Observations

Lights in the sky

Sydney Observatory often receives reports from the public about mysterious and unexplained sightings in the sky. Many of these are fireballs, which are small rocks from space hitting the Earth’s atmosphere at high speed and burning up brightly as they reach the denser parts of the atmosphere about 30 or 40 km above the ground. Others turn out to be aeroplane vapour trails, ‘dump and burn’ manoeuvres by Air Force aircraft, satellites, weather balloons or even exploding rockets or rockets venting fuel.

We invite you to report your observations here at the bottom of this page. Other people may wish to comment on your observations if they have seen the same object or seen something similar at another time.

When leaving your observations please give as much detail as you can including

– Where you were – reports without a location will not be posted
– The time
– The direction you were looking (north, east, south, west or in-between)
– How high up you were looking (horizon is 0° elevation, half way up is 45° and directly overhead is 90°)
– How long you saw the object
– The direction the object was moving
– Whether it was clear or cloudy
– Whether you could see the Moon or Venus or any other astronomical object
– Describe what you saw

We welcome reports from around the world, however we are unable to respond to international reports.

Thank you

4,662 responses to “Lights in the sky

  • last night from 7.30 pm i saw 2 green lights flashing in the north eastern sky from herveybay, last time i checked at 9.30 pm they were still there in the same spot flashing randomly. every now and then the left on seemed to move slightly. i am wondering if we where the only ones to see them?

  • December the 5th 2018 at 5.35am at Port Augusta regional South Australia. Just began walking our dog down the beach when directly overhead caught a sudden flash, this flash appeared to be in the earth lower orbit or even higher (unsure). I pointed the flash position to my wife who also observed this now erratic pulsing and fading flashing object, (small white circular) Now i regularly go out of my way to observe
    the ISS and have a basic understanding of satellite characteristics and space junk re-entry etc. However this object began to move at phenomenol speed then change direction laterally and began flashing and fading in and out again whilst changing position. I could only find its position once it began sporadic flashes or blinks. This changing of position DID NOT happen in a straight line. Object eventually travelled east towards the rising sun which was still below the horizon. Sky at the time had a Waning cresent moon accompanied with what i think is Venus in the East above Flinders Ranges. Any response would be greatly appreciated. Regards.

  • Thunder Bay, ON. Canada. Sunday Nov 25th, 2018.
    Coloured stationary flashing object appeared about 350 degrees northwest of location approximately 35-40 degrees elevation. Spotted at 11:35 pm local time. Watched object for approximately 15-20 minutes. It remained stationary. Not an aircraft, not a star or planet.

  • November 16 2018 7:35pm Birkdale
    Night sky observer as I enjoy watching the planes by day and night as there regular route for aircraft:helicopters crosses above our residence daily , and the airport direction is north from us .Notice a Bright flash of light yellowish orange heading towards the direction of Thornside/Lota Wynnum area ,above Moreton bay waters Wondering if anyone had noticed it was like a fireball quite noticeable no tail burst through the air for 7 sec not like a shooting star as it was closer to the ground like when planes fly in to land, disappears into the clouds, never seen anything like it. Wondering if anyone had seen it

  • 27/11/18 Approx 12.05am, Darley, Vic.
    Burst of bright white light originating from & roughly the size (maybe bigger) of the moon followed by a very very fast moving thick blue stripe (like a jet cigarette lighter flame) which travelled from the center of the sky roughly 45degree angle down to the horizon in approx 1-2 seconds. light originating in middle of sky and travelling southerly direction.

    Havent seen any acknowledgement or confirmation of activity on web or news sites, which i feel is sort of strange, given how bright and incredibly breathtaking this was

  • At approximately 21:16 AEST, 15 Nov 18 in Berwick Vic, Australia, I was looking at the night sky when I saw a bright flash of light just to the right of Canopus. I appeared to quickly fade in, flash bright, as bright, if not brighter than Canopus, then quickly fade out over a period of less than a second. I thought I was seeing things, then it flashed again. I would estimate it was tracking from south to north. It continued to flash about every 14 seconds and its velocity seemed constant. I could only see it when it flashed. I lost sight of it to the north east horizon and it took over 2 minutes to traverse my area of view. Probably about 10 flashes in all.
    A tumbling satellite???

  • Maroubra/ Malabar sky at 830pm Looking east a light was steadily moving towards Coogee. Steady speed maintained with no acceleration.

  • Orange NSW 9.00pm 4/11/18
    I have noticed a fuzz ball just above Saturn near the teapot, can you identfy this for me please.

    • Shane, I assume you are using binoculars, unless you have very good eyes and it was very dark at the time. You have discovered M22 (Messier 22, sometimes called the Sagittarius cluster or Sagittarius globular cluster). It is a beautiful globular cluster of stars — a large ball-shaped group of hundreds of thousands of stars which are typically several times older than our Sun. Its one of the brightest and closest globular clusters to our solar system. Along with 47-Tuc and Omega Centauri it is one the best globular clusters to view – and all three are best viewed from the southern hemisphere!

