WHAT IS IT? Andrew Hanlon’s photo containing a white mystery object at right just below the moon taken from his Cawongla home on January 30.
WHAT IS IT? Andrew Hanlon’s photo containing a white mystery object at right just below the moon taken from his Cawongla home on January 30. Contributed

F/A18 Hornet likely explanation of mystery object

THERE were probably more than a few people hoping Mr Hanlon's picture of a glowing object in the sky over Cawongla on January 30 was proof that little green men are keeping tabs on us earthlings.

But it appears the strange aircraft, which featured in last Saturday's Weekend Star, has a very terrestrial explanation.

The Australian Defence Force has confirmed that Air Force fighter jets were in transit over the area on January 30.

The F/A-18A/B Hornets from Number 75 Squadron were flying from RAAF Base Townsville to RAAF Base Williamtown.

Another possible explanation for the glowing object is the NASA International Space Station - the third brightest object in the sky.

The space station is so bright it is even visible from the middle of cities.

NASA runs a Spot The Station service which gives people a list of upcoming sighting opportunities for thousands of locations worldwide via email alerts of sms.

The space station looks like a fast-moving plane in the sky, but orbits at a far higher altitude.

Australia's 71 F/A-18A and F/A-18B Hornets are based at RAAF Base Williamtown and RAAF Base Tindal.

The aircraft are capable of air-to-air and air-to-ground missions including air combat and close air support of ground troops.

The Hornet was developed for the US Navy and Marine Corps and is also used by Canada, Finland, Kuwait, Malaysia, Spain and Switzerland.


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