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

4,812 responses to “Lights in the sky

  • This is a question not a comment. The northern hemisphere has a green comet expected (now) is it possible to see in the southern sky ? If do, where do you suggest I look ? Thankyou regards Jane

  • For at least the last 3 weeks up to last night’s viewing (25 Oct 2022). Saw the same thing a few years ago. Appears rising south east 130 degrees (from my position in Berowra and is brightest object in sky after Jupiter (brighter than Saturn). Colourful, even to the naked eye. Through lens it seems to morph into different shapes including cubes, hexagons, rectangles etc. Assume it’s just rotating but very weird and not on my SkyView app. Not a star or planet. Too clear to be anything too distant. I know the capabilities of my telescope (plus naked eye visible). Took various videos through my telescope. Incredible. What is it? A few years ago I thought maybe Christmas comet but too early for that? Happy to share videos and images (as amateurish as they are)

    • Daniel, does it move the same way as the stars, ie. stay in the same relative position and rotate around the south celestial pole? or is it moving past the stars? Could it be the star Canopus?

      • I’m not well versed in the terminology Andrew. But yes, it rises and continues up and a little to the left like a star would. I give up on it about 1030pm. My telescope doesn’t really get visuals like this with stars. Usually just a little faded blob. This is very different. I will check tonight and see if it is same spot as Canopus (seems same spot looking at app) and let you know. Noting I’ve seen Canopus plenty before and it’s nothing like this.

        • It’s 815pm and I believe I just took video of Canopus. . This object is not sweeping like Canopus. It’s up and to the right of Canopus and much bigger and brighter. Anyway. Feel free to email me and I’ll send you a few videos if you like. One of canopus and one of the other with same magnification. I remain curious as to why this is not being noticed….

          • You are right Andrew. Must be Canopus. Probably just a better camera lens than I used to have. Thanks for your input.

          • Glad to help. Your camera is recording the effects of ‘seeing’, or the distortions caused by our atmosphere. Just as you see the Sun distorted, mirage-like, as it sets, stars near the horizon twinkle, shimmer, flash different colours and, if recorded on video at high magnification, appear to change shape and size. Part of the problem is a camera is trying to auto-focus on a changing, poorly defined ‘blob’ and just makes it look worse! You will notice Camopus looks more and more star-like as it rises higher above the horizon. Additionally, from Berowra, you are looking out across Sydney, with its many heat sources (concrete, bitumen, air-conditioners, cars, etc) all of which add to the atmospheric distortions.

  • 9.35 Redfern Just below the full moon to the LHS. In a Nth-East direction from where observing it-pretty much as described before on July 26 this year-v bright,very sparkly like giant blow up of corona virus!-Similar but not so thread like in appearance-could it be a space station,man made object or is it most likely a planet?

  • odd ,scintillating,coloured blob I sent the query about last night still there tonight at 11.40.
    Seen as last night looking NE from Redfern backyard.Not directly overhead.Not moving .Might be on top of a building perhaps and not in the night sky itself as a natural entity.Just want to know what it is!!

    • Roslyn, Thank you for the good description, directions, times, etc. Could you estimate how high above the horizon it was, the angle? Was it there an hour prior, at 10:30 or so? Try viewing it fromt the front yard, or along the street – that will help distinguish a nearby object from a celestial one. Jupiter and Saturn are in that part of the sky around that time of night but you binocular view doesnt sound like them!

  • at 11.30 pm on 25/7/22 from a backyard in Redfern NSW I noticed a bright object in the sky,like a very bright star. The direction I was looking in was roughly NE,say over Bondi way. This bright light was not a star.Through binoculars it had a shimmering appearance with a moving border. Looked like someone had thrown a fishermans net into the sky-it was a discrete shape but the threads within it and the border itself was moving.It was also colored -the predominant colours of the threads making it up were pink and blue. Most odd-a transparent jellyfish made up of pulsating colourful threads in the night sky!! Please explain it to m!

  • March 31st, 2022 at approx 2.15pm. A small red light as if something burning up. Just before it petered out there was a fine trail of smoke. I only noticed it for about 5 seconds. It got my attention because it was mid afternoon on a bright clear day. I was a passenger in a car travelling in a southerly direction in the western suburbs of Adelaide, Australia. This small bright red light was at about 60° travelling in a south-easterly direction from where I was. No-one else in the car noticed it as it was too small to pinpoint it to them and didn’t last long enough.

    • Venus, Thank you for a good description. The limited time, colour and smoke trail suggest it may have been a flare someone let off. We haven’t had any other reports of this so far.

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