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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4,461 responses to “Lights in the sky

  • – Where you were – Sydney, Engadine
    – The time 13 – July 2017 – 6:35pm
    – The direction you were looking – first spotted almost exactly east however more East south east (almost vertical)
    – How high up you were looking (80-90 degrees when first spotted)
    – How long you saw the object – about 2 minutes
    – The direction the object was moving – object moving from south to north in straight line
    – Whether it was clear or cloudy – clear, minor patches of cloud to the north. Could see plenty of stars. Nice night.
    – Whether you could see the Moon or Venus or any other astronomical object – not a star gazer but moon not visible. Don’t know about Venus
    – Describe what you saw – object similar in appearance to star however appeared to be moving very fast. Went in a straight line with no course deviation. No observable trail, no sound, no change in brightness or flashing colour. colour was white. Speed appeared consistent across sky. Lost sight looking north at about 20 degrees when object went behind cloud. Aircraft also visible in sky but could easily distinguish between the two objects so confident it was not aircraft. Another family member also saw object. Can you tell me what it likely was???

  • 8th July 3:30-4:30am as well as the 7th, 5th & 4th. Then one time a month ago, I saw a very bright white light in the sky. North-East, approx. 30 degrees. Saw it from Point Clare residence in NSW. Clear night and could see Venus in the distance. This light was about three times the size of Venus and very white “dazzling”. Higher than a plane in the sky. Light moved in a diagonal direction upwards. At times it would hover and move sporadically dipping up and down and side to side. At times would dim and then become very bright. Saw it in the sky for one hour from bedroom window each time until it went out of view. Tried to drive towards it one of the nights but it seemed very far away! Will try and get video next time! Has anyone seen it? I think anyone living on the coast could see this light easily from any vantage point.

  • ON WEDNESDAY EVENING AT ABOUT 21.15 BOTH MY WIFE AND i SAW A DARK OBJECT IN THE SKY THAT WAS SO HIGH IT WAS BUT A “DOT” AND IT PASSED BY THE MOON THAT WE WERE LOOKING AT AND WITHIN SECONDS IT WAS GONE ??…DOES ANYBODY HAVE AN EXPLANATION OF WHAT IT WAS ??…IT WAS A DARK OBJECT BUT WAS A DOT PASSING BY THE MOON…………….

  • Where you were Hendersonville, NC, USA
    The time: 4:30 am 7/5/2017
    The Direction you were looking: North East
    How high up you were looking 15-20 degrees (I live on a mountain)
    How long you saw the object: 1 hour
    The direction the object was moving: Hovering
    Whether it was clear or cloudy: Cloudy
    Whether you could see the Moon or Venus or any other object: No
    Describe what you saw: Beneath the cloud cover, bright light. Through binoculars it was actually 3 separate objects. About one week ago, saw same object. It had smaller lights in an oval pattern beneath it. During my second observations I saw what appeared to be identical light about 10 miles S.E. Before I could photograph it, the second light vanished

  • Awoke at 0300 0n 5th July 2017. Saw a bright light at about 45 degrees in the North East it took about an 90 minutes moving towards the East.
    Lay in bed all that time must have dropped off to sleep but got up at 0545
    Sun rise was too bright to see anything in that direction. My bedroom window looks North. Clear sky it was not a plane, during my observation
    a vapour trail from a plane passed which appeared to be higher than the light but much closer. St Ives, Cambs, England. PE27 5EP

  • – Where you were: Approx 5km west of Norah Head, NSW
    – The time: 2.00 am
    – The direction you were looking: Direct East
    – How high up you were looking: Approx. 20 deg. above horizon
    – How long you saw the object: Approx. 3 secs.
    – The direction the object was moving: Appeared to be moving north
    – Whether it was clear or cloudy: Sky was clear
    – Whether you could see the Moon or Venus or any other astronomical object: No other object visible
    – Describe what you saw: Object illuminated approx. 20 deg. above horizon. Travelled in a downward arc and lost illumination approx. 5 deg above horizon. What was it please?

    • Last night my fiend and I witnessed a “very bright” object in the north western sky at from about 5am till daybreak in Adelaide…it showed us many movement’s in various directions and faded in and out dramatically and was amazing ….it was the only thing in the sky at that time….
      Nwest approx 30 deg very bright big and close travelling fast for at least an hour….

