|Occurred : 11/16/1999 18:55 (Entered as : 11/17/99 18:55-19:15)
Reported: 11/17/1999 17:55
Location: New York/Philadelphia (between, on aircraft), NY
|One bright object ejected 3 others which trailed east slowly with long tails
I was in the American Airlines flight 785 scheduled to leave New York Laguardia at 17:55 on 17 November 1999. We left about 15 minutes late from the gate and didn't take off for about another 35 minutes. After we left the ground the pilot came over the PA and said we had Philadelphia out the left and would soon see Wilmington. I looked out my window to the North. I knew it was north because I had located the big dipper and had found the North star. We were heading close to due west. Out my window I noticed a light and thought it was another airplane. The light appeared to be at a slightly lower altitude than the one we were at. I watched the light and noticed that it was getting brighter. Thus it was either getting closer or increasing in brightness. I thought it was an airplane and started getting nervous as it appeared to be coming directly at us. That is it's brightness increased. I then noticed that it got extremely bright in the center and appeared to have an airplane like shape. That is a bright center and tapered to the east and west as if it had two bright wings. All this time it appeared as a bright white light. Next I heard the pilot say something about a meteor out of my side of the plane. I then noticed that the bright flattened shaped light appeared to explode into two or three more objects heading due east. I then truned and told the fellow next to me that he should look at the meteor too. He did and also saw what followed. The bright initial light appeared to slowly fade into nothing. The 2 or 3 objects that were left then headed due east. One after the other apparently on the same course. They moved very slowly and had a long tails that were about the same distance or a little less than the distance between the two stars of the big dipper which point to the north star. The tails appeared to be the same length. The were about the same luminosity except for the front which was slightly different. I did notice that after the length of the tail there was no sign of a dim tail, it was totally dark as was the rest of the sky. The objects moved off to the east at constant altitude. The total episode taking from 30 seconds to as much as two minutes. I was distracted by the pilots comments and then that it was a meteor so I didn't watch it continuously and really did not see the objects disappear. I did notice that at some point they were no longer visible. The trajectory of the objects was neither up or down in the vertical direction. The witnesses included myself, the person sitting next to me and at least one pilot. I am not sure about whether other people on the plane had noticed the event. I am not sure of the time but believe it to be between 18:45 and 19:15 Eastern.