|Occurred : 9/20/1988 03:00 (Entered as : 09/20/88 0300)
Reported: 9/23/2002 2:38:43 PM 14:38
Location: Riverside, CA
|Unidentified patch of light in the night sky
This event occurred somtime in September of 1988, I don't recall the exact date at this time. I was working as a school district police officer and was sitting in the middle of one of the high school campuses, writing on my patrol log. I had the window of my truck down and was using the illumination from a security light on one of the nearby buildings to write by. The sky was clear, stars visible, no moonlight that I recall. Suddenly, the interior of my truck lit up like it was daylight. My first impression was that a truck with off-road lights had pulled up behind me and suddenly turned on all its' lights at once. This startled me quite a bit, as I did not hear anything, even with the window down. I looked up from my writing and into the rear view mirror, only to discover there was nothing there. I considered the possiblity of a police helicopter shining its' spotlight on me, but there was no helicopter noise. Also, the spotlight from a helicopter has a blue-ish tinge to it, and has an oscillating effect due to the vibrations from the rotors. There was no sense that the light source was moving, and it was white light, like daylight. I looked out the window into the sky to try and locate the source. As I looked around, I saw an irregular patch of white light in the sky to the northeast, about 40 degrees above the horizon. The shape was roughly elliptical, but had ragged edges. The patch of light seemed to be closing in on itself, and it disappeared as I watched it. The size of the patch when I first saw it was about 4 or 5 times larger that the full moon, but much brighter. I checked the newspapers for the next several weeks to see if there was any mention of meteors or other events which would explain what I saw, but nothing ever appeared.
I grew up near several airports and a military aircraft factory, and am familiar with conventional aircraft. While I am not an amateur astronomer, I like to look at the sky for relaxation, and have seen various types of meteors and bolides. I have seen countless missile launches from Vandenberg AFB, and have been watching satellites since Echo 1. I have never seen anything like this before or since.