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Sighting Reports 2008

Article on California January 1, 2008 Lights
SignonSanDiego Online Newspaper


Thursday, Jan. 3, 2008

Out There
Not big news, but stories we just had to share
January 1, 2008:

New Year's Eve lights: UFOs or too much revelry?
It was New Year's Eve, after all, and people may be in altered states where they see lots of strange things.

But three groups of San Diegans swear they were sober enough to report seeing strange orange-yellow lights in the sky about 30 minutes after midnight. And the National UFO Reporting Center said Tuesday it got enough "similar reports from across the country" to warrant a follow-up investigation.

Ryan Keegan and his wife, Rachael, were leaving a friend's party at their apartment complex in Bay Park about 12:30 a.m. when they saw the unidentified objects. They went in and got their friends and took pictures with a cell-phone camera.

"We saw four orange lights in a square and right behind there were three orange lights in a triangle," said Keegan, who is in the home-financing business and whose wife is a kindergarten teacher. "There was no sound, no flashing lights, no vapor trail, just solid lights."

They continued to watch the sky and Keegan said the group saw four more lights appear about 12:45 a.m. The lights traveled east to west, then disappeared in the sky over La Jolla.

Keegan said he and his friends had been drinking, "but we weren't drunk being that it was Near Year's."

About the time same in Pacific Beach, Dustin Gannon, an amateur astronomer, said he and about a dozen friends saw the lights from the backyard of his home. Gannon described them as nine red dots that traveled across the sky for about seven minutes. About a half-hour later, the group saw four red dots. They captured the images on video.

"We're still a little freaked out," he said. "It was really crazy. It wasn't fireworks."

Reached at the National UFO Reporting Center in Harrington, Wash., about 50 miles west of Spokane, center director Peter B. Davenport said a woman he knows in the UFO field made a similar report. She and five people saw the lights traveling in formation heading west toward Del Mar. She described it as one single unit with seven lights in total followed by an orange triangle formation; both disappeared into the marine layer over the ocean.

"Based on the fact that I actually know the witness who submitted this report, and based on the other seemingly similar reports from across the country last night, I would categorize this sighting over San Diego as of interest to us," Davenport said.

San Diego police said Tuesday they did not receive any calls about New Year's Eve UFO sightings.

The National UFO Reporting Center also received reports of similar sightings in Santa Monica, the San Francisco Bay area and Canada.
- Susan Shroder

Posted by Susan Shroder January 1, 2008 02:25 PM | TrackBack

Opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of SignOnSanDiego or The San Diego Union-Tribune

Those were tracer rounds being fired into air at midnight, which everyone knows go into low earth orbit.

Posted by: at January 1, 2008 05:07 PM
What if I was to put some battery powered LED lights in geometric shapes on a lightweight frame then launched it with a helium balloon bunch at midnight?

Instant UFO
Posted by: at January 1, 2008 05:19 PM
I was at my friend's house in Clairmont Mesa relaxing, we went outside to let the dogs out when afew minutes after midnight on New Year day 2008 my friend and I saw some strange orange lights moving very slowly in an L formation going from east to west over San Diego towards the La Jolla area. There was no sound that we could hear or blinking as on an airplane. Each light faded one at a time with one moving away from the other on the bottom of the L formation. They disappeared in about 10 minutes. They were neither airplanes nor fireworks. I was wondering if anyone else had seen them too and I know now that we were not the only ones. By the way we were not under the influence of alcohol nor drugs, as we don’t do any of them.

Posted by: Barbar Bivins at January 1, 2008 06:33 PM
could not have been on a frame as one of the lights separated from the others, by the way what are tracer rounds?

Posted by: Barbar Bivins at January 1, 2008 06:35 PM
I was at my friends house in PB and witnessed these lights with a group of friends. i'm glad other people saw this event as well. They definitely were not tracer rounds.

Posted by: at January 1, 2008 06:48 PM
My wife and I saw them from the 52 freeway and my home in Clairemont as well. There were actually two seperate sets of lights in time frames. Both sets had 7 to 10 lights spread out. The first set was just after midnight, and appeared to drift west in the direction of the wind. A second set appeared maybe 30 minutes later, as I had taken and shower and looked out the window again to see the new set. I'm guessing they were some kind of fire driven balloon or something. The orange lights seemed to flicker to me, suggesting fire and they appeared to be generally moving with the wind. I had assumed the fading out was the fire source finally burning out.

Posted by: at January 1, 2008 08:18 PM
We saw one while we were driving from Del Mar back to our apartment in Bay Park it seemed to be traveling from North to South then it stopped and moved up. That was about 830 then when we went inside a friend came out and said there were 4 in a perfect square a bit, then they would rearrange themselves before fading away. That was before before midnight, then it seemed for the next hour or so they would go them come back each time with additional glowing ball. At one point we counted I think up to 9. Yes our group was also one fo the few sober parties goin on. Tried my best to get them on film kinda worked.

