Monday, October 5, 2015

Preliminary investigation report - Adelaide, South Australia - 27 September 2015

Preliminary investigation report – Adelaide, South Australia – 27 September 2015

Time:            Between 1830-1900hrs CST (UTC plus 9.5hrs)
Location:      Southern suburbs of Adelaide, South Australia

Witnesses:  1. "J" and daughter, Oaklands Park, Adelaide.
                      2. “L.” A Facebook friend of J. Suburb adjacent to J.

Photo one
1. Introduction:

J reported her sighting to the Facebook community titled “Adelaide UFO sightings.” Brad Morris of Melbourne, asked J a number of questions about her sighting. I also asked questions. Between us, Brad and I checked such things as WebTrak; the Bureau of Meteorology; and details of sunset. I then engaged J via email.

Courtesy of Google maps
2. J’s account:
Object in the sky south of Brighton, going north. “Started off bright orange like a star, not flashing, went out then it was just a dark object in the sky. Light may have been the Sun shining off it as it set.” It started off in the south-west and went to the north-west of J’s position in Oaklands Park. “Where it appeared to go down over Glenelg way.” Duration was under two minutes. “Was bright about 40 seconds, maybe and then it was a dark object against the sky like in the picture.” There was no noise at all. The light “It pulses just before it went out and went dark.” J’s daughter captured two pictures on an ipad.

3. L:
There was no noise. “The light appeared to be on one side of it.” First seen to the south, finally seen to the west.

4. Weather:
Surface: I checked the Bureau of Meteorology’s latest half hour apart database. On the 27 September, at the Adelaide Airport, it was:

Courtesy Bureau of Meteorology
1830hrs Temperature 17.7 deg C; relative humidity 35%; wind was from the south-west at 2km/hr; pressure 1020.6hPa.
1900hrs 16.2C; 42%; from south-west at 7km/hr; 1020.6hPa.

Upper air:
Courtesy Bureau of Meteorology
I located a website which provides upper air readings, but only twice a day. The nearest data was for 1200 UTC which equals 2130hrs on 27 September 2015; 3 hours after the sightings. Taken at Adelaide Airport. The following table presents height above the ground and what direction the wind was blowing from (in degrees, north is 0; south 180 etc.)

Height above ground     Wind direction (degrees North =0; East = 90 etc.)          
4 metres                              165                                 
28 metres                            164
142 metres                         161
175 metres                         160
839 metres                         295
902 metres                         270

5. Sunset:
Was at 1815hrs that night.

Photo two

6. WebTrak
Both Brad Morris and I checked the Air Service Australia’s WebTrak secondary radar website. No aircraft travelled south to north over the area around J's position during the time frame 1830-1900hrs.

Courtesy of Air Services Australia WebTrak

7. Analysis:
1. A visual observation by three people in two different locations.

2. 40 second bright orange, point source, then 1m 20 sec dark object in the sky. Two photographs were taken of the dark phase.
3. Triangulation from the two locations indicates that the object was not a distant one.

4. No other observations have come to light. An exploration of the Internet failed to locate any media accounts, supporting the thought that it was a close object and not a distant object potentially seen by hundreds of people, e.g. high altitude research balloon; satellite re-entry.
5. The object appeared to be tracking at roughly ninety degrees to the prevailing surface wind as measured at Adelaide Airport. However, as can be seen from the 135 degree shift in wind direction between 175 and 839 metres above the ground, at 2130hrs, wind directions in the upper air can be substantially different from those at the surface.

6. Given all the above data, it could be hypothesised that one explanation could be a hoax hot air garbage bag balloon. The first 40 seconds was a typical bag bright orange light; then the heat source went out and the dark object was the bag floating along.

I wish to thank both J and Brad Morris for their assistance in being able to look into this report, and for Brad’s initial investigation questions. I must add that the above working hypothesis is mine, not Brad’s.

For other recent investigation reports of orange lights, on 17 September 2015 at  Cairns,  and 21 September 2015  Armidale, click on their names.



  1. my wife, sister and myself spotted an object in the sky last night on the 4th october at about 9-10pm large bright orange ball at goolwa going north to south, heading over goolwa and disappearing over the southern ocean, the light was not from the sun, because it was coming from the north, the light also appeared to pulse before going dim, after that it appeared to have an extremely dim light, you could see it was quite large from the silhouette, it appeared to accelerate.

    1. Hi,
      Thank you for details of your sighting. An interesting observation. May I ask how long you watched it for? Was there any noise? From its silhouette, how big would you say it was, compared to the full moon on the horizon? Thanks if you have the time to respond.

    2. I have just checked the weather details for 4 October at the nearest Bureau of Meteorology site.
      9pm temp was 14.3degC; 85% relative humidity; surface wind from the east at 9km/hr.
      9.30pm 14.9; 87%; surface wind from the east at 6km/hr.

  2. Many who work at the self storage at night would see some strange light in the sky, but not many, too, would take it seriously, until a few reports about so-called “UFO sightings”. As much as many would like to explore it, but it seems that the sightings are too quick to really observe that often times people shrug it off easily.