  • Mannarkkad,Kerala,India
    7:32 PM IST..2:30pm GST
    NorthWest 50° 27/10/2018
    Partially cloudy atmosphere
    A sudden bright flash appeared
    for a second and saw something moving on side
    The sky had mars , no moon.

  • Capalaba. Brisbane. Qld.
    Looking West.
    (Always see planes taking off from and approaching airport so know it wasn’t a normal plane)
    1915 hrs 26th Oct.
    Mostly clear night some high clouds. It was under these.
    One smallish lower darker cloud.
    White light, object streaked south over Brisbane best guess it was travelling 187 degrees south, parallel to the horizon at an angle up of 43 degrees from my position. Came into Field of view at 269 degrees W, lost sight as it entered small lower dark cloud at 228 degrees SW. Never came out other side. Took at a guess 2.5 seconds to cross this distance. Easily 5 or more times the speed of planes I see. No Tail, No other lights. Just one steady white light

  • I live in Forster on the mid north coast NSW at about 9pm my husband and I noticed a red and green flashing light low in the sky, and we noticed it was moving very slowly. As we were looking up in the sky we saw more (approximately 8 altogether) and one was a bright gold colour. They were all flashing green and red and they were all moving slowing. I checked again at 11pm and they were all still there just in slightly different spots. We have never seen anything like it before. It is a clear night with a full moon. Would you be able to let me know what they could be.
    Thank You

    • Belinda, the flashing red & green lights could be the navigation lights on aircraft. But I’m not sure why aircraft would stay in one area for two hours. Perhaps another reader has some idea?

  • Lake Mendocino Dam Mendocino County California, Sunday October 7th 2018. My vantage point was from a small ridge that connects the dam to an island on the southwest side of the lake. i was about 50 feet below the top of the dam…my view facing south looks past the maintenance tower of the dam and there is a hill that obstructs any view past the south shore that becomes clear at approximately 55degrees. The sun had gone from my view as it was blocked by the dam to the west but its rays were still hitting the treetops and illuminating the people walking on top of the dam. Directly in front of me at about 20degrees i see what i think is a massive swarm of insects sort of hanging in a dripping formation around a bright white light with trees behind it..then i realize theres no pole and this light is moving at a little better than slow northward and dropping which puts it on a path that will either hit me or drag what is now obviously some sort of liquid vapor..colorless but illuminated by both the light and the suns rays that are hitting the top portion ..it looks like the sky is torn open and this light is intensifying .. i yell to the people on the dam and point it out.. they look down at it and begin to scream and point.. i head up the side of the dam and turn to see that just as the sun sets this light begins to rise and reverse direction and seems to propel southward while drifting westward and the vapor no longer seems to droop but it now appears to be expanding..then the light seems to press through the blue sky and vanish and the vapor continues to expand til its no longer visible. I am aware of the rocket activity on this day in southern california but i believe the rocket activity was at 7:30 pm and by that time the suns rays would not have been visible and the first 4 to 5 minutes of this event happened with trees and a grassy hill behind it..there is no visible southern path til my eyes are at about the 60degree point..so the southern california rocket launch activity is not a feasable explanation from my vantage point at all. it just wouldnt work from my original position..and the hanging vapor was obviously making contact with the surface of the lake and i distinctly remember leaving my position when this light passed the tower that was between me and the south shore of the lake.

  • 3:59a.m Massachuttes I’m looking up at the sky and all of a sudden a bright dot appeared. While still looking at this bright dot it would change to red, blue, green. It stayed in the same area and stayed still. Every 10 seconds it would show 3 dots than 2 than 1. Facing north. 4:01am it got really dim. So i know its not a plane.

  • I saw a light come down from the north it came down so fast to about tree top high and kinda hover for a second and that fast it was gone I saw it in Starks la.

  • September 30th between 8:30pm and 8:35pm in Greenup County Kentucky. I was looking at the stars and seen a very deem light moving from south to north through the middle of the shy from my point of view. It looked like a satellite which i see all the time. But this one would get bright about every 20 second’s, roughly counting. It only got bright for a second then deemed again for 20 seconds. Just a single white light. There was planes in the sky to so i know it wasn’t that. Planes have more than one light and they blink faster than the object i seen. I have seen when a satellite’s solar panels reflect light very brightly. It looked like that but like i said it was doing that every 20 seconds. Maybe it was a satellite that was tumbling end over end.

    • Matthew, Yes, it sounds just like a satellite, or more likely an old rocket body or other piece of space-junk, tumbling. These are quite common now.

