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

  • At Landsborough Qld on 15 July 2020 at 5.50 am I observed a distinct white flashing light to the ENE and seemingly quite distant (kilometres). The intermittent flashes were about 5 seconds apart. This was above the tree line, perhaps 45 to 50 degrees. The light appeared to be hovering and was observed for at least three (3) minutes before it could no longer be seen. There appeared to be at least two other blinking white lights further away (although not 100% certain of this). Stars were still visible at this time as was the Moon (third quarter phase) and Venus. It was the Moon and Venus that initially drew my attention to this part of the sky. The flashing light was a bit further to the left of the Moon and Venus. I generally regard conventional aircraft to carry red and green lights (apart from landing light) and move across the sky in a consistent direction and speed. This flashing white light appeared to hover before disappearing. There was no associated sound. To provide a possible rational explanation for this sighting, perhaps I observed a plane moving directly away from me until it could no longer be seen. This, however, does not clearly explain the absence of other coloured lights known to appear on conventional aircraft.

    • Mark, Thanks for a great report. Very comprehensive and clear. You have provided the information we need to have any chance of identifying a ‘light in the sky’. Your explanation may be correct – the colored lights are fainter than the bright white strobe lights. I can’t suggest a better explanation.

  • Monday 13 July 2020 – just after sunset here on northern foreshore of Parramatta River looking across frm Meadowbank to #Rhodes #Sydney just saw 5-34 pm large flaming with tail ‘#meteor’ cross the sky from top left to middle of this scene – never seen one as bright

  • Hi on Saturday afternoon 20/6/20 at 3.20pm was in the Royal National Park heading west and decided to take a photo of the sun behind clouds and upon looking at my photos that night, I noticed a light aqua round looking object moving quickly up and down and from side to side..last photo looking to have 3 lights around it.Was a clear afternoon, took 3 photos and it wasn’t until I looked on my phone that night that I noticed it

    • Tina, that sounds like lens flare or reflections off the glass surfaces of the lenses within the camera.

  • Hello,

    I just saw, at about 6:30 p.m., a very bright light with a long tail move very quickly across the sky. It was travelling from East to West. Lasted about 2 – 3 seconds.
    I am in Avalon, Sydney & I was looking directly North, over Careel Bay. The sky is very clear. About 35 – 40 degree elevation. A meteor? It was very bright, and fast!
    Thank you!c

  • I’ve seen what look like sometimes noiseless planes for about 2 years now living in rural eastern Illinois. My neighbor and I have videotaped them and they are definately not planes. One goes over coming from the north over a field, disappear when they hit a tree line that’s a short distance to our country homes. Then another shows up coming from the southeastern skies. Every night..Sometimes they fly in almost like in unison of 2-4. Some look like a star, or several stars that are just moving around until out of sight. Then another shows up. I have videotaped them so much I ended up getting a new phone that has larger storage. Alot of nights the dogs out her go crazy barking and when I go out they will be looking up as if to show me where they are seeing them. Then I see them and start recording. It is so quite out here when this is going on yet when I go in to watch what I record the sounds are unexplainable. I’ve gotten to the point where I enjoy listening more than watching the videos. It is very…I guess the word would be unusual. Different sounds from the different flying “things” (is what I call them) on those silent nights when playing back the videos. I finally think that’s why the dogs go crazy barking, running, ect They hear what I don’t while I’m outside. When I listen to the video and hear the weird noises I know why they are barking, howling, yelping! I’m not afraid but I’d love to know what they are! My 78 year old mom even stayed all night with me out here because she wanted to see them. And she did ?❤

  • HI, 4.45AM THURSDAY 14TH 2020, over jimboomba Location a series of what appeared to be satilights crossing the sky from west to east, about 45% in sky. The were all in perfect alignment and spaced evenly apart, and was 6 in skyline at anytime, as one disappeared another would show, and follow the next one. Counted at least 22, from when saw. Does not musk satilights

  • Hi can someone please explain what it was that I saw and my friend above Oxley park tonight around 7pm it was a clear night I went outside as a police helicopter was searching in circles around my area and was low hovering. On looking at this chopper in the sky I suddenly noticed what looked to be a moving star and I was amazed that I got to watch this but it was very High and no way was a plane as there were no flashing lights and it was very small like a star as I watched it move very fast heading north I said to my friend look at this and as it went north it vanished than I noticed this 6 more times in the same area and direction one every 30 seconds I only counted seven my friend saw the last five as I called her to watch it was amazing and I actually thought we were.being invaded by something from somewhere as all were very real and 2 people watching so what was this buzzard happening it was very real and true witnessed by two adults

    • Jason, that sounds like another line of Starlink satellites. There are links below where you can find out more.

  • Hi,
    Made a post last night about 2 lights that appeared next to the Southern Cross. I followed the Heavens Above link and found out they were a pair of NOSS satellites. Had no idea these types of satellites existed. So much to know about the night sky.

