And a second family, which saw what appears to have been the same object from their vantage point at Valentine, are also unable to give a rational explanation for their sighting.
The accompanying photograph – enhanced by the Newcastle Herald for publication – shows a bright row of white lights along what looks, to this writer, like the leading edge of a boomerang.
With UFO watchers already clamouring over the arrival in our solar system of Comet ISON – which NASA expects to peak between November 28 and Boxing Day* – the Lake Macquarie photo is bound to generate wide interest.
The sightings began at about 8.50pm on Friday as Richard Hardy and his wife Tina were walking west along Maude Street, Belmont, on the eastern side of the Pacific Highway, when they saw ‘‘the brightest blue light you have ever seen’’ in the sky to their north.
‘‘At first I thought it was a flare, it was such a solid glowing blue.
‘‘It came in from the north-west then slowly descended, and then it changed quickly from blue to red. Then it shot straight up for a couple of seconds and my wife reached for her phone camera and it changed back to blue then shot over towards the south-west.
‘‘I rang my son who was at home on the other side of the highway and he saw it go blue then red then blue again and eventually disappear way over the other side of the lake towards Dora Creek or Toronto.’’Herald journalist Jim Kellar also saw the object at the same time for about 15minutes on Friday night as he sat on the verandah of his house at Valentine.
He saw it as red, and turning to yellow, and moving low on the horizon to the south-west, where it disappeared and re-appeared, moving faster at times than aircraft would appear at the same distance.
Mr Kellar was reluctant to admit seeing it and the Hardy family described themselves as highly skeptical.
What surprised Mrs Hardy as much as anything was the colour of the image she captured on her iPhone4S.
‘‘It was blue when I photographed it but white when I looked at it in the photo,’’ Mrs Hardy said.
*NASA describes ISON as a greenish comet travelling at about 142,000km/h towards the centre of the solar system and recently passing the orbit of Mars. Even serious scientists are calling it a ‘‘sun-grazer’’ but the conspiracy theory end of the internet is getting ready for the end of the world through death by comet.