The Star Tribune reported (“Billions and billions,” Nov. 5) that a new study looking for planets in our galaxy that are enough like the Earth to possibly harbor life came up with an incredible 40 billion such planets. Quoting the lead scientist: “The findings raise a blaring question: If we aren’t alone, why is there a deafening silence … from advanced civilizations?” A blaring question, indeed, but the AP article left this profound question that everyone would love to read about hanging.

Yes, we are talking UFOs, a term scientists and the press have left to charlatans and crackpots. As a Certified UFO Investigator (with a degree in meteorology) for the Mutual UFO Network, the largest worldwide UFO investigative organization, I can assure you that neither I nor my colleagues are nuts. Every year, based on in-depth witness interviews and rigorous forensic analysis, we deem many sightings in Minnesota to be unexplained aerial phenomena.

However tentative the evidence may be — and there is really quite a lot of it — it should be at least mentioned. But neither astronomers nor this family newspaper has the courage to broach the subject.