Thanks for providing those details/the drawing seangkt.
I think chinese lanterns have to remain a distinct possibility as anyone can get hold of them now, even if they may seem unlikely. We can rule out
satellites since the sun is a long way below the horizon between 12-2am in January, and satellites can only be seen when the sun is not far below the
I'll be honest, we don't have much to go on here, and it could have been almost anything, although I think the suggestion above is the most likely
candidate. This sighting is like a million others in that respect. Even for those with pictures/footage it's usually impossible to say with 100%
certainty what it was, especially if it's a randomly moving and fairly indescript object.
A light at night, in the dark with no other objects for reference, is virtually impossible to gather any useful data about. It could be a small light
relatively close by, or a large light a long way away. There is no way to tell even with a photograph or video, unless the UFO interacts with objects
that are at a known distance.
If your girlfriend is looking to try and photograph UFOs at night, then she would probably have much better results using a camcorder than a still
camera. DSLRs/SLRs are great for photographing the stars and other celestial objects, but when it comes to relatively dim, and fast moving objects,
even with fast lenses and high ISO you'll just get streaks/motion blur. For that reason, a tripod is also advised (with whatever you are using). A
tripod (or any suitable support) is essential for any type of low-light photography, if you want good results
I've been trying to photograph meteors/stars for the last 10 years or so, so feel free to ask/u2u if you have any questions regarding this type of
photography (photographing luminous objects at night, whatever they be, as the principals are more or less the same no matter what the object is) or
the equipment used.
Again I'll be honest and say, I have also seen strange things in the sky, and although not everything can always be identified or 100% confirmed,
even the strangest things that people see are probably either natural phenomena or man made phenomena.
I don't want to discourage you or your girlfriend from trying to photograph UFOs, but if you do decide to try, then be warned that unless you take
time to make sure you go about it in the correct way, any photos/footage you collect will be of very little value, and will end up in a pile along
with thousands of other photos/clips.
By the way, your friend is mistaken in saying that the same satellite can often be seen again minutes afterward, although he can be forgiven for
thinking that since there is a steady procession of satellites, and in some cases following similar orbits.
Check out the times of Iridium satellite flares for your location at heavens-above.com
for instance. See how
the predictions in a few months time (when the sun no longer ventures so low below the horizon in the summer months) compare with now. There should be
more visible, and so more chance of seeing two (or more) in a row.
Here's what a typical satellite orbit looks like, and as you can see, it would be seen in a very different part of the sky the next time round (if it
was visible at all):