Flying Rods

In cryptozoology and ufology, “rods” (also known as “skyfish”, “air rods”, or “solar entities”) are elongated visual artifacts appearing in photographic images and video recordings. Flying rods have been reported in the United Kingdom, France, Australia, and the United States. 

What are flying rods claimed to be? These “skyfish” are often reported to be in the shape of an elongated rod or pole, sometimes described as being ‘basket-shaped’, but generally described as having a thin, silvery, elongated shape. In other cases, the rods are reported to be voluminous spheres that can change their luminosity and size. It is also reported that these rods emit intense light.

Where do flying rods reportedly come from? Many observers claim that the flying rods are probably unexplained creatures from our oceans and seas (such as great waves found in the Pacific Ocean) or large insects. Some researchers have reported that “rods” are debris, trails, or fragments from satellites or space debris. Others believe that “rods” are some short-lived plasma phenomena (plasma is a superhot, electrically charged gas). In other cases, it has been suggested that flying rods might be a widespread phenomenon such as ball lightning.

There is no evidence that such rods exist.

Flying RodsThere is speculation that they may exist, but it is not proven and there are no undeniable examples. Flying rods have been the subject of various conspiracy theories. Some enthusiasts believe that such rods exist, or could exist, but the evidence is nonexistent and scarce to non-existent. They are theorized to be a byproduct of secret weapons development programs (or those existing) conducted by countries with advanced aviation technology (or those existing). The United States comes up as a likely candidate for inventing flying rods in association with its own secret research into exotic weaponry. For this reason, most cynics agree that flying rods have yet to be proven scientifically as definite reality or fiction.

Flying rods explained:

The origin and function of flying rods continue to be a subject of debate among ufologists and other paranormal researchers. It is said that flying rods are not the result of lens flares. Some proponents claim that they are real physical objects that have been photographed or video-recorded in mid-air. One hypothesis suggests that these rods are living creatures with a crystalline skeletal structure.

Support for this theory is based on the fact that some UFO researchers and ufologists have claimed to have seen these rods in mid-air. They are also known as flying saucers, flying rods, or flying balls of light. The name “flying rod” was brought up by skeptical researcher Richard Sauder. According to him, these objects are not caused by lens flares but are real physical objects.

There is also speculation that these unexplained flying rods may be related to UFOs because the flying rods are also seen during UFO sightings. Some people believe flying rods are a form of alien life, which can move at super-fast speeds and it has been suggested by some ufologists and paranormal researchers that this would explain why no photographic evidence of these creatures have ever been drawn. Some paranormal proponents claim them to be extraterrestrial lifeforms, extradimensional creatures, or even very small UFOs.

However, these artifacts appear naturally in video and outdoor photography as the result of an optical illusion due to motion blur, especially in interlaced video recording, and are typically afterimage trails of flying insects and their wingbeats. Wingbeats mean a wing or an insect flapping. This artifact appears like flying rods in the video. This artifact appears like flying rods in the video. This artifact occurs when the scene contains an insect within or in front of the camera, and then the camera is panned. This can be seen most often in footage of live sporting events when a player on the ground is followed by a handheld camera with a slow shutter speed. If the player’s shirt is white and he or she has a black torso, then as the player runs, his torso will appear to break up into fragments and jump around from location to location throughout his body.

Flying rods debunked:

It is often said that these ‘rods’ are not the result of any type of lens flare, but rather are real physical objects in the air. Skeptics say that flying rods are simply bugs with elongated wings that appear elongated due to motion blur in the recording. This occurs in slow motion telephoto images, but not in fast motion cameras. Skeptics will often point out that even if floating objects do exist, they should be visible without any special effects or effects from old or new camera lenses with characteristics such as the “Rod Effect”. It is claimed these rods would normally show up on the image on most modern cameras.

There is also an explanation of the Rod Effect as being an optical illusion caused by light reflecting around particles suspended in air or water. This explanation has been given for a similar effect seen in many photographs showing white water next to dark shadows on cliffs or overhanging rocks.

  1. Robert Todd Carroll (2003), having consulted an entomologist (Doug Yanega), identified rods as images of flying insects recorded over several cycles of wing-beating on video recording devices. The insect captured on image a number of times, while propelling itself forward, gives the illusion of a single elongated rod-like body, with bulges.
  2. “The Straight Dope” columnist Cecil Adams (2020) also explained rods as such phenomena, namely tricks of light which result from how (primarily video images) of flying insects are recorded and played back. Adding that investigators have shown the rod-like bodies as resulting from motion blur if the camera is shooting with relatively long exposure times.

In conclusion, when it comes to paranormal flying rods; chances are they are just simple flying bugs. I generally follow Occam’s razor. And if a simpler explanation is possible, then that’s what I’ll go with. Unfortunately, science is still up in the air. A plausible explanation for this phenomenon would be that they are simple insects, perhaps midges or flies. Catching them in mid-flight and swinging a camera around would make for a nice hoax, although I wouldn’t recommend it as a career choice. The best thing you can do is just keep an open mind and look for other explanations. The claims of these being extraordinary creatures, possibly alien, have been advanced by either people with active imaginations or hoaxers.


  • It is important to note that rods or other aerial phenomena are not necessarily reported as UFOs (unidentified flying objects).
  • In the past, “rods” were assumed to be secret military aircraft. Later, as flying rods became associated with UFOs, they were reported as alien spaceships.

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