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 were travelling south east of sorrell
    we seen a bright red light it was lit up for about 5 second falling down very slowly then disappeared then re lit up again soon after disappering again.

    Does anybody have any idea of what this could have been??

  • Hi, walking the dogs about 9:30pm AEDST I noticed a long strip of flashing lights in the sky quite distant at around 45° elevation west/north west of Ashfield NSW. The object had fixed white lights at the eastern end with blue, red & white flashing randomly up & down a single plain.

    If it was closer to the ground I’d have guessed large construction crane with warning lights on the long boom but these lights are at cloud level. Next I thought a blimp or police helicopter but the lights didn’t observably move at all for over 25 minutes. Very strange! Anyone know what they are?

  • Hi. Early this morning Saturday 10th December, between 3.30am and 4.30am my partner and I were watching the sky. I live in Enmore NSW. I’m pretty sure the stars Betelgeuse and Sirius were above us. We think Jupiter was visible as well. In the space of about 10 minutes, 3 moderate paced bright objects, appearing like stars travelled in a northerly direction. First was 90degrees, the other two about 80-70 deg. The second or third was travelling north easterly. All from different areas in the sky. They were just cruising along until they disappeared out of sight. Estimated observable time at least 30 seconds for all. It didnt end at that. We proceeded to see a grand total of 10 of these objects, in every area of the sky, my partner identified one as the international space station on a star gazing app but none of the others. It was travelling in an easterly direction. The others travelled either N,NE and E. The last object we observed before heading in was not travelling as such. It seemed stationary, south east in the sky, about 45degrees, but was moving in short bursts in a side to side motion, then becoming still again, and then sporadically moving upward and outward and then becoming stationary again, and repeating, with no ordered movements. My partner saw it change to a red colour for a split second, and I saw a white flash of light in the sky just to the east of it. My partner went inside and I watched it a further 20 minutes or so, before my eyes got sore and I reluctantly went inside. It was fascinating. I wonder how many more travelling objects we missed because our focus shifted to the sporadic movements the other object was making!!
    Do you have any ideas what we were looking at. My partner is very level headed, assuming satellites, but after the 4th sighting I felt it could be something else!!! How likely is it that we saw 10 satellites in the same vicinity in such a short space of time? Oh, and some were a kind of orangey colour. I’m pretty sure the international space station was orange, and the others just looked like white stars on cruise control. Some were very faint and some were brighter.
    I look forward to hearing from you with any ideas on what we witnessed. Thank you

    • Melissa, Thanks for the good description. Yes its normal to see quite a few satellites before sunrise. I use the Heavens-Above (be sure to enter your location) website to find out what is overhead. This morning in that hour there were 15 bright satellites, the ISS and an Iridium flare! The red colour is because they are illuminated by the red colour of the sunrise. At their altitude its already sunrise – down below you are still in darkness. I have no explanation for the unusual object. I wish someone would film these jiggling lights – sensitive DSLR with a wide-ish field of view to include foreground and on a steady tripod, and well focused (sharp stars).

  • i can see flashing lights in the sky agen all different colours really dont no what it is it ceeps couming back mostights

    December 3 holsworthy devon eingland

    • This Time of Year more then likely the super hot Planet Venus which appears very bright and dazzling in different colours due to the Gates Burning…..remote controlled Spacecraft have landed on this Fiery Planet only to be burned in half Hour….not ready for the Human race…..Give it Eons of Years and it might be…..

  • Hi, there!

    I live in the Western suburbs of Adelaide, South Australia. Only 5-10 mins drive away.

    A really strange phenonomen occurred tonight around 9.45pm (Dec 3, 2016) around the North Star(?). I was out back of my house & looked up at the sky because it was so bright and clear and was thinking how bright the crescent moon was (New Moon) when I realised that the North Star was not only incredibly bright tonight but much, much bigger than normal!

    Angle? I was looking from my back yard above the house about 50 degree angle towards the West.

    Then, I started seeing flashes from the star(?) itself. It first started undulating it’s shape a little. Then, started looping flashes of light out from the right side back again to it’s origin. It did that a couple of times on the right side but not exactly in the same position as if coming around to the front facing me. Then, I saw the flashing lights loop out the left side & repeat what it did on the right side. Also, a couple of times. During this whole time there appeared to be smaller flashes of sharp light distorting the “normal” star which appeared so bright and big. Then, suddenly, it just stopped making the flashing lights & reduced to a 1/4 of it’s size! I was gobsmacked. I had to blink, squint and focus quite a few times because I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Is it something to do with the Moon (Super Moon) being so close to us recently? I know we put a space base up there but I don’t think it would cause something like that! Would it? Was it just some incredibly massive explosions in the star itself which I just happened to pick up with the naked eye? Surely that’s a billion to one chance of happening! I’m 61 yrs old and have to wear glasses to read but my long sight is pretty good. But, surely not possible to see explosions happening on a star?!

