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on initial suspicions concerning the fireball that passed over Washington State
and British Columbia at approximately 2207 hrs. (PDT) on Friday night, 28AP00,
Peter Davenport decided to perform at least a cursory examination of the
available data. His hope was to be
able to establish whether the event was consistent with a typical meteoritic
event, at least in gross terms, or whether it might have exhibited
characteristics, which are inconsistent with such an event.
suspicion was aroused by the following aspects of the event:
of the witnesses in the Seattle area reported that the object, and the manner in
which it moved across the sky, seemed unusual to them, "not like a
the witnesses in Aldergrove, B.C., reported that the object appeared to be
"below" the cloud layer, which would be inconsistent with most
It was reported that the Sandia sky-camera (in Woodinville, WA) had not
recorded the event, even though the camera was operating normally at the time of
the event, and even though the skies at the time were "partially cloudy
with large clear spots." Given
how dramatic the event apparently was, it seemed illogical that the camera would
not have recorded the event, had it been a typical meteor or bolide, i.e. at an
assumed altitude measured in tens of miles.
((In a subsequent communication, the operator of the camera indicates
that the clouds to the west of the camera’s location were almost solid.
He reports, too, that a second inspection of his tape for the time period
of the event, again, revealed nothing.))
of the witnesses reported a sonic boom, or any audible sound.
Because the National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC) had
been contacted by several witnesses to the event who reside in the Seattle area,
Davenport felt that at least a preliminary collection of on-site, eyewitness
data could be collected, and analyzed, with a minimum of effort.
Hence, on Wednesday, May 03, he contacted Mr. Robert B. Frost, a retired
(40 yrs.) senior engineer (E.E.) from Boeing Military to request his assistance
in an investigation. Mr. Frost
consented to participate in the investigation, and he and Davenport met on
Thursday, May 04, with two witnesses, from whom they collected sighting data.
Garmin hand-held GPS unit (Model 44) was used for latitude/longitude
measurements. A Brunton surveyor's
pocket transit (Model 5006LM), mounted on a wooden tripod (brass fittings) was
used for azimuth and elevation measurements.
Both instruments provided by Mr. Frost.
Frost, serving as principal investigator in the case, took the readings and read
them to Davenport, who recorded them. Mr.
Frost performed calculations on the data and communicated them to Peter
Davenport, who prepared a draft of this document.
The draft was submitted to Bob Frost for final proof-reading and any
Resides in Ballard area of Seattle, approximately 8 miles north of
Seattle Space Needle.
witness described the object observed as being extremely bright, generally white
in color, and somewhat oval in shape, with a distinctly convex dorsal side, and
generally flat ventral side. (She
drew an image for the investigators.) She estimated its (apparent) size to be approximately a major
fraction of the width of her thumbnail, held at arm's length, and viewed with
one eye closed. She stated that the
object was moving generally from her right to left, as she faced east. The
object passed behind tall conifer trees to the east of her position, which
apparently assisted her in estimating the object's apparent position in the sky
(both azimuth and elevation) at the time of her sighting.
The witness indicated that the sky was clear, with no clouds evident.
estimated she observed the object for approximately 2 seconds.
She lost sight of the object as it passed behind trees.
Witness Lat./Long.: North 47 deg. 41.808 min. West 122 deg. 23.525 min.
44 deg. (true) Elevation:
8 deg. 30 min.
Azimuth: 32 deg. (true) Elevation:
9 deg. 20 min.
#2: Male; age:
early 20's. Resides in
Northgate area of Seattle, approximately 1-2 miles northeast of Northgate
Shopping Center, which is located just east of Interstate-5.
described the object as being extremely bright, generally white in color,
seemingly round in shape, with perhaps a greenish tint to its fringe.
He estimated its (apparent) size as being equal to a major fraction of
the width of his thumbnail, held at arm's length, and viewed with one eye
closed. He stated that the object
moved at an extremely high (angular) velocity, passing generally from his right
to left, as he faced east. As was the case with Witness #1, the object passed behind
tall conifer trees to the east of Witness #2, providing him with a good
reference as to the object's apparent position (both azimuth and elevation).
Witness #2 emphasized how fast the object was moving across the sky.
He indicated that he had never seen anything move across the sky that
witness reported that the sky was clear, and no clouds were evident.
Witness estimated he observed the object for 3.5-4.5 seconds.
Lat./Long.: North 47 deg.
43.205 min. West 122 deg.
Sighting: Azimuth: 98 deg. 30 min. (true) Elevation:
35 deg. 40 min.
Sighting: Azimuth: 14 deg. (true)
13 deg. 10 min.
The difference in elevation between the two witnesses was not measured,
but its is estimated to be not more than 200 feet, and therefore is
may take similar readings from other witnesses in attempt to corroborate the
above findings. We are hoping for
Based on the GPS measurements, the distance between the two witnesses was
The altitude of the "fireball" was approximately 4,200 feet (AGL).
(Range: 3,000 to 5,000
The object was traveling at a velocity of between 4,000 and 6,000 feet
Over the range of sighting by the two witnesses, the object was coursing
on a heading of approximately 350-360 degrees (true).
The length of the object (horizontal axis) is estimated to be in the
vicinity of 70-200 feet.
analysis is not addressed in these calculations. However, Mr. Frost comments that he believes that the most
critical angle, from the standpoint of creating large amounts of error, is the
estimate by Witness #1 of the angle of elevation at her initial sighting.
He estimates, in rough figures, that an error in that reading of 20
percent could affect the calculations.
invite comments from the public.
If anyone was witness to the object described above, we would be grateful if they would submit a brief written report, preferably using the Online Report Form.
This report was prepared by: Peter B. Davenport, Director. Comments may be directed to him at email@example.com .