|Occurred : 8/31/2004 20:50 (Entered as : 08/31/2004 20:50)
Reported: 9/3/2004 12:44:38 PM 12:44
Location: Kennett Square, PA
|Soft light appears and moves slowly over so. east PA early Tues. eve, 8/31.
I and a partner were attending a concert/water display at Longwood Gardens. We were coming out of the plant Conservatory shortly before 9pm EST when two Security Guards approached us asking if we had any idea what "that" was. He pointed above the trees, about 45 degrees up to a fuzzy but distinct patch of light approximately a degree in diameter. As an experienced amature astronomer my first impression was that it was the moon heavily obscured by clouds. I dismissed that idea since the moon would have been just rising in the east and this object was only a few degrees SW of corona borealis. Plus the sky was completely cloud free. I said to the guards that I was baffled and had never seen anything like it before. It resembled a comet but without a tail.
At first it appeared stationary. The water display began, but I was more interested in this object and kept checking it out throughout the display. It passed through corona borealis slowly in a straight line. I would guess it moved about a degree a minute. As it moved it changed shape from what appeared to be elongated to more or less spherical. It also gradually and steadily diminished in brightness. I continued to track it until about 9:25 PM EST by which time I could no longer detect it. By that time it was entering the constellation Cygnus which was high overhead. The object never changed speed or course. It was probably visible well before it was pointed out to me. Other people in the crowd were looking up occasionally but as the water display continued they seemed to have lost interest in it.
((NUFORC Note: Missile launch. PD))