New York Skies (Cheryl Costa)

Fireball UFOs in New York State

Columnist Cheryl Costa crunches the numbers of fireball UFOs in New York state.

Fireball UFOs were first reported in the American Southwest in the years following World War II. Their first appearance was greatly troubling to the United States Army and Air Force for two reasons. First, the green fireballs could outrun any military aircraft we could put in the air. Second, the green fireballs were primarily seen loitering around nuclear research facilities like Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia Base (Later renamed the Sandia National Laboratory).

The situation was of so much concern from the defense establishment that the United States military launched a secret research effort in 1948 named “Project Twinkle” in an effort to investigate and research the green fireball phenomena. Project Twinkle ended in 1951.

From 1951-1990, fireball UFO reports averaged less than a dozen per year nationally. Then in the early 1990s, reports began to slowly head upward. Suddenly in 1998 the number of orange fireball UFO sightings dramatically increased to a few hundred per year and leveling for a little over 10 years. Again in 2010 there was another intense increase in orange fireball sighting reports. The chart below illustrates the scale of the fireball UFO trend from 1990-2016. Oddly, the number of fireball sightings has begun to drop off. If history is any indication, I expect the sightings to be between 300-600 sightings per year.


Nationally from 2001-2015, using both combined NUFORC and MUFON data, fireball UFOs are about 7.2 percent, or 11,066 sightings, of the total nationwide UFO sightings. Fireball UFO sightings rank sixth in UFO sighting shapes.

From 2001-2015, New York state had 430 fireball sightings, or 3.9 percent of the total national fireball sightings. Of New York state’s 5,141 UFO sightings for the same period, fireball UFOs were 8.9 percent of the total.


New York state’s fireball UFO sighting reports also consistently tracks with the national trend.

For years UFO investigators weren’t sure what to make of the fireball reports. In many cases, they were content to write the fireballs off as drifting Chinese lanterns. Over the past decade, as the sighting reports began increasing in volume, investigators began to take fireball reports more seriously.

Typically they have a red-orange appearance. They are known to hover and to move at great speed. They’ve been seen at tree-top levels before whizzing off. Some of them simply wink out, only to reappear in another location moments later. Still, others have been known to simply dart around.

A few years ago in Auburn, an observer watched in awe as a fireball flew over his house at about 200 feet from the ground at high speed. He turned around astounded, only to witness two more following right behind the first fireball.

Last year, UFO researcher and author Thomas Conwell and I discussed fireball sightings that each of us had witnessed. One thing we both agreed on was the fact that the light emitted from the fireball had a digital quality to it. The fireball clearly had the pulse of a mechanism.

In lieu of looking at a few recent New York UFO reports, I offer an alternative. The National UFO Reporting Center has a website dedicated to fireball UFO reports. To view the website, click here.

If you are interested in joining a monthly UFO discussion group in the Onondaga County area, drop Cheryl an email [email protected]. If you have a UFO sighting to report, you can use either one of the two national database services: or Both services respect confidentiality.

Cheryl Costa would love to hear the when, where and what of your New York sighting. Email it to [email protected]. The names of witnesses will be omitted to protect their privacy.

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