    Thanks, Chris

  • Hi,
    I live in Penrith and at 7.10pm tonight (24/4/20) I looked at the Southern Cross and just to the left of the pointer stars there were 2 bright stars just as bright as the pointers and a similar distance apart. I am not sure how long they had been there for but they were moving at the same speed- extremely slow- toward the ground, and then they faded away, as if they were moving out to space. They stayed the same distance apart and moved in an identical fashion. The distance they moved (what I saw anyway) was only from the top of the Southern Cross to the bottom star of the pointers, and lasted about 20 seconds. I haven’t seen two star like objects move like this and they definitely appeared to be in space. It was extremely clear viewing tonight and that is why I ventured outside.
    Thanks, Chris

  • This morning at approximately 6am I was outside looking at a very clear and starry sky over North Bondi where I live. The moon is waxing crescent though had not risen yet so visibility was great. At first I saw a light travelling 90 degrees above me and I thought maybe it was a satellite – it was travelling in a straight line though seemed to be wobbling from side to side a little. Then I saw another one quite close following it – then I saw another 8 not long after on the same general flight path – they were heading north east. I have never seen anything like this before and am bamboozled as to their explanation. Did anyone else see these?

    • Charlotte, There have been some lovely clear nights recently. Your lights are the Starlink satellites. Please see my reply to Matthew below.

    • Hi Charlotte, I saw that as well. What did you think was going on. I researched and found out that on the 19 of this month “star-link launched into space around 60 satellites. It is an amazing feat and so is the next step of wifi allover the world. Forget 5G and fibre. 24,000 satellites is the target to be in place

    • I think so, but in bass coast and they were 8 lights dropping from the universe.
      They dropped from nowhere (roughly 1cm apart with naked eye) taking an arc form after dropping.

    • …Mine were also at 4:44 jan 31st 2019 / 1st Feb2020, but definitely only 8 lights, not 30 – 40 and not looking like gunfire in Iraq, looking more like a precise pendulum.

  • I’ve just seen at least 30-40 moving lights west to east over Oxford shire a row of them. almost a horizontal line.lasted for at least 10-15 minutes to disappear above clouds.at 2020 to about 2035.


    • Matthew, that sounds just like the new 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.

    • As I Can Remember And I Wrote The Date Down. March 25. Around The Same Time, About 6:15 am.
      Your Story Is Similar To Mine But Not Exactly The Same. I Seen What Appeared To Be Bright Stars Zooming By.

  • 1.50am NW low in the sky approx 25 to 30 degrees strobing red and clear lights 1 of each.Red would flash then clear would flash,both seemed to be as one unit and smallish in size although very bright.Erratic movement back and forth up and down,when I followed it by foot it would dip down into the trees.Approximately 70 to 100 metres from me.The area I live in and where I witnessed the above is quite remote.once I got closer to the object I took out my night imaging binocular and the object vanished in front of my eyes.I have seen this type of object 3 times in this area over 2 years.Northern Territory Australia

    • Rob, Maybe a drone? “Northern Territory” is a large area, can you be more specific? Then someone may have another suggestion.

  • Observed two white pale lights circular-shaped moving across the sky at 09:55 pm today dated 17/03/20 at Melbourne Sunshine West Victoria 3020 latitude -37.790405 and the longitude is: 144.817474. They seemed like torch lights pointed towards the sky but on observing closely and for some time we were certain they were not lights from the earth as they seemed to be moving behind the grey clouds and in a pattern. We watched these lights move for about 12-13 minutes and then they stopped as the sky got clearer.

  • Tuesday morning, 3:10am, from Mitcham in Victoria looking north at approximately 70 degrees I witnessed a light that appeared to be zig zagging with the naked eye. I have recorded it using full zoom on my iPad and the light flits quite dramatically. The sky was clear with all stars visible. This light stayed in the same area for some time, I watched it for around 5 minutes before succumbing to the chill. I could hear no noise with it. I have posted the video on my Facebook page.

  • I’m in Rose Bay in NSW, Australia and just witnessed a light green light with a tail fall from the sky at 10:45pm. I was facing north east when I saw this. It was about 45 degrees in the sky.
    It fell to the ground with seconds, was very clear and a singular object.

  • Dee Why, NSW in Sydney. Around 4.40am to 4.45am Friday 31 January 2020.
    Some cloud, it was a satellite travelling from the South West to North East around 45 degrees I was looking towards Dee Why Lagoon & Long Reef headland/beach. Watched 2-3 minutes until disappeared in the fuzz! To my right facing Dee Why Beach was the Scorpion constellation, which is East it was around 45 degrees, above roofline. What satellite would it be please as I do not think it was the space station?
    Thank you

  • Saw a line of lights in the sky moving approx. NNE to SSW. Observed from Beverly Hills, Sydney, NSW ar 4.05am. Each light was coming into view adjacent to Alpha Centauri, about 2 degrees to the east of that star. Each light was seperated at an angular dimention of that as the two pointers of the Southern Cross. There were approx 12 lights visible from Alpha Centauri to the horizon when first observed. As I watched, another 20-25 lights appeared, at similar intervals of approx 7 seconds, but there were some lights that came into view at slightly longer intervals, all travelling in a staright line, one behind the other. Looked like a string of satellites, all the same yellow colour, shining steadily. More likely they were reflecting sunlight, rather giving off their own lights by the way they appeared in the sky and by the position that they appeared in the sky.

