UFOs or military flares?

A few weeks ago, I was sitting on my deck one weeknight and happened to observe in the eastern sky a bright light, appearing suddenly as if switched on. As it ‘switched off’ again, another one, further south, lit up, and then a third, fourth and fifth. We watched them for a few minutes before they went out, and then several minutes later the whole sequence happened again in another part of the sky.

Last night, Parker residents saw this same phenomenon, some remarking that it happens “all the time”, or at least isn’t entirely uncommon. In 1997, a phenomenon in Phoenix which came to be called the Phoenix Lights caused a stir, some residents describing the lights in a similar way, others perhaps embellishing on the shape and adding extra details such as seeing a triangular-shaped craft. They happened again in metro Phoenix ten years later, captured on video clips like THIS one.

The military explanation is that they’re flares on chutes, released by plane. Because of their light weight, they fall so slowly that they can appear to be motionless to bystanders miles away. According to globalsecurity.org:

Air-deployed LUU-2 high-intensity illumination flare are used to illuminate targets. The LUU-2B Flare has a light output rating of 1.8 x 10(6) candlepower and at 1,000 feet altitude illuminates a circle on the ground of 500 meters at 5 lux. The LUU-2 is housed in a pod or canister and is deployed by ejection. The mechanism has a timer on it that deploys the parachute and ignites the flare candle. The flare candle burns magnesium which burns at high temperature…

More info here. Various military training exercises are regularly conducted in western Arizona and eastern California airspace, on exercises from Luke Air Force Base, Yuma Marine Air Base, Barry Goldwater Gunnery Range and others. This would explain the prevalence of this here activity in these here skies.

Have you seen these lights at night? Do you buy the military explanation? If not, what are they?


  1. I see them frequently over the Buckskin Mountain range. I was driving home late one night from an event in Brenda and could see them from 42E. Once my co-worker and I got to the highway we could clearly see planes (no flashing lights) zipping around in the night sky. We watched for a while and sure enough, you can see the flares being dropped. They do seem to float in the air.

  2. For some time we lived right north of the Chocolate Mountain Aerial Gunnery range. The flares were a common sight as they do their manuvers.

    Frequently the flares would be at different levels as they were launched at slightly different times from the aircraft.

    It was kind of fun out there. Some nights we could go up on the little hill and see tracer bullet trails from machine guns. Also we would see the white light created by the rockets.

    I would guess that what people saw were flares, not U.F.O.s

  3. We’ve seen them more than a few times and it’s quite a sight. I’m no conspiracy theorist and I know they’re flares, but it always makes me realize why some people get all worked up about UFOs and the like in our area.

  4. I feel ya Missy, I totally got goose-bumps that night on ur patio. lol Whether it can be logically explained or not, things like this always make me go “what if..?”

  5. Missing the point here. Some lights reported ‘may’ be military flares, which are deployed regularly in AZ and known well by Phoenix residents. What thousands witnessed during the mass sighing in 1997 were silent, mile wide V shaped arrays of orbs and craft gliding at low altitude RIGHT ABOVE THEIR HEADS. The photo posted has been extensively analyzed by experts and is not flares. Important to educate yourselves on the facts. Flares drift, drop, have smoke trails, can only be deployed in certain restricted areas (cetainly not above residents) and cannot travel in a rock hard V formation for hours throughout an entire state. Easy to feed into a logical explanation for something so illogical and foreign. Your choice. But if you check out the other countries like UK, France, Belgium, Russia, Mexico, Denmark, Austalia, Brazil, etc. that have similar sightings, their conclusion is that they are not from ‘here’. Besides the terrific Phoenix Lights book and Documentary, recommend reading the new book by journalist Leslie Kean, UFOs, GENERALS, PILOTS & GOV. OFFICIALS GO ON THE RECORD, which includes a section on the “Phoenix Lights”.

  6. I personally have seen them for hours at a time. Driving up Vicksburg Rd. and back to Big River from Phoenix. Watched them not move in the sky. Same lights that I’ve watched from the banks of the Colorado river, sittin’ on the California side, not move for hours!!!!!!!!!!!! That tells me they’re not flares.

  7. Personally I found The Phoenix Lights documentary to be incredibly weighted toward the paranormal explanation without due scientific process, and full of all sorts of other fallacies, the most obvious of which was flat-out jumping to conclusions…. but that’s just me. 🙂 I’m open to persuasion.

