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

4,698 responses to “Lights in the sky

  • 1/06/2019
    6.15am, north east Victoria near Beechworth. Looking west/NthWest I noticed 2 bright lights at around 45deg, approximately 4 fingers apart at arms length travelling in a southerly direction. Identical trajectory, very much as bright and velocity of the space station, only they moved a distance then stopped immediately for a second or two, then moved, then stopped, 4 times in all during their path. Witnessed all the way from northern sky to southern before they faded in light cloud. Tell me someone else saw this!

  • On 1 July 2019, in night 1:15am in Karawal Nagar, Delhi, India when I was sleeping on floor beneath the sky a white light moving very fast randomly in straight line and become invisible after reaching a certain point and again moves in other direction very fast. I tried to catch the incident in my camera but nothing catches in video.
    Can u reply what was that, I am very curious about that incident.

  • I am in Southern California and just now at approximately 9:35 pm I observed a large white object flashing on and completely off in the sky to the north of me. It seemed to stationary and not moving. I watched it for 2 or 3 minutes and saw it get smaller and smaller to a tiny dot in the sky and then it disappeared. It was was too low and did not have the characteristics of a star. It had an oblong shape. The sky is clear and there was nothing around it. I am totally freaked out right now. If anyone can tell me what it was please let me know.

  • I was outside in my garden, Enmore, facing north and watching Jupiter and Scorpius which were almost overhead, and a bat flew by. As I looked over to see it I was looking at about 45 degrees up, the sky so clear and beautiful…
    At that moment an almost clear but slightly lit at the edges (but not flaming or alight) plasma oblong wobbling twisting object came downward through the sky heading to the ground heading east lengthways kind of along the flightpath but opposite direction.
    It was BIG, and seriously if I wasn’t paying attention it would have been easily missed because it was so fast (maybe 3 seconds max) and like an opaque but clear oblong blob of wobbling twisting jelly, (best way to explain). It was 8:11pm.
    I’ve seen a meteorite pretty close ablaze with a smoking tail and that was no meteorite. It was amazing! Then about 3-4 mins later something shot down directly from above where it may have fallen in literally a second, so fast. As fast as a bug, but a jet size bug. Much smaller and black. (Sorry for the explanation and my bearings I hope I made sense!) I really desire to know what on earth I witnessed. I feel very blessed!

  • A week or two ago I saw some bright pulses patterns in the sky, but I didnt record the date and didnt follow up further. I again saw the same pulse pattern today. I am at Katunga, Victoria. I am fascinated by the night sky and so always look at it. Many things are seen, and ussually explained, not this.
    First time was at approximately 6.05am and lasted for approx. 10 minutes. the sky was clear, it was dry conditions. I noticed a flash in corner of my eye, and then again in same direction so began to watch the area. it was @ 35deg in east north east sky and moving in a southerly direction, &/or further easterly direction as it got fainter over time. – but also the sky was moving toward dawn.
    Today it was 5:15am it was a clear sky at the time, wet conditions. direction @45deg true north and moving easterly .
    pattern on both occasions: appeared as a group of three separate flashes or pulses; one intense, two similarly less intense. The two less intense pulses were apart and generally in front of the more intense pulse. there was no symmetry or pattern.
    Today the lights appeared closer to me as it was much more bright, the brighter pulse on this occasion giving me the feeling of needing to turn away if it has been any brighter.
    the pulses of light were not regular like say the blink of a plane light, but occurred close enough together, approx 5 seconds to 10 – 15 sec [first time]. this morning 5-10 sec.
    Any appearance of tails or trails of light from the pulses are described as follows: this morning, the less intense pulses seemed to flash behind. the intense pulse had no tail or trail. Previous sighting: trails of light on the less intense which where in random directions [every direction no pattern], & again not apparent on the intense pulse.
    This morning watching went for approx 10 min before being interrupted by light coming from neighbor farm.
    I was clear of mind on both occasions. observed with naked eye. I do not watch the sky at any set time, but always look at the night sky whenever given occasion. These are the only times seen these patterns in my 50+ years.

    • I have been seeing pulsing also in the night sky in Sydney. I’m an avid sky watcher. I’d say over the last 6 months I have been noticing this. It lights up the entire sky in a way that lightning would. But there is no lightning. It doesn’t seem to have any particular pattern to it and it concerns me. It feels insidious and unnatural to me. I actually have it captured it on video. I’ve also twice now heard a low booming frequency sound in the same off kind of pattern and it was unpleasant to say the least.

