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

4,625 responses to “Lights in the sky

  • 13/8/18
    Did we lose a star in our skies last night or was it just more incoming space debris?
    What was it that appeared in the night sky around 6pm on 12/8/18? Looking from Tench Reserve Penrith, it was seen 1/2 way between the Southern Cross and Venus.
    It at first sight looked like a bright star surrounded by a spray of cloud which gradually disappeared leaving a smudge of white fading away to nothing over the next 1/2 hour. There were no clouds in the sky and other stars were clearly visible.

  • August 13th 2018 ay exactly 4:04am
    Nambour, QLD, Australia.
    Sitting at the traffic lights at the intersection of Arundall Avenue and Lamington Terrace facing directly East. I observed at 30 degree elevation in the clear night sky a bright orange light (without a tail/trail) move very fast from North to South horizontally. It was approximately 1-2 seconds from seeing it then out of my view. I have witnessed MANY meteors before, working from such early hours in the morning and constantly looking toward the sky in wonder. I have never seen anything like I saw this morning before!

  • Driving back home (Tomerong,NSW) from Nowra 6pm noticed something stationary in the sky to the West, about 30 degrees upwards and to the south of the very bright planet (Mars?).Visible only through trees foliage and thought that it maybe the moon behind a small cloud.At home, 6.30pm,viewed phenomenon through telescope. Sky cloudless.Hard to describe-wispy, white-ish,moon-sized,stationary, no hard edges or obvious shape.Looked again at 7.30pm. Unable to find.

    • Andy, You may have already heard by now that this was the Parker Solar Probe. It was launched from the USA at about 5:30pm on Sunday 12 August, Sydney-time. That would put it over Australia about 45-minutes to an hour later. What you saw was probably the exhaust from a booster rocket firing.

  • There were 3 lights in the sky over the cliffs at Doverheights in Sydney NSW Australia on Saturday 11th of August 2018 at 6.30pm. One light disappeared then the other two were gone by 9pm. All three lights were coloured red and yellow.

  • This is an old sighting from many years ago but I remember it very clearly. Location was Wister, Oklahoma
    Don’t remember the exact date but it was the summer of 1964 or 1965
    Facing East but observing what was overhead
    Two objects one brighter than the other the brightest one about 45 degrees more to the south sitting stationary. The dimmer object moving from the east above the tree line about 50 yards away toward the brighter object.
    A very clear and dark evening
    Both objects appeared to be single white star like objects.

    What happened: I was standing in the field next to my grandparents home around 10:00pm simply enjoying the night sky. As we were in the early days of the manned space program, I was keenly interested in the night sky and spent a great deal of time observing and watching it. I was facing east and to my right sitting rather high in the sky pretty much by itself was a very bright object. It appeared to be about as bright as Jupiter would be and in fact that is what I believed it to be at the time. It was motionless and was very bright. As I was observing the sky a much dimmer moving object appeared just above the treeline to the east. I knew it was not an airplane because there were no flashing wing lights or anything like that. It was just a dim white light about the brightness of Polaris on a clear night. It was moving from the east angling across the sky toward the south at about the same pace as a satellite would move across the sky if you observed one doing so. Again, I actually thought that is what it was, a satellite. As I watched it I never took my eye off its movement. After a few minutes it became apparent it was going to move very close to or just past that bright object in the sky to my right…more in the southern sky. I was interested to see what would happen when it did so. So I kept my eye on it the entire time. As the moving dim object approached the bright object i focused in on the moment they would converge, but when the moving object moved just below the bright object it stopped. At first I thought I had just lost sight of it, but no…I could still see it but now it instead of there being a single bright object there were now two with the dimmer object sitting very close to and below the other one. I was really excited and confused wondering how this could be. At the time I thought maybe I had just made a mistake and lost it, but as I was contemplating what I had just seen, which was several minutes, I noticed the bright object now moving in the opposite direction at twice the speed. I watched it continue unabated in a straight line until I lost sight of it behind the treeline. The key elements here are this. The bright object was at least as bright as Jupiter on a clear night. The moving object was much dimmer but easily seen. The bright object did not move until the smaller dimmer object stopped below it. When the bright object moved away, it was traveling much faster in the opposite direction than the smaller one. Initially, I believed the bright object was Jupiter, but it proved to be something other than that. I also believed the smaller dimmer object to be a satellite.

