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

Share

4,477 responses to “Lights in the sky

  • I was in the backyard on my rear deck about 7.30pm on Wednesday 13 June 2007. My house is at the top of a hill so I had quite a good view.
    I was looking WNW from my position in Glen Alpine (south of Campbelltown) and saw a very bright fireball dropping almost vetically out of the sky (about 80 degrees with a slight arc in its trajectory)from about 45 degrees up. It was by far the brightest and most colourful ‘shooting star’ that I have ever seen.
    It finished its path about 10 degrees above the horizon.
    The fireball started with a bright white flash and its trail grew the thickness and brightness a it descended. About half way down it dimmed and then quickly re brightened and flashing bright blue and green colours (like copper being put in a flame), it seemed to explode and was gone.
    It looked very close to me due to the thickness of its trail and the way it decended. I’d guess maybe on a couple of kilometers away. To me, it seemed that it could have been space junk burning up due to the metallic burning type of colours seen.

  • Hey Nick, well how about that? Thanks for your reply. I was in such a rush last night to find someone on the internet to tell about my sighting, I didn’t even check to see if there was a ‘report your sightings’ site! Well, in all the excitement, I’m glad I took the time to record what I saw properly, even if I had not read your instructions on how to make a report until now…I guess it was meant to be! So glad others saw it too! It was too special to be just my secret.

  • Michelle & Rosemary seem to have seen a bright fireball on yesterday (Wednesday 13 June 2007) evening. Here is another report from Nikki from Alexandria, NSW:

    At approx. 7.25pm tonight I saw a bright flash and quite a wide orangey streak of light about 45 degrees above the horizon, heading downwards in the western sky. To put things in perspective, it was about 4 times wider, brighter and longer than the con trails left by jets which pass overhead at 35,000 feet. The trail was about 10cm long and vanished in about a second (the length of the orange streak probably moved 5 to 10 degrees closer to the horizon before it just vanished). I’ve seen white ‘shooting stars’ before, but I’ve never seen anything like this. Was it a meteor? Did anyone else see it?

  • I was travelling west on the M4 earlier tonight around 7:15 and saw what looked like a fireball or meteor, to my left (about 10 o’clock in the sky?) It looked white hot in the middle, had a smokey tail; it was coming down from right to left at an angle of about 45 degrees…..it went behind a cloud, probably burnt up as I didn’t see it re-appear, though I was driving at the time! Other than a couple of clouds sky was clear. Sounds like the same thing Michelle saw! I rang the ABC but they had not had any reports.

  • Wed 13/6/07: I was driving West along Epping road, just passed the Lane Cove River bridge, driving up hill, then road flattens a little- and i saw a bright flash comet like stream of light.
    The time: 7.25pm. Direction you were looking: West. 40 degree elevation. Saw object for 2-3secs. Object moving South. Clear night. Could see stars and a few aeroplanes.
    I reacted immediately- woa what was that- so i’m pretty sure it wasnt just a reflection or plane lights etc. Have never reported sighting before- this is fun! and would love to hear if anyone else saw it!

  • Is Merrylands down from me? If so then what I saw was veiwed by another. I am so glad someone else saw it! Cheers Nick!

  • Hey Nick, Wow! No one seems to have viewed what I viewed. But it’s my opinion and I am totally underated on the knowledge of stars. Power to everyone or anyone that can shed some light on us all.! Godbless!

  • Here are two further reports of the object reported by Kathie from last night.

    Linda from Merrylands writes: hi, my mum saw a comet like object in the sky last night at around 11.30pm (11-06-2007). i was wondering if anyone else saw this or you may have some more input?

    Richard writes: Hi,

    Last night I observed a meteor burning up above the Eastern Suburbs of sydney… moving from East to West.

    It appeared to be breaking up, with smaller chunks falling behind and dimming.

    Was this observed by the experts? Do you have anymore information on it?

  • Last night 11/6/07, I sighted a comet type fireball in the sky over the Central coast area, it seemed to be out over the sea and the time was around 11.07pm. It went in a straight direction towards Newcastle (North) Coming from the South. It was amazing and it was only a fluke that I looked out and noticed it. I had to study it to make sure I was seeing what I thought I was. It lasted around 10 seconds possibly more. It was truly amazing. I was imagining aliens darting back down to zap me as I had spied there craft by accident…lol! No seriously it was a sight never seen by myself before and it seemd to be a rather large ball of fire with a big flame like tail behind it. Did anyone else see it? It was way cool! I have read this thread and it would seem by all accounts previously recorded that this could have been fuel dumping or a metorite. It just dissapeared suddenly without fading.

  • Did anyone else see a “fireball” type object between 8pm and 8:30pm on 10 July 07 on the Northern Beaches? It was viewable by the naked eye. We were looking in a northerly direction, about 45 degrees up when we noticed a glowing fireball that lasted for about 7 or 8 minutes. It appeared to move in a westerly then northerly direction, a burning fragment seemed to fall off and then the object disappeared to the north. Any ideas what it could have been?

