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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4,469 responses to “Lights in the sky

  • Hi, I’m from Lisbon, Portugal and some years ago I also saw a very powerful white flash. I was lying on the ground with my eyes closed but when I opened I saw a very thin white ray that crossed the ceiling like a laser and that came touching my forehead. It was very fast. My first reaction was to be afraid but as soon as the lightning struck me everything turned white, like a very powerful flash. Then, oddly enough, a sense of peace and joy took me at the same time as two balls of light, translucent and with a very bright aura, were floating in the air about ten feet from me and a meter from the ceiling. These balls were at first about the size of an inflatable beach ball (slightly larger than a basketball) but soon they contracted and dilated very fast. When they got smaller, they got even brighter. Then they made a mirrored motion on a perfect horizontal axis (parallel to the ceiling) and gathered one behind the other. When they parted they multiplied. These movements were repeated until there were many more spheres of light, about 5, 6 or 7 … I do not know exactly why I did not count at the moment. I remember that at some point I began to ask what it could be (I found myself in an unnormal state as paralyzed and felt a great peace and inner happiness, so that was when I started to leave this state of “trance” or “grace” or something similar, and as soon as I started to get out of that state and becoming to think what was going on, spheres lined up and came up to my forehead, one by one, bathing me with light.
    It was daytime and I was in a very sunny apartment … The spheres of light were white, although after a few minutes they seemed to turn very pale yellow and finally very light green water , Always translucent. When they approached me they were very subtle and they seemed almost a hologram (it is what is most approximated to be able to explain…) I was very intrigued for years, but I stopped thinking about the case as the time has passed…
    Almost seven years passed and I had never seen strange lights around me until yesterday.

    Yesterday, May 30, 2017 I saw a strange light in my house again. I was sitting in front of my computer but looking at my cell phone to send me a sms. I was about 2 meters from my window (which is another door to a balcony with a huge glass) and it was at night, about 11:30 pm, when suddenly I felt a huge fluorescent green light (neon type) invade my living room. This light came from such a window-door and when I looked I saw that light spreaded very close to the glass and entering reflecting on the back of my white sofa. I got scared and got up very fast looking at the sofa. The light was beaming intermittently across the backrest area of ​​my 3-seater sofa. Like a disco club with very fast alternations. This lasted for 3 or 4 seconds …. then I ran to the porch and looked around and saw nothing. In front I have no buildings or neighbors. I live in a height of 4 floors, quite high and in front there is a very low food market. The nearest buildings are within 100 meters. In addition, the light was very close to the intensity with which I saw it and was skewed, entering diagonal and not frontal …
    I started searching to see if other people saw similar things related to this green light and found this blog.

    If you have similar experiences please write …
    Thank you and thank you for reading these events.

  • I live in Rio Rancho N.M. on may 26,2027 looking directly up at approximately 9:30 pm I thought I was looking at a satalight but ever so often it looked like a red light whould show and then disappear.

  • Hi
    Was inside my house at Bulli tonight 28/5/17 around 19.30, heard an explosion and saw a flash of blue light that seemed to be right at my back glass door at ground height. I was facing south. It scared me as i thought someone threw something at the door! My mum and sisters were in the lounge room facing north and heard and saw the same thing. It was like it was completely over our house. Any other reports please? Noone else in the street seemed to notice! The boom noise was moderate level, dont remember the house shaking but the wee dog jumped up in fright! Meteorite possibly?

    • By the way- there was no lightening, clear skies after some stormy looking weather out to sea this arvo. Flash lasted only a second but looked very blue.
      Lynne

  • Northamptonshire , approx 10.30pm. Bright light moving from west to east, have watched on several occasions the past few months, past 2 occasions totally disappeared but tonight watched it for a while. The space station was over Germany at the time. Any ideas

  • We just saw 3 bright lights moving in a perfect triangle formation. They disapeart one by one. Anyone has any idea what it was? We were kinda freaked out. This was in the Netherlands.

    • I just saw this exact same thing! They were like circling each other a little bit and then starting moving apart. This is in Saskatchewan, Canada

  • May 23, 2017
    Moreno Valley, CA
    4:15 am looking East
    I woke up the window is directly above my bed, I looked out the window and saw this extremely bright light in the sky it was round oval shaped. I initially thought is was a plane but it was not moving…it was so bright and so large I continued to watch. It seemed as if it was sitting below the moon, to the left of it. I watched it for over 45 minutes, as it began to get lighter as the Sun began to rise, the object moved higher and higher in the sky. I didn’t see it move, it just appeared at the next spot in the sky heading upward. Around 5:00am is was very high up in the sky and looked like a faint tiny star. It was no light, it did not move, it was just sitting in place…until morning broke and then it rose high in the sky without moving in a direct line. I have never seen anything like that in my life.

