Cardiff-2nd June 2013

Location of Sighting: Cardiff
Date of Sighting: 02/06/2013
Time: 03.30
Witness Name: Alan Enticott

Witness Statement: Large, unblinking white object seen to the north west, about the same brightness as venus at this time of yr. at this latitude. Object was silent, impossible to estimate altitude. It moved in a jerky, erratic zigzag over my house and towards the south east, wherupon it was obscured by a nearby tree at around 20-25 degrees of elevation. Total time of sighting was approx. 4-5 mins.


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Updated: June 3, 2013 — 9:43 pm


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  1. Hi, from 03:35 to 03:42 the ISS passed over, from the West to the South East. It was magnitude -2.8, and at the moment Venus is about -3.4 (though of course seen against the twilight sky so the comparative apparent brightness is slightly lessened). Any perceived ‘zig zagging’, or changes in speed are simply optical illusions as the brain didn’t evolve to track lights against the sky (n.b. One of my hobbies is satellite spotting and the optical illusion of erratic movement is very common :D). If you log on to Heavens Above website you’ll be able to see a skymap of the ISS pass at 03:35… and more importantly have fun spotting more satellites 🙂 Good luck, Warren

  2. 4th June 2013, 2am in the morning. Over Doncaster, South Yorkshire, a big ball of light, not flashing, no noise, moving across the the sky from West to East at a steady pace, but faster than a plane or helicopter.
    I dont what it was, but it was strange. I dont know if anyone else saw it, I didnt get time to film it as I was in bed, and it was only in sight for about 10 secs, then it was out of my view.
    If anyone knows what I saw please tell me. I really think it was a UFO. Think about it, no noise, bright non flashing light, moving pretty fast.
    Im just confused !

  3. Hi Dean,

    You saw the ISS without any shadow of doubt. On 4th June from 01:59 to 02:06 the ISS was visible from Doncaster heading from West to East South East. It would have been 2/3rds of the way from the Horizon to directkly above you, due south, at 02:02. It would also have been very, very bright.

    Here’s a link to a great site for satellite spotting.

    n.b. I’ve been an avid amateur astronmer for almost 35yrs, watching the night skies countless times… and have never seen anything that can’t be explained… (despite what you’d think judging hy all the UFO reports that keep getting made by people!!) 😀

  4. Warren.
    As your a fan of the ISS,you will know that it has one distinct characteristic that is not mentioned in Alan’s post.As the ISS moves across the sky it get brighter- then it gets fainter-then maybe brighter again and this is obviously the Sun’s reflection catching on it as it goes around.
    Alan’s post mentions an unblinking object.

  5. When I’ve seen it charlie, and it’s now several occasions, it has always been a solid white light as it transits the sky. Can’t say I’ve noticed any flashing.

  6. Charlie,

    For heaven’s sake, Warren even corroborates the timing! Why are people so reluctant to accept rational explanations?

  7. Hi Warren,
    Interesting, the ISS? Looking into it, The ISS currently passes over southern britain with in a roughly West-East direction. Having recently taken new bearings with a compass against my memory and fixed ground objects, The direction of travel that I observed was much closer to West-East than North West-South East. So the object very possibly was the ISS. I have to say though, that at the time of the sighting (03.30), the sky was quite light already, and there was only one bright star anywhere near the object through it’s course that was visible to the naked eye. In relation to this, the zigzagging was quite pronounced, certainly far more so than any other satellite I have seen against much darker/star filled backgrounds. And as Charlie reminds me, it’s light was relatively steady in intensity across the whole sky. Curious.

  8. Charlie… You are very much mistaken. Although some satellites do have a variable ‘flash’ the ISS does not. Indeed, its one well known characteristic is that it presents a reliably bright, steady, light when its orbit is ‘just so’, (as it is at the moment from the UK, hence all the sightings being made on here at the moment). I’m not in the least bit a fan of it, I actually much prefer spotting the challenging, obscure ones, especially the old rocket boosters that are all over the place. Being a ‘science platform’ it does not spin like some other orbiting objects. Sightings of course start/end slightly dimmer simply as a result of atmospheric absorbtion of the light as seen by the observer. If you share a link for your (erroneous) source that is claiming the ISS is a variable object I will happily point out its errors…and if it is correct but you are not understanding the technical aspects of the article I’ll explain it to you so you can see where you are going wrong. Why not go onto Heavens Above and spot the ISS yourself and come back on here and share what you saw, (i.e. a steady, bright white light in a meandering (misperceived of course!) or straight path across the night sky). You may of course apologise too if you then so wish ;D

  9. Hi Alan,

    I think with you confirming it was more West-East really does confirm this was the ISS. It would have been very bright, surprisingly so if you’re not used to it, (the first time I saw it I’d have thought it was a UFO if I hadn’t known it was due over at the time). Sometimes the ISS is rather missable and faint, but this is one of the times when it is positioned perfectly for spottimg from Britain.

