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The Lubbock Lights UFOs: Birds, Planes, or Aliens?

The Lubbock Lights UFOs: Birds, Planes, or Aliens?

Last updated on February 23, 2024

In 1951, on August 25, three Texas Tech professors observed a V-shaped UFO in the sky. The incident has become known as the Lubbock Lights UFOs.

In 1951, on August 25, three Texas Tech professors observed a V-shaped UFO in the sky. The incident has become known as the Lubbock Lights.

Dr. W. I. Robinson was a professor of geology at Texas Tech. He and two of his colleagues, Dr. A. G. Oberg and Professor W. L. Ducker, were hanging out at Dr. Robinson’s home. At around 9:10 PM, the men were in the back yard and saw an array of lights move silently across the sky.

The three initial witnesses are highly credible men of science with Ph.D level educations.

Over the next 5 days, the lights were observed night after night by many people in Lubbock. On the night of August 30, 1951, 18-year old Carl Hart Jr. took photographs of the Lubbock lights using a 35-mm camera. His photos reveal a highly symmetrical arrangement of lights in the sky in a V-shape consistent with eyewitness accounts.

The Lubbock Lights were interesting enough that they even appeared in a Project Blue Book investigation. The question about what they were remains a mystery but there are some possible explanations for this UFO sighting.

The Lubbock Lights: Possible Explanations

There are a handful of proposed explanations of what the Lubbock Lights UFOs actually were. As you’ll see below, while any of them could be plausible, each have serious issues and none of them can be considered the sure-fire explanation.


The primary explanation most offered up is that the Lubbock Lights were birds flying at night with their underbellies illuminated by city lights. There are a couple of problems with this theory though.

The lights moved at a speed much greater than flying birds. This is the primary reason why birds don’t explain the sightings.

In addition to the speed, there are few local birds in the area that could have reflected light in such a way. Ducks typically don’t fly in a V-shape, and when they do it’s never symmetrical like the photos; one side of the V is always much longer than the other. Another water bird, the plover, was also offered up as a possibility but game wardens state the plover never flies in groups or more than 3.

Air Force Aircraft

Reese Air Force Base is about 4 miles west of Lubbock. The base includes a small airport called Reese Air Park. The Air Force claimed there were no planes over the area at the time.

Is it possible the Air Force was mistaken and a plane really was over the area? Perhaps they were doing flight testing were unable to answer truthfully. In 1951, the US and Soviet Union were on the front end of the the Cold War. Aircraft development was at all-time high, and highly classified.

The Lubbock Lights: The Verdict

The Lubbock Lights UFO is a true mystery. While there are official explanations, none of them satisfactorily answer the question as to what was seen during those nights in 1951.

The most likely explanation is some type of military testing, but if that were the case then why would the Air Force have investigated it under Project Blue Book? Perhaps another way to cover up their activities?

The sighting falls short of proving the existence of aliens, but it does illustrate how our skies are filled with explainable objects. The UFO sighting over Lubbock will probably remain a mystery forever.

Featured Image Credit: Photos of Unidentified Aerial Objects – Lubbock, Texas | Image Source: Project Blue Book


History’s Most Infamous UFO Sightings |

The Lubbock Lights 1951 | UFO Casebook

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5 thoughts on “The Lubbock Lights UFOs: Birds, Planes, or Aliens?”

  1. The e l e c t r i c c l o c k was running 14 minutes slow, as was Johnson’s wristwatch

    who know both clocks were electrical digital

    or one mechanical?? auto clock Mechanical Clockwork ?/

    or both electical digital ??

    August 27, 1979-Deputy Sheriff Val Johnson of Marshall County was on duty that night, driving not far from the North Dakota border, when at around 1:40 a.m. he saw a light through his side window. It was obviously not on a road and looked too glaring to be a car headlight.
    He first thought it might be a small plane on or very near the ground. He turned left on another road to try to get closer to the light to identify it. Suddenly, the light moved toward him, travelling so fast that it almost instantaneously was upon his car (covering an estimated mile and a half).

    Johnson was blinded by the brilliance of the light and heard glass breaking, then lost consciousness.

    When he returned to consciousness, the car was stalled and had skidded across the highway. He felt sluggish and shaky. He radioed headquarters, at 2:19 a.m., to request assistance. Soon another deputy arrived, who called an ambulance.

    The doctor who examined Johnson found him to be in a mild state of shock.

    His eyes were irritated as if Johnson had suffered “mild welder’s burns,” and Johnson couldn’t stand to be exposed to any bright lights.

    The patrol car had very peculiar damage. The inside headlight on the driver’s side was smashed but not the one to its immediate left. There was a flat-bottomed circular dent on the left side of the front hood, about a half inch in diameter, close to the windshield.

    There was a crack in the windshield on the driver’s side, that ran from top to bottom, with four apparent impacts. The electric clock was running 14 minutes slow, as was Johnson’s wristwatch

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