  • june 5th 2007 at around 6:05am from Blacktown area I saw what looked like a fireball heading east out to sea I think. I think it would have started or was noticeable over Parramatta and only lasted a few seconds, a very flat trajectory.Just wondering if anyone else saw it. cheers

  • Saturday May 12th.2100hrs West Australia time (UTC+8hrs).
    Our position Well 16 on the Canning stock route.
    S 23-54-300
    E 122-23-020
    We saw an orange/red glowing ball bearing 150 degrees magnetic from our position starting at an elevation of 60 degrees to the horizon. It descended vertically with “sparkles” coming off it for 5 to 6 seconds till it met the horizon.
    Four of us saw the object; it was a clear night and I would appreciate any feedback.

  • Did anyone else see a large meteor/fireball shoot across the sky in Sydney on Thursday 24th May 2007 at 6:34pm. I was situated in Parramatta at the Rivercat ferry wharf looking north west. It was travelling in a west to east direction and lasted for a good 3 seconds before it burnt out. It was orange in colour and one of the best, brightest and biggest I’ve ever seen.

  • Who else saw it? – Saturday 25 May between approximately 10.30 and 10.34pm. I was looking east in roughly the direction of sagittarius, when futher south east at around 50degrees there was an incredibly bright light in the sky (around as bright as what Jupiter has been these last few nights). It moved in a southerly direction, wavered in brightness, became visible again only to then disappear…Did anyone else see this?

  • Did anybody see the huge fireball directly east off Tweed heads on Friday 25/05/07 at about 5.30pm. It was so beautiful. It lit up a whole cloud as it passed thru it. I can’t beleive nobody else saw it.

  • Did anyone see the huge fireball directly south of Tweed Heads at about 5.30pm Friday 25/05/07? It came down just off vertical. I only noticed it when it was fairly low s I was sitting at traffic lights. But it was so big, I can’t beleive no body else saw it. It was so beautiful, it lit up a whole cloud as it passed thru.

  • I saw the same thing as Damian just saw. Was facing the sea at Curl Curl NSW, a fireball with long tail gliding through the sky from the north to the south. It took around 5 seconds to disappear and there are sparkling around the tail of it.

  • Did anyone see the IMMENSELY bright meteorite last night over Sydney. I think it was around 8:45pm (on the 24th of May). I’m amazed no one has mentioned it. I am near Lane Cove and looking East it seemed to shoot straight down. I’ve seen many meteorites before, but this was really bright. It may have left a remnant on the ground.

  • Hi Nikki Chris and Gavin,
    I saw it too! i am so glad you did as well as i was beginning to doubt my sanity.
    I was walking along bondi beach last night towards the south end at 9;40 when to my right i saw a bright blue thing shoot across the sky. It went from north to north west from what i can tell. it lasted for about two secconds and i was amazed as i had never seen a meteor that bright before (i am assuming that is what it was). It seemed like it dissapeared behing the clouds.
    are there any further explanations as to what it was?
    rebecca

  • Nikki & Chris,
    Just logged on to see if anyone else reported this sighting at 9:40. From the angle I was at, It appeared to be heading from east to west.

    It grabbed my attention, as it shot past. It was so bright that I could notice it behind a cloud. It looked like it was going to hit Redfern Towers (sadly is didn’t).

    I couldn’t make any real colours out because of the cloud , it was visible for near 3 seconds.

    Never seen anything like it !

  • Hi Chris,

    Yes I saw it too. How beautiful was it. I cant offer any other suggestions as to what it was other than a meteor.

    I was located in South West Sydney, so from my angle it appeared to be heading North West also, but was a magnificant blue colour.

    Nikki

  • Hi,

    Last night (22nd May, 2007) at around 9:40pm I saw a bright emerald green light streak across the sky. It seemed quite large and bright, and lasted probably 2 seconds.

    I was standing at the top of the carpark at Carlingford Court Shopping centre, and the light seemed to travel from North to North West at about 70 degrees to the horizon.

    It was bright enough to be seen through a lite, hazy cloud cover that only a few stars could be seen through.

    My guess is it was a meteor with a high composition of Copper, but if any one else has any suggestions, it would be appreciated. There was a commercial airliner facing directly towards it preparing for landing, so I guess they would have seen it as well.

  • Hello Connie. You were looking at the crescent Moon. Last night it set at 9:13 pm so at 9:00 pm it was just above the horizon. A little later when you tried to show your husband it had already set. Note that you were lucky to see it that close to the horizon in a built-up area – you could see it only because High St Kensington looks slightly north of west just towards the position the Moon happened to be setting last night.

Leave a Reply to Deborah Ingram Cancel reply

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