Figure 16 – Multiple Chinese lanterns being launched.
Figure 17 – Chinese lanterns at dusk.
Note the lens reflection to the left of the moon.
Chinese lanterns aka Sky lanterns – Chinese lanterns are reported very frequently, especially around holidays like New Year’s, 4th of July, Christmas and Memorial Day. They are also launched for celebrations like weddings and anniversaries. These are small hot air balloons made of thin paper and a wire or bamboo frame. They are powered by a candle or fuel cell and while usually orange in color, they can come in most any color. They move along on wind currents and can stay in the air about 10 minutes or so. While most Chinese lanterns travel at an altitude of approximately 500 to 1,000 feet, some have been known to reach 3,500 feet. Some witnesses, who have observed a Chinese lantern from directly below, reported seeing a flame or fireball. Most witnesses who see Chinese lanterns travel until their fuel supply is exhausted describe them as blinking out one after the other if there are multiple sightings. The weather data at the time of the sighting, specifically wind direction and speed, will play an important part in determining if these objects could be Chinese lanterns.
Figures 16 - 19 show Chinese lanterns both up close and at a distance.