UFOs Classifications

A quick crash course on the subject.

UFOs Classification Systems

Below you will find the most known classification systems in the world of Ufology. We’ve decided to use in this website the ”Updated Vallee’s  Classification System” due to the detailed information that this system has to offer.

Possibly the most famous UFO classification system, this is a system which does not classify reports based on the nature or behavior of the observed object, but instead simply on the visibility or proximity of the object. As such, it is significantly less useful than either of the Vallee classification systems.

Class Name [Description]

NL       [Nocturnal Light] Point or extended luminous source observed at night.

DD       [Daylight Disc] Metallic or whitish object seen in the day.

RV       [Radar / Visual] Observation supplemented with radar.

CE-I    [Close Encounter I] Observation of an object in close proximity to the witness(within 500’)

CE-II  [Close Encounter II] Observation of an object in close proximity to the witness, where physical traces (impression, burn, medical effect, etc.) are left or (electrical effect, heat) are felt.

CE-III  [Close Encounter III] Close observation with animate beings associated with the object.

CE-IV  [Close Encounter IV]  Abduction of the witness or other direct contact.

CE-V   [Close Encounter V] Contact initiated with an Extraterrestrial Intelligence from a human being.

Note: The CE-IV category was not explicitly approved by Dr. Hynek, but is in wide use.  Also the CE-V category was added/created by Dr. Greer from the CSETI organization. The CE-V is a term describing a fifth category of close encounters with Extraterrestrial Intelligence (ETI), characterized by mutual, bilateral communication rather than unilateral contact.

This latest revision is Vallee’s attempt to unify his original classification system with Hynek’s, and to incorporate those “psychic” or otherwise anomalous reports which he believes have a connection with the UFO phenomenon, and to regularize the classification to a more robust and detailed system.

Type of The Encounter:

1- Sightings

2- Physical Effect

3- Beings

4- Reality Transformation

5- Injury or Death

Class/Type of  the Encounter:

AN- [ Anomaly ]

1 -   [Amorphous lights, mystery explosions]

2 –  [Near or over body of waterPoltergeist, materialized objects, areas of flattened grass (i.e. crop circles)

3 –  [Occupants displaying interest in witnesses by gestures or luminous signals]

4 –  [Near Death Experience (NDE), religious visions and miracles, Out Of Body Experience (OOBE)]

5 –  [Anomalous injuries or death, including spontaneous combustion and unexplained wounds]

FB – [ Flyby ]

1 –  [Continuous trajectory]

2 –  [With physical evidence]

3 –  [Beings observed]

4 –  [Witness sense of reality change (such as landscape alteration, telepathy, etc)]

5 –  [Result of fly-by is injury or death]

MA – [ Maneuvers ]

1 –  [Discontinuous trajectory]

2 –  [With physical evidence]

3 –  [Beings observed]

4 –  [Witness sense of reality change (such as landscape alteration, telepathy, etc)]

5 –  [Result of maneuver is injury or death]

CE – [ Close Encounters ]

1 –  [Close approach (within 500’)]

2 –  [With physical evidence]

3 –  [Beings observed]

4 –  [Abduction]

5 –  [Injury or death]

To this date still remains one of the best and most descriptive classification systems, particularly when the subtypes are used.

Type I – [ A, B, C, D ]

Observation of an unusual object, spherical discoidal, or more complex in form, on or close to the ground (no higher than tree height), which may be associated with traces – physical effects of a thermal, luminous, or mechanical order.

A  – [On or near ground]

B –  [Near or over body of water]

C –  [Occupants displaying interest in witnesses by gestures or luminous signals]

D –  [Scouting a terrestrial vehicle]

Type II – [ A, B, C ]

Observation of an unusual object with vertical cylindrical formation in the sky, associated with a diffuse cloud. This phenomenon has been given various names such as cloud-cigar or cloud-sphere.

A  – [Moving erratically through the sky]

B –  [Object is stationary and gives rise to secondary objects]

C –  [Object surrounded by secondary objects]

Type III – [ A, B, C, D, E ]

Observation of an unusual object of spherical, discoidal or elliptical shape stationary in the sky.

A  – [Hovering between two periods of motion with “dead-leaf” descent, up and down, or pendular motion]

B –  [Interruption of continuous flight to hover and then continue motion]

C –  [Alters appearance while hovering – i.e. change of luminosity, generation of secondary object, etc.]

D –  [“Dog-fights” or swarming among several objects]

E –  [“Trajectory altered during continuous flight to fly slowly above a certain area, circle, or suddenly change course]

Type IV – [ A, B, C, D ]

Observation of an unusual object in continuous flight.

A  – [Continuous flight]

B –  [Trajectory affected by nearby conventional aircraft]

C –  [Formation flight]

D –  [Wave or zig-zag trajectory]

Type V – [ A, B, C ]

Observation of an unusual object of less definite appearance, appearing not fully material or solid in structure.

A  – [Extended apparent diameter, non-point source luminous objects]

B –  [Starlike objects, motionless for extended periods]

C –  [Starlike objects rapidly crossing the sky, possible with peculiar trajectories]

UFOs Shape Classification

Following the “Condensed Statement of Repeated UFO Observations” chart made by  Paul R. Hill; in order to group the UFOs according to their shape, we have created a simplified version of  the most common shape configurations. We hope these ones will more or less represent 90% of the UFOs sightings around the globe.



- Mark Cashman: UFO Classification Systems

- Jacques and Janine Vallee: Challenge To Science: The UFO Enigma, LC# 66-25843
– Dr. J. Allen Hynek, The UFO Experience, ISBN 0-345-27361-3,
– Jacques Vallee, Confrontations, ISBN 0-345-36501-1

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