  • On the 12/9/2018 i was sitting outside at about 8.10/8.15pm looking west at about 45° i seen a fairly big red/orange globe like thing flying through the night sky heading north.. was moving very fast onlybseen it for no more tgen 2 seconds. Wondering if anyone else seen this.. im in cowra n.s.w

    • Just last night, Sept 25th in Vancouver looking East at approximately 11pm, maybe a bit later from my door at the beautiful sky I saw a bright, bright orange light and it was moving and getting bigger. It was about 65-70 degrees and climbing. At first I thought it was moving west towards me as the light was increasing both in intensity, size and and in color. But as I watched I realized it was moving away. It was climbing higher and higher and all I could see was this intense bright orange light. Then it began to turn south towards the general direction of the moon. I noticed as it turned I could no longer see the big orange bright light, and I was thinking, okay it was an airplane and I kept watching it moving south, and I kept thinking something is odd or different about it. It took me a bit to realize that there were no visible lights at all once it turned south. Once it turned and I could no longer see the bright orange light the object looked quite transparent and I could barely make it out. As it moved farther and farther away south I could no longer make it out. I watched it for between 4-6 minutes total I believe. I wished I was more astute, but I really did think it was just an airplane at first. And I was doubting myself as I was watching this interesting thing in the sky. It was so transparent as it was heading south I do not know what shape it was. When one looks to the sky you know what an airplane looks like as you have seen it a few thousand times over. So the eye thinks airplane and wants to and expects to see the shape of an airplane. At this point I want to say that what i saw was the shape of an airplane as it was flying south and all I could see was a transparent profile. But I think my mind wanted to see the shape of an airplane, but what I saw I can only say for certain was transparent almost fog like as it was flying south. When it was going East when I first saw it, it was this huge intense bright orange light with no shape at all visible except for the round orange bright growing light in the sky as it was moving. I do not know what to think of what I saw last night, but I will be looking for it again and next time I will be more prepared.

  • On Aug 31 or Sept 1, 2018 on a deep clear sky over Westfield Wis saw light gray flickering panels of lights directly over head, Northwest sky. It lasted quite a long time minutes to 1/2 hour about 10 to 12 at night.
    It was dismissed as heat lightening. I disagreed.

    Was there any record of this sighting about 65 miles northwest of Madison Wisconsin was my location.

  • I Didn’t know about this page so I don’t remember when(date and time)but it was about 1yr ago in the middle of the day. We seen an object broad daylight almost like a shooting star. North go south. Bensalem, Pa. go towards the south. It was fast, silver, round, no trial, high above the clouds. Horizontal. Can you see shooting stars during the day? Thanks

  • Fishing on lk.Bloomington on July 16 at 10 pm….. I witnessed 4 bright flashes 5 seconds apart at 1 o’clock position to north.flashes went west to east with no noise.Horizon to horizon in 15 seconds.

  • Budapest, Hungary
    August 28, 2018
    Approximately 11pm CET

    Bright light – almost a flash but too long (approx. 1 second) to be a flash – appearing in sky then gone. Appeared a second time and it surprised me as it didn’t appear to have moved (although, I had no decent reference point in the sky for that). Appeared a 3rd time and disappeared.

    No sound.
    No navigation lights.
    Clear sky.
    Looking north.
    ‘Light’ moving south.
    Lasted all of 15/20 seconds.

    Second time this year I have noticed the event. First event was around January and the ‘light’ actually appeared to reverse course then set forth forward again.

    Either a military flight signalling (long shot and a bit dramatic) or space debris, perhaps.

  • 11:57 looking west could be 45° IT FLASHED LIKE A SPARK VISABLE ENOUGH FOR ME TO WITNESS NOTHING WAS MOVING I ONLY SAW THE SPARK I HEARD WHAT SOUNDED LIKE A PLAIN AND STARED HARD ENOUGH TO SEE IF I SAW ANY AND NONE FLEW BY THEIR ARE CLEAR SKYS THE MOON I COULDN’T SEE FROM MY VIEW THE MOON IS SOUTH OF ME WELL IN BETWEEN SOUTH AND WEST IN A SMALL TOWN IN OREGON I’VE SEEN A “STAR” A MONTH AGO MOVING FAST ZIPPING THROUGH THE SKY IT WASNT A SHOOTING STAR IT WAS A LIGHT TINY LITTLE LIGHT AND NOW THEIR IS A FLASHING LIGHT AROUND THAT AREA IM CURRENTLY STARING AT 12:10 past by 12:11 its BLINKING LUKE A STROBE LIGHT ITS HARD ON THE EYS TO EVEN STAR AT IT LOOMS AS IF IT IS BOUNCING AROUND THE MORE IT BLINKS THE FASTER IT GOES PLANS DONT TRAVEL THAT FAST IT IS MOVING SOUTH

  • August 27th 830pm looking west from Franklin county Missouri I saw a light with little tail moving south to west it went behind trees I saw it from 70 degrees to behind trees it was very bright. Brighter than metro shower it lasted about 5 to 10 seconds

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