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

4,766 responses to “Lights in the sky

  • We live a few klm. (10) south of Wisemans Ferry.
    On Wednesday 31st September approx. 21:15pm I was standing on the Veranda and saw a orange light up in the sky at 35 degrees east of North.
    I guess the elevation was about 40 degrees up from where I was standing. The light was brighter, constant and stationary. Could be seen through very light cloud The nearest star was east of the light about 1 degree and very faint. Only having Binoculars I tried to get a closer look. It was still a orange colour. I watched for about 15 minutes while it remained in the same position.
    I went inside to get my camera, on returning there was heavy cloud cover and I was unable to see the object again.
    Would someone know if it was a planet or something else. I would like to know. I have never seen a object that bright in that part of the sky before. I will try to look again on Thursday 01/10/2020
    Thank you
    Adrian

    • Adrian, You were looking at Mars. It is very bright at present, being relatively close to us. It will be at its best this month.

  • What is the red & blue twinkling star that appears in the south east from about 10 or 11pm onwards? At least it looks like a twinkling star through average quality binoculars. It is almost exactly south east from Melbourne, about 20 degrees up from the horizon.

    • Joanne, That would be the star Canopus, brightest star in the constellation Carina, the Keel. At this time of year it is low near the horizon. Yes, it will be twinkling a lot due to being so close to the horizon.

  • Tonight at 7.10pm 6.9.20 myself and daughter walking our dog noticed the usual satalite going over head , then she yelled look 7 lights all the same distance apart and going same speed in a line formation heading s/e over jervis bay area nsw australia ,these light were same size as looking up at the stars ,these were not meteors of fire balls but controlled vechilces

  • I’m a soldier stationed in Kuwait. I saw 4 white objects in the sky, I thought were birds in a 4man flank staggered formation. However, as they passed over me, they closed in together and formed 1 cluster and just disappeared! No sound no smoke, nothing!

  • Hi all, 6:40pm,Saturday 22 August, North Rocks Sydney, elevation about 50-60 degrees at that time, looking at the lower of the two pointers, I saw a light flash for about one second just a tiny distance to the west of the pointer. It was at least as bright as the brighter of the two pointers. About 15 seconds later it flashed again in the same position, then nothing. Intriguing. What are your thoughts? Regards Tony.

  • This occurred in 1956 or 1957 in Southwest Alabama. Two friends and I were walking one night in the very rural area in which we lived. It probably was about 8-9:00 pm. Suddenly to the West Northwest a round light occurred and moved horizontally right to left then just as suddenly disappeared. It appeared to be quite a distance from us at about a 35 – 45 degree angle from the ground.
    The light was just a bright clear light. No houses close, no planes, we had no lights, no moon reflection. What was it? I still wonder some 60 plus years later.l

  • From Wellington, Colorado, from a 90° view straight overhead, to the horizon, directly east, moving at the speed of the ISS, in fact i thought it might have been the ISS, but the coarse was directly east and the ISS is usually moving in a diagonal path from the northern to southern hemisphere. The object was as bright at the ISS at dusk but the light strobbed exactly like an operational lighthouse flying 400 miles up due east. About 2 weeks ago.

  • July 31 Santa Fe, NM
    Twice now a week apart, just above something lights up very very bright white, flaring then fading out completely for a second or two, as it moves, maybe flaring about 5 to 7 times before I can no longer see it, but the last flash was still quite far from the horizon, totally silent, similar course and direction both times.

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