|Occurred : 5/29/2002 22:32 (Entered as : 05/29/02 22:32)
Reported: 6/2/2002 1:32:32 PM 13:32
Location: Stanislaus National Forest, CA
Duration:4 minutes (approx)
|Three satallite-like formation of lights in night sky forming the shape of a triangle
Reported by 44 yr old male. Education-BA Liberal Studies and an MA in Educ Avid back yard astronmer and ufologist for over 15 years. This report details the sighting of 3 anomalous objects.
Date of report: 6/1/02 Preliminary information: On May 29, at 10:32PM (three days ago), I was at roughly the 6800ft elevation in the California mountains up along highway 108 in California, north of Yosemite past the Dardanelles, near a resort called Kennedy meadows. We were staying at a private cabin and I was using a 4" refractor telescope and binoculars to view the crystal clear, high country night sky. It was moderately cool with no haze or weather -- a great night for viewing.
There were only two of us. As we spotted a number of clusters, a couple of distant galaxies and nebula, we also concentrated on counting satellites that silently trekked across the sky. We also spotted what ostensibly was a military craft flying quite a bit higher than the commercial planes that occasionally went by. I figured it was military because it flew like a plane but did not display the standard red and green wing tip lights. this presumed military craft had a single white strobe that blinked about once only every five seconds. Satellites are uniquely different from other objects in the sky. They are distinctive since they are small spots of light, obviously very high, even beyond the high-flying military craft and soundless. Satellites also move quickly across the sky and should appear to move more slowly since they are further away, yet due to their high speed, they are still noticeably faster -- orbital velocity is roughly 17,500 mph. Not all satellites however travel at the same speed -- some seem to be faster than others but this may be attributable to the altitude of their individual orbit -- some are further out into space than others and apparent speed becomes difficult to discern. They also often change their light intensity since they are so high, reflecting sunlight that shines from far over the horizon. If they are spinning, they will seem to slowly flicker as their surfaces reflect light in different directions, or their trajectory might not be conducive to good reflectivity of sunlight. To the best of my knowledge, satellites don't emit much light of their own; this is something I need to confirm with someone who knows. The altitudes and trajectories of satellites vary greatly, yet they all share the same features of being small, fast moving, silent points of light, well beyond the altitude of other craft.
Sighting details: After spotting over 12 satellites, most travelling in a north to south or south to north orbit, I spotted another. It was noticeably bright white, more so than most of the other satellites but I didn't think it unusual since it had virtually all the features of satellites previously described, with a few exceptions. I would rate its brightness to be roughly between a magnitude of 3 to 4 (using star magnitude rating). To compare it with something familiar, it was about as bright as the star Orion, (even though I don't know Orion's specific magnitude rating). I noticed the object's intensity was constant and I thought "this is a good one", since often times satellites can fade quickly or come in and out of view based upon their reflective properties and surface features. Again, it was in the same area of the sky that we had spotted many others and nothing seemed odd.
However, within about two seconds of spotting it I saw two more flying behind it adjacent to one another. They were all the exact same intensity and the three formed a perfectly symmetrical triangle. Their exact position to one another could not be determined due to their distance from me and the effects of parallax, but I quickly went to my scope and was able to spot the lead light. I was using a high quality 19mm eyepiece that provides about 50x magnification with my scope. I tracked it briefly then held the scope still. The following two lights flew right through my field of view. They were all shaped identical, somewhat like orbs with a slight teardrop shape to them. I wouldn't call them disks though. I wasn't getting any significant resolution to determine specific details.
Their speed was faster than some of the slow satellites we saw earlier in the evening and slower than fast ones.
The entire sighting seemed to last about 4 minutes -- longer than usual satellite sightings. I did have enough time to repeatedly track them using just my eyes, the binoculars (regular 7x35), and my 4" telescope. My companion also saw the objects both through the binoculars, and with his bare eyes.