  • – Where you were – reports without a location will not be posted: I was standing in my parking lot at my apartment complex on James Island, Charleston, SC, 29412
    – The time: approx 930p, Dec 31, 2019
    – The direction you were looking (north, east, south, west or in-between) south towards Kiawah Island
    – How high up you were looking (horizon is 0° elevation, half way up is 45° and directly overhead is 90°) it wasn’t directly overhead I saw it in the distance very high in the sky.. from where I was standing maybe 75 degrees?
    – How long you saw the object: I’d say approx 10 seconds then it disappeared
    – The direction the object was moving: north
    – Whether it was clear or cloudy: clear night
    – Whether you could see the Moon or Venus or any other astronomical object: the upside down crescent moon and stars
    – Describe what you saw: a solid bright red light, not flashing, moving at a decent speed, no white lights with it so it couldn’t have been an airplane and it was only visible for a matter of seconds before it disappeared ; the red light was not Mars, was not a fizzling firework, and did not have a tail

  • Location: Hornsby, New South Wales
    Time: Around midnight on 13 December 2019
    Duration: 5 – 10 seconds
    Weather Conditions: Clear
    Description: A shower of bright light similar to short bursts of lightning right down to ground level. Loud in volume like firecrackers across our 180 degree field-of-view of the bushland leading down to Waitara Creek. Lost electrical power but restored very shortly afterwards. Spoke to both AusGrid and BOM; but they didn’t have anything significant reported in our area. A mystery at this stage!

  • December 11 2019 around 2040 (military time) Olive Branch MS, I was looking up near the full moon when I saw what looked liked the planes that leave white tails, when I looked through my celestial binoculars, I was able to track one of them (East Sky not far from Orion) as it descended “blinking” blue and red…longer than what a fireball may last but I can’t explain how it just fogged out and disappeared. Not sure where the one in the opposite direction went but the one o tracked just dialed out of my scope as it went under Orion!

  • Hi

    On the night of either the 3rd December or 4th of December, we noticed very high in the sky lights (approx. 40) moving at a fast pace.
    This was around 10ish in the evening. We were in Banaby NSW, which is in the Upper Lachlan Shire, west of Goulburn.

    We didn’t hear anything about this on the radio nor can I find anything on the internet, so I hope you might be able to shed
    a light (no pun intended) on it.

    Ans Lukkien

  • Hi all. I don’t know if anyone will respond since the last message was in 2017, but I have seen some strange lights in the sky. Me and my dad were at Cottesloe beach on the 5th of December 2019, when we saw a lady looking at the sky, she told us that she had just seen about 50-60 lights moving through the sky. She then pointed one out to us, it was white but not particularly bright and it wasn’t flashing and it didn’t have a trail, it was moving at a medium pace in a straight line through the sky from south west to north east, it looked just like the other stars and appeared out of nowhere a quarter of the way trough the sky and a minute later another followed that was the exact same and another after that, they just kept coming. The night was very warm with no wind or clouds. I have been so puzzled by this and I hope someone has an answer to this strange sighting or if you have seen it too pls leave a comment.?

  • I live in Cumbria uk post code ca13 0lj . This morning 01/12/19 Sunday . I saw at least 8 lights in the sky they were evenly spaced and in a straight line moving south east 150’ degrees . I witnessed them for several minutes. I took a video on my phone but could not see them when I played it back. Any idea what they were.

  • Hi my names darryl and i witnessed something phenomenal approximately 4:40(ish) am, in the month of may 2018. The occurance happened as i notice in the south east of the sky, i am from Jacksonville, fl, where i noticed about 5 or 6 bright lights as appearing to look like stars in a single filed line move across the sky. But the thing is from where they emerged they seemed to go as they moved along after one another making it seem as they where coming out of some unseen portal and then emerging into one as they came out the one in back. (Please tell me this makes sense.) This maybe happened for like 15 secs at most before fading out.

    • Darryl, If you meant 2019, not 2018, this sounds like a few of the first batch of 60 Starlink satellites (of many thousands) that SpaceX is launching.

    • Saw this in VICTORIA Australia 1st Feb 2020 at 4:44am:
      8 lights, as you explained; precise; dropping from nowhere, or a ‘portal’ in the universe; following approx 1cm apart (naked eye)

      • C, Your ‘portal’ would in fact have been the point at which the satellites suddenly entered the sunlight after moving out of Earth’s shadow. In other words they experienced their own ‘sunrise’.

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