  • – Where you were – Blackmans Bay, Hobart, Tasmania
    – The time – 5.15 pm, around dusk
    – The direction you were looking – south/south east
    – How high up you were looking – 0 degrees – Southern Ocean horizon
    – How long you saw the object – 2-3 seconds
    – The direction the object was moving – not moving, a large burst of orange light on the horizon
    – Whether it was clear or cloudy – overcast
    – Whether you could see the Moon or Venus or any other astronomical object – no
    – Describe what you saw – a burst of orange light that seemed to cover a large area of the horizon over the Southern Ocean

  • Where you were – near Blackheath, Blue Mountains, NSW
    – The time – Between 6.00pm and 6.30pm on 21 May
    – The direction you were looking (north, east, south, west or in-between) – North easterly
    – How high up you were looking (horizon is 0° elevation, half way up is 45° and directly overhead is 90°) – close to directly overhead (90 degrees)
    – How long you saw the object – 15 – 20 seconds
    – The direction the object was moving – possibly south east but hard to say
    – Whether it was clear or cloudy – clear
    – Whether you could see the Moon or Venus or any other astronomical object – no moon – Venus visible elsewhere
    – Describe what you saw – two lights that looked like stars moving in what looked like perfect unison in the same direction across the arc of the sky. They were a reasonable distance apart (hard to explain and hard to quantify since I couldn’t fathom their height but it was inconceivable that they were in any way connected physically) but the distance between them never fluctuated as they moved. Are there perfectly synchronised pairs of satellites moving around in orbit?

    • Andrew, There are several satellites that travel in pairs in the same orbit, e.g. the NOSS pairs (and triples apparently) and the GRACE pair, the ISS and its supply spacecraft. Check Heavens-Above for your location and carefully check the Daily Predictions for Brighter Satellites, noting that your pair may not necessarily be listed sequentially. If you can identify them please let us know!
      btw you can express their separation in angular distance, e.g. in degrees or “a handspan”, a “fist-width”, etc.

      • Hello Andrew

        Thanks for your response and link to that fabulous resource. The distance between the objects was about a handspan (give or take). I’ve narrowed it down to the following:

        RESURS DK-1
        IDEFIX/ARIANE 42P
        ISS

        And from your description it sounds like the ISS is the most likely culprit! Thanks again.

        Andrew

  • Location:Bangalore,India,near Indian institute of Science.
    Time:7.30 to 7.45pm IST
    Date:16th May 2017.
    Direction:Object moving from North towards South.
    Looking@around 60°angle.
    I was riding my two wheeler towards home amidst heavy traffic.suddenly a big crimson red ball like object caught my eyes in the sky.more than focus on the road I started looking at the sky.the object moved at a steady pace.the object was just a fire ball crimson red in the middle and orange light around.something like a fireball.the object was not flying all that high.the flying height was too low for an aeroplane.i stopped the vehicle on the side of the road and saw it moving till lost sight of it.iam sure I am not mistaking it.this is my 2nd experience.earlier I did not know such blog existed.even today I searched in Google hoping that some one like me would have seen this.
    It was otherwise a cloudy evening so no stars were visible.

  • I was sitting on my front porch this morning at 05:45 (Pretoria, South Africa). My house faces North and I could see Venus clearly and also the Moon. While I was looking up I noticed a feint star becoming brighter and brighter until it was brighter even than Venus. It was about 5 x hand-widths to the West of Venus and about 5 degrees lower. The bright star then started fading again until it could no longer be seen clearly. I have never seen anything like that before. Does anybody perhaps have an explanation?

  • – Where you were – reports without a location will not be posted
    North Ryde 2113 parallel to Lane Cove rd.

    – The time
    7pm

    – The direction you were looking (north, east, south, west or in-between)
    North West

    – How high up you were looking (horizon is 0° elevation, half way up is 45° and directly overhead is 90°)
    North West about 330 degree.

    – How long you saw the object
    about 13 mins when the light fainted and disappeared.

    – The direction the object was moving
    South East

    – Whether it was clear or cloudy
    cloudy

    – Whether you could see the Moon or Venus or any other astronomical object
    no

    – Describe what you saw
    2 straight green lights flying in straight line formation from NW, beaming toward SE. Fainted and disappeared by 7.13pm

    captured one of the line in picture.

  • – Where you were – reports without a location will not be posted
    Alberta, Canada

    – The time
    Around 11PM, last Summer.

    – The direction you were looking (north, east, south, west or in-between)
    Straight up, so in-between? 😛

    – How high up you were looking (horizon is 0° elevation, half way up is 45° and directly overhead is 90°)
    90°.

    – How long you saw the object
    About half an hour.

    – The direction the object was moving
    Multiple objects, moving the opposite direction of each other and spinning.

    – Whether it was clear or cloudy
    Clear.

