It’s not every day you catch an unexplained array of lights flying through the night sky, but on Thursday, Jan. 28, a number of Okanagan residents witnessed a phenomenon that may never be fully explained.
Yes, we are talking about a UFO (Unidentified Flying Object), right here in the Okanagan.
It was a night like any other for Kelowna resident Max Morgan, working out at the gym after a day’s work at the family hot tub business in Kelowna.
He was about to get into his next set when a series of messages from a group chat with his close friends prompted him to look at his phone.
“A few friends were telling me in the group chat, ‘go look in the sky, there’s something crazy in the sky,’” said Max.
But rather than leaving the gym mid-workout, Max decided to call his dad David, who was able to capture the phenomenon on video.
“I got home that night around 4 p.m. and it was such a beautiful evening,” said David.
“It was gorgeous and it had been getting dark in the evenings quite early, so I decided to go take a picture before the sunset.”
David owns and operates Aqua Friends Pool and Spa on Cooper Road in Kelowna, a family business. When he’s not at the shop you can usually catch him and his family on their porch that overlooks Okanagan Lake at McKinley Landing in Lake Country.
On the evening in question, David spent much of the night of on his porch, snapping pictures of the lake’s beauty.
The time stamps from his camera that night has provided a timeline of the events:
David takes a picture of the clear night sky, overlooking Lake Okanagan.
David takes another photo, this time of the moon and a distant planet, capturing the sunset.
David receives a call from his son Max, telling him to go outside because there is something in the night sky.
“I grabbed my phone and headed outside to the porch with my wife,” David recounts.
“We get outside and it’s clear as a bell what we are looking at. It’s a string of lights as far as the eye can see across the mountains. It was coming from the west, going east (over Okanagan Lake).”
David describes the strange glow as a straight line of incandescent lights, almost like a series of lamp posts flying overhead in a straight-line formation.
“That’s f****d, that’s a highway in the sky,” said David, explaining his initial reaction to what he was seeing.
“The highway is moving and we’re not. It was just like looking down a highway from an overhead view. They were exactly evenly apart moving as one giant unit.”
David and his wife weren’t the only ones to witness the strange series of lights in the sky that night.
Thanks to the group chat, Max’s friends Ryan, Jayce and Andre, as well as friends and family at their house all saw the same thing from different vantage points in the Central Okanagan.
Andre Dominguez lives on Sunburn Hill in Lake Country and was the first to alert the group that night. He recalls his dad coming inside around 6:30 p.m. and calling for him to come outside.
“I came outside to see what he was looking at and what I saw was a perfect line with every fourth of fifth light over to the left or the right, just the slightest bit. We sat out there for probably 30 minutes and watched it,” said Dominguez.
”I was just kind of mind blown. In my head, I initially thought it could be satellites, but I looked it up after and it didn’t really look like that.”
Ryan Killingsworth was also reportedly able to see the lights from Dilworth Mountain in Kelowna, while Jayce Otteson and his family caught a glimpse from Carr’s Landing in Lake Country.
Kelowna Capital News reached out to the RCMP, Lake Country Fire Department and the Kelowna Airport, however all three organizations could not provide any additional information.
While these types of sighting are a rare occurrence, there have been a number of documented UFO instances in the Shuswap area over the last two decades.
One occurred on April 2, 2015, in Salmon Arm. A witness described a massive grey saucer shape that made no sound.
Another occurred in 2003 near Mara Lake. It was described as diamond-shaped, with a cluster of lights and the size of a three-storey house.
Another sighting was reported in 2003 near Sicamous, in which RCMP were contacted.
While it’s likely we will never know what they saw, it’s possible the string of unidentified lights was a series of satellites launched into space.
In May 2019, SpaceX launch the first 60 Starlink satellites into orbit. The satellites will eventually provide affordable internet access to people around the world.
According to SpaceX, about 400 satellites are needed for “minor” coverage and 800 for “moderate” coverage.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has given SpaceX permission to launch nearly 12,000 Starlink satellites. Currently there are only about 2,000 operational satellites orbiting Earth right now.
If anyone has any more information on the phenomenon of Jan. 28, 2020, send your tips to firstname.lastname@example.org