    I know it was along time ago, but this event did happen the way I just described it and it is not your typical UFO kind of story.

  • 9:55 PM. +6:00 Whitehouse, Texas
    My son and I stepped outside a moment when he exclaimed that the stars were circling eachother. The sky was clear and the stars were very visible and beautiful. I looked up (around 20 degrees where he was pointing towards the south) and sure enough, 2 bright lights WAY up there, spinning around each other about 5 times before they took off in opposite directions, north and south. I followed the northward headed one while my son went and got the binoculars, I spotted it still moving north at a pretty rapid speed until my house blocked it from view. Definitely not airplanes (I know the difference- this was a reflection of the sun off the object) I’ve never seen anything like this.

    • yes seen lights or objects in sky right over head sky’s clear no moon . one light zoomed in then other zig zagged toward other one then just gone .!
      looking toward North
      about 400kms North of Vancouver BC
      on August 8 2018 at 11:57 pm

  • My husband and I were driving home, Merritt Island, FL, from Melbourne heading north on US 1 at about 9:30ish @ night. We had just hit the off ramp to get on Pineda Cswy when we both happened to see positioned around 20-40 degrees up a fairly bright green orb sitting stationary then seconds later it took off blazing a green trail heading north and disappeared. At first I’m like, wow, seen that shooting star until I actually was able to process what we both had just witnessed. The sky was clear and full of stars, as well as the moon and Venus being present too. But this mysterious green light hung much lower in relation to all the others and then sped away no longer visible almost as if it had entered another dimension. It was exciting and definitely unlike anything I have ever seen but has left me unbelievably curious, wanting answers or at least to know that others have possibly experienced something similar. Anyone?

    • I live in Daytona Beach Florida and I just saw a huge burning fire going across the sky. It wasn’t falling but travelling parallel to the earth. The object was burning large and wide and moving faster than any plane I’ve seen in the day time, and it was closer to Earth than any airplane I’ve seen during the day. It was moving very fast, it was wide and bright and it maintained its shape. When it moved behind the trees, I went around back to continue watching it but it was gone. It wasn’t a ball of fire. It was large and rectangle. The front was red hot in color while it trailed a cooler burn color. The size compared to my observing it at its hight in the sky would be equal to the size of a double wide mobile home. I’m not sure if meteors travel parallel to earth because this fire in the sky travelled across the sky just like an airplane.

  • At 6:30 this evening 4/08/18 in Little Hartley NSW I saw a bright large red flash of light moving very very fast across the sky… roughly 45 degrees off the horizon East.
    It was quite large and started off bring red then as kept moving it became bright blue at the front then it dwindled and disappeared. I watched it move across the sky for about 5-10 seconds. I’ve never seen anything remotely like it. Looking for some answers as to what it could have been. Thanks

