The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

January 8, 2013

Siriusly, what was that thing?

Twinkling object stuns sky-watchers

Herald-Banner Staff

GREENVILLE — It was big, bright and twinkled in multiple colors.

It was observed by hundreds if not thousands of people in the skies above North Texas Sunday night.

But what was it?

Herald-Banner readers who noticed the object had their own theories, posting many of them on the newspaper’s Facebook page.

“Darn, I just knew it was the martians from Mars preparing to invade Earth because we are investigating their planet with the Mars Rover,” suggested Shasta Ehrhart, which seemed to be the focus of many of the initial ideas as to what people were observing.

“Aliens,” echoed Courtney Brianne Jackson.

“It’s an invasion,” offered Curtis Williams.

On the other hand, Marvin D. Combs believed he may have been responsible for the sightings.

“Sorry I’m not trying to cause any commotion, I’m just trying to figure out how to land my new helicopter at the house, kinda tricky,” Combs posted.

According to Dr. Kurtis Williams, assistant professor in the physics and astronomy department at Texas A&M University-Commerce, weather had a big role to play in the phenomenon.

“Often the weather can affect what the atmosphere does,” he said. “The more turbulent the weather, the more twinklings you are likely to get.”

Sirius was low in the sky, and, the lower the star is, the more the light will bend. Williams said the brightness and place of the star were perfect for the bright lights that night.

“Sirius is the brightest star in the sky,” he said. “And a very bright star will seem to twinkle different colors.”

Williams added that sirius and the planet Venus are the biggest culprits when it comes to people calling in UFO sightings.