|Occurred : 8/15/2004 01:35 (Entered as : 08/15/2004 01:35)
Reported: 8/15/2004 5:44:23 PM 17:44
Location: Eugene, OR
|Witnessed triangle shaped object w/ lights at altitude 25deg and azimuth 320 hover, then move rapidly L-R, hover again, Yaw right
Object alt: 25-30deg Object Az: 320deg Mag: 0 to -1 I'm an amateur astronomer and nearly lifelong aviation buff and at approximately 1:35am Sunday, 15th Aug 2004, I had stepped out front of my house to check the cloud cover, seeing conditions and possibly some meteors. I also like attempting to track satellites and orbiting booster rockets using my scopes' electronic drive. The atmospheric conditions had steadily been getting worse all night and because my scope is somewhat labor intensive to set up, I decided not to bring it out after glancing Northwest and noticing a star flickering more than usual, typically a sure sign of turbulence in the air and generally poor "seeing", also the scattered cloud cover was quickly changing to broken while moving from WSW to ENE.
At that point, I noticed the "star" had some distinct red flashes mixed with some green and was quickly looking like one of the many commercial jets that overfly the area heading either N-S or S-N. I then began looking at the object closer and could clearly see multiple red lights and one green light and also that it looked to be at fairly high altitude but curiously, the object appeared to be motionless and looked to be between magnitude 0 and -1.
Intrigued, I stood still and stared at it, comparing the distance of the lights laterally(about the width of my fist held out at arms length) to a nearby tree for approximatley 5 minutes during which time the object never moved. At that point, the object began to slowly move ENE, decreasing the distance to the edge of the tree by about 30% over a period of 20-25 seconds before stopping again.
My thinking at that time was that this was most likely a helicopter but possibly a U.S Marine AV-8 Harrier in hover mode. However, what happened next left me absolutley stunned.
The lights began slowly moving ENE(left to right) again but VERY rapidly increased to roughly 5 times the speed that I've observed the International Space Station cross the sky and in about 2 seconds it disappeared behind the tree causing me to verbally exclaim "Whoaaa..Ho Ho!!" and blink several times.
I then walked West out to the sidewalk and reaquired the object which had stopped again.
I was extremely tempted by now to go inside and make an attempt to assemble my telescope, drag it out and get a good look at it but was worried that by the time I got it up and running the lights would have moved off or more likely be covered by the now increasing clouds but I had to get SOME sort of closer view besides the naked eye and after watching the lights in the new position for about 2min I decided to compromise and run into the house and grab binoculars, leaving my slippers where I had last been standing to aid in reaquirment. What I saw thru the binoculars was very clear even while holding them freehand.
There were 3 very red lights in an arrowhead triangle "V" pattern, the point appeared to be facing ESE, directly between the 2 red lights on the "short side" of the triangle was a distinctly greenish-white light and in the center of the object was an orange light that was flashing on and off irratically. I then began walking North on the sidewalk about 25ft to two cars parked parallel in front of my house stepping between them and sitting on the bumper of one and resting my elbows on the trunk of the other to steady the image.
I then noticed the area between the red lights was slightly but noticably darker than the surrounding sky and after about 8 min I witnessed the object "yaw" to my left and now point to about 170 deg. The yaw manuever took between 1-2sec.
About a minute later, the orange light ceased flashing and stayed on solidly but then the red light on what I describe as the objects' right(starboard) side(my left)began flashing rapidly at a rate of about 3 times per second for 7-10 seconds then up to nearly strobe light speed for 3-4 seconds then back to solid red for about 50sec and back to flashing.
This went on for about 12min then all the lights stayed on solidly until clouds began obscuring them but just as the lights were about 70% obstructed, I again noticed they appeared to be flashing again, even thru the clouds until they were completely obscured.
I'm 39 and I have been seriously involved with astronomy for 7 years and am used to feilding questions about what someone "saw" from the public at starpartys and explaining what it was and why it appeared the way it did. I also have been heavily interested in all forms of aviation since the age of 9. I put this object thru every trial I could think of during the event, moving position to make sure it wasn't a reflection off telephone wires etc. This object was not, from my perspective, ANY kind of celestial body I know of or have ever witnessed before, including satellite de-orbits, Bolides or fireballs. This object was MOST DEFINATLEY inside the atmosphere and appeared to be solid. I would describe this event as having the highest "Wow" factor of my entire career looking skyward. I will most certainly be looking again!
((NUFORC Note: We spoke with this witness via telephone, and we found him to be quite objective in his description of the object, and most credible. We do not know what he saw. PD))