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

4,647 responses to “Lights in the sky

  • 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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