  • – Where you were – reports without a location will not be posted(whittier, ca)
    – The time( 2:00am)
    – The direction you were looking (north, east, south, west or in-between) [south ]
    – How high up you were looking (horizon is 0° elevation, half way up is 45° and directly overhead is 90°) [70°]

    – How long you saw the object [ 10seconds]
    – The direction the object was moving[ i saw it come from North East heading South West]
    – Whether it was clear or cloudy [ partly cloudy]
    – Whether you could see the Moon or Venus or any other astronomical object[ I don’t remember]
    – Describe what you saw

    [ it almost looked like those green lasers, but purple/blue and thicker. . Made no sound. Object was maybe 10 stories up off the ground and maybe 50 yards in length. It was almost like a flying laser because it had a beginning and end to it] I can’t find anything similar to this online at all><

  • Where you were – Davao, Philippines
    – The time – around 7-8 pm
    – The direction you were looking – I think southeast
    – How high up you were looking – 45°
    – How long you saw the object – 30 minutes
    – The direction the object was moving – still
    – Whether it was clear or cloudy – clear
    – Whether you could see the Moon or Venus or any other astronomical object – I could see the moon
    – Describe what you saw – I thought it was a planet because it wasn’t twinkling and it was the brightest luminous object in the sky aside from the moon. I stared at it and it just began fading, then appearing again. It had the ability to brighten its light or vice versa. It was mindblowing, my sister and I even saw a very small ball of light coming towards it as if it was its destination or something. It could disappear for how many minutes, then light up back again.

  • Where you were – Karlovac, Croatia
    – The time – between 10:15pm and 10:25pm, 29. june
    – The direction you were looking – south, about 165°S
    – How high up you were looking – not that high from horizon, about 10-15°
    – How long you saw the object – about 10-15 seconds
    – The direction the object was moving – still
    – Whether it was clear or cloudy – very clear
    – Whether you could see the Moon or Venus or any other astronomical object – Saturn, Antares, Epsilon Scorpii
    – Describe what you saw – I saw three lights (like stars) shaped in equilateral triangle, the brightness was like Saturn. After about 5 seconds, they started disapearing one by one. Firstly the down-left one, then down-right one, and finally upper one. Each was disappearing for about 3-4 seconds (birghtness was less and less strong until it disappeared). I saw that between Saturn and Epsilon Scorpii. The distance between each was pretty much like distance M19 and M62.

  • – Where you were – Plain View, NC
    – The time – 0430
    – The direction you were looking north east
    – How high up you were looking 45° above the horizon
    – How long you saw the object approximately 10 minutes
    – The direction the object was moving – still
    – Whether it was clear or cloudy- clear
    – Whether you could see the Moon or Venus or any other astronomical object- I could see Polaris
    – Describe what you saw- one large white light and centered underneath it there were six smaller white lights in 2 rows of 3 lights.

    • Hank, at the same time I saw 3 stars (?) shaped like equilateral triangle disappearing one by one slowly. They were also still. Birghtness was pretty much similar like Saturn brightness. Not sure how long they were there, but one was disappearing for 3-4 seconds(brightness would be less and less strong until disappearing). The distance between every one was about the same as distance between M19 and M62. I will write full discription soon.

      Karlovac, Croatia

    • My husband and daughter saw almost the same thing in Washington, NC on June 29. There were 4 round whitish gray circles. Then 5 more appeared and they formed a square of 3 circles in each row. As they started to disappear, they turned to a glowing blue and formed a glowing blue cloud. There was no moon and it lasted for over an hour. The spots never moved other than forming the pattern of a square.

  • – Where you were – Bellingham Wa
    – The time 2:12 AM Tuesday Morning on the 26th
    – The direction you were looking (Southwest)
    – How high up you were looking (60-75°)
    – How long you saw the object : 30 Seconds or less
    – The direction the object was moving :Stationary
    – Whether it was clear or cloudy : Clear
    – Whether you could see the Moon or Venus or any other astronomical object : All the stars were out
    – Describe what you saw: After riding home from work on my bike, I took a moment to look at all the stars, I hadn’t looked up in a while. I had seen two stars that were EXTREMELY bright . I was sorta confused and I looked away at the rest of the sky, and returned my gaze on these two stationary stars. Then they slowly faded away over a few seconds. I was dumbfounded. They just were no longer there. I had never seen anything of the sort. They were not moving either. They were like an inch apart in the sky.

    • Hi Kelly we experience ,a similar’two stars stationary fade in few second but mine occurred after 7 pm ,20th august seen high up with other two faint stars,I was facing north prospect NSW

  • I saw a green ball of light go past my window when I was laying in my bed around 1:00 a.m. June 26, 2017. It looked like a green fireball!
    Where you were – reports without a location will not be posted
    – The time—around 1:00a.m.
    – The direction you were looking (north, east, south, west or in-between)————–I’m
    located in liberty township, Ohio.
    Looking west
    N39°23°41.61° and W84°23°31.69°

    – How high up you were looking (horizon is 0° elevation, half way up is 45° and directly overhead is 90°)—– maybe 35°~40°
    – How long you saw the object—– about 5
    seconds before it disappeared
    – The direction the object was moving—- SW
    – Whether it was clear or cloudy—– it
    seemed to look a little of both
    – Whether you could see the Moon or Venus or any other astronomical object——- no
    – Describe what you saw—— it looked like a
    green ball of fire. When I described to
    my mom, I said it looked like a large
    green firework.

