|Occurred : 6/29/2003 23:30 (Entered as : 6/29/03 23:30)
Reported: 6/30/2003 10:22:06 AM 10:22
Location: Virginia Beach, VA
|((NUFORC Note: We wonder whether the witness describes the smokey trail left behind one, or more, research rockets that were fired out of Wallops Island, VA, for atmospheric research. They were to have been launched in late June 2003. We will attempt to confirm the date of the launches. PD))
While packing to leave my beach house, I looked up and saw a large, odd-shaped cloud that was very clearly glowing with a blue-green light. It looked kind of like a trail left by an aircraft after the aircraft had been gone and the trail had widened, but this cloud did not move with the wind or dissipate. I had the impression it was extremely high up (dozens of miles, perhaps). The cloud/trail varied in thickness, and described a roughly 270-degree "swoop" or semicircle about five times the circumference of a full moon.. As it was an otherwise clear night, and I was intrigued by the trail, myself and two friends went over to the beach to get a better look and benefit from darker sky. The cloud was very clearly glowing (not reflecting light) and the light was a pale greenish-blue. It kind of looked to me what I always imagined aurorae might appear like. Anyway, at the beach, we saw four people who claimed to see what caused the cloud. They saw a very bright ball of light, the same color as the cloud, come tracking in quite quickly from the southeastern horizon and seemingly "higher", it appeared to follow the curve of the earth. Then, almost directly overhead, it kind of "ricocheted" and appeared to dissipate, the fading light flying very quickly toward the opposite (western) horizon and leaving the strange glowing cloud where it "bounced". In the darker sky, I could see a faint, very straight trail leading to the cloud from the direction which these other folks said the object originally appeared. To me, it looked like the straight, slanting trail leading to the cloud was emanating from "deeper" into the sky, like the path of an object which "fell" from deeper space to the point of the cloud. The other observers had claimed to see shooting stars and fireballs before, and that this object was a different color and moved much more slowly. After about 10-15 minutes of observation, the cloud very slowly seemed to lose its "glow", though it didn't really dissipate, and never move! d from its position almost directly overhead and just a bit out to sea (east). My hypothesis at the time (and which I still believe, but would love to have confirmed) is that some sort of meteor, fairly large, struck the upper atmosphere and glanced off, leaving a "bruise" of ionized gas very high up, which slowly faded out. I'm submitting this report in the hopes someone at that end might have more information and be able to shed some light on this mystery sky-sign.