I sometimes receive details of sightings directly from individuals. This enables me to conduct a first hand investigation of the circumstances surrounding the event. Last night I heard from Greg of Bentley Park, a suburb of Cairns, some 9 kilometres south of the city centre, about a personal sightings at 2100hrs that night.
|Courtesy of Google maps|
Greg supplied the following details to me:
Four people saw "...an orange light, which then divided. The lights were just floating or hovering in the distance" in the west. "...2 more arrived. They moved very smoothly weaving in and around each other. Two then disappeared and then the final two did a bit more dancing and then also disappeared."
I posed the following questions to Greg. His responses are also shown below:
Q1. What direction were they moving in?
A1 "They were just kind of moving calmly around and hovering. Not closer or away."
Q2 What was their apparent size?
A2 "They were about a star size and about as bright as Venus."
Q3 Was there any associated noise?
Q4 What was the total duration?
A4 "I watched them for about 5 minutes."
Q5 Was there any variation in brightness?
A5 "No they were consistent. They did twinkle, just a solid light."
Q6 How did they disappear?
A6 "Just disappeared. Vanished. There was nothing to hide behind."
Q7 What was the weather at the time?
A7 "Perfect clear night."
|Courtesy of Google maps|
"Some others on Facebook said they saw them and people replied saying they were lanterns. I don't know how they could be lanterns because they wouldn't emit that much light."
I checked the weather details for 2100hrs for Cairns international airport, some 9 kms to the north. These were:
|Courtesy of Bureau of Meteorology|
I then checked Air Services Australia's WebTrak secondary radar website. The relevant image is shown below. There were no aircraft in the area at that time.
|Courtesy of WebTrak website|
My view, based on the details provided above, is that there was nothing inconsistent with either hot air garbage bags (click here on how they are made) or Chinese lanterns.
They have been reported from Tasmania to Texas.
These are quite often launched by bored teenagers; particularly on warm, calm evenings. These individuals then track sightings via local media and community Facebook pages, for fun.
Note added: 25 September 2015.
I had a comment on this post from a person, who wrote:
We are in Edmonton, which is the suburb next to Bentley Park in Cairns. We were watching the lights in a North/Westerly direction. They seemed to have more of a glow/sparkle on the bottom of them, not around the whole circumference like a star would. What do you think about these?"
This observation of a glow on the bottom, strongly supports the lights being either garbage bag hoax balloons or Chinese lanterns, as the following Youtube video, of the launch of such a device
clearly shows the glow around the heat source at the bottom of the device.