    • I just saw one!! I had to get on here and look and see if anyone else saw what I saw! My green light disappeared into a red little flame then nothing. It scared me! I was looking right at it on my back porch. Amazing!!

      • Dawn, Location, Location, Location. Please! Reports without a location are useless. This website is visible worldwide.

  • – Where you were: mccurtain county oklahoma
    – The time: 5am
    – The direction you were looking :north
    – How high up you were looking: about 45°
    – How long you saw the object: 30sec to a minute
    – The direction the object was moving: east
    – Whether it was clear or cloudy: clear
    – Whether you could see the Moon or Venus or any other astronomical object: moon to the east of me
    – light with the same color as mars moving very quickly across sky then completely stopping and fading away slowly.

  • – Ubud, Indonesia
    – Saturday 24 June, 2017 at 22.30
    – Looking South
    – How high up you were looking: half way up is 45°
    – I was watching for about 3 mins before it disappeared but I don’t know how long it had been there
    – The beam of light was coming down from the clouds
    – Cloudy at night
    – New Moon so dark sky apart from light beam
    – I was walking down a hill to my house at night on the edge of the rice fields when I noticed a circle of light in the clouds with a light beam shining down into the forest trees. I assumed there must be a bar or club on other side of forest shining a light up into the sky but I live in rural area in middle of nature. It was so strange the circle in the sky that I just stood watching it until suddenly the light beam was sucked back into the circle and then it all disappeared in a flash. It is now 23.15 and has started raining – no storm just rain.

  • Urunga, NSW, Australia
    3.30am – 4.30am
    North East
    5° elevation
    I watched the object for about an hour before falling back asleep. The object wasn’t moving. It was sporadically cloudy and I could see other stars. The object was brighter than Venus which is what caught my eye. It slowly faded to a faint star like all the others and then would brighten again. When clouds crossed over it they were illuminated. The fading and brightening continued for about an hour or more.

    • Gabby, It must have been Venus. At 4am it was 6-degrees above the horizon at 68-degrees azimuth (just east of true north-east).

    • Shane, Sydney Observatory is full of astronomers, PhD-qualified, students of astronomy and amateurs both near-professional and newly-minted! I’m sure we can answer any astronomy-related question you have. So dip your toes into the vast ocean of uncertainty and ask away. Or you may prefer to ask via email to sydneyobservatory@maas.museum .

        • Tayyaba, Only two showers are noted as being active on those dates. There were the Daytime Arietids, barely visible in the dawn twilight, and possible early meteors from the June Bootids, originating from close to the northern horizon.

  • Location- Princes Highway Brogo Bridge/ Blanchards road intersection 20 km North of Bega NSW 149 49 25 W 36 32 40 S sighted at 1832 hrs June 12 a ‘meteor’ with large glowing tail- blue/green in colour- quite broad. Appeared to be close. Low to horizon in west. From ~bearing 305 at 10 degrees azimuth heading ‘South’ to bearing~270 degrees at about 5 degrees azimuth. Rest of trajectory obscured by landscape. Brilliantly clear sky at the time. Astro clouds and Milky Way clearly visible. Sighting confirmed by ‘neighbour’ about 1-2kms away who arrived at our rendezvous 2 mins later. He commented on the fiery orange/yellow head. Only seen for about a second. It seemed large and close and likely to have hit earth in Brogo Wilderness or closer. No other reports on local radio. I assume it was a metallic meteorite.

    • Don, thanks for the great report, lots of precise & useful information. Since meteors & fireballs produce their ‘fiery’ trails at altitudes of about 80-100km its unlikely it landed anywhere nearby. If your neighbour saw the trail begin and end at the same azimuths & altitudes as you then that confirms it was very distant. Triangulation is possible however, see the Desert Fireball Network.

  • I keep seeing glowing lights in the clouds above Sydney. The lights only appear in the dark and only appear when there is low lying cloud cover. I first saw the lights in early 2016 above Mosman Bay in Sydney, I have seen them regularly above the sky in Mosman up to March this year. I am now seeing them in the clouds above North Sydney. The lights are not connected in any way to vivid search lights or any type of search light. I notice when I see the lights which look like blue/white glowing orbs in the clouds, that there is no direct beam of light from the ground up to the moving lights, to confirm they are a search light. I doubt they are search lights as the movements are unnatural/weird eliptical movements. The movements are eliptical and rotate in an unnatural way. I am wanting to know exactly what they are and if anyone else in Sydney has seen similar. I have been unable to capture decent video footage using my mobile phone.

