I am having a heck of a time finding anything on the internet that explains how and why a green orb with silver or metallic looking dots keeps appearing in my photos of the sky.

I am taking these pictures with my Samsung Galaxy S5 cell phone...

I frequently take pictures of the clouds, the sky and the sun. Often times I get a green orb with silver or metallic dots. It does not look like a normal lens flare. I have seen other people posting the same pictures of the green orb with silver dots that I am seeing, but they say it is a UFO or a spirit or even an inbound planet!! These all seem like absurd explanations.

I also saw an apple iphone blog where customer support claimed it was a software glitch in the iphone which created this green orb with silver dots.... that's great, but I don't have an iphone... so that doesn't jive with me either?

can anyone give me something concrete? Not just a guess that it "looks like a lens flare"? If it is a lens flare, why is it green with distinct silver dots on it and why is the same "lens flare" captured by others taking pictures of the sky? what causes it to look like that in the picture? Seems strange to me.

Here's an example photo:



3 Answers 3


It's a reflection of the image of the sun in the sensor, with the PDAF focus pixel covers reflecting brightly. See: https://www.metabunk.org/orbs-with-dots-focus-pixels-reflection-in-sun-reflection-lens-flare.t8872/ Image of your orb over closeup of a PDAF array


can anyone give me something concrete?

We can't tell you anything definitive because we can only guess at what you're seeing. Please post an example.

The way to tell whether it's lens flare or not is to take a series of photos and see how the effect in question changes as you move the camera relative to the bright light sources in the scene. In other words, does the green orb change position if you put the sun in a different part of the picture? How about if you create a little lens hood with paper or just your hand to block light coming from the side?

If it is a lens flare, why is it green with distinct silver dots on it and why is the same "lens flare" captured by others taking pictures of the sky? what causes it to look like that in the picture?

Lens flare is basically the image of light reflecting inside the lens, so it's highly dependent on the particulars of the lens you're using and the light sources in the scene. On the other hand, lots of people have the same phone you do, and it's not unlikely that several phone models might use the exact same camera module. Also, camera modules for phones largely have similar designs because they're all designed with similar goals. So it's not strange that other people get similar effects from their phones.


There is no "Normal" lens flare. Lens flare, however, is normal.

It does appear to be flare caused by internal reflections between the lens surfaces and the camera sensor daughter board on the main circuit board. That's my guess based on the following tiny details in the two images you linked to in your reply to Caleb.

There are 6 points in both of the images. The points change their position relative to each other.

Did you notice that there are two orbs that nearly overlap each other by the same amount in each shot? The overlap is green, the orbs are violet. The colours are reminiscent of coatings used on some lenses to counteract flare, ironically enough.

The possibility of the effect being a software glitch is quite remote, IMHO.

Try to locate other instances of this "phenomenon" paying attention to the details of the situation. Are you pointed at similar things or under similar circumstance like time of day when this occurs. Does this occur in the same place in your images? How big is this "thing?" Is the size always the same? Are there always 6 dots in the shot or a different number? Getting these details will help nail-down the source of the

Congratulations, you have found another hobby.

  • This doesn't make any sense. No camera circuit boards are in the optical path
    – mattdm
    Jul 16, 2019 at 3:44

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