|Occurred : 7/8/2003 20:31 (Entered as : 07/08/03 20:31)
Reported: 7/8/2003 7:15:59 PM 19:15
Location: Gaithersburg, MD
|Bright object at edge of moon sat still, then moved slowly away from moon.
I am an amateur astronomer. My wife spotted an object she thought was a planet very close to the moon. I walked outside and she asked me to look at the planet next to the moon. It was early twilight. I looked and saw what appeared to be a star or planet just at the edge of the moon. It was apparently just at the edge of the moon on the dark side of a 3/4 full moon. I watched it for maybe 30 seconds and during this time it did not move at all in relation to the moon. I was going through my mind to try and figure what planet it might be, but none came to mind that would be in that part of the sky. All of a sudden the object started moving in a direction which from my perspective was toward 2 O'clock in relation to the moon. It moved much to slowly to be a satellite. It was not possible to tell if it moved in front of or behind the moon as it passed the top 1/5 of the moon. In 5 minutes it moved a little more than the width of a hand at arms length. The whole time the brightness of the object was about what the star Sirius would appear like at that time of day and it did not waver. My wife went in and got a pair of 12x50 binoculars about 2 minutes into this sighting, in the binoculars the object was no more visible than it was without them. Then as we were talking about it the object at some point disappeared, but no one actually saw it when it did finally disappeared. I did manage one digital photograph of the object with my Olympus 5 megapixel C-5050, I am sending it to you although it does not look like much. The photo shows both the object and the moon.
We can only figure it was one of two things. A balloon which very coincidentally did an apparent hover right at the point that it was resting on the very edge of the moon on the dark side and then proceeded to apparently move on and finally dissapear. The other is that it was a huge spacecraft near the moon which decided to leave while we were looking. It was certainly not a star, planet, or satellite, and it was not an airplane or jet or space shuttle. If this was a spacecraft near the moon you most certainly will have other reports of it, as it was difficult to miss.