WITH a couple of friends, I took in the 9pm New Year's Eve fireworks from a railway bridge at Carrington, in Newcastle in NSW's Hunter region, where a fair-sized crowd had converged to get a look at the festivities across the harbour.
Earlier on, that maniac of a stunt pilot, Paul Bennet, had everyone's heart in their mouths as he nose-dived his spinning plane over and over and over again in his dusk show, before starting off the fireworks display with a barrage of colourful explosions shooting out from his wings.
Whatever his fee was, he earned it.
Later that evening - from 11.25pm to 11.26pm by the time stamp on my photos - I was sitting with a mate in his Carrington backyard, when I looked up to see a sizeable orange light flying silently through the sky above, travelling more or less east to west.
The helicopter that takes ship's pilots out to waiting cargo ships flies over Carrington regularly, and I'd say this thing was travelling at helicopter speed, and at a similarly low altitude.
And absolutely silently. It travelled more or less east to west, and I had enough time to take four photos, followed by a nine-second video as it was well to the west and almost out of eye-sight.
As instantly unusual as I took this object to be - it had no red, white or green navigational lights, for example - I was telling myself it was a propeller-driven camera drone, or something similar.
So I was more than surprised to see that all of the pictures, and the video clip, appear to show a curved or capsule-shaped object with no visible appendages. I know that phone cameras have their limits shooting bright objects at night - lens flare, that sort of thing - but the biggest difference between the camera image and what we saw is that the camera has lightened a black sky. Otherwise, that's what it looked like.
As interested as I am in UFOs - or UAPs (unidentified aerial phenomena) as the US government now calls them, I'm trusting there's a simple explanation for what I filmed flying over the city on New Year's Eve.
I can't have been the only one to see it. And hopefully I'm not the only one to have photographed it.
If you know what it was - or if you have your own photos - shoot them in to firstname.lastname@example.org and let's see if we can get to the bottom of this!
IN OTHER NEWS:
Meanwhile, UFO watchers are hoping 2023 will see more action from the US, after a parliamentary body known as the House Select Committee on Intelligence made headlines in 2021 with hearings acknowledging a range of phenomena the US military says it cannot explain.
There's been no smoking gun moment yet but it's worth remembering the public only sees the unclassified versions.
Repeatedly in the committee's transcripts, including further hearings in 2022, interesting questions are met with answers such as "I will talk more about this in classified session". Nothin' to see here, folks. Yet.