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, 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

4,569 responses to “Lights in the sky

  • 2am. Southern Illinois. Clear sky. Looking South and just very slightly east. Bright light. Brighter than any star in the sky. White-ish yellow but seemed as though there was an orange arrow pointed north coming from the main light. The arrow seemed to brighten and dim down every few min. At first I thought it was a jet, but I watched it for 15min and it did not make any linear movement. Almost seemed to sway back and forth slightly. Couldn’t really see any stars directly around it. Very weird.
    Was slightly above 45 degrees. Not quite 60

  • 92065 California usa : 3:32 am

    Im almost sure direct South Southern sky * possibly slight south east *
    45 degrees in the sky, stationary and 2nd brightest object ( partial moon lower to my left, south east was brightest ) has color of harvest moon yellow to orange..

    Planet ? Star?

    Thanks for reading

  • I was on a beach at cocoa beach fl. It was around 2am. I was looking south and the lights were going North. Ot was a very clear night with a almost full moon. I was on the beach and the lights seemed to be maybe 10 ft above the ground. Coming to me, took 10 mins or so. Going away took less then 5 secs. I saw 3 red lights directly above each other heading towards me very slowly. They got very close, looked almost close enough to touch, then they took off at a high rate of speed and disappeared.

    • Deb, As requested above please provide a location. We cannot interpret any light in the sky without this.

        • PS Andrew, your first message didn’t appear, so I wasn’t aware there was a problem 🙁
          Just to add, incidentally, … there was no sound. Pretty late at night, but I couldn’t see other aircraft, … and Ingleburn is a bit far out for the Vivid lights to be visible, especially given the way this blue light moved … 🤷🏼‍♀️

  • May 23rd at approximately 3am. I looked up at the sky above Sydney and saw approximately 20 large white circlular objects which were alight floating and moving separately then forming a v shape. They then dispersed and moved to the side and then separated into circular lights hovering again. They appeared to be in a pattern formation. did anyone else view this?

    • Dominique, I’m sure these lights are part of the Vivid festival. Some light were active before Vivid opened on Friday 25 May (2018), particularly the lights from the casino (although they may not be part of Vivid). There must have been high cloud for the lights to reflect off.

  • May 23rd; Northbridge, Sydney
    There’s a ring of white specks in the sky over Sydney with a bright blue centre. I’m in Northbridge and the ring seems to extend South beyond the CBD and I see specks right above my coordinates on Sailor’s Bay Road. Hard to estimate but the diameter is probably 20-40 kms. First observed this at around 12 am and it’s still there at 1.10 am though the blue spot seems to have disappeared. They seem to be constant and unwavering. Is there somewhere I can upload a pic?

    • Ari, these are probably Vivid lights. See my answer above. You can upload photos to any public photo site and we can link to them from here.

  • Hi, my name is Corrado Di Stefano. Roughly nine years ago, in a Summer sunny morning at 8:45 am I was with my son, at “Darlinghurst PS”, NSW. We were waiting for the nine o’ clock bell: the beginning of the lessons. My son Patrick Joseph noticed something, right above the roof of the school, which has only two floors: ground and first floor. Then he pulled my shirt, in order to attract my attention; at an altitude – apparently not the huge – we observed a spheric mini-globe, made out of only pure light. A little Sun. I quickly turned my head and my eyes at 360^, checking for any possible explanations. Such as a reflection of the Sun, such as some big glass or big window, eventually causing that reflection. Nothing was on the way; the object at first was steady in the air, but in a fraction of a second moved with an acceleration, never reached in the Earth. Exactly at the light-speed!! But one more thing: the trajectory followed was not at all in direction up, or half-up. It was on a perfectly straight horizontal path; I was able to follow it up to his very quick disappearance. Well, no-way that a secret new American or Russian aircraft could do that. No-way that any gas or any vapour, left behind by airplanes, or returning satellites could ever have caused that. No-way of little pieces of rocks entering our atmosphere, and burning, could ever be the reason. That was an object, equipped with the ability of manouvres, able to stop, and to move to any direction. It was having a perfect rounded shape. His behaviour, his conduct and his path, were definitevely that one of a piloted aircraft, equipped with an incandescent protection shield. Thx Corrado & Patrick Joseph [Edited to remove some personal information – Moderator]

    • My son and I just witnessed the same exact thing. We live in a small rural area in Arkansas. We were looking in the sky at Jupiter and Venus when this light appeared out of nowhere, moved really fast HORIZONTALLY, disappeared. About 2 minutes later it reappeared, moved really fast and disappeared again.

  • Was driving home ( live in Wodonga Victoria ) 3rd of October 2015 saw a strange object (SE in directionj in the sky took photos and enlarged them on my computer the object changed in shape three times was only there for one night never returned . any ideas on what this could be ? Not sure how to post the photos on here but very interesting

  • At 142 Am in Poplar Bluff Mo 63901 from south moving north at a altitude well achieved by possibly International Space Station or possibly a bit lower traveling at a phenomenal amount of speed heading due north. The light emitting from fast-moving object is not its own life but I’m sure the light bouncing off of object that is sunlight and that is not any normal satellite speed possibly a high-altitude jet but I don’t think the white admitting was self a mini light from object. I clearly have no clue what I saw but that was so fast that’s a astronomer or a astronaut or someone that is a pilot would have been standing beside me at the same moment they would agree that them speeds this object was achieving was beyond phenomenal. I don’t think an object in Earth atmosphere to possibly travel that fast but then again we do have planes that hit Mach 3 and above. I’m still shocked from this event because that was just crazy fast and really would like to know what it was if anyone in my area has a fisheye lens camera or confined One recording the sky please point me in the right direction to study any film maybe I’m just not educated enough but I’m feel the need that this needs to be documented and reported because that was just way too fast

  • Did anyone else witness red lights in the sky?
    I’m seeing them right now, I’m in Sydney. There are 3 lots of them two close by and the other a bit further away. The brightest light has 3 to 4 smaller ones vertically below it, the one to the left of that has 3 below it and I can’t really see the other one. It keeps flickering in the distance. I tried to take a video of it but it doesn’t really show up on my phone. Only the brightest one on top shows up on the video. I wish I had a hand held camera to record it.

