Strange lights over Leicester

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Alan
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Strange lights over Leicester

Post by Alan »

Sorry for posting this in this topic but i couldn't make my mind up wether to post here or in the light pollution section.

At about 20:15 this evening i was getting in my car to go down the shop and as normal when i go out i look skyward to see wether there are any clouds about, to my surprise i could see some stars to the left of my house yet cloud to the right, When i got to the car which is parked directly in front of my house i noticed the odd plane and some other lights that at first i assumed to be more planes.

I continued to watch this lights a while longer as they started to (the only way i can think of discribing them) dance around from the lefthand side to the right and back again, not always in an eliptical way and crossing each other again not always in the same places, and not seeming to have any other pattern other than the first one to always stop in the same spot to the left and then to the right, and the second again to always stop in the same places left and right, as well as the third although the first didnt stop in the same position as the second or even the third and the second in a different position to the third, later i noticed a fourth one doing the same but instead of left to right this one was going forward and backwards from my position.

I am sure they are not little green men visiting the space centre in Leicester or anything but does anyone know what they could be?, They seemed to be above the clouds shining down as the lights wern't pinpoint perfect lights like a star would look on a clear night but more blurred as if a bright light was shining down through the clouds, of course they could be lights shining skyward (hence my dilema of where to post) but they didnt seem to be reflecting the light downwards more like the lights shining through the clouds plus if it was a flood light or search light looking skyward i think i would of been able to see the beam or the outlines of the beam also.

Just for information i live in north Leicestershire (approx 4 miles from the city centre) and was looking approx south by southwest.
john.wheeldon
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Post by john.wheeldon »

Sounds like those candle powered floating lanterns again, they are becoming very popular
John W
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Alan
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Post by Alan »

Could be John although they wern't in a stationary position and were moving some considerable distance from left to right.
LeoSun
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Post by LeoSun »

Could they have been birds, or bats? I've seen similar things in the past, which turned out to be birds reflecting light from below. I've also seen bats like that, but they tend to fly lower so are easier to identify.
Andrew INT
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Post by Andrew INT »

The Red Arrows are looking for a new home base too... :D
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Alastair McBeath
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Post by Alastair McBeath »

Alan,

Your detailed description sounds rather like the effects of the laser display units fitted to some nightclubs or similar venues, used to shine a series of small discs of light onto the cloud-deck. I have seen the effect from a portable version of one of these things on a clearer sky, but with some haze, and that did seem rather like what you described - fuzzy, fairly faint circles, moving in a regular formation. The key thing is the effect usually has a repeating pattern of some kind, exactly what you saw.

With all the "mystery light" notes on the Forum recently, and also some additional ones reaching me more directly, most of which remain regrettably unresolved, it's perhaps worth commenting that investigating any such persistent sightings with good binoculars can sometimes be of great assistance. My most mysterious "mystery light" turned out to be the burner from a hot air balloon, which I saw late one evening a good many years ago. It was during a long-distance record attempt to fly the length of Britain, as I recall, and given the night was cloudy and the light intermittent and slowly moving north to south, I couldn't work out what it could be with the unaided-eye. Swinging my 7x50s onto it quickly showed the crew in silhouette and the burner's flame!

Other things to be aware of not mentioned here or elsewhere on the Forum so far in this regard include insects, aerial seeds and pollen catching stray light (and don't be fooled by thinking these are exclusively summertime phenomena - they're not!), windblown debris (are the objects moving with the prevailing wind at the time?), and jet aircraft afterburners (you don't always hear the sound from a distant jet).

In the case of a natural meteor or fireball (a fireball is a meteor that reaches at least magnitude -3), you won't have time to look out your binoculars, as at best, it'll be gone in a few seconds. With a rare very slow natural, or an always much slower man-made re-entry, fireball, you may have time to get the binoculars on it before it fades out, but usually only if you have them in-hand at the time. Some man-made re-entries can last for a couple of minutes though, which gives you a lot more chance to get some optical aid into action.

