|Occurred : 3/30/2002 19:50 (Entered as : 3/30/02 19:50 PM)
Reported: 3/31/2002 11:32:39 PM 23:32
Location: Jacksonville, FL
|Cluster of lights passing overhead at high speed simultaneously changing configuration
While walking across the yard Friday evening I paused to see if I could identify a newly discovered comet mentioned in the news recently.
Facing west I scanned the cloudless sky trying to locate Mars in order to find the comet but a cluster of swiftly moving dim lights caught my attention. The lights numbered five or six and the intensity of their luminosity was no greater than the fainter visible stars that night. In fact had I not been starring in their general direction at the time I would not have noticed them. They moved from south to north at a high and relatively unchanging rate of speed. When I first noticed them they were arranged in a roughly straight line and I took them for conventional airplane lights except they didn't strobe and then I decided there were too many and the configuration was unusal. As I tried to determine what aircraft this was the lights reorganized into a rough arc. At that point I figured these were indivdual objects and not a solid lighted body. The reconfiguration took place very quickly and it seemed as if the trailing lights had increased speed slightly and took positions on the easterly side of the arc as the others spread out to the west. The pattern was very tight which lead me to discount the normal military aircraft in formations I'm accustomed to seeing in the area skies. The lights remained in the arc formation and I had the impression they were breaking into another pattern but I lost sight of them in the glare of a street lamp. the glare of the street lights of the intersection north of my home coupled with the speed the lights travelled made it impossible to find a better vantage point to track them further.
I tried to listen for aircraft engines as they passed overhead but the din of passing traffic on the highway an eighth of a mile west of my location made this difficult. I couldn't make a determination of the altitude of the lights but their faint appearance gave the impression they were very distant. Likewise the individual lights seemed to be in close proximity of each other but this is impossible to determine definitively. Their size and luminosity gave the impression they were roughly at the same altitude and attitude.
I would be content to dismiss this formation as satellites but for two factors: Their high rate of speed and the ability to reconfigure their positions simultaneously. On the evening of Sunday, 3/31/02 I watched the sky between 7:45 PM and 8:10 PM with the perhaps eroneous assumption that I might see the same cluster of satellites pass by yet did not.
I did however note two satellites, one passing north to south and the other the opposite, and noted that these had roughly the same luminosity as the cluster I'd seen before but not the greater speed. I'm read of four or five clusters of satellites launched into orbit by corporate entities but I'm not aware that they can reorder their relation to one another or regulate their speed. A couple days of research hasn't yielded any information on such a satellite cluster but I'm open to education.