What Is a UFO? The Meaning & Different Types Explained

Invasion of alien spaceships at sunset

UFO sightings are reported all over the world. The types of UFOs and a few basic facts may have meaning to eyewitnesses when trying to understand what they've seen.

UFO Types and Meanings

UFO stands for Unidentified Flying Object. The U.S. military uses the acronym UAP (Unidentified Aerial Phenomena) instead of UFO. UFO is the more commonly used acronym to describe what many believe to be extraterrestrial aircraft.

Tic Tac

The world witnessed the leaked 2004 video of a Navy fighter jet chasing a UFO. The pilot of the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Nimitz chased the UFO dubbed Tic Tac because of its white color and shape resemblance to a white Tic Tac. The pilot was featured in a 60 Minutes interview.

The Tic Tac video was first released in 2017, but it wasn't until 2021 that confirmation of its authenticity was given by The Pentagon. The Tic Tac is capable of making maneuvers that are impossible for any Earth ship and at impossible speeds.

Chevron, Boomerang or V-Shaped UFO

The chevron, boomerang, or V-shaped UFO is usually a very large object. It literally looks like the letter V, a boomerang, or a chevron. This type of UFO has been seen more often over the past two decades.

On March 13, 1997, the chevron UFO was seen over Phoenix. Known as the Phoenix Lights, the UFO was stationed over the city for some time. It was seen by hundreds of people many capturing videos and photos of the UFO lights.

The chevron UFO was seen in Mexico, Arizona and Nevada, spanning a timeframe that afternoon at 3 pm until 5:30 am the next morning. The National UFO Reporting Center received several reports on V-shaped lights. MUFON (Mutual UFO Network) also received reports in 1997 as well as 2007 and 2008 when the Phoenix Lights returned.

Sometime after the incident, the military claimed it had set off flares. Eyewitnesses familiar with flares rejected the official explanation, stating the lights were stationary, didn't produce smoke, and never moved.


The cigar-shaped UFO is a commonly reported UFO. Sightings were very prevalent during the 1960s and 1970s. This type of UFO is often described as a cylinder shape and is a metal silver in color. In the 1960s, a cigar-shaped UFO with a brilliant broad light on one end was dubbed the flashlight UFO, since it looked very much like a flashlight flying in the sky.

Witnesses report that Nordic aliens often travel in white or silver cigar-shaped UFOs. The late George Adamski claimed many UFO encounters and provided numerous photos. He asserted that visitors from Venus shuttled him via their scout ships to their cigar-shaped interplanetary mother ship and even provided a photo of the huge ship.

Cube UFO

The cube UFO is a more recent type of UFO witnessed by several people. It eerily resembles the Star Trek Borg cube. Several eyewitnesses have seen dark or black cubes hiding in dark clouds.

In 2015, two witnesses in El Paso, Texas captured videos of a cube emerging from a dark portal within a bank of dark clouds. After the video and photo were featured on secureteam10's channel, the channel owner Tyler Glockner interviewed the woman who snapped the photo of the cube UFO.

The woman explained that she was returning from lunch and outside her office building she spotted the cube emerging from the dark portal. She was able to snap a quick photo as the object disappeared into the clouds. After the first video was published on secureteam10's YouTube channel, Tyler reported he received numerous emails from other El Paso cube UFO witnesses. Since 2015, there have been many other reports of cube-shaped UFOs.

Disk or Saucer

The most recognized type of UFO is the disc or saucer shape. This UFO shape sometimes has a small cap in the center. These UFOs range in size and move at in-credible speeds. Some are reported to glow either red, orange, or blue. Others have been seen with a ring of lights around the middle of the disc.

In the 1950s and 1960s, this type of UFO was commonly called a flying saucer. The term flying saucer is credited to Kenneth Arnold, a civilian pilot. In 1947, while flying near Mount Rainier in Washington state, Arnold saw nine blue-white discs flying in a V formation over the mountain. He described the objects shaped like saucers. Since that first report, flying saucers have been reported throughout the world. According to Texas Monthly, the first person to coin the phrase was John Martin of Denison, Texas. In 1878, Martin claimed to have witnessed a saucer that hovered over him.

Disc or Saucer UFO‎

Pyramid UFO

The pyramid UFO was depicted in the SyFy TV series, Stargate. Most of the pyramid UFOs reported as significantly smaller, but are just as mysterious looking.

In April 2021, after releasing the Tic Tac video, Jeremy Corbell and George Knapp released the now famous video of pyramid UFOs swarming a U.S. Nay destroyer. The US Pentagon verified that the video of what were dubbed pyramid UFOs is authentic. The triangular objects appear to emit light and moved in a swarm, making maneuvers no Earth made technology can emulate. George Knapp revealed 4 Naval ship clips of different types of UFOs in a news report on May 27, 2021.

Triangle Shaped UFOs

Triangle shaped UFOs are a commonly seen UFO. This dark metal craft features a large light in each corner. These crafts have been seen disembarking from what is often called a mother ship that is usually disc or cigar-shaped. For many years, it's been speculated that the triangle ships are top-secret U.S. military ship, but so far, no one has been able to prove it.

One of the earliest documented sightings of a triangle-shaped UFO happened in 1561 in Nuremberg, Germany. Between 4 am and 5 am, many villagers and rural dwellers witnessed the first UFO. It was a large black triangle. The triangle was accompanied by what were described as hundreds of sphere-shaped objects. Cylinder objects were also seen as were other oddly shaped objects. The witness accounts stated the objects moved through the air in very erratic behaviors.

Triangular shaped ufo

Orb or Sphere

An orb/sphere UFO is exactly as their names imply. These are usually seen as shiny or black metal objects, although many are reported to pulsate a specific color.

July 15, 2019, a six foot sphere flew beside a Navy warship for a couple of hours before submerging into the water. This type of UFO is known as a USO (Unidentified Submerged Object).

In part of the news report that George Knapp did, he explains a radar clip taken on board the USS Omaha shows the image of an orb/sphere UFO that plunges into the ocean. He states that similar incidences were reported by other Navy warships in the area with as many as 14 spheres moving above and around the Omaha. During this time, similar incidences were reported by other navy ships in the area. The sightings lasted for three days.

UFO orbs or spheres aren't as common as discs or saucers, but have been reported as far back as 1566 AD. A leaflet from Basel, Switzerland gives a description of a sunset and a sunrise with black ball UFOs seen flying in the sky. These spherical UFOs were sighted July 27, July 28, and August 7, 1566.

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UFO Meaning, Types and Basic Facts

There are many types of UFOs that have been captured in photos and videos. Their origins, purposes and occupants remain a mystery. Perhaps someday, all will be revealed.

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What Is a UFO? The Meaning & Different Types Explained