  8. my husband is a uti researcher in phoenix he has been for more than 15 years he recently published a book and explains them.there are petroglyphs on south mountain from hundreds of years ago that tell the stories of what was seen in the skies then and still today they are spirit entities and absorb energy in certain areas in phoenixThe phoenix lights book vol.1. True stories myths legends and UFOS over phoenix.

    The best evidence of what the phoenix lights really is… You will never look at petroglyphs rock art in the same way again….


  9. The phoenix lights book vol.1. True stories myths legends and UFOS over phoenix.

    The best evidence of what the phoenix lights really is… You will never look at petroglyphs rock art in the same way again….


  10. i have also seen the lights… I used to go dove hunting down by calipatria and further south near Holtsevill.. I have seen the flares…

    One night me and my buddy saw something that were definatly not flares

    what i saw I could not explain… a large slow moving silent object.. don’t remember the shape… whatever it was it was accompanied with other much smaller moving objects.. orbes… within seconds the orbes went back to the larger object and seemingly disappeared

    truly unexplainable…i know i was near chocolate mountain gunnery range

  11. Just last night and the night before, my son and I saw what looked like extremely bright orange lights in the sky, right above 29’s military base in 29 Palms, CA. We live about an half mile from the base. But from where we are we can see downward towards the US Marine Corp base. We take nightly walks so I can lose weight to be able to fit into my wedding gown, for when I actually get married…giggles…????????????????????????. I digress. These lights look like someone or something is turning them off and on by flipping a switch. When they appear, they stay lit for 5-10 minutes. Then (boom!) they shut off in mid air as quickly as they got turned on.

    However, they neither ascend nor descend from what I can tell because they are extremely close to us. We can not see or hear an airplane or chopper. This tells me they are floating in mid air, not being dropped from planes and helicopters, while they shoot down, open, and then proceed to glow illumination. This being the colour of orange.

    My son tells me and swears on a stack of old bibles that these are military grade illumination flares, to see objects closer to the ground when deployed for military investigation? Okay, I can buy that as one logical conclusion or good acceptable reason. It makes sense to an old hippie like me, smiles.

    Putting all logical conclusions away, however, when I was younger, and my mom was growing (e.g. illegal marijuana…ooops! ????????????) yeppers…My whole family saw these strange objects in the sky.
    They were bigger, more colorful, and moved around a lot more than these so called: Military grade flares. We lived in the marijuana capital of the US then: Humboldt County, to be exact.
    We lived about 3000 ft upwards in rhe extreme rural mountains. Needless to say, we experienced strange happenings in the sky. At first we were amazed, curious, and mystified by them; but later, we got used to them and didn’t give’em a second thought. That being said, with one exception, me. I actually had a close encounter of the 3rd or 4th kind depending on interpretation.
    I was still intrigued but very wary. You can shoot a gun all day for practice, and have a lil fun, until one’s pointed in your face by a crazy brother. Then the fun part disappears quickly. That’s how I have always felt because if you’re gonna play with fire, you’re gonna get burnt sooner or later, in my case, rather sooner than later. Pun intended.
    I can believe that we have advanced technology that most of US people don’t know about. It’s on a need to know basis anyway. The military is not going to forfeit any information on these flying guys in the sky any time too soon. So my guesstimation is that what we assumme to be unidentified at this point is just that, until further notice. My thoughts on those illumination flares is that they are more military toys. They have to train, experiment, and sometimes to the public’s curiosity, fly in the sky and can’t always avoid examinations, by us.


  12. Was it a giant UFO or DOD military field exercise? It requires a little bit of investigative research, something few of us would bother doing. Discovery Communications showcased one of the original unedited clips right after the story broke. In the clip on Discovery, you can see the 1.8 million candlepower LUU-2 high-intensity illumination flares blink out from right to left as they fall behind the ridgeline. The long burn time [4-5 minutes? ] and distance from the viewers makes them appear motionless in the night sky.

    Discovery took the military’s information, location of the field exercise and overlayed the mountain ridgeline with video. I was able to find a few short edited TV news clips on Youtube that showed a different number of flares burning. One news clip captured 3 flares, becoming 2 as the farthest to the right disappears behind the ridgeline of the mountain range. Of course, the UFO community would never cut off the hand that feeds them. $$$$ UFOs piloted by a god-like entity are far more interesting than aerial flares on parachutes.

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