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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4,492 responses to “Lights in the sky

  • When sitting watching my son play soccer in Kiama on the East coast of N.S.W. at 4.08 pm on Sunday April 15th I saw a large green streak across the sky.I was facing due East. It was high very distant bright , extremly quick. It was so fast that when I called out to other people it was gone. It fell at about 45 degrees from right to left.The track was across about 40% of the blue sky and obviously would have hit the sea. The colour was bright green fading to black as it disappeared, still well above sea level. I think it was a meteorite or a piece of space junk. Did anyone else see it?
    Malcolm Bedford

  • On the 13th of April at about 2:00 am while looking out of my lounge window in ryde. I saw a flash of white/gold light which only lasted for a few seconds. At first i dismissed what i had seen as a figment of my imagination until my friend asked me if i to had seen a flash of light. It travelled in a north easterly direction and was seen at a 45 degree angle. The moon was no where in sight but the sun is now in the exact spot where we first saw it, there were no clouds and it was very clear.Did anyone else this or Know what it is?

  • On Monday 9th April (Easter Monday)in Grafton I had just come in from boating and had just finished flushing the boat. It was just on Dark and I heard a noise (humming in the sky), I initially thought it to be a plane, however when I looked up all I could see was a largish solid light travelling way to fast, It would have been the size of a 20cent piece held out on outstreched arm. Then the tail appeared and it was at full length around the size of a 30cm rule at outstretched arms length. The Meteor travelled from West to East directly overhead of Grafton and lasted for about 3 – 4secs. It was truly amazing to not only see, but also hear, as I had never heard a Meteor before. I did express concerns to my wife about the size and proximity of the meteor as it did appear extremely close and large. Anyone else see this one in Grafton ??

  • Last night or early morning between 12:30 am and 1:30 am in Connecticut USA I was outside taking a smoke break when i was looking at the sky to the north, at about 50 degrees I saw a bright greenish colored “ball” there was no tail to be seen from my view traveling very fast from the east toward the west it was well within my view for 10-15 seconds perhaps a bit longer. The sky was completely clear I have never seen anything this large in the sky when the object left my view i honestly waited to see a flash of some sort like it might of been a plane going down but nothing happened. anyone else see anything in the sky last night?

  • – Where you were: Byron Bay Mid-Northern NSW
    – The time: Around 6:00pm Monday April 9, 2007
    – The direction you were looking: South Eastish
    – How high up you were looking: 40-45° elevation
    – How long you saw the object: 10-15 seconds
    – The direction the object was moving: Towards the East
    – Whether it was clear or cloudy: Completely clear
    – Whether you could see the Moon or Venus or any other astronomical object: Didn’t really look.
    – Describe what you saw: A fire-gas ball with a long yellow, and orange tail, gliding fairly fast in the sky, and after about 10 to 15 seconds it faded towards the sea. By the looks of other observations on this page above where I’m writing, quite a few people saw that gas ball that we saw. It was amazing and really bright, the tail was really bright also! I’ve never seen anything like it. We were just standing under the stars and randomly saw it appear in the sky.

  • Now that we have three sightings that give an elevation we have enough information to make a very crude estimate of the fireball’s altitude and track:

    Forster 30 degrees north
    Tinonee no elevation
    Maclean 80 degrees (presumably south)
    Ballina 40 degrees south

    Allowing for some error in exact elevations, I estimate the ball was about 110km high and crossed the coast between Wooli and Minnie Water.

    Can the experts say if that makes sense?

  • At roughly 6.10 pm on Tuesday 9th of April , looking east , i saw an object moving rapidly in a south / easterly direction about30 – 35 degrees off the horizon..The only colour i could discern was a glowing white.
    No tail was visible.
    It was visible for 5 seconds until i lost sight of it behind clouds.
    Having seen NUMEROUS shooting stars and sattelites , i can safely i have never seen anything like it before.
    The only thing i could liken it to was the time i saw the SPACE SHUTTLE pass over ADELAIDE minutes after takeoff in 1992 and i could see that curving upwards.
    Amazing.

    Shane
    Kellyville ridge

  • Tinonee NSW about 320km north of Sydney. We were outside talking on a clear night, when we saw an object coming from the west to the east.It was a orange,red colour with a huge long tail that we witnessed in the sky for about 10 seconds until it finally broke up and disappeared though we did see pieces of the object falling off as it disintergrated.

  • Last evening, April 9, 2007, shortly after nightfall, my wife and I were strolling on the breakwater at the entrance to the Richmond River at Ballina, Northern NSW. The sky was cloudy, but with large breaks in the cloud. Suddenly, from behind a cloud, at about 40 degrees elevation appeared a fireball travelling from west to east. Its appearance was as a fiery object burning a range of colours including yellow, orange and green which made up its tail. It appeared and disappeared as it passed behing the clouds, but was generally becoming lower in the sky until it passed from sight. It took approximately five seconds from the time we first saw it just to the west of the Southern Cross until it disappeared near the eastern horizon. Venus was clearly visible in the West.

