On the night and time in question I was driving north on Veteran's Expressway (589) approx. 2 miles south of the Gunn Highway exit.
Ahead and to the left (NW) I noticed what looked like 4 flickering lights in the sky. At first I thought they were airliners on approach to Tampa International Airport, as the landing corridor runs along this north / south axis. It was odd they they were in such a formation in my mind. The objects however were NOT connected in any way physically from what I observed. The objects did not move in any peculiar ways to my observation.
As I was driving at 65 MPH I could not easily stop and watch, but I tried to look as I drove for the next mile or so. What I thought was 4 lights really was more like 11 as I cleared more trees. The objects were soon on my left and and then the road curved and I lost site.
I have estimated the following based on speed of car and angle of observation:
The altitude of these lights was less than 500 ft..
The field of objects was likely several hundred yards
The range from my car seemed relatively close
The appearance of the objects appeared like flickering flames in the distance.
What intrigued me was the wide dispersal of the objects and their varying range and altitude.
I have a strong suspicion that they were sky lanterns, but, I found no advertised sky lantern events in Tampa for the 8th of March and the Chinese New Moon celebration was on the 14th February. It is of course possible that there was an event of some sort that I was unable to find or was a private affair. If they were in fact sky lateens, given our perenial drought issues in the area, it doesn't seem like a particularly good idea.
I suppose they also could have been hot air balloons or something of the like.
Also suspicious was that these were floating in a known landing path into TIA. I saw the lights of jetliners on the right side of the roadway acting in a normal way.
I frankly have no idea what I saw, but felt this would be a good place to report something out of the ordinary.
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