A rookie Scots police officer feared she was being pursued for miles by a drone – but the bright light in the sky was actually a planet.
It was only after a drawn-out “pursuit” that she sought help from senior officers, who told her it was Jupiter – some 365 million miles away.
The dozy PC had left a Glasgow police station at about midnight on Tuesday and noticed the object in the sky “following her.”
She tried to lose the “drone” as she drove towards the shopping complex at the Fort, just off the M8.
The story is both amusing and illustrative. Many skywatchers, myself included, have been briefly fooled by an unusually bright planet low in the sky. I once thought Mars was a plane or a drone simply because it was so unexpectedly bright. Probably in October 2020.
This case sounds like a tall story, but it checks out. On Tuesday, July 13, 2021, at around midnight in Glasgow, Jupiter was low in the sky at about 120°, and the M8 before Glasgow Fort winds just left and right of 120° being in the rear-view mirror.
So it's an understandable mistake. It might seem very much like a drone following you.
If Jupiter had set by the time she'd got back to the station, then she may well have continued to think it was a drone forever.