A MYSTERIOUS sighting over Chichester has been explained by one of the city’s leading astronomers.
Genevieve Baldomero took the pictures of a strange light in the sky as she stood on Spitalfield Lane around 6pm yesterday (October 16).
“I saw a bright descending light in the early evening sky,” she said.
She said she thought it was an aeroplane but it was very slow moving and ‘almost suspended in the air’.
Dr John Mason, principal lecturer at the planetarium in Chichester, said the phenomenon was caused by light reflecting off a plane’s vapour trail an ‘incredibly long way away’.
“It’s quite interesting because yesterday evening was an extremely clear and transparent evening,” he said.
“What that lady has seen is an aircraft condensation trail lit by the sun.”
He said the trail – and the plane from which it came – was an ‘extremely long way away in terms of miles’.
The trail was very low in the sky and was reflecting light from the sun, which was below the horizon.
He described the phenomenon as ‘very common’, although added it does require very clear skies and the plane’s trail and the sunlight would have to be lined up.
Once the line of sight was broken, the lights would appear to have vanished from someone looking from the ground.
Dr Mason added that to anyone standing underneath the trail, it would appear to fill the sky.
It was only because it was so far away that it appeared to be so small.