Strange lights shine over Ramstein

Staff Sgt. Shawn Burke
86th Operations Support Squadron

“What in the world is that?” was what I thought as a gazed up at the night sky Jan. 22.

I stepped out of my house to walk my dogs at about 9 p.m. and instinctively looked up at the sky (I am a weather forecaster). I saw a row of seven lights directly overhead, which glowed bright white, even brighter than the surrounding constellations. Initially, I thought it was a rare space event or perhaps the planets were aligned creating an interesting pattern of lights.

This reminded me of a Bible scripture from Revelation 2:1 – To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lamp stands.

I’ve been a weather forecaster for 14 years and have been stationed at Ramstein for almost four years. I have been looking at the sky everyday during that time – having said that, I have never seen anything as intriguing as this.

Command post said they received several calls, but had no determination of what it could be. Ramstein air traffic control also said nothing was indicated on their radar either.

Another idea was it could be reflections of the seven runway lights, however the clouds were at 20,000 feet that night – too high to reflect our runway lights so sharply. Lights become diffused even when the clouds are below 3,000 feet.

Furthermore, when the clouds became thicker, the lights faded and briefly disappeared.

This indicated to me that it was from above the cloud layer. Later, they reappeared and became elongated, looking more like lines than dots. This is when I took the photographs. They remained stationary all night, however faded and reappeared as the clouds moved through.

Also as this was occurring, there was a communication outage or degradation. My cordless phone and Internet (along with others in my building) quit working and seemed to get worse as the lights got brighter – strange.

The space weather page indicated aurora borealis activity, however I have seen aurora borealis activity before – and what I saw was not that.

It’s still a mystery.