4WD Touring Australia – June 2018

(Ben Green) #1



Alright, so you have to be pretty lucky to see
this celestial sight, but hey, stranger things have
happened to our readers when camping out and
driving in Western Queensland.
Although Blackfellas lived with them and incor-
porated them into their Dreaming stories, even
they reckon that sightings have increased since
Europeans settled here.
The name came after WWII when stockmen noticed
a spate of strange glowing balls in the sky while
mustering at Min Min in Channel Country. They’ve
since been reported everywhere from Brewarrina in
NSW to Yunta in SA.
And what do these balls of light do? Well, they
seem relatively close up and they follow people,
move in formation and then disappear, usually parallel
to the horizon.

Drivers who spot them on the arid stretches of at
highway, describe them as following (and keeping
an exact distance from) their rig, travelling at the
same speed.
Because reports have occurred in relatively at
and arid regions, most explanations of the strange
phenomena hint at the white balls being a strange
reection of starlight, fog, and dust caused by a
difference in temps between the land and the sky.
And because they’re usually seen close to the
horizon, the most accepted theory is that they’re an
elaborate mirage, known as a Fata Morgana. These
mirages are a trick of refracted light, similar to the
‘Castles in the Air’ visions seen by early navigators
when they rst set off across the world’s oceans.
Regardless of why the balls of lights appear,
they are one of the true remaining mysteries and
unexplained legends of outback travel.

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