Explained: Squares in the sky? [Reflection of lights in a window]

Andrew Gillett

New Member
This was posted to a Facebook group. I asked him if the photo was taken from behind a window - he said no.

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Staff member
Looks like a very clear case of reflections of ceiling lights. Isn't that a window frame at the left? Any other photos taken from the same place?


Senior Member.
They do look very much like reflections of lights in a window. I don't see any sign of them reflected in the pool and I'd have thought that at least the lowest/furthest would be visible


New Member
They're ceiling lights. Reflected off the glass of the window the picture is being taken through. If the photographer looked over their left shoulder they'd see those squares.


New Member
if he took the picture, then what was the location and time/date photo taken?

Yeah there's a lot of issues here. The image is highly aliased - showing compression artifacts left and right. Zooming in on the 'squares' clearly shows them to be light reflections. The scene is overlooking a pool - with what looks like... a windowframe... on the left.

Reverse image search isn't hitting anything except "Here's an example of light reflections". Is he claiming anything odd or is he naturally curious what caused the reflections?

Because, I'm not saying it was reflections.
But it was reflections.

Mick West

Staff member
I asked him if the photo was taken from behind a window - he said no.

He might just be joking, but it's a surprisingly common source of "UFO" photos. People don't notice the reflections when they take the photo because they can see they are just reflections at the time (as they move), so they ignore them. Then days later they look at the photo and see the "UFO".

In this case it's obviously a reflection.
Metabunk 2018-06-01 08-13-42.jpg

One of my favorite cases was at Loch Ness. The person who took the photo (in the upper left here) insisted that they were outside. But you can actually see the reflection of curtains.

Andrew Gillett

New Member
Just noticed in the bottom left of the image, there are diagonal streaks that are presumably some kind of reflection from the window.

Andrew Gillett

New Member
For the record, here is what I replied with:

Peter, I'm sorry to have to contradict you but that is clearly a window frame on the left-hand side of the photo. The squares that appear to be in the sky are recessed ceiling lights. The three largest ones appear in a straight line, which makes sense as these kind of lights are laid out in a linear fashion. If they were actually in the sky you would be able to see the reflection of the furthest one in the swimming pool. The black item that appears below the light in the top left of the image is a chip in the window. Also you can see diagonal streaks in the bottom left corner which appear to be some kind of reflection. It would be amazing to see genuine evidence of alien spacecraft or some other such thing, but as Carl Sagan said, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Gwen, as for seeing things yourself, I have no doubt you've seen something that seemed to have no explanation, but there are many natural phenomena which most people are unaware of – and yours have to bear in mind things like confirmation bias. This is where, for example, there is something you want to believe in, and therefore you are more inclined to interpret things you see as being evidence for the thing you want to believe in. I've experienced this myself as I went through a phase where I wanted to believe in UFOs, and wanting to believe in them made me more accepting and less critical of anything that could be construed as evidence in their favour. I really recommend the book "The Demon-Haunted World: Science As a Candle in the Dark" by Carl Sagan which talks about how people in general are inclined towards believing in the paranormal even when there is little or no evidence.


Senior Member.
For the record, here is what I replied with:
you should have replied with "where was this photo taken?" It looks like a hotel or timeshare, there are likely pictures of the rooms online and the overhead lights can be proven.

If they were actually in the sky you would be able to see the reflection of the furthest one in the swimming pool.
I disagree.

The black item that appears below the light in the top left of the image is a chip in the window.
It's a seagull.

Mick West

Staff member
Here's a rough simulation of what we are seeing with the railing reflection
Metabunk 2018-06-02 11-07-34.jpg

There's a ceiling light behind me, reflected in the window. The same light is reflected in the can. Base on that reflection the light can only be behind me. It's in the same approximate position as the reflection on the railing.

This type of analysis seems like overkill for something that's obviously just a light. But it's fun practice.

As @deirdre says though, the most definitive approach would be to find the location of the room and a photo of the light fixtures. It does look like a fairly large room though - might even be something like a conference room or lounge.
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