  • I live in Wishaw Scotland I believe me & my Friend witnessed something never seen before on early hours of Thursday morning between 1:00 am 1:10 am me and my friend where sitting in my living room i was in the centre of the room on my laptop my window looks west, it was quite a cloudy night looking out my window I see a good sky towards the west at an angle of 20-80 degrees, something in my pocket was burning my leg and was getting warmer and warmer wen it was a mobile phone i got it out but had to throw it away as it was so hot it burned my hand the phone turned on mysteriously while lying on the floor this is how i know the time the mobile phone was exactly an hour behind showing the time to be exactly 12.00pm but it was exactly 1.00am i have never seen this mobile before nor do i know how it got in my possession the mobile started beeping a new voicemail was coming through i tried to read the msg but i couldnt as there was no simcard in the phone. @ that moment i raised my head and looked out the window and saw the most amazing moon i have ever seen i checked the time it was 1:03am when i noticed the object, it was a beautiful bright yellow whiteish colour and said to my friend “check that out for a moon bro you wont ever see one of them again” he leaned forward on the sofa and observed the moon with me at this time we percieved this to be the real so personally i didnt think much of it i felt it to be the real moon we were looking west. My eyes and my mind perceived I was looking at the moon it had almost identical markings the object stayed still until it started moving very slowly but too fast for the real moon it was then i realized this wasnt the real moon i clocked the time @1.07am i said to my friend “hey bro the moon disnae move as fast as that he leaned forward in the sofa and noticed the back end of the moon as it went out of sight it moved out my window sight by 1.10am we decidedf to get armed with cameras and phones get some pictures when we got outside i noticed the real moon was due east totally opposite end of the planet we searched the weastern skies but could only see the yellow hue from the objects light lighting up the clouds infront of it was then that i started analyzing what i had just witnessed. realizing now the object was infront of the clouds but the clouds where swirling circling round the object like a hurricane style was a strange colour of light my best description would be it was like a large search light the size of a planet like the light you get from a lightbulb. the speed it moved as it moved away out my view it wanted me to believe it was the moon im not sure what i witnessed but i was struck with awe just wondering if anyone else has witnessed this phenomenon too :o))

  • This morning i was walking around Canada Bay’s “bay run” in Sydney’s inner west. There was a bright light in the sky, but it wasn’t moving. Too high for a building and it was there for an hour. It was on 30/7/2018 and visible the whole time from 545am until about 630 when dawn came up and then it was no longer visible. I’m not sure what direction it was, but as I looked at the moon it was on the left hand side of it, and about 45 degrees lower. The sky was clear, there wasn’t much of a breeze this morning. We wondered if it was perhaps a drone hovering, or similar. It didn’t look like a plane as it only seemed to have a single white light (and it wasn’t moving, the whole time) I have a picture of it, if there is a way to submit that.

  • currently there is a shining object in the Northern sky viewed from Tamworth NSW Australia. it is at about 60 degrees from the horizon and doesn’t move far from this position. it can be seen during the day and more clearly from 4.00pm and resembles a star from sundown. it has been at this location for at least a week. it doesn’t move relative to the earth. What could it be??

  • Hello,

    Just curious what I might of seen this morning?

    Approx 5:30am 27/07/2018 ACST, Kongerong SAust. 5291.

    I was facing looking at the MOON, then there was a very bright strobe Like Flash in the SKY to the right hand side of me in my Pheriferal vision. initially I though shooting star? WoW. but the flash was sort of Short and crooked like lightning, but sky was clear and no thunder or noise to follow? Not sure if it was because of the bright flash but it seemed like I could see faintly for a few seconds exactly the out line of the flash in the sky.

    Not sure what I saw? looked online see mention of iridum flares but looking a pic and video’s of those not look close to what I saw??

    Anyway just curious and found this site and thought can’t hurt to send a post. CHeers.

  • My son Jose and 2 friends Brianna and gabby were on a cruise on deck in Atlantic Ocean night of July 18 late evening reports seeing about 5 large bright lights in distant sky lighting brightly one by one then going out one by one they wee shocked and unable to explain exactly what it was they all witnessed but curious next day found a reference online from someone in chin reporting similar experience in that same date .

  • On 7/18/18 at 11:10 P.M. I live in Denver In. At 11:10 PM I go outside looking at Stars it’s a little cloudy moon is up about 40 degrees to West witch I was looking there’s a woods across field so I see what looks like a full sun going down very big round dim cloud cover. I call for wife to come look I ask what she sees she says the sun going down it was dim watched it about 5 min . Sun set was about 9:00 PM if it was a planet it was very close it was big like a harvest moon have not seen it again it’s been really cloud cover every night since

    • My friend I witnessed this planet aswell early hours Thursday morning ther 27-July-2018 at 1:00am GMT, looking due west yes it looked like a harvest moon bright yellow whitish in colour as big as a planet but my personal oppinion my eyes and mind percieved it to be the moon as it didnt set it moved due north i observed the object for 10 minutes as it stayed still for 3-5 minutes then very slowly but too fast for the real moon moved northerly i thought me and my friend was the only poeple to witness this your account i notice is of a different date which is awesome both seperate dates

  • During the WW2 war years, my parents and I saw 4 to 5 bright lights to the north of our home. These stationary, “white” lights were about 45 degrees above the horizon for several minutes with thin white lines which seemed to connect them. This was before sunset in north-central Indiana on a clear evening.

