March marks the 15th anniversary of the phenomena known as the “Phoenix Lights.” Reportedly on March 13, 1997 people saw lights in the sky over the city of Phoenix. Some claimed they moved across the sky in a V formation others claimed they hovered in the air and flickered. One local news outlet reports that a special screening of a documentary in Scottsdale in honor of the incident’s anniversary. This news story claims that no explanation was ever truly offered for the Phoenix Lights. This isn’t exactly accurate, not only is there an explanation there’s two. One year after the original phenomena one Phoenix New Times reporter Tony Ortega pieced together an extensive article explaining not only what was seen in the sky but also why there are so many conflicting reports about the lights.( For the long version click here and for a condensed version click here. )
“For starters, there were two separate events on the night of March 13, 1997 over the skies of Arizona. The mysterious ‘vee’ configuration of lights that so many people across the state witnessed was seen over Prescott at about 8:15 p.m. and traveled south to Phoenix at about 8:30 and then passed over Tucson at 8:45. That’s 200 miles in thirty minutes which means the vee was moving at about 400 miles per hour.
On the night of March 13, news of the 8:30 pm sighting traveled fast, so a large number of people were outside with video cameras when the second and unrelated event, at about 10 pm, happened in the sky southwest of Phoenix. A string of lights appeared in the sky, and slowly sank until they disappeared behind the nearby Estrella Mountain range.”
As Ortega has explained these two separate events have completely different descriptions and completely different explanations.
Last week a number of people saw a “glowing object” streak across the Arizona sky. One local news station, at least, reported on it and the first explanation mentioned on the video is UFOs. I realize that the anchors in the video link are discussing UFO (in the Alien visitation sense) as a tongue in cheek type of joke but they don’t seem to realize that they are encouraging UFO enthusiasts. Also, the news anchors tone makes the explanation of a plane on fire seem less plausible. At the end of the video the other anchor says that the claims that the object was moving horizontally through the sky which might rule out a meteor. Well I’m not an expert in astronomy or geometry but even I know that your angle of viewing a falling object can make it appear to be falling in odd directions, particularly when you happen to be standing on a spherical, rotating planet. The follow up video was somewhat better.