UFOs seen in skies

THERE were four separate reports of unidentified flying objects in the sky above Mission Bay and Orakei last month.

All reports described a round or oval object that constantly changed colours.

It exhibited "an array of very beautiful colourful lights oscillating at or below the mid beam of the craft", said one report.

"I noticed an object emitting a wide spectrum of colours," noted another, that referred to a craft hovering.

The four reports were made to the UFOINFO website on July 11, 19, 24 and 29.

All stated that it was a clear night and what they saw couldn't have been a weather balloon, lantern or "conventional aircraft".

Stardome Observatory says the reports of the sightings are too vague "that we can't decipher what the people making the reports think they are seeing".

It says the sightings could be of bright stars that tend to flash different colours when they are low in the sky.

"In many cases the sightings are aircraft or even satellites. Venus is very bright at the moment and setting during the evening. We call this the `flying saucer season' for good reason."

But an Orakei mother is adamant what she saw the night of July 29 did not appear to be a star.

The woman, who asked not to be named, was leaving her son's piano recital at Kohimarama School when another family pointed out the possible UFO at about 7.45pm.

"It definitely wasn't a helicopter, plane, lantern or balloon because it splashes," she says.

"It had three colours and it changed colours – sometimes they were all mixed up. There was red, blue and green. They were bright and interchanged. Sometimes the whole thing turned blue or red and rotated."

UFO research group UFOCUS director Suzanne Hansen says her organisation has also received reports detailing similar characteristics and is currently investigating them.

Ms Hansen says an explanation can often be found for UFO sightings, such as Chinese lanterns or bright planets.

But she says multiple sightings "does make you wonder what's happening out there".

Ms Hansen stresses a UFO doesn't necessarily insinuate something alien – but instead defines that an object is unexplained.

New Zealand Skeptics chairwoman Vicki Hyde says it is always difficult to tell what the sightings are because "there tends to be so much information missing".

In the past, Ms Hyde has identified the objects as a very fine crescent moon, cargo ships coming into the harbour and Sirius, the brightest star in the sky.

"Having no proven explanation is not the same as completely defying explanation," she says.

"Until the little green men actually get out - preferably in broad daylight in a public area - we think it's better to own up to our own ignorance, rather than assume an incorrect answer."

Metservice says it sends up weather balloons at 11am and 11pm from Whenupai, but they burst within the hour and aren't visible at night. It says the only other organisations that would possibly send up weather balloons are councils.

East And Bays Courier