Why a UFO was seen in the night sky this week
A MYSTERIOUS light in the sky last night had Queenslanders spooked and questioning the existence of aliens.
The light was travelling east across the sky but moved slower than a shooting star and left a misty trail behind, unlike a satellite.
Dalby resident Cara O'Neil and her partner were sitting outside looking at the stars when they spotted the strange light.
"It looked sort of like headlights in the sky. We were looking at it for only a couple of seconds, I took my phone out and took a picture and I walked a little bit further into the yard but by that time it had disappeared," she said.
The light was unlike anything Ms O'Neil had ever seen before. She described the light as like a torch rolling around on the ground and only lasted about 30 seconds to a minute.
"Meteors and shooting stars are usually quick and in a line, there's no glow around it and same with satellites, it's a constant moving thing and they don't reflect off the clouds," she said.
Instead, this light was slow moving and the light bounced back off the clouds.
Ms O'Neil posted her photos to a Facebook group in search of answers, and while many jumped straight to aliens, there was a reasonable explanation.
Dalby-based scientist and former NASA employee, Dr Peter Broxham, explained the mystery light seen on Monday night was a rocket leaving the Earth's atmosphere on the way to the moon.
According to him, the light was caused by the Indian space craft Chandrayaan-2.
The Indian moon landing mission, was stalled out last week due to technical issues and launched yesterday, with the sight of the rocket catching Queenslanders off guard.
"What people were seeing was the space vehicle staging, it made its initial launch and then it's fired to gain more altitude. That's why it was so misty looking around the core of the vehicle," Dr Broxham said.
"It just so happens that the trajectory of the vehicle takes it straight across Queensland and it was still at such a low altitude, it still hadn't gained the height of the International Space Station yet."
Dr Broxham was a project manager at NASA on and off for about 40 years and has spent many years looking up at the sky, so he knew what people were seeing was something out of the ordinary.
"The biggest giveaway was how long it was up there and the misty trail around the core.
"The space station comes around like a very large dot in the sky, a continual spaced arc across the sky, and a shooting star is just there one second and gone the next," he said.
Dr Broxham said there is always plenty to see if you look up at the sky, and Dalby is the perfect place to do it.
"If you do that you do tend to see a lot of satellites, space junk coming down and burning up, and if you go to the NASA website you can get alerts for when the International Space Station is coming over."
"We're very luck in Dalby if you come out just as far as the airport we've got very dark skies, there's very little pollution just out this way or if they go towards Bowenville Reserve that's great, it's really dark you can see a lot more than you normally would."