Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Friend or UFO?

Orange UFOs Over Islington
By Lisa Williams
Your Local Guardian

     Stargazers were left scratching their heads after mysterious orange lights appeared in the sky over Surbiton on Friday night.

Radio reports said at least 12 people from Surbiton and Ewell phoned in after spotting the display, described as a series of lights in the shape of a ferris wheel.

Since then, even more people have come forward with their description of the phenomenon.

Among them was Ron Johnson, from Worcester Park, a member of Ewell Astronomical Society, who said he had never seen anything like Friday's light display in his 40 years of skywatching.

He said: "At 10.02pm there were 10 spherical lights which were a yellow, golden colour. To me they appeared to be drifting with the wind.

"I stopped to watch because it was not something I'd seen before."

Linda Hope, from West Ewell, said: "I was in the garden and these lights began appearing over the roofs of the cottages, quite close behind each other, but spread across the sky and quite high up.

"I realised my husband would think I was barmy if I were to tell him, so ran indoors where he was sound asleep on the sofa. I shook him and got him outside and we both watched in the garden as the lights still appeared from the west and disappeared into the clouds in the far distance.

"This went on for at least five minutes in all and I would think about 50 to 60 lights. Two of them seemed to play' with each other - darting across and overtaking. It was quite spooky, being silent, and so many of them."

Susan Stoud-Bury, from Stoneleigh, was also baffled by the sight and contacted our site to see if others had seen them.

She said: "My son and I realised they were too close together to be aeroplanes and at first I thought they may have been the army or police.

"They all followed the same path and appeared as orange lights and crosses that pulsated.

"It was quite scary, because it was an unusual sight to see. I didn't count how many there were and they definitely were not hot air balloons."

No definite explanation has yet been given of the extraordinary light formation.

Past theories have included everything from laser shows in central London to "UFO balloons" - decorative oriental lanterns which drift with the prevailing wind and usually glow whitish-yellow, but can take on the orangy glow reported given the right atmospheric conditions.

Mr Johnson said he doubted the lights were anything supernatural. He said: "People tend to jump to conclusions about unidentified flying objects (UFOs) and try to sensationalise. What people think might be a UFO is usually something atmospheric."

Robert Rosamond, chairman of the British UFO Research Organisation, said: "At face value your orange lights would appear to fit a familiar bill - Chinese lanterns as opposed to an invasion from space.

"These pesky objects (the lamps, not UFOs) seem to be back in vogue once more, consequently they've been seen over the length and breadth of the UK recently.

"However, face value isn't an informed opinion and as such we would need to see the original reports and talk to the witnesses in an effort to ascertain the exact circumstances of their sighting(s) before making any kind of comment."

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