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The internet went slightly more bananas than usual last weekend over the New York Times’ story implying that extraterrestrials are real and the U.S. government has been tracking them for years. Appearing first on the web on Saturday, it came out in print on Sunday as a front-page story entitled “Real U.F.O.s? Pentagon Unit Tried to Know.” As if wary of the waters into which it was about to wade, the piece started out in a sober and measured tone, describing the existence of a heretofore little-known Department of Defense program, but then after the jump to page 27 loosened up and gave free rein to claims that the program had found evidence of strange aircraft that flew in seemingly impossible ways.

For Ufologists who had dreamed of being taken seriously by the mainstream media, the story was a dream come true. As put it, “The article is shocking, and arguably represents a historical inflection point in our attitudes regarding UFOs.” Twitter user Space Traveller wrote: “How is everyone not losing it over this Pentagon #UFO report and footage?!” Even inveterate bubble-burster Neil deGrasse Tyson accepted that something was out there, reminding CNN viewers that just because an object was unidentified didn’t necessarily mean it came from outer space.

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