    Can I ask if the brightest star, the only one you could see, was also very white and almost directly above you? If so that was Lyra in the constellation of Lyre, (the musical instrument). If so the ISS would have passed about a palm’s width (of an outstretched arm) north of Lyra and, in fact, exactly above your head.

    The ISS would have been the brightest thing in the sky, (15x brighter than the star Lyra) and absolutely unavoidable as it passed. So, (although I know I wasn’t there), since you only spotted the one steady white light, (don’t be mislead by Charlie as the ISS isn’t known to vary its brightness, unlike some satellites that do), I think the ISS has to be the explanation. If not you’d have defintely seen two unmistakable very bright white steady lights taking 4 to 5 minutes to cross the sky at the same time in the same direction.

    The ‘zig-zagging’ illusion is genuine. I get derided lots on here when I match an ISS known pass to a sighting of a steady white light that appears to zig-zag… but it really does show how the brain plays tricks! Perhaps two thirds of the time I perceive the trajectory to do subtle dog-legs too…it really does happen to us all, and even once someone is aware of it, (i.e. by watching satellites regularly), the illusion, particularly, when the conditions are right is unavoidable.

    It’ll be good to know what you think, espacially if you get to see the ISS again when it is again -3.3, (n.b. -3 is brighter rhan -2, -2 is brighter than -1, and 1 is brighter than 2 when talking about brightness). has a button just for the visible ISS passes, so if you get a moment you could always see if you can get outside when there’s a similar pass and compare it to what you saw, (n.b. It’s a similar brighness on a cuple of occasions in the next day or two, then generally gets a little less bright over the next 10days with only a few times when it was as bright as on the 2nd).

    Kindest regards, Warren

  10. Having seen the ISS pass over twice so far this week, I can confirm it appeared steady the whole time it was visible, and did not appear to change brightness at all. I know it was the ISS because I was waiting for it, having got the times from the Heavens Above site, and it appeared where and when I expected it to. One important point to note is that times given on HA are in UTC (GMT), so at the moment you need to add an hour in UK to correct for BST. It really is a sight to see, and I fully understand why people could genuinely believe it is a UFO.

  11. Grumpy wrote (regards the ISS)….”I fully understand why people could genuinely believe it is a UFO.”

    I think this an important point to pick up on; with full fear of being attacked for playing the same record, the reason people think it’s a UFO is because, to those who do not know it is the ISS, that’s exactly what it is – an Unidentified Flying Object. the same applies to all manner of satellites, space junk, and there’ a Chinese space station up there, too. The ISS is living proof that earthly objects make up the majority of sightings of apparent alien craft.

  12. On the other hand, GrumpyOldBob, such confirmed identifiable observances can also rule out the possibility of a particular UFO being either the ISS or other known satellites such as the Hubble Telescope, as myself and neighbours witnessed UFOs last summer that the iphone App confirmed were clearly neither of the aforementioned. In some cases they genuinely are UFOs.

  13. Joe, as I don’t possess an iphone I don’t know how well the iphone app works, and personally I always use, but assuming it accesses all the necessary data to make a correct judgement then yes, of course you could use it to eliminate the ISS etc as being the UFO. That doesn’t automatically mean that if it’s not the ISS it must be an alien craft of course, although you could legitimately claim it is an Unidentified Flying Object until it is positively identified.

    I know that myself and others are always looked upon as debunkers and skeptics when we try to find the most logical explanation for a sighting, but surely you wouldn’t want to go through life believing you have seen an alien craft if everyone you mention it to knows full well it was the ISS or whatever, and laughs about you behind your back. I saw a bright light in the sky on a sunny afternoon around 1980, and have never been able to identify what it was, despite spending many hours on Google Earth etc looking for possible explanations, so I am not quite such an unbeliever as you might imagine. If we are all looking for the truth there is really no need for the constant believers v skeptics bickering which just deflects attention from the sighting report, as it has done here. If someone disagrees with a comment because it is factually incorrect then of course they should try to point out the mistake in a logical way, but making a derogatory comment just because whatever has been said doesn’t support their beliefs is simply wrong. That obviously applies both ways, because both sides are guilty of it from time to time, including myself. I think it’s time we started pulling together. If a UFO is shown beyond reasonable doubt to be the ISS that shouldn’t be considered a victory for the skeptics and a defeat for the believers, it’s a victory for the truth, and the same should apply if a UFO can be shown beyond reasonable doubt to be alien.

  14. “….myself and neighbours witnessed UFOs last summer that the iphone App confirmed were clearly neither of the aforementioned….”

    What about all the other satellites up there, thousands of them? Did you check all those on your iPhone app?

  15. Hi Warren,
    There were only a handful of stars visible due to dawn light/atmospheric conditions. The nearest star was fairly bright to have still been visible at that time of the morning, and could well have been Lyra. Also, given the west-east direction of the (highly probable) ISS, the star was slightly to the south, perhaps by 5-10 degrees or so. I can’t be more specific I’m afraid, I lack a telescope at the moment and haven’t consistently star gazed in years!
    PS. Yes I have seen the zig-zag illusion before, but it was strongly pronounced on this occasion.

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