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

4,778 responses to “Lights in the sky

  • I was walking home tonight from Victoria Rd down to Tennyson Point on 30.04, when walking through Morrison Park I saw a bright light which looked like a plane directly above but was not flashing, it had a haze to it like a star behind thin cloud although there were no clouds and all the stars were very clear and visible. I watched the light moving from north to south from around 5.55pm, it was moving very slowly and much slower than a pane, I watched it for around 5 minutes and it got to what appeared to be the Parramatta river then dispersed from a bright hazy light into more of a circular dim cloud that almost resembled a spot light beam from a sports game when they shine in the cloud. It then stopped and very slowly started to move to the East, I called my sister while I was walking home and she could also see it when it had turned into the dispersed circle, it moved east for about 2 minutes then vanished

    • Hi I saw the same thing but I was at concord but when I seen it was directly above and moving north south initially thought it was the iss but then noticed the hazy cloud infront of it

  • – Where you were – East Hills, NSW
    – The time – 5:20am to 5:25am
    – The direction you were looking – North East more East
    – How high up you were looking – 45 to 50°
    – How long you saw the object – a few minutes
    – The direction the object was moving – North
    – Whether it was clear or cloudy – Perfectly clear and lots of beautiful stars
    – Describe what you saw –
    I went to take the dog outside this morning (still dark) and was looking at the stars whilst the dog was doing its thing and then saw a virtually straight line of white lights that were moving all following each other directly in a line until they all disappeared in the same spot. There was a lot of them. It looked very pretty. I do not have a telescope. Was clearly visible with open eyes.
    I thought it was a comet’s tail but when I was a child and we saw Hailey’s Comet in the sky it didn’t look like that.
    I read the post of Gail Kettle on 6 February 2021.
    Was it a Starlink Satellite? Never heard of it, so just started googling for it. If so, how often does it pass. Does it pass every day or just sometimes?
    Otherwise it could have been an Army of alien ships following the leader in a line.
    Whatever it was, it was very unique.
    Can you see it at the Sydney Observatory in closer detail?

    • Jacqueline, Yes, they were Starlink satellites. Although a potential boom for remote internet use, they are a looming disaster for many astronomical activities and significantly impinge on heritage aspects of the night sky. The International Astronomical Union has some good information. Heavens Above will show you when they are passing overhead. The satellites are very small so our telescopes would not show them any better than your eyes do, just brighter!

      • Thankyou for this clarification. So it is aliens with Elon as leader. I did some searches on this today after seeing it this morning and as I have never seen or heard of this before was feeling shocked. There are 1,400 of them in the sky and a contract to have up to 30,000.
        Looking at the stars gives some peace and quiet time which is hugely enjoyable and important time to ponder your thoughts and reflect. Not much in life is free and enjoyable in Sydney. But the stars and moon are.
        Although helping have internet in rural areas I feel it might become graffiti in the sky and ruin the view if more are put up in orbit.
        When I saw it, I just thought it was a rare once in a life time thing. If 5,000 go up all the whole 30,000 it will become an eyesore in the sky.
        I have never noticed a satellite in the sky before and these ones travel in a low orbit.
        Feeling very mixed about all this and am worried for our future.

  • At approx 10.30pm on Friday night 5/2/2021 I was outside looking at the sky when I noticed a pinpoint object moving across the sky from a south easterly direction heading easterly. Travelling at a medium pace it was clearly not a comet or shooting star, so I assumed a distant satellite .
    Just as it was disappearing into the atmosphere I realised another had appeared where I first saw the other. It travelled the same direction/path.
    Then another and another appeared, all trailing in the same path.. I stood watching for maybe five minutes as on after another appeared , all disappearing at the same point.. there had to be at least forty or more..
    Then they stopped coming… it was quite interesting to say the least .

    • Gail, These are most likely Starlink satellites. There are links below and plenty on the web about them. They may be a boon for remote internet connections but a disaster for astronomy.

  • – Where you were – North Rocks, NSW
    – 9:42pm
    – The direction you were looking north
    – Looking 45°
    – The object observed for 4-5 seconds.
    – The object was traveling east to west direction.
    – Weather it was clear sky’s.
    – Could not see any moon or stars.
    – Saw a bright white light streaking across the sky and broke up at the end.

  • – Where you were – Kent St (my apartment) Sydney, CBD. Sitting on my balcony which is on the 6th floor.

    – I recorded some of it at 10.27pm belyi noticed the bright flickering lights 30 minuets prior, this lasted between 1 hour to 1.5.

    – The direction you were looking – I’m not exactly sure but I am watching it from my balcony which faces near the new Skye hotel on Kent St.

    – How high up you were looking – looking straight up to the sky / clouds.

    – How long you saw the object – It was there for 1-1.5 hours. Two objects

    – The direction the object was moving – it was moving across away from the gap in the clouds… The two bright lights moved across… Then seperated into smaller lights. I have never seen anything like it then it moved back to its original spot.

