Mrs Hicks, of Guy Street, Warwick, was in her living room on August 28 when she saw a mysterious red and orange shape through her net curtains.
|©Leamington Spa Courier
|Terry Hicks scans the sky from the doorstep of her Guy Street home. 07SEP23_14.
The 54-year-old was so excited she grabbed her binoculars and dashed outside to get a closer look, alarming her three-year-old grandson Cameron who was staying with her at the time.
She said: "It looked almost like a hot air balloon on fire.
"It came towards me pretty fast. It came from nowhere to being quite visible and then went back to where it came from."
The experience began at around 8.20pm and lasted around five minutes. Mrs Hicks said the object was smaller than a full moon but appeared larger than any star or planet in the night sky.
The object appeared in the south east and at its closest hung in the air around 13 miles away. It seemed to move silently and did not drift like a balloon but moved directly towards her and then away again.
In years of scanning the heavens for comets and meteor showers Mrs Hicks had never seen anything like it.
She added: "Being an avid skywatcher I am 100 per cent certain it was something unusual. My husband saw it as well. He's not so sky-minded as I am but he is sure it was something unusual."
Mrs Hicks checked the internet but could not find any similar sightings, even though she is sure she was not alone in spotting the glowing shape.
Official sources could not confirm the object was an aeroplane or military aircraft. Civil Aviation Authority spokesman Janine Aldridge said: "We don't go into the issue of UFOs. Some of these things may be an optical illusion if people see some cloud formations in the sky."
The Ministry of Defence had not replied to the Courier's request at the time of going to press but Meteorological Office spokesman John Hammond said the object was unlikely to be a weather balloon, as these are only 4 to 5ft in diameter and float at high altitudes.
He explained weather conditions that evening were unlikely to have caused optical illusions but were ideal for hot air ballooning, which was the most likely explanation.