    • Leanne, These lights are definitely connected to Vivid. I’ve been watching them for the last three Vivid weeks, flitting about on the underside of the clouds, making arc and looping patterns and “follow-the-leader” trails. Most of the lights produce beams near the ground but higher up the beams are not visible. While they are quite entertaining they do add to the light pollution over Sydney. Most Vivid installations have little or no effect and make for a great festival, but these upward-directed spotlights mask nature’s original vivid display – the awe-inspiring beauty of the Milky Way, the stars and the constellations arcing overhead every dark night!

  • June 12 2017 approx 17.00
    I was standing outside my house located in Bathurst, nsw. I happened to look up at about a 70° angle, Westerly, and noticed what looked like a trail of black smoke. The sky was clear except for a couple of small clouds.
    The Black smoke disappeared and I saw an object travelling downwards. Not at a very fast rate but far off. Then the black smoke again. It took I guess three minutes maybe until I lost it behind house roofs. There were three times i saw the smoke then there was just the object falling.
    There was a plane passing overhead with Jet stream behind that was glowing Red with the sunset so I know the object I saw wasn’t the same as it was definitely Black/Dark trailing behind it.
    I haven’t heard any news about plane crashes etc so was wondering what it may have been.
    Thank you

    • Clara, Thanks for noting the plane with the sunlit contrail. Could this dark trail have been a plane at lower altitude with its contrail in the Earth’s shadow, and moving in and out of humid air? There are no other reports so far.

  • Time. 17.45
    June 10th.
    Location. Winnejup. South Western Australia
    Direction. Looking south.
    Angle. 15 degrees.
    Moving towards horizon.
    Seen for 10 seconds before it disappeared over horizon.
    Glowing orangy read. Very bright. Opaque but a little cloudy. Definitely not the sun. An orb.
    Far too big and too bright to be a planet.
    Two people saw it.
    Never seen anything like it before.

  • I was travelling in my car 5th June up north east road towards tea tree plaza 6:15pm. 2017 in Adelaide I saw UFO with lights come from what seemed like behind the cloud to hover at least 25/30 feet in the air above the car. Think it was a drone but scAred the living beep out of me. I never seen a drone at night just the lights. Just wondered if anyone else had seen it.

  • Hello there,
    On 1/6/2017, at 5:55am this morning I was travelling northbound on the M7 and I saw a meteor, travelling low on the horizon, it had a massive flared green tail (like a rocket booster ) as it burnt up in the atmosphere and it lasted for at least 5second. Do you know if anyone has taken photos or dash cam? Thanks. Please post it because it looked absolutely amazing.

    • Brendan, Thanks for the report. Could we have a bit more information, please? Where on the M7 were you? Which direction were you looking to see it? How high above the horizon was it, measured in degrees or compared to the width of your hand (I know you were busy driving but an estimate is helpful)? Which direction was it moving in? There are no other reports of it so far.

      • I was roughly on the long straight of the M7 near Horsley Park Equestrian Centre facing NNE. It is hard to tell by how high in the sky is was but from my view of the windscreen it was moving from the top centre to the right side sloping ( so maybe 2 and a half hand spans high in the front of my dash across to 2). It was travelling east from my view.

        • Brendan, Thanks for the extra info and Reddit link. It was probably a sporadic fireball or a piece of space junk. Your description is also consistent with it being an Eta Aquariid meteor, although a very late one. Nice to see in any case!

  • south africa_north west at stilfontein’ i’m a person who likes to view the sky@night and the stars of the orion,today 31st may between 19h00-19h15 i steped out side to look at the moon than i noticed a moving ball bright as stars moving fast i thought it was a plane at 1st but it was not reflecting other lights i called my young sister to see as we were staring it vanished without trace in a bunch of stars.what was this bright ball?

  • — Where you were – Galle, Sri Lanka
    – The time – 7.00 p.m.
    – The direction you were looking – between south and west
    – How high up you were looking – about 40°
    – How long you saw the object – about an hour
    – The direction the object was moving – the object wasn’t moving
    – Whether it was clear or cloudy – cloudy
    – Whether you could see the Moon or Venus or any other astronomical object – the moon and Jupiter was visible.
    – Describe what you saw
    The object looked like 3 or 4 stars bunched together. could identify the “stars” separately. they weren’t blinking or moving. visible through the clouds even when all other stars disappeared.

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