News Stories

Carteret Lights--An Astronomer Investigates...

Dennis Anderson, Director of the Wagner College Planetarium and a member of the Center for UFO Studies, dug up more information about the mysterious light formation that was seen in Carteret, New Jersey in July. He began his own investigation of the lights after hearing about them on a new cast July 16.

His initial thoughts were that the witnesses were probably not familiar with the night sky. The planet Mars and the bright star Antares are currently in close proximity, and are the same orange-red color, which matched the color description that was reported. He decided to call his local paper, the Staten Island Advance, to see if they had received any UFO reports, but they hadn?t heard about the sightings.

On July 17th, a Staten Island Advance reporter contacted him to see what he had found out about the weird lights. The next day, an article appeared in the paper with his office phone number and instructions to witnesses to contact him. As a result, he discovered that the phenomenon was seen by many witnesses on Staten Island. Most of the observations were of nocturnal lights, much like the configurations sighted from Carteret New Jersey.

He talked to a mother and daughter who were returning to Staten Island from New jersey about 1 am on the night the lights were seen. They were approaching the toll booths on the Goethals Bridge, when the daughter spotted the lights from the passenger seat, and brought them to her mother's attention. They were looking west. The phenomenon appeared as an oblong formation of bright white pulsating lights much like a necklace. Driving south along the West Shore Expressway, they observed it for approximately 2 ? miles until the lights shut off suddenly. It appeared to be hovering silently above the recently closed Fresh Kills Landfill. The height was about 45 degrees off the horizon. The duration of the sighting was estimated to be 5-6 minutes.

He also talked to a fifteen year-old boy who was attending a birthday party for his sister?s boyfriend when he saw a formation of 6 to 8 yellowish-red lights in a circular pattern. They moved slowly from north to south. Again, the lights were 45 degrees above the horizon. He said the lights appeared solid and pulsated. The time of this sighting was estimated to be 11:45pm. This sighting was from near the Goethals Bridge overlooking the Arthur Kill.

A man driving north on the West Shore Expressway noticed a single large yellow triangular-shaped light. The object was directly in front of him, high in the sky. The size was 1/3 that of the full moon. It remained this size for approximately 2 minutes, then it rapidly diminished in size until it was no longer in sight. In his words ?it gave the appearance of moving away from the Earth.? The time was 12:30 am, and the duration of the sighting was 3 minutes.

The most significant sighting Anderson heard about was from a restaurant across the Arthur Kill from Carteret New Jersey. The owner was outside when he saw a V-shaped grouping of reddish-orange lights approach from the northwest. According to the witness, they came close and hovered for about 5 minutes. The ground was bathed in reddish-orange light and there was absolute silence. Half the lights suddenly disappeared, leaving three lights that remained for a few more minutes, then they also disappeared. The owner was the only witness to mention lights that illuminated the ground.

An off-duty police officer nearby also described a V-shaped formation approaching from the northwest, at a speed comparable to a jet plane. He felt each light was separated by 100 to 200 feet. The officer noted the lights went out as if someone turned off a light switch. The last to blink out was the brightest. He telephoned channel 7 news, who took the report and hung up.

The restaurant?s disc jockey was summoned outside to see the phenomenon. He saw 4 lights in an ?angle? formation, the closest being the lowest and brightest. He described the color as amber, ?like a car?s turn signal.? At first he thought they were military aircraft flying in formation, but when they started to disappear, he changed his mind.

The bartender saw 3 reddish-yellow lights in a triangular or V-shape. To her, they appeared to glide or float. She had to go back inside after about a minute of observation.

The security guard at the restaurant was checking ID?s at the rear entrance. He was told about the lights, but at first he thought it was a joke. As he saw patrons gathering in front of the club, he decided to check things out. He saw 2 bright solid-looking intense orange lights. One could be seen above the trees across the street, the other farther back. After a minute, the first light disappeared. About 20 seconds later, the second light winked out. There was no sound. The time of the sighting varied from witness to witness. However, the phone call to channel 7 news was made from a cell phone, and the bill will verify the time.

Anderson estimates that between 30 and 50 people watched the event from this location.

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