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

4,790 responses to “Lights in the sky

  • Red light hovering n moving across sky Sth of nepean hospital when from to Dr n back again totally red.. like a massive drone..

  • Okay I know this sounds insane but I was with my best friend and she saw it too. We were so confused.
    We were on the tidal river walkbrige at wilsons prom it was around 10 pm at around North at a 60degree angle just above the tree line. We saw it for a few minutes but had arguments on how long. There were only very little clouds, basically none. Think it was a full moon?

    So we saw a group of stars we think, that looked green and also saw a bit or red and orange at times. They were jiggling around and seemed to be moving left and right and up and down. Looked like one of them went down(sounds crazy I know) then they had kind of disappeared by fading after a few minutes.

    I thought I saw something drop, and it seemed to be pretty small.

    Anyways, thanks, please respond with a logical explanation cause I really need one.

    • Jacqui, you may have been looking at the Pleiades cluster of stars. They were due north at about 10pm that evening from Wilson’s Prom, but at about 30-degrees elevation (but humans are notoriously bad at estimating angles!), the colour-flashing is due to the atmospheric effects that also cause stars to twinkle, and the ‘jiggling’ is, I suspect, due to the same effects in combination with the movements your eyes make (saccades, etc) perhaps accentuated by fatigue. They may have faded behind thin cloud and the one that dropped may have been a sporadic meteor! If the stars weren’t the Pleiades they could have been the Hyades star cluster, which was due north about 11pm, after the Moon rose at about 10:30pm. Did you notice where the constellation Orion, or ‘the pot’, was?

  • 7:30 am on January 3, 2018
    45°-60° facing East / little ways South
    Calgary Alberta
    For hours before I decided to take a closer look I saw what looked like an overly bright new star I hadn’t noticed before. Finally when I took out some binoculars it began to look roughly like a triangle shape with a round obscure barrier around it but the barrier wasn’t quite clear/see through just the shape behind it(or insideit) was brighter. This one was yellow , and only through the binoculars did I notice there was an identical shaped object behind it, a little lower, and to the right -only this one was red, and yet again behind this red one, little lower, and to the right was the same shape again except this third one was blue….

    • Ray, we don’t normally answer international reports but I suspect you saw Jupiter (brightest object), Mars (red) and star Zubenelgenubi in Libra (your blue object). Jupiter and Mars have been particularly close in recent days. And you need to get your binoculars checked out – the triangular shape means something is wrong with the optics!

  • I’m 36 years old and I live in Meade County Kentucky. I spent my childhood dreaming of being an astronaut as I spent most summer nights staring at the stars. With Louisville KY being the county right above me and with Fort Knox Reservation spreading across the county I live in ive seen and heard alot of different air traffic in my days. Last year I began to see things that defy the laws of what I know. One night as i was looking at the stars… one in particular stood out to me because of its brightness. My first thought was ( North Staar) imeaditly followed by my next thought which was this Staar hovered over the south making my first thought incorrect. Now that it had my attention I noticed that it was moving in an L shape pattern … back and fourth. The pattern was a very tight set of movements in wich stayed in the same general area. I cross referenced everything I know and came to a few conclusions. It had to be in space to move laterally and vertically as it did or it was super small yet some how super bright . This Staar looking object showed up every night at or around 2:30 a.m. and it would hang there for exactly 3 hours and then it would disappear just as it apoeared. Like turning on or off a light switch. I observed this thing every chance I got because the fact I couldn’t identify it concerned me. And it concerned me even greater of why it was there and why nobody else was paying attention. I could go on and on but I will sum my story up by telling you this. As the summer passed on into fall I came to realize that I would see Staars that behaved in the same exact nature anywhere I went. Sometimes 3 at a time. People would kinda think I was joking until I would get the opportunity to show them and I did. The moment in which each person recognized they had became a witness to something they couldn’t explain was priceless because for a period of time nobody could believe what I was telling them and I was alone trying to figure it out. I still don’t know. I’m assuming it’s a hi tech drone or ufo. Either way I’m still concerned of their purpose more then what they actually are. These objects always appeared above me but seemingly to the south. They all appeared around 2:30am and would vanish before 5:30am. Somebody please inform me if you can shed more light on this subject..

