit’ items

Rich Coleman, who was responsible for the gaming file off and on from 2001 to 2013, was recalled after his initial testimony to the Cullen Commission last month. (Screenshot)
Coleman questioned over $460K transaction at River Rock during B.C. casinos inquiry

The longtime former Langley MLA was asked about 2011 interview on BC Almanac program

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Mandarin Garden in Abbotsford had two event tents set up for outdoor dining. One of the tents, valued at more than $5,000, was stolen early Friday morning (May 14). (Submitted photo)
UPDATE: Dining tent stolen from Abbotsford restaurant is located

Owner says it would have cost more than $5,000 to replace the rented event tent

Steven Shearer, <em>Untitled. </em>(Dennis Ha/Courtesy of Steven Shearer)
Vancouver photographer’s billboards taken down after complaints about being ‘disturbing’

‘Context is everything’ when it comes to understanding these images, says visual art professor Catherine Heard

Trina Hunt's remains were found in the Hope area on March 29. Her family is asking the public to think back to the weekend prior to when she went missing. (Photo courtesy of IHIT.)
Cousin of missing woman found in Hope says she won’t have closure until death is solved

Trina Hunt’s family urges Hope residents to check dashcam, photos to help find her killer

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

Most Read