Spike in UFO reports as 2012 begins
What UFOs might look like if they were in fact spaceships
By Dan Satherley
Any celebration involving fireworks is likely to trigger reports of UFOs, and this New Year's was no exception.
Philip Duncan, analyst for weatherwatch.co.nz, says in the past 24 hours they've had almost 80 reports of strange lights in the sky from around the world, including South Africa, Venezeula, the US and UK and Otago.
On a typical busy day they might get 10 reports, and Mr Duncan attributes the spike to the weather and "2012 hysteria".
"Many people around the world have been outside celebrating the New Year," he says.
"In the US, where most of the sightings came from, conditions were fairly mild and dry in many areas - so more people were outside to see things.
"Finally, it's 2012, the year the world is supposed to end according to the Mayans and it seems many are already worrying."
Some of the sightings are obviously meteors, but others are likely to have more down-to-earth explanations.
"My friend and I were in the car when we saw 3 orange triangular shaped lights, each one separated from the other equally in the sky last night over Farmingdale, New York at 12:14am," writes 'Anneke'.
'I called a friend around the block and several other people saw them, until they just disappeared, it was a very clear night here all the stars were visible and this was nothing like I've ever seen.'
From California, another person wrote: "At around 12:15-12:20am right after the new year, looked like 2 red stars. One travelled to were the other one had turned off then that one also turned off… I don't drink or use any drugs, I managed to run in the house and show my mom, she seen it also."
And from Spain: "My father and I saw them in Spain at 00:45am, but there were 5 or 6 of them all in a vertical line quite close to the earth....I have no answer to all these questions that we are all asking ourselfs and when I think I have an answer it just leads to more questions, so all I have to say is, WE ARE NOT ALONE!"
Many of the reports describe the lights as orange in colour, which Mr Duncan says are probably Chinese lanterns.
Other sightings are likely to be meteors, shooting stars, helicopters and planes. You can read the reports here.