Posted by: MrYee at January 1, 2008 08:40 PM
I missed the main sighting, but I saw a strange red light at about 10:15pm. My friend and I were just about to start hiking Cowles Mountain when we saw a red light appear directly overhead. It looked electronic to me. It wasn't a flare. It drifted to our right and then vanished right above us. I thought it was low, but it didn't make any noise and I couldn't see the shape of anything attached to it.

We were probably walking down the East side of Cowles Mountian at 12:30am. We kept checking the skies but didn't see anything, so that tells me these other lights had to have been West of our location, on the otherside of the mountain, possibly out of view of El Cajon, Santee, and Lakeside. That would also mean these lights had to have been fairly low too, maybe lower than 3000 feet.

Posted by: at January 1, 2008 08:42 PM
Yeah, I remember my first beer...........

Posted by: at January 1, 2008 09:22 PM
We saw the similar lights at thanksgiving - three orange lights in a triangle formation shifting slowly in the air. Probably a distance away to the west of Clairemont Mesa (over the ocean?). And yeah, we were sober.

Posted by: at January 1, 2008 09:55 PM
So, Susan, what was it?

Posted by: Henry James at January 1, 2008 10:51 PM
I too saw it... I was in a car on the 5 South and saw a formation of bright red lights over Clairemont around 1230. Then, at about 1245 there was a triangle formation over the ocean.

Posted by: Jim at January 1, 2008 10:55 PM
Oddly enough about a month ago I saw these types of lights from my backyard. I live in clairemont and went out to my garage to do some laundry and saw 3 yellowish orange lights to the southwest, toward the ocean, pb area. I noticed them because they were different than any other star or airplane in the sky. They were lined up, 3 in a row. Then the one on the far right started moving from left to right and shortly after that the middle one did the same thing. When the first one had moved for 10 - 15 seconds it stopped and started to disappear. It finally went out but then when the second one reached that same spot in the sky it went out as well. Finally the last light started moving rather slowly and it too disappeared when it reached the same spot. They did not blink, there was no noise, and they were an odd color of light that I had not seen before. I called my mom to look at it and she had never seen anything like it either.

Posted by: Los at January 2, 2008 01:23 AM
Sounds like chinese flying lanterns like the ones that have been reported over England for the last few months.

Posted by: Paul at January 2, 2008 05:31 AM
Where's the pics or video at?

Posted by: LMAO! at January 2, 2008 07:47 AM
I and my gathering saw similar lights in the Bay Area at just after midnight.....If they were tracer rounds, does anyone know how long they would last in the sky and how high up they would travel?
These lights lasted for a long time and seemed to be very far up. One of the lights stopped in place and lasted for about 4 minutes.

Posted by: Jeff at January 2, 2008 08:38 AM
I and my gathering saw similar lights in the Bay Area at just after midnight.....If they were tracer rounds, does anyone know how long they would last in the sky and how high up they would travel?
These lights lasted for a long time and seemed to be very far up. One of the lights stopped in place and lasted for about 4 minutes.

Posted by: Jeff at January 2, 2008 08:39 AM
I and my gathering saw similar lights in the Bay Area at just after midnight.....If they were tracer rounds, does anyone know how long they would last in the sky and how high up they would travel?
These lights lasted for a long time and seemed to be very far up. One of the lights stopped in place and lasted for about 4 minutes.

Posted by: Jeff at January 2, 2008 08:39 AM
Sorry for the multiple posts....

Posted by: Jeff at January 2, 2008 08:47 AM
Look up Chinese Flying Lanterns. I have no doubt in my mind that's what these were, probably the chain kind to make squares and triangles, released at midnight on New Years Eve and visible high up at about 12:30am and later. I wish I could have seen them, they're supposed to be really beautiful and cool. They're banned many places because they disrupt flights and cause a fire hazard.

Posted by: AJ at January 2, 2008 09:38 AM
Not tracers...not ballons...not swamp gas...not Venus..
Illegal aliens violating our air fusion powered pinatas...

Posted by: at January 2, 2008 09:41 AM
My friends and I who live in Clairemont also saw these lights. 4 of them, reddish-orange, travelling across the sky, always keeping the same distance between them. This occurred about 12:30.

Posted by: at January 2, 2008 10:04 AM
I saw the lights, was housesitting down in PB, could not tell what the hell they were, glad that others saw them too. I'm calling Agent's Mulder & Scully weirded out by this.

