On a clear spring evening on the 13th of March 1997 an incident in the sky over the American states of Arizona and Nevada, and the Mexican state of Sonora, gave rise to the phenomenon known as the ‘Phoenix Lights’ or ‘Lights over Phoenix’. There was a lot of interest in the night sky that evening because Comet Hale-Bopp was expected to be visible to the naked eye.
However, star gazers witnessed a much more unusual event, a series of strange lights and unexplained shapes appeared in the clear evening sky. From between 19:30 and 22:30 MST hundreds of reports were made to Police and Luke Air Force Base, describing unusual night illuminations across a 300 mile stretch between the Nevada state line, through to Phoenix and to the edge of Tucson.
The incident had two distinct events; a series of stationary lights were reported in the Phoenix area, as well as a large triangular light formation that moved across the sky. The moving lights were described in various colors from bright red-orange, to amber, yellow and white. They were arranged in a boomerang or V formation. These lights were reported to move in unison, as if they were connected, and there appeared to be a solid structure encasing the lights because the immediate sky surrounding the object was blacked out. Stationary lights were also reported to ‘hover’ for several hours before vanishing. However, air-traffic controllers didn’t register any of the strange objects on their radar. On February 6th 2007, a second incident of these strange lights was reported and on April 21, 2008 a third similar event was reported, all within the same geographical location.
Unfortunately documented photographic evidence of the first appearance of the Phoenix Lights is limited to a few images. However, during the second incident in 2007, numerous still photographs and video images were collected. These images clear show some form of craft moving across the night sky.
The Phoenix Lights have generated a range of conflicting explanations. The V shaped formation has been explained as airplane lights. Proponents argue that the lights observed on video tapes do not move as a single object, but are instead separate entities, often viewed as one due to illusory contours that force the human eye to view unconnected lines or dots as a single shape. However, there were no known military or civilian aircraft formations flying in that location during the times the crafts were viewed. The hovering stationary lights have been explained by American Air Force officials as slow-falling, long burning flares dropped during a series of training exercises at the Luke Air Force Base. However, this explanation is also flawed as the timing of the fly-overs and subsequent flare drops doesn’t explain the earlier sightings, some of which occurred during daylight.
What also makes the Phoenix Lights incident bizarre was the lack of response from government officials. Many citizens were alarmed by the events and demanded some type of immediate explanation. However, it was only three months later following significant public pressure that a full investigation was announced. Despite this investigation, there still lacks an adequate explanation that can fully account for the all the events associated with the Phoenix Lights. Whether it was a result of some type of secret military training exercise or extraterrestrial visitors remains a mystery. Are ufos real, you decide.