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National UFO Reporting Center
Sighting Report
Occurred : 5/30/2004 20:30 (Entered as : 05/30/2004 20:30)
Reported: 6/1/2004 9:12:28 PM 21:12
Posted: 6/4/2004
Location: Nipomo, CA
Shape: Fireball
Duration:15 to 20 mins.
As I was driving in a northerly direction on Hwy. 101 from my home in Santa Maria, CA (about 8:30 pm on Sunday, May 30, 2004), and just before I reached Nipomo, CA, I spotted what appeared to be a red fireball with an extended tail, high in the sky. It continued going in the same direction as I was, becoming smaller and smaller until it became a small white light just before it disappeared, which was about the same time that I reached the city of Arroyo Grande. The sky was quite clear, so it was easy to see.

I had at first theorized that it could be a plane on fire, but it never came down. Then I thought perhaps it was a meteor or "shooting star" - but it was still daylight, there were no stars yet visable, and it never "disappeared" as shooting stars do. Then I thought of a missile from Vandenburgh A.F.B., but realized that they are usually shot off in a westerly direction (in case they fail, they will dump in the ocean and not hit cities, homes, etc.). I still wonder if it was a missile shot off at an earlier date, that just happened to be low enough for me to see now.

I have asked our airport tower - they have no answer. I asked our college - noone knows there either. I called my local TV station. I don't know who else to ask. Can someone explain this to me? I would love to know what it was!

((NUFORC Note: we spoke with this witness via telephone, and found her to be exceptionally objective and credible. When we asked whether the sighting might have been caused by a high-altitude contrail, brightly illuminated by the setting sun, she allowed as how she thought that might be a possibility, and that others had proposed the same. Just a guess. PD))