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

AlbertaRCMP

Just Posted

The owner of Mae’s Kitchen in Mirror, says hamlet residents were ‘disheartened’ by a recent anti-restriction protest. The restaurant is following all the health restrictions in place. (Photo courtesy Mae’s Kitchen Facebook)
‘We don’t need that’: Mirror restaurant against recent anti-restriction protest

Mae’s Kitchen is located less than two kilometres from The Whistle Stop

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta adds 1,195 new COVID-19 cases Saturday

Red Deer has dropped to 760 active cases

MP Damien Kurek receives his COVID-19 vaccination. (Photo submitted)
Local elected representatives get the jab

MP Damien Kurek and MLA Lovely get their COVID-19 vaccinations

(Historica Canada)
VIDEO: Heritage Minute marks 100th anniversary of work to discover insulin

Video centres on Leonard Thompson, 13, the first patient to receive successful injections for Type 1 diabetes

Abbotsford Regional Hospital. (Black Press Media files)
Canada marks 25,000 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began

6 in every 10,000 Canadians died of COVID-19 since March 9, 2020

Capt. Jenn Casey died in a crash just outside of Kamloops, B.C., on May 17, 2020. (CF Snowbirds)
Snowbirds to honour Capt. Casey, who died in B.C. crash, in 2021 tour

Tour will kick off in Ontario in June before heading west

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. Dr. Ben Chan remembers hearing the preliminary reports back in March of blood clots appearing in a handful of European recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Science on COVID, VITT constantly changing: A look at how doctors keep up

While VITT can represent challenges as a novel disorder, blood clots themselves are not new

Welcoming cowboy boots at the historic and colourful Last Chance Saloon in the ghost town of Wayne near Drumheller, Alta., on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019. The bar and hotel are up for sale. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘It was a going concern’: Remaining bar and hotel in Alberta coal ghost town for sale

The historic Last Chance Saloon in the ghost town of Wayne in southern Alberta is up for sale

The lights of several emergency vehicles could be seen near the Sunken Bridge on May 13. (Photo submitted)
Patient airlifted from Ponoka with serious injuries

RCMP, fire, STARS respond to single vehicle rollover May 13

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

An Israeli attack helicopter launches flares as he flies over the Israeli Gaza border, southern Israel, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Singh calls for halt on Canadian arms sales to Israel as violence escalates in region

Government data shows Canada sent $13.7 million in military goods and technology to Israel in 2019

Most Read