|Some cloudbanks in the sky, with drifting veils of cloud. Planets, if visible due to the cloud cover, would have been declining rather than climbing. The witnesses do not live near regular flight paths to and from Christchurch Airport.
A witness observed a “very” bright light in the sky, through an uncovered window. Its intensity was so unusual that he drew it to the attention of a second witness in the house. They considered that the light was so large and bright that it could not be an aircraft, and no wing or strobe lights were visible. They also ruled out planets or stars, as the light was below the cloud cover.
The witnesses ran outside to get a clearer view, and watched as the light approached them directly from the north northwest. They were not at all sure what it was, and began thinking that logically, it must be an aircraft. However the light then made a sudden almost 90 degree turn to the east. It was not a wide arc as an aircraft would perform, but instead was a swift and acute angled turn.
The witnesses felt something was amiss with this light, and one of them ran to get a camera. He took a series of 17 photos of the light, ranging from 2-38 seconds apart. The photos were all taken when the light was moving from just in front of and above the witnesses to the east, and was ascending after it had performed the acute turn.
As the witnesses watched the light move and change direction, they noticed that the intensity of the light had not changed, as one might expect the landing lights of a turning aircraft to do. It was not until the light was receding, that it also became dimmer. One of the witnesses observed that the glow of the light actually “went out” and he saw a dark coloured object in the sky before it disappeared into the distance. This was not observed by the other witness, whose view at that point was blocked by branches. Both witnesses state that the quality of the photos does not do justice to the brightness and ‘strangeness’ of the light, and the overall event.
The photos were taken on a Lumix LX3 camera, on an automatic setting. There is very little camera blur or movement in most of the photos (branches and shrubbery in the foreground are clear), although some ‘elongation’ of the light does occur in several photos, indicating some hand-held camera movement and shutter pressure. The photos posted below are enlargements of the light only, however the original photos show a tree and a cloudbank as reference points, which illustrate the movement of the light in the sky and into the distance throughout the series of photos, in relation to the reference points. We have omitted the last photo due to space – the light is barely visible in this photo.
The 17 photos were taken in the following intervals of seconds:
6, 3, 4, 5, 3, 12, 2, 5, 2, 3, 4, 2, 38, 4, 5, 25.
UFOCUS NZ Comment:
The light, and the reported details from the witnesses, have characteristics which are unusual for an aircraft. No strobe or wing lights were apparent in the photographs, and the light performed an acute-angled turn directly overhead the observers, without any accompanying sound on a still night.
As an aircraft performs a turn, the landing lights diminish until no longer visible. However in this case, the intensity of the light did not diminish following the acute turn. The light only diminished as it receded into the distance.
There is a flight route into Christchurch airport from the northwest, for aircraft inbound from Australia, however on turning left or right on approach, the lights would no longer be visible. This was not the case with this sighting.