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Seeing a lot of UFOs lately?

Not in the sky, but in headlines or on TV? Well, you're not alone.

But why is this different from any other time the public's fascination with unidentified flying objects has been piqued?

"This shows the U.S. government is serious about it," said Mark Rodeghier, scientific director for the Chicago-based Center for UFO Studies. "And The New York Times covered it, so you've got serious on top of serious."

Illinois is not immune to UFO sightings. The National UFO Reporting Center in Washington state has logged 3,470 such reports in Illinois dating back to the early 1980s, with the most recent coming Dec. 9 when two observers in Vienna and Carbondale reported lights hovering in formation in the night sky. Many reports can be simply explained away, but there are several -- like a 2006 incident at O'Hare International Airport -- that remain a mystery.

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