Night horizon gives UFO sceptic close encounter of the third kind

TERRY Barker is ambivalent about UFOs, little green men or anything else belonging to the realm of science fiction.

In fact, the 60-year-old happily describes himself as the “world’s greatest sceptic”.

However, on Wednesday night he witnessed a sight that, as far as he was concerned, defied explanation.

Mr Barker saw the white-amber-coloured orb, which shows up with a green outline on his photos, hovering in the sky to Tamworth’s south-west.

He first noticed the object at 9.15pm and watched spellbound until it disappeared about an hour-and-a-half later.

“I believe half of what I see and none of what I hear – I’m not a UFO freak. But this is the most extraordinary thing I’ve ever seen,” he said.

“I can’t emphasise enough that it’s the brightest thing I’ve seen in the night sky. It was just a static sphere of light.”

Using planes he could see taking off from the airport as a guide, Mr Barker estimates the object was roughly 15,000ft to 18,000ft high – far too close to be a mere planet.

“It was really low on the horizon,” he said.

“But by 10.50pm it had gone. I quite honestly found it all inexplicable.”

But Peter Neilson, an astronomy and space science co-ordinator at Dubbo Observatory, might have a simple explanation.

After viewing Mr Barker’s photo and considering the object’s position in the sky, he is certain it was the planet Venus at its shimmering best.

But Mr Barker, who admitted he was reluctant to come forward for fear of being classified a “UFO nut”, said he would continue to look into the matter.

“I’m obviously not an astronomy expert but, as I said before, I’m the world’s biggest sceptic and I’m sceptical about it being Venus,” he said.

“I would certainly be interested if there were other people out there who saw what I saw.”

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