|Occurred : 3/21/2004 21:02 (Entered as : 03/21/2004 21:02)
Reported: 3/21/2004 2:55:06 PM 14:55
Location: Langford (UK/England),
|Formation of three white pinpoints slowly crossing the night sky at very high altitude.
We are used to seeing satellites and the ISS cross the night sky here, as we live in a fairly rural area with little light pollution.
What we saw were the same kind of steady pinpoint white light, similar to a faint star, that a satellite appears as. The very odd thing was that there were a fixed formation of three lights, that traversed the sky almost directly overhead from wnw to ese over a period of about 5-10 minutes. The lights formed the shape of an isosceles triangle, or Grekk letter Delta rotated anti-clockwise by 45 degrees. I would estimate that the lights that were furthest apart from each other (which were in "line astern" formation) subtended an angle of around 5 degrees from where I saw them.
I've checked with the database of satellite tracks at www.heavens-above.com, and none match the track and timings of the lights we saw for our latitude and longtitude.
I don't think these were aircraft. There was no noise, and no other navigation lights were seen.
These were not shooting stars. the lights were steady, and moved far too slowly and were visible for too long.
My opinion is that these objects were outside the earth's atmosphere. They appeared exaclty as satellites do in terms of speed and appearance, but the unique issue was that the lights were multiple and held exactly the same relative position throughout the sighting.
I am a qualified private pilot, and spent nine years with the British Army. I would consider myself to be very level headed. I fully expected to discover a rational explanation for these lights.
It could be that these were an array of three satellites which may not appear on publicly available listings. I'm happy to provide further details by email if you have any specific questions. I'm also happy to provide an electronic image of my impression of the object(s).
((ADDENDUM FROM WITNESS))
I've just discussed this with my wife, and we agree that the total time of the sighting was 4-5 minutes. And this was not a horizon to horizon sighting. I first spotted the lights as they were just east of Polaris, and we both lost sight of them as they were about 45-60 degrees above the horizon slightly North of due East.
I was outside in our garden having a cigarette, and as I often see satellites during my nicotine fixes(!), I was idly scanning the night sky. This was at 20:01 GMT (I'd just finished watching a TV show that ended at 21:00). When I saw the lights, it took me a minute or so to grasp the unusual significance, and then I dashed indoors to get my wife to come out and see them too. She followed me out, and we spent a good couple of minutes watching them before they slowly faded from view (I assume because of the particulates in the air and the reducing angle to the horizon).
Thanks for the heads up on NOSS - checking the www.heavens-above.com database indicates that NOSS 2 or NOSS 2-1 are likely suspects, as the ground track and timings fits very well.
Thanks for helping to solve the mystery.
Regards from across the pond, ((name deleted))
((NUFORC Note: We have corresponded with the witness, and we suspect that he is an exceptional witness. PD))