  • The sighting I had was on Harsens Island Mi. I was about 17 years old at the time. I was sitting down for dinner with my parents at our cottage. Our cottage is a small island, about 1 acre, located in the middle of a bay called Little Muskamoot bay. The kitchen table we were sitting at has a window that faces to the south and my chair I sat at looks directly out that window. Being that we were at our cottage we were having dinner quite late as it was past sunset but not quite completely dark yet. As I was eating I looked out the window and noticed a light coming from the southern horizen. I was curious because I couldn’t determine what it was, so I continued to watch it. The light was moving from the southern horizen towards our cottage and the longer I watched it the larger it became as it was moving closer in our direction. At this point I got up from the table and walked out our sliding glass door also facing that same direction. As I got outside and as the light was coming closer I realized that it wasn’t just one but multiple lights. I thought then it may have been a meteorite or meteor that I was seeing but quickly dismissed that thought as this was moving too slowly to be that. As the lights came very close to our cottage I could clearly see that there was a number of these (between 5 or 6 of them) and they were in a formation like you would see geese fly in, it was a very defined distinct V formation. The lights at this point resembled balls of fire as they were flying directly over my head at this point. I became very excited by now and was yelling for my mom and dad to come out and see what I was witnessing. They both answered but unfortunatly didn’t understand if they didn’t come quickly they would miss them. I stood there and watched them fly right over our cottage. As they flew over my head I had to go to the side of the house as the roof of the cottage was starting to obstruct my view. The lights or balls of fire flew in perfect formation and off into the northern horizen, which is Canada from my perspective. From the first moment I saw the one light until they disappeared to the north would have been counted in minutes. I would say 1 to 2 minutes. It wasn’t just a flash, it was more of a experience. My parents never even came out to see them, which was one thing I have often wished they did. I really would have liked for someone other than myself to have seen what I saw. The speed of these lights, turned balls of fire was fairly fast but no where near meteorite fast, and they were quite low in the sky. From my perspective they resembled the speed of a slow flying jet or something. It’s hard to say just how low they were but I would say they seemed to be the height of what you might see a light aircraft fly. I often think about this experience and have wondered exactly what I saw that night. Whatever it was it was NOT the normal things you could think of. It was definetly not a meteorite because nothing ever broke off of these objects as they went by,…and I don’t think it was 5 or 6 planes all on fire and in formation. Any information that anyone could give me would be great. I want to say this would have been 1994. It’s possible it may have been the year earlier or even a year after, but I believe it was 1994. This was during the summer since that’s the only time we went to our cottage.

  • Location: 3 miles SE (132 degrees) from KFFC airport (N33 21 W084 34)
    Observed Bright Flash
    Date: May 6, 2018
    Time: approximately 0530 eastern time or 0930 Zulu
    85 degrees NNW
    Very clear
    Unrelated, I observed two instances of debris burning up on entry with NW trajectories prior to the flash and two more after the flash all within a 12 minute time period as evidenced by the hot tub timer.

  • Killara
    9.18pm
    Looking south to south south east
    Looking up 80 degrees
    Saw it for a second at most.
    was scanning between jupiter bright and high in the east to the southern cross and the pointer stars.
    The weather was clear.
    Saw a thin streak of light which had a blue tinge to it. Suspect it was something burning up on entry. It appeared to come from south south east at about 85 degrees towards south at about 70 degrees.

    • I’m in Venice Fl. I also saw the extremely bright light from my bedroom. It lit up the entire room, at 6:11 am. On May 5, 2018. I even heard a pop after the split second of light.

      • Becca Argenas, Both your light and Michael’s sound like meters or fireballs. If so they cannot be the same one – your locations are to far apart (Sydney, Australia and Florida).

  • Location- Ryde -33.816949,151.131973 \Time- 12:30-2am ish (15/04/18) 10:30-11:30pm (16/04/18) \Direction- SW 240° ish \Hight- 15° or so \Movement- none \Conditions- clear \ could not see moon. Saw a flashing light and was not sure what it was so put my zoom lens onto my phone and saw it was rainbow (rbg cycle). The next night I stood on my drive way and took a 5min video. If unsure of what I mean have a look. https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10155310174072539&id=531927538

    • Corey, It’s not possible to identify the light from your video. But I can offer some suggestions. Its height above the horizon and seeing it at different times each night are consistent with it being an aircraft approaching Sydney airport. The flashing and colour separation (rainbow effect) are more consistent with a star close to the horizon. On the 16th Sirius, brightest star in the night sky, was in that area of the sky. But there was no bright star on the 15th. Can I advise you put the camera on a tripod, zoom out (slowly) to capture the horizon and any recognisable objects on the horizon to provide context, don’t use excessive zoom or magnification (it accentuates the distortions, like the rainbow effect and the flashing, caused by the atmosphere) and preferably don’t use a phone camera (they are very difficult to focus on these type of lights). Have you seen similar lights since these sightings?

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