AN AMATEUR astronomer who was stunned to see three burning orange objects in the sky thinks they were UFOs.
Adam Smith, of Steyning Close, Northgate, was standing in his garden in the early hours of Sunday morning when he noticed the first Unidentified Flying Object passing through the sky above his house.
The 27-year-old said: "I was in my back garden having a cigarette at about 12.10am when I looked up and saw this bright orange ball.
"It looked like a satellite burning up in the atmosphere at first but it kept on going.
"It was so bright it looked like it was on fire. My girlfriend freaked out a bit because she thought a plane was on fire.
"We watched it for a couple of minutes then another one came across and another one followed that too. We were watching for a good few minutes."
The eagle-eyed stargazer has been observing space for about 10 years with amateur telescopes and says he has never seen anything like it before.
Adam, a father-of-four, added: "I've seen meteors burning up, satellites flying over and these Chinese lanterns that keep getting mistaken for UFOs and this definitely wasn't anything like that.
"They were pretty big and they were moving about one and half times faster than a satellite would (about 400 miles an hour). I can't explain it, it really took me back."
In 2008, there were eight UFO sightings in West Sussex reported to the Ministry of Defence (MoD), six of which referred to bright orange lights.
Over the years the MoD has received so many orange light sightings from people that it commissioned a report investigating the unexplained phenomena in 2006.
The report attempts to explain the lights as "buoyant charged masses", potentially of gasses and electricity, although warns pilots not to attempt to out manoeuvre the "electrically charged plasmas".
Despite the MoD findings, one UFO specialist, Graham Allan, who has been investigating specific cases, claims the science behind the plasma ball energy theory is flawed.
Mr Allan said: "Sightings like this are on the increase, I'm having a look at three since Christmas in Staffordshire alone.
"I think the main reason for the MoD report is to protect pilots but after speaking to various scientists it seems the science behind it doesn't really add up."