The formation was perfectly symmetrical in that, they moved as one unit, in the shape of a triangle, however it is important to note that the space between them did not occlude stars behind them as a solid object would do.
Therefore, it can be inferred that they were three distinctly separate lights moving together as one, hence, flying in formation.
The amount of sky occupied by this formation can be described as such: Hold your arm out at length, close your fist and hold up your thumb (as if you were giving a "thumbs-up" to someone). Place the lead light on the tip of your thumb and the trailing lights at the base of your thumb and separate the trailing lights by the width of your thumb -- this forms the size and the triangle of their formation. At the apparent distance of these objects, this would constitute a formation that was considerably wide apart, yet they maintained perfect symmetry from one another and continued that way with the same heading (north to south in this case) throughout the sighting.
After they finally moved low enough to the horizon, they became occluded by trees, however it is important to note that they maintained their intensity of white light throughout the entire sighting. The area of the horizon into which they disappeared, was a region that no satellites were spotted. Every other satellite heading south disappeared long before this area due to lack of direct line of sight with the sun.
As we speculated about that which we had seen, we continued to watch for a few more hours until about 3:30am. We were particularly vigilant for the next 90 minutes after the initial sighting since, if they were satellites, we might have caught a second glimpse and dismissed the event as ordinary satellites -- (they should have reappeared as they orbited the planet once again) -- however, they never reappeared.
Are there any "ordinary" satellites that have been placed into a synchronous orbit with one another, so as to move in perfect formation through their orbits? No other unusual lights were seen throughout the rest of the evening or the next night of viewing.
End of Report
((NUFORC Note: We suspect the witness was watching what are suspected to be N.O.S.S. satellites, which we believe are launched periodically by the U. S. Navy. They disappear when they enter the terminator, I.e. the shadow, of the Earth. Please see other report from CA for same time and date. PD))
Dear Mr. ((name deleted)),
Thank you very much for the excellent report! You certainly are a very good witness, and you have reported the event excellent well, I believe.
My suspicion is that you may have witnessed the U. S. Navy's N.O.S.S. satellite trio, which has been reported to our Center since approximately July 1996. Although the Navy will not talk about them, they were first investigated by Dr. Terence Dickerson, an astronomer (I believe), who writes for the Toronto Star. He had received many reports of three "satellites," which appeared to maintain formation over the course of several weeks' time, and which exhibited characteristics of typical man-made satellites.
There are many such reports of the phenomenon, which can be seen on our website. Interestingly, most of the reports seem to be from the summer months.
We will post your report in the near future. Thanks again for sharing the information with our Center!
May I forward your report to another investigator, Linda Howe, who has been interested in the phenomenon??
Dear Mr. Davenport,
Thank you for your swift reply. I knew the sighting was odd, but could not say for certain that they were not satellites. Thank you for clarifying; it sounds that they may indeed have been the N.O.S.S trio of which you wrote. I would like to know more about them; the mysteries seem to be unending.
I noticed that the lead light of this trio had a small protrusion of red light pointing downward towards the horizon. It was constant, in that it was not flickering, flashing nor did it have any strobe-like modulation in any way, and had no visible means of connection to the main sphere. However, at such a great distance, I doubt any support structure could be seen, even through my telescope. I intentionally omitted this aspect from the report since I only caught a brief glimpse of this feature and could not described it with any accuracy other than what I just mentioned.
Yes, you may use my report and/or forward it to Linda Howe -- I am quite familiar with her fine work. You may also include my contact information thereby allowing her to contact me if she deems necessary.
You are an exceptional and dedicated Ufologist and I have had the pleasure of listening to many of your contributions to the Jeff Rense program. I wish you continued success, and you can be assured I will be listening in the future as I have been for so long. If I have the fortune to see anything of interest in the future you'll be the first I contact. After 15 years of studying the subject and scouring the skies as an amateur astronomer, this recent event is the first legitimate anomalous sighting I've ever had. Hopefully, we'll have good reason to speak again sometime.