A fast moving, bright orange light just a few hundred feet up was spotted careering across the skies by this newspaper over Waterford city late on Monday night.
The eyewitness – being myself – was so taken aback by the low-flying object that I pulled my car into a bus stop on the Outer Ring Road to observe its movement.
The motorist that drove past me while I stared into the heavens from the roadside might have thought I was for the birds (careful now – Ed).
As the object moved at pace across the cloudy sky, it was also emitting a noise, similar to what a loose jacket on a cyclist zipping down a hill makes. As I clambered back into my car, I couldn’t get the signature tune of ‘The X Files’ out of my head.
Now this wasn’t the only sighting of an object of this kind in the city in recent days. On New Year’s Eve and in the early hours of New Year’s Day, several people spotted red lighted objects moving swiftly, two in fact within close proximity of each other.
So what were these mysterious, glowing, air-bound vehicles? Well it appears an explanation is at hand – and it looks like ET hasn’t made it to Ballytruckle yet.
“From what you’ve described to me, it sounds like you saw a Chinese Lantern,” said David Moore of Astronomy Ireland.
These lanterns, which operate like mini hot air balloons, were described by David Moore as “translucent paper bags with a firelighter attached”. He added: “They fly just a few hundred feet up, so what you’ve told me would lead to me to suggest that’s what you saw.”
In recent months, Astronomy Ireland has taken “a few hundred” calls relating to UFO sightings, most from the Dublin area, which have been subsequently identified as Chinese Lanterns.
“It’s funny that what are, effectively, flying bin liners, have been responsible for such a reaction from the public,” added David Moore.
Meanwhile, Astronomy Ireland will host a series of eight evening classes in Waterford city (venue: to be confirmed), commencing on Wednesday, January 28th at 7pm.
“Basically, these classes will deal with everything you ever wanted to know about the universe but were afraid to ask,” according to David Moore.
“Whether you’ve got a casual interest in the subject or if you want to use it as a pre-cursor to an Open University course, then these classes are just the thing.”
Keep your eyes peeled to this newspaper for more details on the classes in the coming weeks and check out www.astronomy.ie in the interim.
Incidentally, the Chinese New Year will be celebrated on January 26th – so if you spot any fast moving orange lights in Waterford skies that night, there’ll be no need to call Agents Mulder and Scully!