PHOENIX --Thousands witnessed the Phoenix Lights 17 years ago this week.
On March 13, 1997, people across the southwest watched glowing orbs in formation float across the night sky.
"People were in awe. People were mesmerized," Dr. Lynne Kitei recalls.
Kitei recorded some of the most famous video of the Lights, wrote a book on the event, produced a video on the topic, and hosts an annual Phoenix Lights Anniversary Celebration.
This year's festival will be held Sunday, March 16, at the Harkins Shea Cinema in Scottsdale. It features panel discussions and a viewing of Kitei's documentary.
The most common explanation involves military flares, but it is not universally accepted.
"You're telling me that flares actually traversed the state in a rock solid formation for hours? All of Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico? It's not possible," Kitei said.
She also does not buy the theory that a group of pilots flying in formation created a stunt or hoax.
"There is no way, after talking to pilots, that airplanes could hold that formation for so long," she said.
Her festival and documentary screening has sold out each year since 2007.
You can find more information at www.thephoenixlights.net