    Nick

  • I live near Maclean on the NSW north coast and just after sunset I witnessed a very large fireball hurtling across the sky travelling from west to east. The approx. elevation, as from when I first noticed it, would have been from 80 degrees and heading down to the horizon before I lost sight behind the hills near my place. The object was visible for about 6 seconds and was the largest I have ever seen in the sky, an amazing fireball of bright orange and yellow which seemed to burn with incredible brightness. I was compelled to write in and see if anyone else had seen this fantastic fireball and have noticed another person had also witnessed this remarkable event.

  • Where you were : Forster Golf Course, Mid North Coast NSW

    – The time: 6 PM Monday 9 April 2007
    – The direction you were looking (north- east) towards Bennetts Head
    – How high up you were looking (horizon is 25-30° elevation,
    – How long you saw the object: 4 Seconds
    – The direction the object was moving: from West to East
    – Whether it was clear or cloudy: partly cloud

    I saw a Large object (rock like in shape the houses in the viewing distance were 800 meters away and the object was about half the size of a house) with a shower of red/orange bits coming off in all directions – these bits seemed to be breaking off in slow motion. The object disappeared behind clouds and then reappeared with the bits still coming off it. It finally got obsured by cloud, I couldn’t tell if it disintigrated.
    I would be very surprised if no one else sees this massive object.

  • We live in northern new mexico and on friday april 6, at approx. 9 pm we saw an extraordinarily bright, stationary, flashing object that was many magnitudes brighter than anything else in the sky. We have spectacularly clear skies in New Mexico and are out of any light pollution. The bright object was not moving, was low on the Western horizon, and seemed to be almost pulsing, we came back in a few minutes with a teloscope and it had disappeared completely. Are there any supernova being spotted in these days – but we can’t explain its vanishing completely.

  • Last night , April 2nd, at between 10:35 pm and 10:50pm a friend and I saw something very large enter our atmosphere . We live in Albury, N.S.W. The object was round and looked from where we were to be about the size of my car.It appeared at around a fifty – sixty degree angle to the horizon and was travelling at a speed that allowed it to be in our view for around 4-5 seconds.It did not have a long tail streaming off it ,just a small one . It looked like a massive ball of fire. It was in the south eastern sky and continued it’s descent in a staight line downward,staying in the south eastern sky.

  • Observed on March 30 from Shell Harbour bright light like a falling star travelling NE to SW at abouit 30 degrees above the horizon. Time about 7 pm. The speed was great,much faster than a plane- the transit took about 4 seconds and then appeared to burn out. Could this have been space junk?

  • Saturday night – Sydney Bondi – 8pm

    I’d gone down to Bondi Beach to see if any of the lights out for Earth Hour would make a difference and was sat on Bondi Beach looking south-east out to the ocean. There was a very bright meteor in the sky, about 60degrees up from the horizon going eastward, burnt bright for about three seconds and then broke up into multiple smaller fireballs. Very spectacular.

  • I suspect this may have been the ISS or similar Andrew – but what was that green fireball we all saw last night – colour suggests a copper component.

  • About 18:30pm tonight 01/04/2007 watching for that green fireball again as the network news said it was the ISS and could be seen same place at 18:34pm.

    Didn’t see the green fireball but did see a bright white object transverse from south to north.

    The object took about 5 minutes to travel horizon to horizon and had the appearance of a star.

  • Tonight (1st April), between approx 6:38 and 6:42pm, coming from the south heading accross to the north eatern sky, a very bright moving object, same speed of any satellite, went over the top of me. It was definately not a plane. It wa a litlle less bright than the Comet currently in the south west/west part of the sky. Would anybody be able to identfy this for me?

  • THE DATE WAS MARCH 30, 2007
    I was at the Cheveron gas station with my best friend and her mother in the car watching the horizon.
    It was around 6:45 PM to 6:59 PM
    I was looking west
    I would say around 50 to sixty degrees
    It was burning for more than thirty seconds but no more than two minutes
    The object was headed dead north
    Clear with a few clouds
    I could see the moon.
    It was like a glint at first as my eyes passed over it but as I focused on it I could see that it wasn’t a glint in the sky but a burning object in the sky, it was a yellow-white color like it wasnt from inside the atmosphere and it had a rather short tail, so I assumed it to be several miles off from where I was. I really would like to know what I saw.

  • At 6.15pm yesterday evening i saw the same as everyone else except i saw two or three….perhaps when it disentergrated… It was an amazing sight to see….I was visiting and am unsure of the direction traveled but it was big and fast…it lasted 4 or 5 secs…I was at Wyndham in NSW…How blessed are we all to see it?

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