    – Whether it was clear or cloudy
    – Whether you could see the Moon or Venus or any other astronomical object – last night it was so cloudy that I couldn’t see the clear sky / moon or any other starts.

    – Describe what you saw

    Two huge white bright light, both circle shape… They kept flickering like a light switch – would disappear then come back, I was thinking it might be a strobe light from a hotel building until it moved across away from the gap of the clouds… After I kept looking at it it seperated into smaller white bright lights then moved back to its original spot into the two lights and then that’s when I decided to go inside my apartment as it made me uncomfortable. After about 20 minutes I looked back outside, I manged to record the part when it was flickering, eye to eye the colour was white but when recordered it’s a blue.

    I couldn’t get my head around it, their was a point where it was two bright lights then a long light between the two bright lights and it started to flicker.

    Hopefully no one thinks I’m crazy but this is exactly what I witnessed last night on the 18th October 2020.

  • 2015 Canyon City, Colorado. Private land far from civilization. October. Clear night. Camping, 1-3am woke from animals noises. My husband and I went out to investigate. We looked at a mountain range in front of us, facing east.. object was less than half way up.. slowly moving up and down. Looked like a bright star… We looked with high power binoculars and saw that the object looked like the shape of a nucleus.. We looked for about 30 min to an hr.. then went back to sleep. Never saw the object again.

  • We live a few klm. (10) south of Wisemans Ferry.
    On Wednesday 31st September approx. 21:15pm I was standing on the Veranda and saw a orange light up in the sky at 35 degrees east of North.
    I guess the elevation was about 40 degrees up from where I was standing. The light was brighter, constant and stationary. Could be seen through very light cloud The nearest star was east of the light about 1 degree and very faint. Only having Binoculars I tried to get a closer look. It was still a orange colour. I watched for about 15 minutes while it remained in the same position.
    I went inside to get my camera, on returning there was heavy cloud cover and I was unable to see the object again.
    Would someone know if it was a planet or something else. I would like to know. I have never seen a object that bright in that part of the sky before. I will try to look again on Thursday 01/10/2020
    Thank you
    Adrian

    • Adrian, You were looking at Mars. It is very bright at present, being relatively close to us. It will be at its best this month.

  • What is the red & blue twinkling star that appears in the south east from about 10 or 11pm onwards? At least it looks like a twinkling star through average quality binoculars. It is almost exactly south east from Melbourne, about 20 degrees up from the horizon.

    • Joanne, That would be the star Canopus, brightest star in the constellation Carina, the Keel. At this time of year it is low near the horizon. Yes, it will be twinkling a lot due to being so close to the horizon.

  • Tonight at 7.10pm 6.9.20 myself and daughter walking our dog noticed the usual satalite going over head , then she yelled look 7 lights all the same distance apart and going same speed in a line formation heading s/e over jervis bay area nsw australia ,these light were same size as looking up at the stars ,these were not meteors of fire balls but controlled vechilces

  • I’m a soldier stationed in Kuwait. I saw 4 white objects in the sky, I thought were birds in a 4man flank staggered formation. However, as they passed over me, they closed in together and formed 1 cluster and just disappeared! No sound no smoke, nothing!

  • Hi all, 6:40pm,Saturday 22 August, North Rocks Sydney, elevation about 50-60 degrees at that time, looking at the lower of the two pointers, I saw a light flash for about one second just a tiny distance to the west of the pointer. It was at least as bright as the brighter of the two pointers. About 15 seconds later it flashed again in the same position, then nothing. Intriguing. What are your thoughts? Regards Tony.

  • This occurred in 1956 or 1957 in Southwest Alabama. Two friends and I were walking one night in the very rural area in which we lived. It probably was about 8-9:00 pm. Suddenly to the West Northwest a round light occurred and moved horizontally right to left then just as suddenly disappeared. It appeared to be quite a distance from us at about a 35 – 45 degree angle from the ground.
    The light was just a bright clear light. No houses close, no planes, we had no lights, no moon reflection. What was it? I still wonder some 60 plus years later.l

  • From Wellington, Colorado, from a 90° view straight overhead, to the horizon, directly east, moving at the speed of the ISS, in fact i thought it might have been the ISS, but the coarse was directly east and the ISS is usually moving in a diagonal path from the northern to southern hemisphere. The object was as bright at the ISS at dusk but the light strobbed exactly like an operational lighthouse flying 400 miles up due east. About 2 weeks ago.

  • July 31 Santa Fe, NM
    Twice now a week apart, just above something lights up very very bright white, flaring then fading out completely for a second or two, as it moves, maybe flaring about 5 to 7 times before I can no longer see it, but the last flash was still quite far from the horizon, totally silent, similar course and direction both times.

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