Paul and Sylvia Mayo were leaving a gas station in Darwin, the capital city of Australia's Northern Territory, in the early morning hours of June 12, 2015, when their car dash cam caught something streaking through the air.
"My wife and I both saw the object shoot across the sky, and the next day we looked at the video footage from our dash cam to see if it had recorded the object and were delighted to see that it had," Paul Mayo told The Huffington Post in an email.
"We were puzzled at the time to explain what it was, but being the busy people we are, put it aside and didn't think that much more about it, particularly since we're both UFO skeptics."
Mayo explained how, six months later, he watched the video footage again, still puzzled by it all.
"Being lifelong amateur astronomers and astrophotographers, we know what a shooting star looks like, what an aircraft looks like, how fast an aircraft moves, what a satellite looks like, what the International Space Station looks like, but the object on our footage didn't fit any of these airborne objects."
Mayo decided to take a screen grab from their video, zooming in on the image and increasing the contrast.
"We sat there gobsmacked, looking at this image of what looked like a string of colored pearls."
Here's the original video taken by the Mayos' dash cam:
The Mayos are quite familiar with things in the night sky. They are professional, award-winning astro-photographers who take deep space photographs of galaxies, star clusters and many other wonders of the universe in the remarkably clear skies of the Australian Outback.
Despite their extensive collaborative background developing astronomy software and teaching Information Technology, they're still baffled by the object they accidentally videotaped in the Northern Territory.
"Over the past 30 years, we've looked at so many photographs, we can normally identify anything unusual in a photograph at a glance," Paul Mayo wrote on their website. "As astronomers, we have always been skeptical about UFOs, but the object that appears in this video is something we can't explain."
The red circle in the following image shows where Darwin is located in Australia.
"We're still at a loss to explain what our dash cam captured," Mayo told HuffPost. "We've asked the wider community to offer explanations, though we don't seem to have had any credible feedback explaining what it is."
According to Yahoo! News, "theories to explain the phenomenon included that it could be a windscreen reflection. However, this was rejected on the grounds that the unidentified object was moving too fast."
Another point about the reflection theory is that, if you look at side-by-side images of the streaking object, it appears to pass behind a pole (in the picture below). Would a reflection do that?
"That thing in the video is going along the tree tops in a straight line," Mayo told NT News, which has covered Australia's Northern Territory news for over 60 years.
"Is it a UFO?"