  • I just saw something cross over the road I was driving down. 17:50 north east ohio. It’s hard to explain but it looked massive, long, kind of low. It somewhat resembled a narrow blimp that had been stretched twice it’s size. It had two white lights, on on each end, and a blue line from one end to the center. It was flying somewhat sideways. I have no idea what it was but I’ve never seen anything like it before.

  • On December 24th, 2017 at about 2045-2100, I observed an unusual “shooting star” event. I live on Eielson Farm Road past North Pole in Alaska and had just dropped off a package at my daughter’s house. We were leaving and had just turned towards the south when I observed a dumbbell shaped object moving on a slope running from north to south. It was above the tree line about 20 degrees. Both ends of the object were bright like a fireball and there was some sort of connecting piece between the two ends. It was obviously a single object. The moon was about 45 degrees above the horizon and the object was moving in the western sky towards the south west but below the moon. We observed it for only a few moments, maybe 5 seconds when it went below the tree line and disappeared from sight. We heard no noise and saw no indications of a crash. As a retired Air Force aircraft maintenance officer, I have observed many unusual aircraft configurations. This was not that. There as no fire trail, just the object, itself. The sky was clear and the temp was about -10F.

  • HI my mum saw flashe’s of light out to sea this morning from 1.30 to 2.oo am. So bright it woke her up. She described it as a big circle of light that kept flashing not like any electrical storm she’s seen before off oakura coast new plymouth, nz. Have any idea what this could have been?

  • On 022016 at 1850hrs in Trumbull, Ct 06611, the ISS was traveling overhead. Clear skies. In the ESE a full Moon was out and a large object was visible and in the 7:00 position to our Moon. I observed that object with my telescope and could clearly view the surface. It was Moon-like, with craters like our Moon and had numerous active erupting volcanoes. It almost appeared to be a planet. That object had an extremely fast rotation. It was up there and visible in the night sky for 5 days. Nothing on the News about it. Never saw anything like it before. Hoping that the object is not in an orbit around our sun.
    Some footage on U-Tube of the Moon and object.

  • 23 December 2017 approx 9.15pm, at Caringbah NSW we saw to the East at 60 degree angle what looked liked a very slow dropping star which took maybe 30 seconds or longer to drop vertically to about 15 degrees where trees obstructed our vision. As it dropped, it periodically faded from bright to dark to bright again.

    • I saw a bright,gray extremely comet like shooting very low across the sky behind my trees. It was so low ,I thought it landed on my backyard. I live in Worcester,Massachusetts it was 2:53 in the am I’d December 26. I also noticed the biggest star shining and blinking and kind of moving it was so big and so bright. It looks like it was dropping from the heavens!!!!

    • Hi on the 23rd dec 2017 I also saw a large slow big red shooting star around 7.40pm aest. We are in Cairns FNQ it was a very clear night it was probably 60 degrees and slowly dropping with a big head and thick tail. I was looking south south/west. In comparison to other shooting stars Ive seen (small fast and white), this was Big red and slow. Then it just dissapeared…i was madly making a wish! Hope this helps someone.

  • Lodi, Ohio
    Object placement : treeline level in above horizon
    Direction : South
    Coverage : cloudy with clear patches all over
    Temperature : 33°F

    I was driving looking over every once in a while to see the sunrise, when i noticed an object in the sky that resembled a bright white, rounded arrowhead slowly falling downwards at a 12° angle in between a couple clouds. It had no visible tail and dissapeared from my vision behind the clouds under the treeline within 5 minutes.

