This article was published in the daily newspaper Huddersfield Daily Examiner, U-K., on February 2, 2004.
Strange sighting in skies puzzles satellite-watcher
Feb 2 2004
STRANGE lights have been seen in the sky above Linthwaite.
Alan Robinson, of Reinwood Road, Quarmby, was in his garden at 5.20pm on Monday, January 19, when he saw a bright, round light in the sky in the distance.
He had been trying to spot a man-made satellite which can be seen near the Moon at certain times.
Mr Robinson said: "I saw this UFO. It was big and bright and flying at cruising speed at a very high altitude for about six seconds.
"There were no navigation lights. I am a plane enthusiast and I can normally identify aircraft.
"It was just really strange."
Robert Williams, a member of Huddersfield Astronomical and Philosophical Society, said no-one had spotted the object from the society's Crosland Hill observatory.
But he said there were several rational explanations for the sighting.
He said it could be the International Space Station, which is sometimes visible above Huddersfield.
He said the space station was very bright and moved quickly.
Alternatively, the object could have been a man-made satellite, said Mr Williams.
There are about 30 man-made satellites which pass over the Earth, some travelling in groups at an altitude of 200 miles.
There is one particular group of three - in a triangle shape - which passes over Huddersfield.
Finally, Mr Williams said the object could have been an `iridium flare'. These flashes of light, lasting just seconds, occur when communication satellites catch light from the Sun as they rotate.
Mr Williams added: "I would imagine that anything anyone sees in the night sky is not strange or unusual."
He added that anyone keen to study the night sky could come to the observatory on Blackmoorfoot Road during an open week, which starts next Monday.