|Occurred : 7/28/2002 22:00 (Entered as : 07/28/02 22:00)
Reported: 7/29/2002 7:25:47 PM 19:25
Location: Rapid City, SD
Duration:appr 5 min
|A single point of light, similar to a satellite, was seen moving erratically across the night sky over the Black Hills of SD.
I was enjoying a late evening soak in the hot tub on my deck outdoors with 4 friends. We recalled that it was getting close to time for the Perseids. We saw a few meteors, and continued to look for others. The observers were an adult couple, their teenaged daughter, and two adult females, ranging in age from 14 - 53. All adults are college educated, but not scientists. No alcohol or any other potentially conscious-altering substances had been consumed by any of us, the entire day. We pointed out to each other several moving points of light, at different times, that appeared to be satellites (we see quite a few of those out here). Then one of us spotted what he thought was another satellite. We all looked, and at first it appeared similar to the previous satellites we had seen, ie. a small point of light moving at a constant rate of speed, similar to that of a satellite. But then it began to move erratically instead of following a smooth, straight orb. It zigzaged and curved back on its path, and seemed to slow down and speed up, following the type of non-pattern you might walk if you were looking for something you had dropped in the grass, if you weren't sure where you had dropped it exactly. We discussed it, trying to think of anything that might produce such movement. After meandering about in this fashion for several minutes, the point of light just winked out. Not a gradual trailing off into the distance, but *poof* it was gone, completely. We all saw it... and none of us have never seen anything like it. I would guess the time to have been sometime between 9:45 - 10:15 pm, on July 28, 2002. I would estimate that the temperature was in the mid-to-upper 60s and it was a clear night, with little or no wind, at about 4,000' altitude, outside of Rapid City in a rural area near Spring Canyon, in the Black Hills.
((NUFORC Note: The International Space Station passed over Rapid City, SD, on two occasions on July 28. Please see the entries at the URL shown below.