  • 12:00AM. Sussex Wi. Was out walking my dog. Clear night. Was on the sidewalk walking southbound when out of no where this huge perfectly white and circular orb of light shot diagonally down from the sky, flying northwest to southeast. Was tree top height, and a bit higher. Lit up the entire four lane road in front of me! Left a white streak which vanished as quickly as i saw it, and the ball of light only lasted about 3 to 5 seconds. Was on the phone with my mom and it vanished presumably not far behind the local pool store but made no sound or shaking upon landing! Happened right across from my apartment complex!!! Tonight was a pretty clear night but didn’t notice any moon and only a handful of clear stars. My heart is still pounding!!! Would love to see the impact zone but am unsure what to even look for?!?!?!? It was the biggest thing ive ever seen but then vanished so quickly. Simply incredible! Feeling moved to get involved in the field of astronomy. Still not sure what it was. Thought it might be a shooting star at first but I’ve NEVER seen anything like it and have NEVER seen anything so close!!! My mom said it might have been a piece of a space shuttle or weather balloon but I dont think so. Would love to discover more information on what I saw tonight. This has had such a profound impact on my life and it’s hard to believe it lasted only meer seconds! Just wow!!! So blessed to have seen this!

  • November 29th 2017 @ 6:45pm. Ipswich, Suffolk, UK.
    I was standing by my back door when something caught my eye, I managed to see a large ball of white light falling from the sky at a 45 degree angle before it was obscured by trees. It was falling at a very fast rate. The sky was clear and you could see the stars. Could it have been a meteorite?

  • 9.19 tonight in Canberra (from Woden area) looking to 325 degrees NW, about 15 to 20 degrees above the horizon. I turned to look out the window and caught the end of something which I thought was firework, it was that bright firework green colour.
    Very intense burning, but not big enough to light anything up at this location. No noise associated with it, no sparks or even tail, nothing emanating from it – sure it wasn’t like any firework is ever seen.

  • Christmas time, fishing off the harbour wall at Watchet, Somerset, England, with my daughter and grandson.
    It was about 2am, very cold, and deserted and quiet.
    There was low cloud, no wind. Suddenly we became aware of a very bright light above the cloud, stationary and silent.
    It srayed there for several minutes.
    We also became aware of a man standing more or less under the light, which ‘switched off’ after a few minutes, leaving the area lit by the few lights on the harbour wall.
    My daughter, who was in her 30s, approached the man and asked what he thought the light could possibly have been.
    He totally ignored her, didn’t move.
    She came back, we packed up our rods and left.
    My grandson, who was 9 or 10 at the time, has never forgotten.
    None of us ever will.

  • November 30 – 11:01 pm – Geelong, VIC, Australia.
    North, 45 degrees.
    Object/s visible for about 5 minutes.
    Object/s moved in a large circle for a few seconds before settling into a wide circle, pausing, all coming in to form a very bright sphere, before fanning out back into the wide circle and staying that way until they faded entirely.
    Cloudy coverage, moon visible but away from the phenomena to North West.
    Orb lights in a circular formation. Looked about 500-700 metres across. Stars visible through the middle of the circle when low cloud coverage permitted, so not a solid object – lights in a ring. Potentially searchlights, but no trail onto the clouds. It looked like it was lit from behind them. A neighbour suggested they were storm chaser lights?? But it’s been calm weather all day.

    • December 11th – 11:07 pm – Geelong, VIC, Australia.
      2 nights ago.
      Towards the East, Central Geelong.
      Same circular formation of 10 glowing orbs.
      Visible for roughly 5 minutes (from Herne Hill).
      Disappeared rapidly before returning again.
      Occasionally moved in rapid and uneven patterns.
      Weather was calm, slightly cloud and minimal stars visible.

      • January 1st 2018 9:30
        Towards Central Geelong
        Same circle of 10 bright orbs
        Visible on and off for around an hour.
        Lights would move around eratically and change colours every now and then before returning back to the circle and hovering.
        Lights would disappear every now and then before returning.
        Weather was calm with cloud cover. Moon was visible until the lights appeared and clouds covered it.

