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, as on 19 February 2007, exploding rockets.

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

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4,517 responses to “Lights in the sky

  • Killara/Lindfield
    January 17th. About 9.40pm.
    Looking South to South South East.
    Looking up no more than 5 degrees.
    Seen for a few seconds
    The object was descending as it was moving east
    Sky was clear.
    No other objects seen other than I was a few minutes earlier and later tracking visible satellites (see below).
    Saw small fireball descending rapidly as it moved from the right of my vision to left of my vision as I was facing south. It appeared to be no more than 1000metres away. It appeared to be a meteor (very small) but must have got very close to actually hitting the surface.
    Was exciting to see as it was different and much closer to the me than the satellites I was tracking. And didn’t see any meteors during the geminid showers in December.

    Other

    Last night was interesting because it was very clear. I was also able to see some, presumably, tumbling satellites flaring a little.
    8.50pm:One descending from 45 degrees in the east to 10 degrees in the east which would flash every few seconds as it caught reflections. It was between orion and sirius at about 8.50pm.
    9.30pm: at around 9.30 before I saw what was a meteor, i saw in the south at about 50 degrees flashes.
    9.35pm: tracked resur 1 sattelite from south to north as it tracked directly overhead (consistent magnitude)
    9.40: saw the meteor I describe above
    9,45 or so: tracked sattelite Yaogan 6 which appeared to change magnitude (so presuming it was tumbling also)
    (got satellite info from heavens above and cal sky website)

  • In January of 2017 I was about to go inside, as the mozzies where about to attack, when I looked up & saw not one, but 4 half egg shaped orange lights, appear, move across the sky, & disappear one after the other over about 8 seconds. My son was outside as well at the time, and I told him to quickly look up, when he saw what I saw, he quickly moved inside, and said to me, “mum, you seem to attract these ufo’s”. The sky was still a blue/grey colour so it wasen’t yet dark. I have tried to explain to myself what I saw, but with no answer. Deb Sunshine Coast

      • Andrew Jacob….Haha!! No, I don’t think so. For one, we don’t have that tradition in Aus as far as I know, and secondly, they where way to high, way to fast, as fast as maybe a plane up that high and appreared and disappeared uniformly. Didn’t look anything like what I’ve seen a chinese lanterns look like. This was like “D” shaped and very much orange, and I’m not colour blind either.

  • At about 8:15 EST in Orlando, Florida i looked up to the east (but high in the sky) and saw a bright orange/ red train coming from a white dot. By the time i got my camera working the train was gone but the moving dot was still there. After a few seconds it appeared to blow up with several pieces moving in different directions. They soon faded except for two. One white dot was almost stationary and the other kept moving in the original direction, which was north. I have the explosion and 2 dots recorded. Please comment if you saw it, too. Thanks

  • I am from India. At 6:30 pm when i came back from college.(2017). I saw a green light fly in the sky. Its move horizontal but a circle path. I am observed that 15 minutes. Then suddenly its divided into two parts like two green ball. This are move same like the first one. I cant understand what is that. If anyone know about that. Or see the same thing in the sky please reply me.

  • Red light hovering n moving across sky Sth of nepean hospital when from to Dr n back again totally red.. like a massive drone..

  • Okay I know this sounds insane but I was with my best friend and she saw it too. We were so confused.
    We were on the tidal river walkbrige at wilsons prom it was around 10 pm at around North at a 60degree angle just above the tree line. We saw it for a few minutes but had arguments on how long. There were only very little clouds, basically none. Think it was a full moon?

    So we saw a group of stars we think, that looked green and also saw a bit or red and orange at times. They were jiggling around and seemed to be moving left and right and up and down. Looked like one of them went down(sounds crazy I know) then they had kind of disappeared by fading after a few minutes.

    I thought I saw something drop, and it seemed to be pretty small.

    Anyways, thanks, please respond with a logical explanation cause I really need one.

    • Jacqui, you may have been looking at the Pleiades cluster of stars. They were due north at about 10pm that evening from Wilson’s Prom, but at about 30-degrees elevation (but humans are notoriously bad at estimating angles!), the colour-flashing is due to the atmospheric effects that also cause stars to twinkle, and the ‘jiggling’ is, I suspect, due to the same effects in combination with the movements your eyes make (saccades, etc) perhaps accentuated by fatigue. They may have faded behind thin cloud and the one that dropped may have been a sporadic meteor! If the stars weren’t the Pleiades they could have been the Hyades star cluster, which was due north about 11pm, after the Moon rose at about 10:30pm. Did you notice where the constellation Orion, or ‘the pot’, was?

  • 7:30 am on January 3, 2018
    45°-60° facing East / little ways South
    Calgary Alberta
    For hours before I decided to take a closer look I saw what looked like an overly bright new star I hadn’t noticed before. Finally when I took out some binoculars it began to look roughly like a triangle shape with a round obscure barrier around it but the barrier wasn’t quite clear/see through just the shape behind it(or insideit) was brighter. This one was yellow , and only through the binoculars did I notice there was an identical shaped object behind it, a little lower, and to the right -only this one was red, and yet again behind this red one, little lower, and to the right was the same shape again except this third one was blue….

    • Ray, we don’t normally answer international reports but I suspect you saw Jupiter (brightest object), Mars (red) and star Zubenelgenubi in Libra (your blue object). Jupiter and Mars have been particularly close in recent days. And you need to get your binoculars checked out – the triangular shape means something is wrong with the optics!

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