  • There’s a big yellow light in the sky over Ulladulla on the south coast of Australia I live on the road that goes 2 the lighthouse my front door faces east & my back door west & it’s wen I look out my back door that I can c the strange light practically above my house I can also c the crescent moon not far from it the sky is clear & has been 4 the past 4 nights & I’ve seen it 4 over at least those 4 night but it could hav been there longer & I would really like 2 know what it is.

  • July 17, 2018 12:30pm I saw a ring of bring lights in the SE sky – in Los Lunas NM south of Albuquerque. 5 minutes later is was just one very bright light. And ten minutes later it was a ring again, though misshapen, perhaps oval shaped.

  • July 17, 2018 at 12:30. Saw a small circle of bright lights, not moving, in the SE sky. I am in Los Lunas,New Mexico about 25 miles south of Albuquerque. While the cloud cover is not thick, there are no other stars visible.

  • This morning (7/16/18) at approximately 7:30 I was traveling east on highway 199; this is in Texas and I was in the fort worth area, the sky was clear and the Sun was not visible on account of the tree line. There were no visible stars at this time either; just clear blue sky, and I glanced up, about a fists length from the horizon maybe a tiny bit higher and noticed a bright object that I thought was a star at first but it was just a bright white almost-flash then it was no longer visible. Anybody know what this could’ve been?

    • I have been watching the sky in ft worth for several years. I began to notice what are being called fake stars, now.ive seen the aircraft. I have pictures. Tonight, July 25, & 26 2018. In the southern sky a craft was suspended as if hanging in the air like a helecopter with tail down.. The bright light I normally see wasnt on , only the perimeter lights. It appeared to be scanning the planes and trains. On some nights it is producing smoke like a cloud. I have many pictures of this aircraft generating green, purple, red & white lights. I cant find anything on internet. Anyone know who built them, why are they in the sky? Ive seen them in the day, at dusk and at night.

  • 11:15pm – United Kingdom – NW
    looked up to sky looking for the bright star which is left of my back doors, I couldn’t see it so scanned the sky around where it usually is and saw a fast moving white light.. it disappeared after around 1 minute, I stayed to watch for more and low and behold 5 minutes later another one (from the same location, travelling in the same direction) and again 5 minutes later.. it was cold and late so didn’t watch for anymore. Just an explanation of some sort.. I’ve never seen anything like that over here.

  • Hello Andrew,
    I live at Avalon Beach. Regularly I see a very bright light to the EAST at about 45o, seemingly much closer and lower than other stars. It is very luminous and appears to be “hovering” or moving up and down ever so slightly. Obviously a star but which one? It was very apparent last night 7.30pm 13/7/18

    • Jeanette, I suspect your light is Mars. It is at its closest and brightest for 15-years at present. It is a yellowish colour. You can find out more here.

  • Martinsville Va June 10th
    – between 11:30 and 11:45 p.m. est
    – south
    – about 55°
    – 10-15 seconds
    – object was moving horizontally towards the west
    – mostly clear night / kinda hazey
    – based on my sky map app it was moving in the direction of Saturn
    – it was a bright burning white/yellow light that almost looked like a stream firework but without any noticable sound and appeared to blink/burn out more quickly than expected.

    The previous night June 9th my boyfriend and I were were driving down 220 south towards Greensboro and saw a similar light around 10:30 p.m. est that was at little lower in the sky traveling in the same direction but lasted longer maybe 30 seconds.

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