Posted by: Hamburglar at January 2, 2008 10:31 AM
i saw the orange/red lights on new years eve on mt. soledad also. they were moving in triangle clusters, and then morphing shapes; lining up into a straight line, and then disappearing into the sky. they appeared 15-20 minutes later. i was on a mountain and they were flying really low- the energy was weird and i felt a strange vibrational frequency. also, the lights in the backyard by the pool turned on by themselves. it was bizarre! im convinced that they were not from here; it was so surreal.

Posted by: at January 2, 2008 11:20 AM
Little Green Men!!

Posted by: at January 2, 2008 11:26 AM
The apocalypse is upon us. Its only a matter of time before E.T. destroys the world. Tom Cruise help us!!! Also, this is all Global Warming's fault. Al Gore you were right all along! Please forgive me!!!!

Posted by: at January 2, 2008 11:28 AM
my friend and i were in clairemont and saw them over towards the ocean. three different times. the second time there were abunch, i saw about 8 lights. the other times only four. some changing formation from a straight line to a triangle. then all eventually fading away.

Posted by: at January 2, 2008 12:19 PM
We saw many more than just 4. There were different formations (groupings) above the San Francisco Bay Area right at midnight. They were speeding up and slowing down. They all made a 90 degree turn. Some almost appeared to stand still waiting for a couple straglers (I'm sure they were moving, but we were just too far away to really know. About 8 of us went outside to celebrate New Years right at midnight, and there they were. I live in Antioch, CA (about 50 miles east of SF). It appears that they came from the south, but then turned toward Oakland and San Francisco. I was sure that this would be all over the news, but I haven't heard a thing.... until finding this article by Googling for it. Pretty interesting.

Posted by: Don at January 2, 2008 01:36 PM
I saw the lights also as I was leaving La Jolla around 12:30 am. sober. Leaving work. The 4 bright lights were a perfect square and did not seem to be moving. No idea what they were but definitely not fireworks or tracers. They were the only bright lights visible in the sky.

Posted by: plp at January 2, 2008 01:47 PM
In Bay Ho we saw one light slowly moving at 8:30pm on 12/31/07, then, it seemed that there was no movement for about 5 minutes, after that it slowly faded into space. Then we saw 9 lights at 12:30pm. They came in one by one into a perfectly spaced row, then, seemed stopped moving. Then six of the lights realigned into two triangle formations, after that they disappeared into space. There were more than 8 witnesses in our complex to the second set of occurrences.

Posted by: at January 2, 2008 03:09 PM
I too saw it! They were not fireworks or tracer rounds and I REALLY hope that someone out there is not stupid enough to light something on fire and send it into the air.... after the recent fires and the extreme fire danger!!!!!!!!! I really hope they were not Chinese Flying Lanterns due to the extreme fire hazard! It was like nothing I've ever seen! What a neat thing to experience!

Posted by: Ann at January 2, 2008 03:18 PM
I would like to say I saw them first. Very strange lights and flight pattern. Would like to see video or pictures!!

Posted by: Bear Bear at January 2, 2008 04:09 PM
I was definitely sober as I was being a good mom and was on the way to pick up my teenage son from a SOMA concert. Driving south on I5, with two other teens on board, I witnessed the lights. It was approx. 12:30 a.m. The three of us saw the same phenomenon--amber circular balls of light in formation which shifted, at speed, through the sky. There appeared to be one triangular set of three, which morphed shape and one other light to it's far right. After picking up my son, we headed north on I5 and saw up to 9 of the lights in formation. There were two triangular sets and several individual lights in a line. They morphed into a linear formation arcing up to the right. The sighting was just south of the 52 exit off I5.

Posted by: Diane Welch at January 2, 2008 04:29 PM
Thanks for all of the great comments.
In response to the question regarding what these were, there is no official explanation as of Wednesday.
Peter B. Davenport of the National UFO Reporting Center said on Wednesday that "at this stage, I have about zero explanation for what happened in the sky over San Diego," adding it would be "grossly premature" to speculate.
Davenport said the idea that the lights were Chinese flying lanterns would be "one of about 17 zillion possibilities."
A regional operations officer for the Federal Aviation Administration said Wednesday that the FAA received a call from a pilot Tuesday who also reported seeing the lights on New Year's Eve.
If you have usable pictures or video to post, please let us know.
Susan Shroder
Union-Tribune Breaking News Team

Posted by: Susan Shroder at January 2, 2008 04:48 PM
This story NEEDS photos!

Posted by: at January 2, 2008 06:23 PM
We saw the same group of lights flying from east to west over Del Mar coast about 12:30 New Year's Eve. We assumed they were a flight of helicopters from Miramar, but questioned why an exercise on New Year's Eve.