  • October mountain lee Massachusetts at 1145 pm clear night no moon Northwest at 45 degree angle. I saw about 20 lights or so in a straight line, moving slowly across the sky for about 5 min before disappearing behind the trees. I was with another person too so I know I saw this and I’m not crazy I just have no clue what I saw and can’t find anything so help me please.

  • Early in January 2019, I was at Lake Eucumbene in the Snowy Mountains looking for satellites when I noticed a flash about 5 times bigger than the biggest star that lasted about 0.5 second. I was looking north/northwest and it was 2-3 cms to the left of the “Saucepan”. Apologies for my crude coordinates. Any thoughts as to what it may have been?
    Kind regards.

    • Scott, it may have been a glint off a satellite but that’s too long ago to reliably determine which satellite at Heavens-Above. It is better to say “brighter” rather than “bigger” when referring to stars.

  • Did anyone else see the big red ball speeding across the sky tonight?

    8.15pm tonight (Tuesday 21 May 2019), in Brimbank, I saw a huge red ball speeding across the sky. I can’t even guess at what it was but it remained vivid for some time and after I lost sight of it, a bright white light fell toward the earth. That looked like a shooting star but was closer and brighter than I’ve seen before. Still, it’s the big red ball that is still blowing my mind! Any one out there have any idea?

    Clear, could see the moon ( couldn’t miss it), above 45 degrees, I don’t know direction but from St Albans toward Sunshine. It didn’t seem to be speeding but I’ve never seen anything move across the sky so quickly.

  • Ok I live about 35 miles east of atlanta GA.so it’s 2:30 am and I go outside look up and ask if they will please make themself visable of give me a sign that they are in fact real …3 mins.after saying that I see at about 45 degrees face north and its very cloudy ..i see a dim light just appear moving very fast in a straight line then changes direction with no arc just instantly and it was a v shape move ..well under 90 degrees the path looks like this. < I have no idea what in the hell I just saw but what a coincidence or maybe not it was ..

  • Hi Sydney Observatory, Tonight, 6 May at around 7.46 pm there were two long (1-2) second flashes about 5 degrees either side of due north separated by about 3 seconds. Seen from my back yard in Dundas but my house obscured a direct view as the flashes were only 30-40 degrees above the north horizon. Any ideas what these were. Thanks Ed.

  • At 6:30 this evening (Brisbane time) I saw two star-light objects just above and to the left of alpha-centaurus in the Eastern sky, about 45 degrees above the horizon. They were about the brightness of Jupiter or Sirius. They were close together ( a quarter of the distance between “the pointers”) and of the same magnitude. My view was obscured by foliage for a couple of seconds. When I saw them again they had faded and in a few seconds they had vanished. There was light cloud around, but this was not the reason for their disappearance.

    The lights did not move and did not appear to twinkle like a star. The moon was gibbous and in the north-west. The direction I was looking was in the general direction of Brisbane airport, but this was not plane-related.

    I have been observing the night skies for 45 years and have never seen anything that I could not explain.

    • Dr Fuller, You may have seen a pair of NOSS (Naval Ocean Surveillance System) ‘spy’ satellites. They travel in pairs, one slightly ahead of the other. Although they are normally too faint to notice from a city they must have (a/some) highly reflective surface panels because sometimes they do just what you saw – they brighten up considerably and noticeably. They move across the sky relatively slowly, too slowly to notice the movement when you are surprised by their bright appearance! I’ve seen this myself and this is the best explanation I have. At the Heavens-Above website you can see them, and their path past alpha Centauri. Be sure to enter your location; select “Daily predictions for brighter satellites”; “set minimum brightness” to 5.0; select the correct date; and you will see NOSS 3-3 (A) and NOSS 3-3 (C); clicking on the “Highest Point – Time” link displays a map of the sky.

  • Kallangur. Qld, 4503, 17.25pm, SE, 50 to 55 degrees, moving south east, cloudy, saw it for about 5 minutes. Seemed to be a relatively stationary object with another object attached below that was swinging around a bit .looked like it was either reflecting light (although it was cloudy), or possibly on fire. Weather station or something else?

    • Kathy, yes, that sounds very much like a weather balloon, possibly launched from Brisbane airport. The wind can change direction a lot as the balloon rises which could explain why it was heading back towards the airport. And the foil radar reflector below the balloon would have been reflecting the light of the setting Sun.

