Duration of sighting approx. 4 mins 30 secs
After watching the progressing sunset, the witness was in his car ready to leave the beach, when he noticed a bright, white light in the sky with a short blurry tail behind it. The light was moving very slowly in a northerly direction (away from the observer, and slightly to the right in his field of vision).
He quickly got out his camera to get a closer view, to ascertain whether it could be a bright star or planet (there were no other stars visible in the sky). Using the zoom setting he saw that the unusual light or object appeared oval in shape. He observed it for approximately 4 ½ minutes during which time he took a series of eight photos. The witness did not hear any sound.
The witness sighted the object very close to the time that the sun set over the headland. There was still some light in the sky, and the moon was rising in the east at the time of the sighting. The object is certainly not a cloud. Carter Observatory has confirmed exact sunset time in relation to the time the photos were taken.
The photos were taken using a Sony digital camera, model DSC-F828. When the witness viewed the photos on his computer, he saw distinct images. The object’s shape or angle of movement appeared to alter slightly as it moved further away, as seen in each photo, although the movement was almost imperceptible to the witness at the time of sighting.
The photos have been examined by an overseas optical data analyst who noted that the shapes in the images are most unusual, and could possibly be consistent with a jet contrail viewed ‘end on’.
However ATC has confirmed there were no scheduled flights in that area at that time. ATC has stated that if it were a contrail, they would expect to see consistency of shape from both trails, and a ‘flow-off’ similar to a cirrus cloud, if blown by winds. The shapes in the photographs are compact.
The analyst stated that although the object or shape appeared to be moving slowly from the witness’s point of view, the object could have been traveling rapidly but seen from the rear, its speed was not apparent. He also stated that while the object did not display flight characteristics at the time of photographing that would necessarily distinguish it as a ‘craft’ of unknown origin, the shape of the image certainly suggests a circular ‘something’ with a dome-like top.
Both UFOCUS NZ and the analyst agree that no firm conclusion can been reached as to what this strange object is at present, and it is classified as an unusual aerial phenomenon (UAP).
However, following enquiries and media articles on the sighting, UFOCUS NZ received sighting reports from two other people who were fishing at Ahipara Beach on the same day as this sighting (April 28), who also observed and photographed the light. They stated they arrived at local Fishing Club premises to attend a meeting just before dusk. As they came over the rise near the clubrooms, they were confronted by an unusual sight out in front of them over the sea. They observed an oval silver-grey object in close to shore, which was moving away from them and giving off a glow or light. As the object moved away, it appeared as a large light in the sky. The two witnesses went into the clubrooms and asked other members of the fishing club to come out and look at the light as it receded into the distance. At around this time, the original witness would have been taking photos of the light.
The second two witnesses also observed what they believe to be the same, or a similar object a week later at a place called Lone Pine, north of Ahipara. They have film (not digital) that clearly shows the object.
UFOCUS NZ was approached by an amateur astronomer who claimed the light would have been Venus rising, however UFOCUs NZ had already investigated and discounted this possibility, and the astronomer later concurred with this.
More witnesses came forward with daylight photos of an object leaving a trail in the sky. There were no scheduled flights on that route or in that area at that time.