GAZETTE readers have helped solve a mystery of the universe.
We have been inundated over recent days with reports of "UFOs" in the skies of the borough.
Two strange, glowing lights were spotted over the Calf Close Estate in Jarrow.
A motorist in York Avenue, Jarrow, also reported the luminous "objects" in the skies towards Wardley.
Now it appears their identity has been rumbled by two keen amateur astronomers.
Michael Coltman, of Highfield Road, South Shields, has been an observer of astronomy since the 1960s.
He has also seen the strange lights in the skies in recent days.
And Mr Coltman has been able to identify them – as the planets Venus and Jupiter.
He said: "The brighter-looking object was the planet Venus and the other was the planet Jupiter, the largest planet in the universe, which is currently on the far side of its orbit around the sun, and for this reason that it seemed less bright than Venus."
Cyril Daniels, of Roman Road, Jarrow, has also been transfixed by the lights in the skies.
He said: "They were an absolutely wonderful sight to behold. Really unbelievable."
But after consulting with his son, another amateur astronomer, they believe the objects were actually the planets Venus and Mercury.
Whatever the truth, this weekend promised to be an exciting one for amateur star-gazers.
Last night the moon was the brightest it has been in years – and 14 per cent bigger to the human eye.