  • Saw a red/orangey light in the sky in south south east direction at around 7:55pm in Hobart. The object looked to be headed north east. Was a red orange light that brightened at the read sort of orange colour and had what looked to be a very small trail but hardly any. It was around 70 degrees from horizon. Stuck around for around 5 seconds and didn’t move across the sky to fast and I was slightly stunned. Haven’t seen anything similar to this before and suspecting it is space junk? Thanks. Let’s hope for nothing extraterrestrial.🧐😨

  • Tuggerah Lakes, NSW. Stepped out to watch the ISS tonight, 8/3/2019. I use the ‘Spot the Station’ predictions for Lake Macquarie sighting. 10deg. SSW at 8.42, bang on time, flew like a beaut, predicted to fade at 39deg. SE after 3 minutes, probably nearer to ESE in actuality. As ISS rose higher it became brighter, which right or wrong I put down to the reflective angle. When it reached 20 or 25 deg elevation and was quite bright, I could clearly see a smaller object on a path directly in front of it, say the width of my thumb at arm’s length ahead. Same speed. The small object faded about 5 deg. before ISS. Can you tell me what the smaller object was please? A quick search tells me naught. Sky was clear with very low white cloud SSE, below where the ISS appeared.

  • At 11:45pm on March 4th 2019 in East Setauket, NY I saw a orange flash fill the sky above an inlet next to a power plant. The light filled up a large cloud and the rest of the sky was mostly clear. The light lasted for about 3 seconds and did not occur again after. This is not the first time I have seen an orange light in Long Island, NY.

  • I was in Truganina 23rd of jan2019
    I saw strobe lights flashing , starting close together at the base In the far north-west, they beamed up and out and some parts were covered from the clouds and other parts were in front of clouds. The lights flashed for a few seconds and seemed to fade in and out of colours of the rainbow and also white. The lights went away and then five minutes or so later appeared again, this time they were just glowing and seemed to be without a base and stayed high but lose to us in the sky .
    Then today the 25th jan 2019 a bright orange flash filled the sky above us in a radious of about 400m or less and flashed like the light of a thunderstorm but without having a centre line. The flash brighted up the sky and also around us end the Went away. Then tonight in the north-west to west direction we thought we saw a massive fire, but it couldn’t have been because the fire would take time to put out, within3 minutes there was no orange light but only red and blue emergency lights from the emergency services attending to whatever it was, the orange light was the same colour as the flashes from earlier in the day that were right above and around us.
    I’m sort of convinced that the lights from the other night are some kind of strobe lights, and the lights from today and tonight, I’m not sure.
    Any one else see this in or around Melbourne Victoria Australia.?

  • Just double checking my star walk app, but is that Corona Borealis in the north-east direction about 30deg. from the horizon 4am?

    Saw it on the 18th Feb, couldnt verify today as it was cloudy.

    It seemed like the brightest object for a sydney sky apart from the full moon.

    • Yanko, Your app should show that Corona Borealis is at about 15-18 degrees above the NE horizon at 04:00am on the 18th Feb. At that time the brightest object after the Moon should be Venus, very low on the eastern horizon. The next brightest object was Jupiter at 30-degrees above due east. Perhaps it is the combination of Venus, Saturn and the stars of Sagittarius that have caught your attention – see our Facebook post of 18 Feb 2019?

  • Between nightfall and around 7.30 pm tonight I witnessed a strange light in the sky. I was sitting on my patio on 68 Stanhill Drive, Chevron Island, Gold Coast Queensland. A friend of mine, Sue Minturn, exclaimed,
    “ What is that light in the sky?”
    She had seen a “ white light” descend rapidly vertically across the face of Sirius. Responding to her, I picked up what appeared to me as a constant orange dot descending as rapidly as a falling star in a perfect vertical trajectory down the evening sky in line with Sirius. The object continued in this way as I managed to capture it on my smartphone. Not long after this we picked up another orange non flashing light dot, running perpendicular to the first in horizontal equivalence to the moon.
    Neither light flashed and the second light seemed much slower than the first. Neither light flashed and neither had any tail of any kind. The date was 18/01/19

  • I saw 3 lines like Aeroplane vapour trail, but its was purple in colour at the time of 5:50 AM . And the lines were not close to each other . The direction was 115° E
    10°12’58″N 76°16’57″E on the date of 3 january 2019. At the place Mala in Thrissur district in Kerala,India.
    There was moon of waning cresent phase.
    And some stars . Moon and one star looks like symbol of muslims some logo ( sorry I don’t know how to explain it)
    And there was some stars and I dont know wether it was a satellite or not .

Leave a Reply to Kylie Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related