As an amateur astronomer of nearly 20 years experience, this is the second time I have seen something in the sky that is difficult to explain. I was on my apartment stoop smoking a cigarette when my neighbor, who was just coming home after parking his car in our complex’s lot, called my attention to something around the corner of the building.
I moved to share his line of sight and immediately saw an equilateral triangle composed of six red lights. The lights shone at approximately -2.5 magnitude and covered an area of roughly 9 square degrees in the sky.
Three lights marked each of the triangle’s corners, and three others were arranged outside around them, forming a larger triangle, equal in proportion and orientation to the inner one.
As I watched, the individual points were in motion with respect to each other, but the group appeared to hang motionless in the southwest sky. At this point, the approximate alt-az of the lights was 160°(SSE) by 35° elevation.
I ran inside and retrieved my 6x30 image stabilized binoculars to get a better look. The formation had shifted to an irregular lambda shape of five or six lights when I came back outside.
Through the binoculars, the lights appeared as tiny points against a backdrop of clouds illuminated by nearby Morristown.
They were clearly below the cloud deck compared to airplanes elsewhere in the sky at the time, and appeared to be separate objects in no way connected by a larger structure.
They moved steadily in ascending, lateral, and descending directions in a manner that seemed to display deliberate coordination, but there was no noticeable sound of aircraft.
I returned inside again and readied my digital camera after waking my fiancé. By the time I started collecting video, the visible lights had been reduced to three or four and had moved to approximately 130°(SE) by 20° elevation and the formation covered less than the area of the full moon.
By this time, eight minutes had passed from when I originally observed the lights.
My fiancé and I watched them, with two of my neighbors, as they hung low in the southeast sky, flickering in a tiny triangle. They shifted into a straight line before the individual lights began to rapidly descend beyond tree line one by one.
One or two could still be seen hovering near the horizon in the distance before they vanished, leaving only a solitary beacon remaining higher up until it abruptly faded.
If the lights had not ascended during this event, I would have been fairly certain they were some kind of aviation flares, but I cannot confirm, as I am not familiar with that sort of thing.
I have attached two AVI files enhanced to show lower light levels. (Editor's Note: I have viewed the entire 140 megabytes of footage, and unfortunately, the quality is poor, and not worth posting.)
Parents called and told me to go outside and look up. The dog had alerted them to a formation of 5 red lights in the sky while he was out doing his business. The group of red lights was also in formation when I saw them, but they dropped from 5 to 3 to 1 very quickly each shooting off in a separate direction.
I have video of 2 of them together which I hope to upload and it is EXACTLY like what Event ID 14785 described.
They were floating like nothing I've ever seen. It looked like the lights of each craft were vertical with one light on top and one light below almost like a vertical bar with lights just at the tips.
Point of reference, I grew up 500 yards from a Heli-pad and live 2 miles from the Morristown, NJ, airport. I see normal air traffic all day and night everyday. These were not planes or helicopters or like anything I've ever seen.
Watched one zig zag away with the solid red light occasionally going dark and then popping up elsewhere all lit up again. Lights did not flash in typical aircraft fashion and they really did just "float" and not move in typical straight lines.
The event ended with one craft coming back over me and changing to all white lights. It shifted direction very quickly, and jumped around a bit before going dark and heading west over Giralda Farms.
Called the Madison, NJ, PD and they said they had some reports of "something" by the airport, but had nothing else to say. Parents called the Morris Township Police who said they had received many calls. Township Police spoke to the Morristown Police who said they looked into it and said it was just someone playing a "prank with flares".
Maybe it was somehow man made, but it was still an incredibly exciting thing to watch.
Spoke to a friend shortly after and after telling my story he said his brother-in-law was at a party in late Nov in Bernardsville, NJ, and saw the exact same thing.