Published: 8:34 PM 3/30/2016
string of faint coppery orange orbs in the West...
Johannesburg, South Africa - 03-27-16
Just before going to bed, I went outside onto the patio leading from our bedroom. Being a clear cool autumn night, I went outside to look at the constellation of Orion (Westerly direction at around 30 Degrees elevation at the time) to see how clear it would be.
I noticed a small commercial aircraft making its way towards Lanseria airport (Northwesterly direction from our house). I then looked more to the South to look in the direction of where a neighbors’ dog was barking and noticed a string of faint coppery orange orbs in the West.
These were moving in a boomerang / "loose string of pearls" formation towards Pretoria (to the North West). I estimate they would have been directly overhead for the residents of Krugersdorp. At the beginning of the sighting I estimate the length of the edge of this formation was about the same as holding a 4-inch long object out at an arm’s length.
The easterly edge of the boomerang immediately reminded me of the so-called "Phoenix Lights" - this was the first thing which went through my head when I saw them - this because the "string" looked straight and level relative to the horizon and looked like a picture I had once seen of that phenomena (note: these objects in this sighting were much closer to one another and there were many more).
This was the closest the formation was to me; thereafter it became smaller as it moved northeasterly towards Pretoria. The "string" on the Westerly side moved erratically, many simultaneously moving rapidly and overtaking one another, then dropping back. The same movement happened on the easterly side of the formation, but not to the same extent.
The shape remained a "v" regardless of the movements of the individual objects. The formation was moving between Orion and Sirius. The closest comparable motion I can think of is a flock of birds flying in a v-formation in very turbulent weather and then the speed of the movements similar to footage of the same speeded up considerably.
The changing of relative positions was almost "playful," but always kept the same distance between the individual objects. As they moved over, the V-shape became more pronounced and less "flat" - I could not count them properly but I estimate there were over 20 individual objects, those on the easterly side being marginally brighter than those in the west). These were individual objects and not part of a single larger object.
The colour was slightly darker than the orange of the star Betelgeuse, and luminosity around 20% of that star on the night I called my wife to see the formation, but by the time she was outside, the formation was much fainter than when I had first seen it and was just about to disappear behind the tops of the trees in the northwest.
At this time the easterly side of the formation went straight again but the westerly side continued to move erratically. She witnessed a shooting star off to the side of where the formation was. During this time - of only around 10 to 15 seconds at most - I only took my eyes off the formation once when I tried to see if my wife was looking in the right direction.
In relation to the airplane mentioned earlier, the formation was moving much faster and seemed much higher in the sky. To put the speed in perspective, the sighting covered about 3/4 of the sky and was over in the time mentioned earlier. This reminded me of the speed of a low flying fighter jet. There was no sound from the formation, and I did not hear engine noise from the airplane either.
By the end of the sighting the airplane had disappeared but admittedly was not the focus of my attention. I expect the only reason why the objects were even visible was because of the position and luminosity of the rising moon - reflecting off the lower surfaces of the objects - much as the sun does off satellites in the early evening.
They did not emit any light themselves - ruling out the typical Chinese Lantern misidentification. I immediately sketched the sky and the path / formation on my smartphone (attached). I am familiar with aircraft (as we have multiple airports in the vicinity) and have been interested in aircraft since an early age. These objects and their speed, proximity to one another and movements do not fit any aircraft I am aware of. Their movements would have been extremely risky - if impossible - for any formation of aircraft to attempt without colliding.
The acceleration and deceleration of the objects also did not seem physically possible for an object with any weight. I hope this will support any other similar sightings of the 27 March 2016. Please do not hesitate to contact me for additional detail and I will supply where I am able to.