  • My partner and I where caravaning in a farm field near Rye in Kent. We had to leave early this morning at around 5am. It was icy cold but still and a clear sky and still dark so we could see the stars very clearly. As we were looking up now sat in our camper van about to drive off we noticed two horizontal strips of very bright lights running parallel to each other and about 6 feet apart and around 40 feet up and about 100 feet long like tram lines

  • Just before 1030pm AEDST in Sydney Australia a friend and I saw a large fireball shooting through the Eastern sky at about 45 degrees above the horizon for about 2 seconds. We think after this we couldn’t see it due to buildings obstructing our view. What was this?

    • Jennie, It could well have been a fireball, or maybe just a bright meteor. If it was heading south it may have been an early meteor from the Geminid meteor shower.

  • I’m in Rockport, Texas. I was walking my dogs when I got home on Tuesday 11-21-17, it was about 1am. I have always been pretty god at finding satellites when looking up at the sky. This was a perfectly clear night, many starts were visible. I noticed something moving through the sky, it was way too high to be a bird or plane. Not to mention I don’t have a major airport near me. A second object showed up and they traveled through the sky, parallel. Then they would start to dip and dart and move around one another, making zig zags, then joining back together, still making quick moves either right in front or slightly behind the other. It was like they were playing together. I’ve never seen satellites move like that, so I was curious if anyone else had ever seen the same thing.

    • I live in Western New York (NY/PA Border and about 90 minutes south of Buffalo). Last night, November 29, 2017, the sky was so bright with stars, and I had witnessed the same thing. There were several bright triangle shaped lights, a few of them were red. I noticed, at one time, a red and white one flew side by side with the same colored lights blinking. A few minutes later, a red one flew away alone, slowly. It had red blinking lights. These objects were not high in the sky. They were about airplane height. The difference between them and airplanes is that they stayed in one place for about an hour or more. Many of my friends witnessed it as well. A couple of us had tried taking pictures or recording it with our phones, and our phones would die or reset. It was definitely weird.

      • Tonya, I had a similar experience last night as New Year’s eve fireworks were going off over Adelaide. It had just turned midnight. Clear skies, red cluster of quite large lights, with an occasional blue flash. Flew to and fro at about helicopter level some miles from me..and in front of the display which would be nearly five miles from where I stood. Also another ‘set’ to my left: Stationery, and then winking out. Quite high and closer. To my right, a smaller red light moved swiftly, and at a greater distance for a guessed mile, then halted. Stayed there for a second or two, turned green, and then winked out. There was a second of this same movement some minutes later, but once the light turned green, it appeared to fly away, as it dropped gradually and retreated from view.. These were ‘directed flight’ not a ‘drift’, or pyrotechnics. Our airport is on curfew from 11PM each night. The police helicopter is noisy, and its lights are different..but maybe..(It’s the second three lights I can’t explain rationally.)

    • Ekela,
      I have seen the same sort of thing in California. We were up in a mountain range far from any city lights or airports and there were these lights that were like as you are describing. There were a couple different sets of them. It was almost like they would be coming down to the surface picking something up then moving back up into the sky. Like they would hover down low for a moment before moving back up. They did this in a zig zag motion too. But, it wasn’t the same exact motion everytime. It lasted about 45 min then they moved back up to the sky and then there was one light that travelled far up into the sky until we couldn’t see it anymore and then the lights had stopped. This has been seen a few times at the same time of the night.

  • I have been watching white bright lights, brighter than stars. I live In a rural area of South Carolina, moncks corner. I watch them almost every night until they move from my sky view. Sometimes they move in zig zags, or figure 8s. Sometimes it looks like smaller tiny lights are being dropped behind them and fade away. And sometimes it seems as if they are creating fog or whispy clouds around them. Usually 1-3 in the sky at a time and not in the same place but do cross paths rarely. Can’t seem to find anything like this. Do live near airports and military and have seen a lot of aircraft my whole life but nothing like this. Anyone see anything similar?

    • I live in North GA, I have seen something almost identical to what your seeing in GA, as well as in OK. I have no clue what it is…it is wondrous…..what could it be!!!??? I have seen it for months now?

