UFO mystery in the sky at night

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RISING eerily into the night sky, they're unidentified, flying and orange.

Captured on camera (pictured above) in the Braid Hills area on Saturday night, these strange balls of light sparked notions of an alien landing somewhere in Morningside.

Several people reported sightings of the glowing objects between 8.50pm and 9pm. Student Lyle Brennan, 19, of Marchmont, was out walking in the hills with his friend Sam Mackay 20, when they saw the strange lights.

Mr Brennan said: "When we looked back over our shoulders we could see a succession of fiery orange lights moving across the sky. They appeared to be coming from the hills in groups of two or three, moving north very slowly and gradually burning out after about a minute."

A number of other people had stopped to watch the lights when Mr Mackay took a brief video clip of them on his mobile phone.

While no-one reported the sightings to the police, others have contacted the Evening News to ask what the strange lights were.

Mr Brennan added: "We passed maybe five or six people who had stopped their cars and were looking at the lights. I thought at first they would be flares, but they seemed to move too slowly for that, and then just disappeared."

Air traffic controllers noted nothing unusual on Saturday night, and the Army also struggled to come up with an explanation.

An Army spokeswoman said: "It could be that what they have seen are parachute illumination flares being used at one of our training ranges at Dreghorn.

"These are used to light up an area for troops. They are incredibly bright, travel very slowly and would be fired in groups of two or three, so it would fit the description.

"We did have Territorial Army troops carrying out training at Dreghorn on Saturday, and while we don't know if they used flares, that would be one explanation.

"Of course, I can't say for certain. It could have been a genuine UFO sighting."

An Edinburgh Airport spokesman said a recent switch to another runway had led to an increasing number of planes approaching from Midlothian and across the Fairmilehead and Morningside areas of the city.

Michael Mulford, a spokesman for the RAF, said that no operations had been conducted in the area. He said: "It can be very difficult to get to the bottom of these things sometimes, but if a lot of people saw these lights there is probably a rational explanation."

Last year, the Government opened its records over UFO sightings for the first time, containing eyewitness reports from across Edinburgh and the surrounding regions. Sightings included a series of flashing lights over Corstorphine Hill in 1998.

Investigators said at the time they were puzzled by the lights and urged more witnesses to come forward, but the mystery was never solved. Other incidents, such as two "fuzzy white lights" that danced over Leith in 2001 and a "swirly" object appearing above East Linton in 2006, have also never been explained.