If you do spot a fireball, please send me a report on it as soon as you can. The minimum details I need are:

1) Exactly where you were (name of nearest town or large village, plus latitude and longitude);

2) The date and timing of the event; and

3) Where the fireball started and ended in the sky, as accurately as possible, or where the first and last points you could see of the trail were if you didn't see the whole flight.

More advice and a fuller set of details to send are outlined on the "Fireball Observing" page of the SPA website, at:

http://www.popastro.com/sections/meteor/fireball.htm .

Alastair McBeath,
Meteor Director, Society for Popular Astronomy.
E-mail: <meteor@popastro.com> (messages under 150 kB in size only, please)
Darkstar2
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Post by Darkstar2 »

Hi Alan,

I felt I had to let you know you're not the only one seeing these lights!
I'm as certain as one can be that they are (as Alistair mentioned) lasers of some kind which are being pointed at passing clouds; I've been noticing them for some weeks and <looks out of window> yes, they are going right now! Whoever is doing it is using 4 or more lasers and they are being guided in such a way that they appear to 'meet' etc.
When whispy low cloud is about, you can easily see the beams come from a fixed point on the ground, somewhere on a line North West of my location (Oadby, about 3 miles South of Leicester.)
We should be able to triangulate.
I'm an astro-imager (QCUIAG stuff), so not really happy about (what must be quite high power) laser light being idly shot into the sky. If it's some kind of scientific atmospheric or weather measurement, then OK, but this simply looks like someone's attempt to get a UFO report into the news.. :roll:
I'll be in the city centre on Thursday night, so will try and get another triangulation line.. (that's if I can see them through the massive amount of 'normal' light pollution in Leicester!) :roll:
Regards,
--
Rob (~52N, ~1W)
john.wheeldon
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Post by john.wheeldon »

From the directions you give it sounds like it's a rotating light display on the top of a Nightclub or Megazone in the centre of Leicester.
We had 4 rotating narrow beam searchlights on the top of a local night spot in Chelmsford some years ago which fortunately didn't last too long.
John W
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Alan
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Post by Alan »

Thanks for the info Darkstar2, I am glad im not the only one to have seen them, although i havn't seen them since I will keep an eye out for them and let you know if they appear again.

Sorry for the late reply but have been busy decorating so we can sell our house and hopefully find somewhere with darker skies than Thurmaston.

Thanks again all!
MarkB
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Post by MarkB »

john.wheeldon wrote:From the directions you give it sounds like it's a rotating light display on the top of a Nightclub or Megazone in the centre of Leicester.
In case the military wing of the Campaign for Dark Skies is reading this forum, the guilty party is a club on Churchgate called Eden, who seem to believe that pointing multiple searchlights skywards is a good idea.

said Mark, after some pedestrian investigation.
Alan
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Post by Alan »

MarkB wrote:the guilty party is a club on Churchgate called Eden
Thanks for taking the time to track these lights down, I must admit that since that night i havn't seen them again which is a good thing for my back garden as this is where i setup the scope which these lights would have made impossible viewing :evil:
dazcaz
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Post by dazcaz »

Hello, This is my first post, so be gentle with me.

Many years ago I was on a party boat on the River Severn near Worcester.
I had drunk the best part of a bottle of Smirnoff.
I went to the open rear of the boat to get air. It was about 11:30 PM
In the sky I say dancing lights. Different colours. Dancing in and out of the clouds. Round and round.
I was convinced it was aliens. I ran/staggered back into the main party shouting "FLYING SAUCERS!!!!"
Half the crowd rushed to the rear of the boat and stared skywards.
It was then that someone informed me that the lights were from a local Worcester night club.
Luckilly I could blame the drink, but it's something I'm still reminded of when I visit my old friends in the Midlands.

Isn't there a law about pointless light pollution?

Darren
I once came last in an astronomy competition.
I was awarded a constellation prize


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john.wheeldon
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Post by john.wheeldon »

MarkB wrote:said Mark, after some pedestrian investigation.
Well done that man!
John W
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MarkB
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Post by MarkB »

john.wheeldon wrote: Well done that man!
John W
<blush!>

Actually, I've since heard from an old mate who's a CfDS bod, and who says "The CfDS is pursuing this display via the council's planning dept".

Cheers,
Mark
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