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Atmospheric beasts (also sky beasts or sky critters) are organisms which could hypothetically live within the atmosphere of Earth or other planets. These could fly (or float) without wings as they weigh less than air.
Carl Sagan proposed that this kind of animal could live in the atmosphere of a gas giant, such as Jupiter. Illustrations of atmospheric beasts have frequently appeared in books and exhibiting speculation as to the exotic forms extraterrestrial life might take. Descriptions of this sort often portray these beings as living balloons, filled with lighter than air gases. In the context of a Jupiter-like planet with a hydrogen atmosphere, such an organism would have to be a hot hydrogen balloon, since there is no other lighter gas.
Ufologists and cryptozoologists have theorized about the existence of biological UFOs, citing photos and observations of sightings that resemble living beings more than machined craft. The controversial substance called "star jelly" is alleged by some to be composed of the bodies of dead atmospheric beasts.
Atmospheric beasts are speculated by some as interdimensional beings, able to pop in and out of existence in a manner similar to ghosts, while they are thought by others to be fully natural biological organisms that are related genetically to terrestrial life and are built like jellyfish of the air, or that they may be alien life forms that are native to space itself rather than to any particular planet (extra-atmospheric). Rods are a presumable type of atmospheric beast.