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Lights in the sky at Southport:

26th June 2011



John McIntyre


The following report of the above event is the original document. Although, there have been changes

to names and personal information to comply with the Data Protection Act. The original documents

without alterations are held with BUFORA.

The witness has given permission for the details of the event to be made public for the purposes of

correlation and further investigation in conjunction with other reported cases.

Paul is a recent graduating student and music producer in his thirties:


Written Account:

I went outside for a cigarette and whilst smoking

looking up at the sky saw the brightest light I

have ever seen in the sky. It wasn't a star as it

moving from West to East, it wasn't a satellite as

it was flying underneath the cloud cover. It

"may" have been an aircraft however there were

none of the usual navigation lights and if it was a

landing light it was the brightest light I have ever

seen. The object was flying fairly slow, I'd say at

a similar speed to the training planes they have

at RAF Woodvale and as it moved off into the

distance the light faded out. One thing I thought

strange apart from the intensity of the light was

its erratic movements, it was jinking from left to

right occasionally.

The light was so bright someone else must have

witnessed this and I'm puzzled as to what it was.

Number of objects seen


Colour(s) of Objects seen


Brightness of objects (as compared to the full


The brightest light I have ever seen in the sky

apart from the sun
Sound of object:

Smell of object(s:


Observation data and time:


Time object(s) were observed for in minutes:

How did you gauge the time duration?:

Checked time I first saw object and when it


Where were you at the time of the incident?

Outside in the garden

Were there any other witnesses to the object(s)



How did the object(s) disappear from view?

Flew from West to East and gradually faded ou.

If you had any unusual experiences in your life

describe them here:

Seen other objects in the sky in the past but

none as bizarre as this sighting

Were the objects photographed or filmed?


Did you, or the surrounding environment suffer

any physical effects which you consider to be

attributable to the objects seen?


Were you aware of the passage of time around

the time of the observation?


Other than the reported events did anything

else unusual occur around the time of the


The size the of the object I saw was smaller that the moon.

 Clarity of atmosphere:


Cloud cover:


Atmosphere temperature:




Wind strength:


Visible astronomical object:


Investigator Findings:

The light described by the witness as flying ‘underneath the cloud cover’ and was the brightest

light the witness has ever seen, can be explained (dependent on the angle at which the lights were

viewed would mean whether the light were viewed separately or as one) as and aircraft (fixed

wing or helicopter) flying in the just inside the cloud cover with its landing lights switched on and

at the same time, the cloud obscuring the navigation lighting. The landing light can be so powerful

that it can mask the appearance of the aircraft above and can be used as far out as 20 miles before


Referring to the aircraft's landing light, typically these are normally thought

of as being used for takeoff and landing.

These are also much easier to distinguish from the lower wattage navigation lighting -FWIW same

general configuration as on boats, red = left, green = right, white = rear-.

The landing lights, and on bigger aircraft, the taxi lights as well are used for collision avoidance.

Many times it is virtually impossible to pick out aircraft from the "light clutter". Before the advent

of strobe lights marking airspace obstructions and larger radio towers, it was a bit easier to see the

flashing "anti-collision white and/or red strobe beacons on the planes.

Airlines typically will have their landing/taxi lighting on very early in the approach to landing

process. Many times traveling 20 plus miles with them on before landing, and the same for

takeoffs. When traveling at anywhere from 80 to well over 250 mph indicated airspeed in

two aircraft you can have a VERY RAPID rate of closure as can be seen by adding the speed of both

aircraft, particularily if they are approaching on rapidly converging courses.

So, a 500 mph closure speed = how many seconds of travel time to travel the total distance of, oh

let’s say 25 miles to use a night of good visibility and expecting our two intrepid captains to see

each other at relatively the same time? Then there is reaction time to consider.

It may take 7 to 12 seconds of reaction time to actually determine that you are looking at an

approaching aircraft due to the fact that if it is really coming at you, it will have very little

apparent motion relative to those inside the cockpits looking out the window at it.


Basically its the same thing now with the ever more prevalent use of automotive Daytime Running

Lights or DRL's which automatically turn on the cars headlights when the engine is started.

Using the following website www.mantma.co.uk/pp_maps_uk.html it is easy to discern the flight

paths of aircraft over the UK and Southport is on the route for at least four major airlines coming

into land at Manchester Airport flying east to west and vice versa and is also used as a flyover for

turning aircraft into Blackpool Airport.
Example below:


The speed described by the witness and the constant direction of the light described by the

witness would also lead me to link this sighting to terrestrial aircraft, indeed the witness describes

the speed of this sighting as similar to the training planes they have at RAF Woodvale.

The witness describes erratic movements ‘jinking from left to right which is explained in the

following excerpt taken fromhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_eye and is a natural function

of the human eye as part of the focusing process.

Smooth pursuit movement

Main article: Pursuit movement

The eyes can also follow a moving object around. This tracking is less accurate than the vestibulo-

ocular reflex, as it requires the brain to process incoming visual information and supply feedback.

Following an object moving at constant speed is relatively easy, though the eyes will often make

saccadic jerks to keep up. The smooth pursuit movement can move the eye at up to 100°/s in adult


A natural event involving a combination of aircraft, lighting and eye movement