|Occurred : 10/2/1999 19:15 (Entered as : 10/02/99 19:15)
Reported: 10/2/1999 00:18
Location: Tracy, CA
|Ablation Cone with trailing smoke contrail Moving South to North. Extingushed at near overhead. Cone angle 20 approx. Deg.
Observed Bright light to south with streaming contrail of smoke. Object was apparently entering atmosphere. Ablation cone of approximately 20 degrees was observed with occasional bursts of sparks. Object was in a very shallow angle because it was observed in a South to North trajectory from near horizon to approximately 80 degrees (near overhead). Object ablation cone appeared to flare out near termination of the event at which point it extinguished with a glow that rapidly dissipated. Total transit time for the object from first observation to termination was a on the order of 20 seconds. I and my two sons were traveling southbound on Tracy Boulevard approaching the intersection with Schulte Road. During the object's transit there were at least 4 times in which sparks burst from the object, lighting up the ablation cone. My son first called attention to the object. I continued driving and found a place to stop. As we got out of the truck it extinguished at near overhead. the trajectory of the object was very nearly South to North. Estimating the altitude, I would place the path to be directly overhead at Dublin California, approximately 30 Miles to the West. This is of course the weakest of the estiamtes because I really could not tell how high it was for sure. If I had to guess, I would probbaly attribute this to the decaying orbit of a satelite in a polar orbit. It was too slow for a falling star and too fast for an airplane. What most impressed me was how long the object remained in view and the extremely shallow angle of the trajectory. It would be impossible for me to say that the path was not indeed horizontal
((NUFORC Note: Observer seemed exceptionally qualified. We do not know what the object was that he and his sons observed. The object does not appear to be the Minuteman II missile, that had been launched out of Vandenberg AFB some 12 minutes earlier.))