    – Whether you could see the Moon or Venus or any other astronomical object
    The Moon was visible, not sure about planets.

    – Describe what you saw
    Two objects that looked like stars started moving towards each other, when they got close they would spin around each other and shoot off in opposite directions. This would happen multiple times while I was looking.

    I was with my sister and her husband, we all saw this happening.

    • Location: Denny, Stirlingshire, Scotland
      Date: 18/05/17
      Time: 1:20am
      Weather: Mild, cloudy, no moon or stars visible
      Direction: facing southeast looking up
      Event: I have no idea what I saw but I was letting my dog out when this low flying dark object seamed to shudder across the sky heading southwest it then stopped and all I saw was a bright star flash and then disappear.

  • I am based in South Croydon, Surrey, and on the 13th and 16th May 2017 I keep seeing 5 lights darting around in the sky directly overhead, they move sometimes towards each other and then they spread out and come back together.
    The sightings are at approx 22:30 – 23:00.
    There was no moon, but the sky is very cloudy, i was outside on both occasions for about 10+ mins

  • Unsure as to whether this was a comet, or the result of a ‘dump and burn’ manoeuvre- there is an air base very close by.
    Sighted at April 5:30pm on Thursday May 2017 (just before the full moon rose) in Richmond Lowlands.
    Object produced black smoke and was heading fast in a Northerly direction- looked to be blazing/on fire. I was travelling West (into the setting sun) as evidenced in the photos. The sky was slightly overcast.
    The object was in my sight for a minute or two. I tried but could not establish a landing location.

    Pics here;
    http://spaceweathergallery.com/indiv_upload.php?upload_id=135462

  • 20:30 Tuesday 9th may 2017 -observed from parramatta facing east towards Sydney. Huge blue and green light “falling” before a big flash of orange as it disappeared behind some buildings. Anyone else see it? Or manage to capture it on film?

  • Perth, Australia
    08th May
    I was out for a walk around 9pm with my wife and daughter and as always we were trying to sight the moon for my daughter. As it was cloudy so couldn’t see it at first and then we saw this green flourescent light at around 45 degrees south. Initially, we thought it to be moonlight behind the clouds and later as the cloud moved we could see the moon at around 75 degrees north and still we could see this flourescent light as an elongated patch for few minutes which eventually disappeared as the clouds moved. Then, it did try to rain. Probably, a refraction of moonlight. I did take a photo of it.

  • Thursday 4th May 2017. 11:20pm.
    Sydney North, Berowra.
    Ultra bright flash like a star, lit up the sky falling East to West.
    I’ve watched hundreds of shooting stars, but this was like nothing I have ever seen before. As bright as lightning, lit up the clouds as it fell. Took about half a split second and ended with a major flash. I was waiting for a bang or kind of shock wave it was that intense, but nothing. Totally amazing and incredible to witness.
    I Googled and tried to search of any news reports about it, but found nothing.
    Could this have been a Fireball as stated at top of this page ?
    It completely blew my mind and kind of spooked me too.

  • 4.30am heading through west wyalong towards Forbes nsw clear night low golden moon to the left at first i thought it may have been an aeroplane but no the light is bright almost like an led in colorthe odd flicker and sharp movement? ??

    • Ihipera, If you are asking about the bright ‘star’ just above the Moon, close to the western horizon it was Jupiter, and it would have been twinkling and “colour flashing” being so close to the horizon. Also it must have been just before 4am, because the Moon set around 4am near West Wyalong.

    • 5.10am- Forbes NSW. I always watch the sky before the sun rises. This morning I saw what I first thought wa an aeroplane up very high. I too realised it was very bright and not behaving as an plane or satellite. Thus why I went to google and came across this feed.

  • Can someone please respond to my note from 27 April SYDNEY – Terry Hills – Naremburn sightings? There was nothing in the news or anywhere else? Did anyone else in Sydney see these massive shapes of white light going around very fast in the south west sky of Sydney from 10pm onwards? ” I left a restaurant in Terry Hills at 2200 tonight (27 April). I immediately noticed in the sky heading south, lots of bright cloud-like wisps/puffs of steam looking clouds going around in large circles. I drove further and saw them all the way home to Naremburn. I stopped the car twice and got out and looked into the sky and the lights were still there going round very fast. Southward sky. High above. Were they some military exercise or lit up drones? it was so odd. Still at 2300 in Naremburn..quite eerie.”

    • I love in Buffalo NY and I just took pictures of the same thing flying over my house . My son has video. Its like nothi g I’ve ever seen

    • Sue, We don’t have the resources to reply to every post I’m afraid. From your description the lights sound just like the searchlights used at events and openings. There are numerous reports in these Lights in the Sky pages of the same thing.

  • ok, couple of weird ones.

