|Occurred : 8/16/2003 21:45 (Entered as : 08/16/03 21:45)
Reported: 9/7/2003 10:24:20 AM 10:24
Location: Bakersfield (80 miles north of), CA
|An eractic object with three bright white lights traveling with traffic over I-5 in the middle of California
My wife, my parents and I were driving down I-5 towards LA in heavy traffic traveling about 65 miles per hour. Ahead of us the traffic started slowing down. All of a sudden three lights popped over the field to the east of us and swooped overhead. We were all looking at this object (I say an object because the lights seemed fixed to something but we couldn't see any structure - once I thought I saw a long pole-like boom heading to one of the lights, but I can't be sure) as we, it and the rest of the traffic moved south at 45-50 miles per hour. It bounced up and down, looked like it landed in a field to the west of us, then zoomed back over the interstate.
At first I thought it was a crop duster, although it was very dark to be spraying. But the object didn't follow any field pattern I know of, nor did I see any cloud of pesticide ejected from the object which I believe would leave a haze that would fog the lights from the farm houses in the distance. Those lights stayed crystal clear. Also, the object would speed up ahead of us then return along the interstate. My wife thought it might be a small plane or ultrlight in distress, but the object didn't have any colored wing lights, just three very intense white beams one of which disappeared every so often (I think the bulk of the object blocked the far light at these times, but I have no special reason to think so).
The object stayed around the highway for a few minutes, then rushed off to the east. It seemed to have set down in a field about 1/4 mile behind us. As I was in the backseat, I kept watching it wondering what it might be.
It appear once more well behind our car and moved west over the interstate a minute or so later. We were well away from it; I could only see the lights as dots.
None of us heard any noise although we could easily hear car engines and crickets (as we discovered later) while moving at speed. The radio wasn't on. When I asked what size they thought the object was, three of us felt the craft couldn't have been more than 20 feet long (my wife and mother compared it to the size of a large car). My father thought it was relatively large.
(As an amateur astronomer, I know that appearent dimensions get funny at night. So I gave my parents a test to help them visualize the size of the object (my wife already knows this test). I asked them to compare the object to the full moon. Then I asked them which coin is roughly the size of the full moon when held at arm's length. My mom thought the object was much larger than the full moon, say about 8 to ten disks wide, and correctly said a dime is roughly the disk of the moon. My father didn't give me an estimation, but incorrectly believed a quarter matches the appearent diameter of the moon.) We figured the object never went very high above us and estimated the closest approach to be about 500 feet to the west and less than 100 feet above from the appearent height of the power lines running along the highway and the height of the crops it disappeared into.
My wife and I are teachers (she's a pre-school teacher and head after-school teacher; I'm a middle school science and math teacher). My mother just retired from teaching 5th grade for 37 years. My dad retired from brokering steel. I noted the time from the clock radio in the car and the inital distance from a mileage sign to Bakersfield.