What's behind those Lights in the Sky?
There is no question that most UFO reports consist of lights on the sky. Most of these lights are the size of stars or slightly larger. Of the ones that do NOT perform significantly strange behavior, (i.e. rapid 90-degree turns, high acceleration and deceleration) we are left with likely mundane explanations. However, what if these lights approach the witness and take up a significant portion of their viewing space, say the size of a full moon and larger, much larger in some cases. What sort of explanations do scientists put forward to these types of reports? Ball lighting, electromagnetic discharge from tectonic stresses (earthquake lights) are some that come to mind. These explanations can also account for some of the strange behavior.
There have been many encounters with these "large lights" here in the Yukon and around the world. In Whitehorse on March 30, 1997 a light the size of a small satellite dish followed a family along a road for more than 15 minutes and terrified them. You can read about their detailed account here. Also in Whitehorse in September of 1997 a large light came down from the sky and hovered over a man's back yard. Before it departed rapidly into the sky he managed to take a photograph. You can read about his detailed account and view the photograph here.
On April 7, 1998, also in Whitehorse, a UFO sighting occurred that pulled the curtain back slightly that allowed us a glimpse behind one of these large, almost blinding lights. We have used the photograph taken of the 1997 sighting to graphically construct the images that illustrate this UFO sighting observed in 1998.
At 11:30pm, a man in the Porter Creek Subdivision was taking his two dogs for a walk on a secondary road just off the end of Mountain View Drive. He was on cross-country skis and wanted to take in the last few days of ski-able snow for the season. There was a partial moon and therefore only the brighter stars and planets were visible.
He was proceeding along a bend in the road when he spotted a bright light in the distance. He thought it might be a plane since the area is on direct approach to the Whitehorse Airport. Due to some previous sightings he had a few years back, he kept a close eye on the light. It kept coming towards him as if it may be a plane but there was no sound. As it neared it started going up and away from him, "quite fast and quite bright". When its line of travel was perpendicular to him "it went black" and was gone.
He was searching the area of the sky where it disappeared when out of the corner of his eye he caught site of another or the same light coming from the same direction again. The light was taking a similar route but closer to the ground. When the light was almost straight above him it moved up and away and disappeared once again.
Since the light made a closer pass this time he was able to provide interesting details on the manner in which it disappeared. As it passed overhead, he saw the back-lit portion of an elliptical edge; it almost looked like a eclipse of the sun but it was elliptical rather than circular. It was as if the object that was once behind the light, rotated and now was partially visible. As it moved further up and ahead of him the lighted edge faded to darkness.
He estimated the ellipse or light to be about 6 metres (20ft) in diameter, and about 150 metres (500ft) away at its closest approach. The entire sighting lasted about two minutes and the time between when the first light disappeared and when he noticed the second one was about 30 to 45 seconds. At no time was there any sound.
There we have it. It appears that the man had a glimpse of a solid object that was at one point in time behind one of these lights. Furthermore, the elliptical shape of the leading edge indicated an unconventional shape for an aircraft. A disk, an ellipsoid, or a cigar shape could have fit the bill. Furthermore, the object was silent. What have we to conclude? Not earthquake lights or ball lighting, that's for sure.