    I’ve just gone out again (10.30) and I just remembered something else I saw which is still happening. It seems to have grown again a little in size & there are tiny thin streaks emanating from it which is normal when it is so bright and closer to the Earth. But, to the right, lower corner is a rythmic round light flashing. I can only see it if I go out of focus i.e. don’t look directly at it. It takes a break for a moment, then starts up again. A yellow bright light. It reminds me of the flashing lights of a plane that one often sees as we have an airport not that far away from us. 5-10 mins drive. Except much, much brighter. The only difference is that it is not moving!
    Best wishes,
    Dresdel

    • Dresdel, What you are looking at is probably the planet Venus. Its in the west (so it cant be the North Star can it?) and over the last weekend the crescent Moon was near it. Venus is very bright at present, some call it the Evening star. No, what you saw is not connected to the space stations in orbit, nor to the recent “supermoon”, nor could it be the star exploding (you are correct, that would be invisible to your eye). The flashes and streaks you saw later, when Venus was very close to the horizon, were due to a combination of the atmosphere and your eyesight. The strange effects you saw earlier I cant explain but if I saw the same I would put t down to a combination of atmospheric effects, causing the twinkling of stars, and my eyesight!

  • There was green red and blue flashing lights in the sky at between 4.30 am 5am moving to the northwest starting at the back off the house moving round to the the front then back round stayed there for a few minutes then disaprered in kent just wondered if anyone else saw this

    • Jane, It would be more helpful to provide directions, eg. N NW, etc, because no-one knows which way the back of your house faces.

    • dude even I saw at around 8 pm when I was answering nature’s call…. it was like you said Greenish blue and red….. disappeared within 30 secs….. was astound

  • December 1, 2016 at 8.50pm
    I saw a white fire ball in Sydney and heard a high pitched sound as if fell from the Northern sky.It became larger as it fell. It appeared to be tear drop in shape and quite large and as bright as the sun in the sky for around 10 seconds.

  • Currently in nsw woy woy and there is a bright white light in the sky over towards Sydney way, we saw it yesterday evening around 9:40 pm so tonight we looked at the area again, yesterday it gradually moved down until out of view, tonight the white light is pulsating going on and off with green laser like lines coming from it around 3-5 lines any ideas? Tried to get photos but they turn out looking like orbs in the sky….

    • Hi Alex I saw the same bright light ! I am at Richmond NSW ! Took pictures but very low quality ! But I have very interesting video footage, can’t explain what it is.
      …Just adding more information on my sighting
      December 2nd, 45 degree’s looking south from North Richmond, NSW at around 8:30pm circular object pulsating! I have great video footage

        • Kerry, I cant tell what the light was that you were filming. But you have made a common error in filming it, although the camera is partly to blame. You have zoomed in too much and the camera has failed to focus correctly. So you have an over-zoomed out of focus light! This always makes for quite a beautiful object, but it’s not real! Unfortunately most smartphone and video cameras do a poor job of auto-focusing on points of light like stars and planets. There are one or two points in your video where the light looks point-like and correctly focused. You did a good of holding the camera steady, and the sound effects are very atmospheric!

  • Just saw over Cleveland, Ohio in the USA. It was about 6:50 AM right before sunrise. Appeared to be round but kind of irregular shaped and looked like a solid ring of green light. It did not flash or change speed, just zipped quietly across the sky Northeast to Southwest and appeared to be heading down. My first thought was a shooting star but it was not quite that fast but almost. I waited for a crashing sound that never occured. Any idea what could cause such a thing.

  • I witnessed 3 bright green strobe like lights in the sky…..as l watched carefully they dispersed into 6 becoming the same lengh and they became weaker in brightness. The time was 17.30 over the Atlantic off the coast of St . Austell Cornwall……the amazing thing is they were travelling in one direction then dispersed at one point into 8 and travelled in opposite direction….such an amazing thing to see. ….would love to know what it is?????

    • i saw wherd light in sky last night near holsworthy devon about 12 o’clock it was no helicopters it had lode of different culer light on it what i cude see

    • its back i can see it out side my window its flashing like mad different culers

      this near holsworthy devon uk eingland its no plan or helicopter

  • Looking to the east there is a bright light with red and green flashing lights. It is there most nights and stays till daylight. It doesn’t appear to move. We are north of Sydney and need the binoculars to see the flashing lights clearly. It is quite high in the sky.

  • Standing in Frostproof Florida one year ago tonight looking straight up 90 degrees. 8 to 12 tiny lights in a row moving at a medium pace following each other as a centipede search for something would do. I watch these for a good quarter hour and even witnessed my wife to it. Have no idea what it was. Very very high in the sky, as I was stargazing that evening. No blinking just steady on small lights following each other with the appearance of distant tiny stars.

  • November 18 2016, clear skies, about 10-11 am, Manly Nsw Australia at the beach, I was swimming with my best friend at the beach and we looked up and saw a bunch of white dots in a cluster in the sky they where small, and we originally thought they where parachuters, and then we watched them and the shoots weren’t opening, so we looked up about 5 minutes later and they weren’t where they were before but further up in the sky and we were really confused. Half an hour layer we were eating lunch next to the beach and they were no longer there. The first sighting was about 38 degrees up and the second sighting was about 78 degrees up. It was East, and no the moon or anything else were not visible.

