|Occurred : 8/21/2004 22:50 (Entered as : 08/21/2004 22:50)
Reported: 8/24/2004 9:14:15 PM 21:14
Location: Matteson, IL
Duration:first event: 5-10 minutes
|Multiple red lights.
Hi. I am an avid amateur astronomer with over 12 years experience (and an attorney of 18 years experience). On the evening of August 21, 2004, I was setting up an 8" schmidt-cassegrain "go to" scope on my deck when I noticed a strikingly bright red circular light (it was slightly smaller than the size of Mars when that object was at its largest in the sky in late August 2003)just a few degrees west of Polaris. It did not twinkle; it had a constant (to my eyes) brightness. The light's magnitude was similar to that of Jupiter's when that object is viewed on an exceptional viewing night. The light really caught my eye, as nothing as large and luminous as it was should have been in that portion of the sky. The viewing conditions were excellent (e.g., no clouds whatsoever, stable atmoshpere, and even with my eyesight (and this is saying a lot) I could easily discern (without telescopic aid) the split between Mizar and Alcor in the Big Dipper's handle. I rushed my set up of the telescope, hoping to at least see the light in the telescope's finder scope, but the red light rapidly (in just 1-2 seconds) turned white and just as quickly disappeared, before I could get my telescope on it. I was intrigued, but figured that my eyes had just played a trick on me (you know how people confuse stars and planets for ufos!!). As the red light I have described was no longer visible, I began my evening's observing, bouncing around between different stars and messier objects, etc. Oddly enough, after about 30 minutes or so it occurred to me that I had not seen the lights of a single aircraft since I started the evening's viewing (that was very unusual, as I live in an area where flights out of Midway Airport are frequently overhead, and small aircraft are quite frequent, as well). That puzzled me, but I just went back to my viewing. Around 2330 or so, I took a break from the telescope and noticed what appeared to be the lights of an aircraft approaching from roughly northeast and heading roughly southwest - but the familiar green and red, starboard and port lights I expected to see weren't there. Instead, there were two very well definded circular red lights that ran an equidistant, and parallel course (as near as I could tell, slightly farther apart in distance than an average airliner's running lights). I cannot tell you what altitude those lights were at, and although they passed through a good amount of sky, they passed out of view quickly. I heard no sounds one would ordinarily associate with aircraft of any kind when I saw any of the lights I have described in this report. I am only sending you this report because: (i) a non-lawyer coworker who lives in Tinley Park and knows of my astronomy hobby asked me Monday morning if I had observed anything unusual in the sky Saturday evening. When I told him I had (and without telling him about the lights I had seen), he related to me that he and his wife had seen an odd red light in hee sky Saturday night, that he had told other coworkers of he and his wife's experience, that the other coworkers thought he was nuts, and that he wanted me to verify for them that there had been an unusual odd red light in the sky Saturday night (I did); and (ii) I read the reports of equal viewing date on this site that came in from Tinley Park, Illinois, which is the town adjacent to where I live. I would like to note that when I broke down my telescope and brought it back inside my home on Saturday evening, I did not tell my wife of nearly 30 years of the red lights I had seen, but that I did tell her about the absence of air traffic, and that I then went back outside and watched the sky for about another 30 minutes - and saw no aircraft. Highly unusal. I have no idea what the red lights were, or why air traffic seemed to be nonexistent (at least from my vantage point) that evening, but must say that that evening provided me with the most unusual viewing experience I have ever had. (You may contact me at my work telephone number (see Part 2, witness contact information, submitted with this report, if you wish).