File Picture: Ihsaan Haffejee

Pretoria - The glowing orange orbs reportedly spotted over Centurion may have been Chinese lanterns launched to celebrate New Year’ Eve.

Pretoria News received a number of reports of UFOs but two women have come forward to claim responsibility for the phenomenon.

Driekie Van Wyk and Clare Le Roux, who were part of a group of people who launched these Chinese lanterns at midnight on New Year’s Eve, said the lanterns they launched glowed in orange, while others had a bluish tint.

But, said Van Wyk, they were not the only ones to have the idea; and she had seen other lanterns also being launched in the area.

The lanterns were bought at Oriental City where they were reportedly very popular. These Chinese lanterns are about a 1m high and are mounted on a thin steal base fitted with a burner. The burner is then ignited and the lantern rises.

The lanterns can also get “stuck in a current” which would explain people seeing some sort of formation from afar.

But while this may seem the most likely explanation for the UFOs reported, it isn’t completely proven.

A woman, who asked not to be named for fear or derision, told the Pretoria News of a bright orange orb that seemed bigger than a plane.

She spotted the orb around 8pm while driving on the N1 northbound just before the Atterbury off-ramp.

She said that the orb was travelling in a southerly direction, and after a while, the orange glow stopped and the object started flashing “like Christmas lights”. Chinese lanterns shimmer, but do not flash like lights as described by the woman.

So was the UFO buzz merely a bunch of Chinese lanterns being seen through “party eyes”, or was it?

Here are some comments from the Pretoria News Facebook page.

* Saw fireworks. – Kedikilwe James Wasenda

* I suspect it was chinese lanterns. We saw some being released in the Centurion area. – Nicole Tanzen Best

* Most probably animals flying-sick of the noise of fireworks and so am I – Liandé Engelbrecht

* Must hav bn sum folks hu had a few drinks,seeing was fireworks. – William Tupetsi Sitlaku

* Definitely UFOs from another planet...:-) – Dirk Alester

* Thought we were the only ones who saw it in the Pta North side… it definitely looked lyk a UFO. – Refentse Mama-Lethabo Ndhlazi

* Me and my kids also saw it in Pretoria North. dont know what it is but we dont even drink any alcohol at all!!! – Daleen Van Blerk Van Zyl

* I work night duty in a Pretoria east private hospital… my nurse and I saw the moving objects moving east to west? 6 Of them. – Wilma Paulsen

* I too saw the orange orb/s in Pretoria North just after midnight into New Year’s Day which go from south to north. It was brilliantly orange and triangular so could have been three together. It had a definite horizontal path and moved along like a satellite does i.e. sometimes zigzagging a bit. My sighting appeared to lose its brightness and faded a bit before it went out of my line of vision. – Shirley

Pretoria News