  • This morning (22 November 2016) between 4:00 & 4:30 I was watching the north sky from Killara in Sydney and saw an abnormal (to me) number of satellites (9) plus a meteorite. I watch regularly and thought it odd that 3 satellites should follow each other north to South through Orion about 2 minutes apart. Since they could be seen in the same frame I thought it odd that one seemed to be outpacing the others. Moreover, about 10 minutes later, the same (or other?) ones appeared to retrace their path South North, again passing through Orion.

    Is there that much activity up there or is this odd?

    • Kym, there are thousands of satellites up there. That sounds like more activity than I usually see but not particularly excessive. Some satellites travel in pairs.

  • When o was on the way to grandmas, I saw a bright red streak that looked to be about three inches long and it was in the sky. If I looked three inches then it was not. But it was red and o can’t find anything about it. Im just going to assume it was a supernova that was far but close enough for us to see because it just appeared the slowly went away and got smaller.

    • Dragger, Thank you for your report. Could you please provide the location where you saw this, the date & time, the direction you were looking in (e.g. N, NW, etc), howhigh in the sky was the red streak, how long in total you saw it, which direction it was moving in and what the weather was like at the time. I know that’s a lot of information but it really helps us to identify your light.

  • Around 1:30am on November 16th my son and I saw blue and green lights moving around really fast in the sky.. The lights were darting to fast to be a plane and there was no light shows in my area. I live in Cheltenham MD near Andrews Airforce Base. Did anyone else see anything??

  • At approximately 8:45pm last night (15th) my wife and I were looking for the moon when we saw a bright white light very high and moving very fast from south west to north east. We are in the north west of sydney. At the same time I was on the phone to my son who was travelling on the M2 heading toward Pennant Hills Road and he also witnessed the light. The light was a very bright white.

  • This morning (14th Nov 2016) I was looking south and then in the pre dawn sky, saw a star like white dot that appeared out of nowhere. It sure looked like a star. It didn’t move for a few seconds at first. Then it began to move upwards swaying slightly side to side. It moved close to cancer constellation and disappeared. It lasted for about 10 seconds . I checked the time and it was 4:50am IST (Mizoram, India)

    Last October I did see a star like white dot in the south sky too while I was star gazing. A few seconds after it appeared, four other white dots radiated out of the middle dot. I kept looking at it for about a minute until they vanished again.

  • My mum saw a rainbow but it was almost like a faded rainbow which shapes like a circle in the sky. And there was a bright red light right next to it. This happened in the morning a few months ago. Pleas any1 explain this …..

  • It was late 2001, I think it was the first week in September possibly the same day, or a day or two after 9/1/1. My mother and I noticed hundreds, if not thousands, of tiny “twinkling lights” in the evening sky directly overhead (90degrees). There were very little clouds at the time and they lasted at least 20minutes. We don’t know exactly how long, because we went inside. Since then, I have tried to do research a couple of times to find out what they were but have not had any luck.
    I forgot to mention this was in Wausau Wisconsin. We noticed it shortly before dusk. I don’t remember if it continued after dusk.

  • Hello
    In the western sky around 9pm there is an extremely bright light which I assume is a star or planet.
    It does not move when watching for several minutes so cannot be a plane.
    I would be interested to know what it is please.

    • Stephen, Its Venus. We call it the “evening star” at present. If you have binoculars or a small telescope it will appear like a gibbous moon at present. Over the next few months it will change phase, like the Moon does, until in March 2017 it becomes a crescent shape.

    • Hi, I saw it also,I’ve never seen a star/planet that bright in the sky before. I actually first thought it was a meteorite. but obviously not as no one else seems to be freaking out.

      • Kirst, meteors never stay in one spot like Venus. Although, in fact Venus is moving at (virtually) the same rate as the stars across the sky. Wait an hour an you will see that it has moved.

  • Bright light with wat seemed to be a very short tail 2 miles north of Jamestown and. I was looking east. It was moving east. It did not seem to be a airplane because there was a plane not far from it and could see the difference between them. Nov 10 2016. This was around 7 my time. This was around 7 my time, About an hour before this post.

  • Petertheissen@facebook…….After reading all the testemonials my conclusion on all the observations is that it is indeed extraterrestrial in scientific Nature …..Keep in Mind the Word means anything not originating from this Earth/Terra but the Universe.

  • Roughly at about 10 pm tonight (6/11/2016) I was outside looking up towards the east, when I saw and heard what I thought was a plane. There were several loud cracks (sounded a bit like thunder) followed by a big ball of white light. Not long later I heard more cracking noises in the sky further to the north.

    Has anyone heard anything about a plane crash? It seemed unusual.

    • Anne, If you thought you saw a plane crash then you really ought to report it to the police, not here! If not a plane then it may have been a bright meteor. They travel faster than sound through the atmosphere and so create a sonic boom which can sound like thunder. Please provide a location in future posts.

  • I just saw a single orange orb pass over the sky from north west to south east, it was reasonably large and moved extremely quickly, much faster then a passenger plane at what I assume is the same height.
    I saw it at 11:37pm, a few minutes ago, from Sydney Australia as I watched it go into the distance, it appeared to move left and right occasionally, random movements at random intervals.
    Anyone else witness it?

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