Astronomer explains UFO seen plummeting in night sky

A STRANGE light seen dropping through the sky at a fast rate left residents mystified.

But now an astronomer has weighed in with the likely explanation.

Newtown man Rod Bishop captured the strange phenomenon on video.

He was sitting on his verandah in Tor St looking east just before 6pm when the strange white light appeared.

The light appeared to plummet out of the sky, at one point banking sharply to the right and then left.

At first Mr Bishop thought it was a satellite, but his experience in astronomy led him to believe that it was neither a satellite or aircraft.

"I am an amateur astronomer and spent 18 years in the army barracks so I know what aircraft look and act like.

"This just made my jaw drop."

The strange light seen in the night sky over Newtown.
The strange light seen in the night sky over Newtown.

Vice Chancellor senior research fellow Professor Jonti Horner said the most likely candidate for what people had seen was that it could be the International Space Station flying overhead.

"Without knowing the date the video was shot, and the time, I can't be sure - but the light looks too slow to be a meteor or fireball, and even too slow to be a bit of space junk returning to Earth and burning up in the atmosphere.

"The Space Station is really bright, brighter than the brightest stars, and quite slow moving - and can be quite spectacular. 

"The video is a bit blurry, but I think that's the most likely explanation - it looks right to me."

Prof Horner said if people wanted to see when the ISS it would be flying over Toowoomba next, they could check out a number of websites including .

Rod Bishop has assembled an array of impressive equipment to monitor the night skies around Toowoomba.
Rod Bishop has assembled an array of impressive equipment to monitor the night skies around Toowoomba.

"The passes are predicable - we know when the station will be visible from anywhere on the planet, so it's something quite nice to do," he said.

"When a really good pass is predicted, go outside, and watch it fly over.

"For passes a couple of hours or so after sunset, you get an added treat - as the station moves into the Earth's shadow, it starts to dim - and as it does, its colour changes noticeably from white/cream, going redder and redder until it fades out of sight."

Topics:  editors picks toowoomba ufo video

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