Posted by: Paul at January 2, 2008 07:48 PM
my boyfriend and i were driving home from a new years eve party in clairemont and saw the same lights described in the article. it was the creepiest thing and didnt really think about till i was at work today, bored, and decided to look it up on the internet and see if there were any explanations.

Posted by: lisa at January 2, 2008 07:56 PM
LUU-2B/B flare

Posted by: jay at January 2, 2008 08:20 PM
I was also witness to these lights as I drove home from Encinitas to Point Loma on New Years Eve around 1:00 am. I saw a cluster of three then one then two. Two other people in my car saw them as well. I was completely sober as I was driving. The other two people were sober as well. I hope the explanation is that Chinese Flying Lantern...but who knows?

Posted by: Amanda Kline at January 2, 2008 10:02 PM
I saw these at 12:30 am while driving on the 52 freeway towards La Jolla

Posted by: Chris at January 2, 2008 10:07 PM
I saw the same exact thing on New Years Eve. I took a picture! We were leaving a New Years Eve Party in La Jolla. It was a clear night and they were in formation. Too far away to be lanterns or anything else. I had a really hard time getting a picture but I got one of 7 red dots. They were moving really slowly and silently and suddenly they disappeared. Very wierd!

Posted by: Catherine at January 3, 2008 01:02 AM
Can we see the pics. please.....that would be nice to see some evidence....

Posted by: Christopher Jones at January 3, 2008 01:54 AM
My wife an I saw the same lights in SANTIAGO, CHILE South America at around 12:20am to 1am on 1/1/2008.
Saw 3 red/orange very bright objects, one crossed the sky from south to north (pass thru the local zenith) and the others two in other directions.
This is the strangest thing I ever saw after many years as an amateur astronomer.

Posted by: Ricardo at January 3, 2008 04:23 AM
“Those were tracer rounds being fired into air at midnight, which everyone knows go into low earth orbit.” That statement is painfully idiotic.


Tracer Rounds are gun cartridges in which the projectile contains white phosphorus or magnesium, which ignites and burns brightly when the gun is fired, making the trajectory visible so the gunman can more accurately direct his fire. The phosphorus or magnesium charge can burn for a maximum of approximately 10 seconds.

The approximate maximum muzzle velocity of any chemically propelled projectile (single explosion as opposed to rocket propelled) is under 4000 miles per hour, while minimum Low Earth Orbital velocity (at 150 miles) is 17,000 miles per hour.

To assert that any kind of gunfire can enter low-Earth orbit is completely ignorant. It is physical impossibility.

The probability that these UFO’s were actually candle lanterns is very high. Special Chinese paper lantern balloons are illuminated and heated by candles. They are often launched into the air during celebrations. The American adaptation uses lightweight dry-cleaning bags, and because most Americans are not altogether familiar with these miniature hot-air balloons, they are often reported as UFO’s. Unless these UFO’s were moving contrary to the air currents, we can presume them to be candle lanterns, whose appearance would perfectly match the descriptions made by the witnesses.

Posted by: W Scott at January 3, 2008 07:49 AM
Wow.. this is quality reporting..
Susan you really should get an award for your report..
..or stop smoking so much weed.

Posted by: sandiego native at January 3, 2008 08:25 AM
Get a life you losers!

Posted by: Space Dork at January 3, 2008 08:25 AM
Thank you, W Scott....
I am the one who posted from the East Bay, San Francisco Area... I witnessed these objects and have completely concluded upon review that they were Chinese Flying Lanterns... 99% likelihood.... But the mystery was fun while it lasted.

Posted by: Jeff at January 3, 2008 08:35 AM
My family also saw these lights on Thanksgiving weekend. We were in Clairemont looking towards PB. There were 3.

Posted by: at January 3, 2008 09:25 AM
Ya I agree with that guy AJ. They were chinese flying lanterns. Ya there illegal to buy here in California but thank god for the internet.

Posted by: brian at January 3, 2008 09:42 AM

Posted by: stephaniemorris at January 3, 2008 11:22 AM
I didn't see what all of you saw, but I certainly can't believe that in all of space out there, we are the only system or planet that has living beings. I think it is great that so many people wrote in with their stories. If anyone has pictures, I am sure that the Coast to Coast program on AM 600 (at night) would love to get copies.

Posted by: dkouchek at January 3, 2008 11:53 AM
I didn't see what all of you saw, but I certainly can't believe that in all of space out there, we are the only system or planet that has living beings. I think it is great that so many people wrote in with their stories. If anyone has pictures, I am sure that the Coast to Coast program on AM 600 (at night) would love to get copies.

Posted by: dkouchek at January 3, 2008 11:54 AM
Do Chinese lanterns form perfect triangle formations and then reallign in a straight line equally spaced apart? Do they appear out of no where and the disappear? I can't explain what it was, but I know what I saw.