hindustantimes - A bright spiralling light, believed by astronomers to be a rocket launched from Cape Canaveral, was spotted in skies across Australia's east coast just before dawn on Saturday, sparking a UFO frenzy.
Described by some witnesses as a "lollipop-type swirl", the cloud of light was seen over the country's three easternmost provinces - New South Wales, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory - shortly before sunrise.
"It had a distinct bright centre, much like a bright star ... (with) trails spiralling and fattening out from it," Canberra resident James Butcher told broadcaster ABC of the spectacle, which he said lasted two or three minutes.
Other witnesses likened the spectacular phenomenon, footage of which was quick to hit the Internet, to a "huge revolving moon" with a swirl in the middle, or an illuminated cloud moving high and fast above the horizon.
"It certainly had that lollipop-type swirl ... but it was travelling low and fairly fast, and as it went past me and I looked up, it looked like a row of lights, maybe four lights," one Brisbane resident said.
Astronomer Andrew Jacob, acting curator of the Sydney Observatory, said it was most likely SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, launched Friday from Cape Canaveral shortly before dawn broke over Australia.
"It fits best, a rocket travelling overhead with something venting out of it, fuel venting out of the motor," Jacob said.
"The rocket's probably tumbling or spinning a little which creates a spiral effect, a little like water coming out of a hose when you spin it. That's the best explanation I have so far, probably the most likely one."
The light was travelling the wrong way for it to be an astronomical phenomenon, and Jacob said he had ruled out other possibilities such as comets, a spotlight on cloud or reflection of the moon, or a meteor shower.
He said the timing was right for the SpaceX rocket to have travelled over the Atlantic Ocean, Africa and the Indian Ocean and be in skies over Australia at the time the spiralling light was seen.
The fact that it could be seen over such a broad area meant whatever caused the flare had to be very high in the atmosphere or in orbit above the Earth, Jacob added.
"All the information points to this SpaceX rocket," he said.
The launch of the privately owned Falcon 9 test rocket marked a milestone for the space industry in the race to develop commercial carriers capable of ferrying cargo and astronauts to the orbiting International Space Station.
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MUFON witness report: I saw a spiral in the sky @ 5.50am 5 June 2010 Brisbane. It was about the size of an orange and had a bright light at the centre and a spiral but it wasn’t spinning. It traveled across the sky and disappeared over the horizon after 2 min.
1. Where were you and what were you doing at the time?
We where in Munna Street Wilston Brisbane facing South about to head of for a bike ride.
2. What made you first notice the object?
Looking ahead you couldnt miss it. It was huge.
3. What did you think the object was when you first noticed it?
I have never seen anything like it before, it was mesmerizing, so much so I didnt even think to video it on my phone.
4. Describe the object and its actions and motions.
It had a very bright light in the centre and 5/6 clockwise spirals which travelled about 270 degrees around the center and faded off.
The spiral travelled from SSW 210, over our heads to 90 west and disappeared over the horizon.
The spiral did not rotate but moved across the sky at speeds slightly slower than an aircraft.
As it approached the horizon in the west the shape changed as if we where looking at a spiral from behind, the spiral was more cone like in appearence.
It looked similar to the one in Norway but the spirals did not rotate around and around the center like that one.
The morning sky was still black and crystal clear. The moon was visable with no halo around it. Stars could also be seen.
5. Describe your feelings, reactions and actions, during and after sighting the object.
Just felt as if it was the coolest thing I had ever seen. And a bit of WTF!
6. How did you lose sight of the object?
It disappeared over the horizon.
Sorry images are average taken from a mobile phone, #1 is the original and #2 I tried to lighten.
MUFON witness report: A police officer took these two photos from a mobile phone at 5:48am EST after observing an object travelling North East across the sky above North Brisbane, Australia. The object was described as having a bright centre with a spiral emanating from it. The source compared the object with the Norway sighting in December 2009 only the centre was brighter and more defined. The object was observed for about 5 minutes by more than one person before disappearing on the horizon.
NOTE: Why, all of a sudden, are there so many 'spiral' UFO sightings...then later, we are told that these are merely man-made objects? These 'explanations' are becoming, IMO, a bit too convenient. Any thoughts? Lon
Australian Spiral UFO Sightings...Falcon 9 Rocket or Something Else?