  • Oct, 24, 25, 26, 2017
    Strasburg Pa
    Looking up into the early morning dark sky, North West
    45 degree angle I saw a stationary shape in the sky with a thin rim of light around it. The shape was like a tear drop.
    I took pictures of it and zoomed the picture in.
    What I saw zoomed in looked like a monster face Santa head.
    That shape was seen every night from hotel window for the nights or early morning. What could it be?

    • I’m also from PA and I just saw something that kind of sounds familiar to what your saying. It’s sat November 2nd. I witnessed this around 1 am and I’ve been watching them since. I just now went back into my house and looked up what they could be and it brought me here. Send me the picture if you can. I tried taking pictures but I couldn’t really see much.

  • – Where: Hobart, Tasmania
    – The time: 4.42am
    – The direction: East
    – looking at horizon, 0° elevation
    – How long you saw the object: 1 min
    – The direction the object was moving: south
    – It was clear or cloudy
    – I could see the Moon, it had a red glow
    I saw a bright light move across the horizon in a southerly direction. It appeared to hover for 10 seconds and then moved back towards the direction it had come from. Possibly an airforce plane? Not a passenger plane because no flights leave or arrive this early.

  • Last night in mackay, QLD there was a flashing bright red light absolutely stationary in the sky about 20° above the horizon for about half an hour to an hour around 530-630pm. No mountains or towers near, very light cloud cover after it disappeard. North west about 15-20km of mackay.

    • Strangely, I saw something very similar last night – bright red flashing object with red and white lasers hitting the ground. It came across the sky from a northerly direction and headed towards Brisbane City where it continued to hover. It was 10.15pm. The object made no sound and looked semi circle in shape. Very weird indeed!!

  • October 2017
    Wichita Kansas
    Over the past several months I have witnessed a grouping of lights, that could be compared to a cluster of extremely fast moving, dimly lighted stars. It moves silently and with incredible speed. The first time I witnessed the object it came from the west then southwest then quickly made 90 degree angle north and then northwest then back straight south and finally due east. It was a Clear night sky approximately 11:00 pm. The second time it appeared Friday night October 27th at approximately 12:30 am. It came from the northeast traveling across the sky to the southwest, in a straight line, crossing the sky within 2-2.5 seconds. It is silent. There are no discernible lights or shapes associated nor can I apply a definitive shape to the object. It does not match any drone footage I have seen. We are close to a major airport and an Air Force base yet, this object looks nothing like any aviation I’ve ever seen.

    • I just saw the same thing aprox. 315 am cst. Oconomowoc wi. Woke up n went to have a smoke. I always look up in the night sky and witnessed what looked like 3 dimly lit stars evenly in a line they were out of my view within a couple seconds. They were silent and moving to the southeast.

  • October 27 at approximately 8:30 PM CST, I was walking my dog and watching a point of light in the sky (very clear and many stars were in view). It was as bright as any of the major stars that night and was moving slowly in the SW about 30 degrees above the horizon. I thought at first that it was an aircraft because it seemed that the light would blink and sometimes pulse red. As I watched, it made surprising swift diving moves and left and right adjustments. These were repeated and frequently it did perfect circular loops. As I went into the house, I simply wondered who would be doing this at night. Then approximately and hour later, I looked out and saw it still there (fainter and further West) doing the same things. I asked my wife to come outside with me and observe this. She confirmed that it was “bobbing around” in her estimation. I went back into the house and got my palm top computer with the “Sky View” app and pointed it at the point of light. The software identified it as a spend rocket booster (something like SRB-8 or something–not sure of exact nomenclature). Did I observe normal activity? Are American or Russian scientists testing manueverabily of objects in space in front of our very eyes. After two hrs it was no longer visible. Note: I live in NE South Dakota (in a rural area)

  • Just a non-observation observation: Have noticed this page doesn’t seem to be updated very often these days (either that or not many reports being made since the website change). I also used to receive updates of new reports to my email address but that ceased when the website changed to MAAS museum instead of Sydney Observatory. Still check in from time to time, just doesn’t seem to be as much reporting activity here presently for whatever reasons.

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