    1st: This one is the strangest. I was in my apartment near central station. looking northward. it was afternoon time. an object was revolving and flying across the sky, at a fairly low altitude. It was orange, and to describe the shape, it was like a hang gliders wings, or the wings of an ultra light aircraft. it was slowly spinning at an odd angle. I can’t be sure, but it seemed as though bright orange lights would light up on it’s edges periodically.
    It lazily floated between a couple of high rise apartment buildings and off until no longer visible. I had no idea what to make of it. it was too big to be a helium balloon, and a very odd shape. I cannot fathom what else it might have been?

    2: sitting near central at night. there were scattered clouds. I saw a brightness coming from behind clouds in the east sky. So bright I assumed it was the moon. I guessed it must have been a full moon, it was round and definitely behind the clouds. I waiting a while to see the moon in it’s splendour.
    But when I looked again, the clouds had shifted and there was no light to be seen. I noticed the moon was elsewhere in the sky. I supposed that it may have been light beamed from the ground somewhere. but when next a cloud moved over that area of sky, no light whatsoever, certainly non as bright as previous.
    Totally baffled by that one.

    3rd: this one may easily be explained. though I’m not sure. it looked like a light show about the city. once again, I was near central station.
    maybe 12 or so (didnt count) spotlights were doing some dancing on the low lying clouds. but near them was a similar light to what I saw in #2 (though not as bright) this time I was not sure whether it was in front or behind the clouds.
    Could have been light projected from the city. Wasn’t the moon. Not too much of a mystery that one, but still a little weird.

    • Hi DM I live in Ryde and I was outside in the garden just before 5.30am letting the dogs out about 1st May (Monday), it was dark and as usual I was looking up at the sky and as the clouds moved I also saw a couple of round white lights moving around. They looked like the white lights you sometimes see from the lasers in the city moving around the night sky but I thought it was odd if they were doing them at that time of the morning I must say

  • Green Bay, Wi. 2 am. Weird hues of light coming from sky. Almost looked like it was behind the clouds. Red, pink, purple, blue and green a couple times. Then as it was almost finished a weird sound.

  • I left a restaurant in Terry Hills at 2200 tonight (27 April). I immediately noticed in the sky heading south, lots of bright cloud-like wisps/puffs of steam looking clouds going around in large circles. I drove further and saw them all the way home to Naremburn. I stopped the car twice and got out and looked into the sky and the lights were still there going round very fast. Southward sky. High above. Were they some military exercise or lit up drones? it was so odd. Still at 2300 in Naremburn..quite eerie.

  • At 2.50pm today 24 April 2017. A planet was quite visible, nearly due west of Beachmere Qld. No binoculars needed. Don’t know what planet it was but first time I have seen one so clearly, and such a bright day?

    • John, that must be Venus. It is at its brightest at present so is easily visible to the naked eye in the daytime sky. But it is hard to locate initially. Well done!

  • Between 5am and 6am on the 23rd April 2017, I saw the largest star like shape in the sky. I was facing north, looking at a 45% angle, and I could see the crescent shaped moon above the large shining light. I looked like the star had five lines extending from the centre. I have never seen anything like it before and considered that it might be the lights from an airship balloon. I observed it for almost an hour and it never moved so there goes my theory about an airship. I was so fascinated by it that I woke my family up to see it too. It was still noticeable at daybreak after 6am, but not nearly as brightly illuminated. What is it? Could it be the large meteor that the new have been reporting was passing close to the earth?
    I am in Greystanes NSW Australia.

    • Debra, No, it was not the asteroid that was recently reported as having passed Earth – that is long gone. It was the planet Venus! At present it is in the north-eastern sky before dawn and is at its brightest also at present. The five lines you saw are just effects of your eyesight, Im afraid. And yes, it was still visible at dawn and even into full daylight (at present) if you know exactly where to look for it.

      • Dear Andrew,

        Thank you for telling me what I saw in the night sky. I have observed it again this morning and have never seen Venus look so big and so bright. It is just beautiful. This morning it was higher in the sky than when I witnessed it last time. It was nice of you to inform me of what it was, and today I made a wish on it. I have always looked for Venus in the sky as I know it is the brightest star in the sky. This was the first time in my life (57 years old) that I have seen Venus look so large.

  • Farnborough, Hampshire, UK
    The time – between 11pm and midnight of 21st April 2017
    Looking directly overhead (90°)
    I was outside for about 10-15mins
    The lights were moving around the house in a circular path, sometimes stopping before moving on again
    The lights went around in a large circle. I was standing at the side of the house – when I looked towards the east I saw them travel past or stop for a time. Then looking towards the front of the house to the west, they continued their path with a constant speed.
    As it was cloudy I could not see any astral constellations
    They seemed to be round dots of lights. At first I thought it might be people shining torch lights off the low cloud, however, as the lights’ path took them from the back to the front of the house it appeared to be unlikely. The lights were a constant round size in all observed locations.

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