|Occurred : 11/28/2004 16:53 (Entered as : 11/28/2004 16:53)
Reported: 11/30/2004 11:05:39 PM 23:05
Location: Spirit Lake, ID
|While watching International Space Station from Northern Idaho on Nov. 28th, 2004, observed Extremely bright light to the left.
At 16:50 local time in Spirit Lake, Idaho on November 28, 2004 I was observing the International Space Station moving overhead from west to east. The sky was not totally dark yet, I would say it was about 20-25 minutes before max darkness. When the Space Station was approx. 60 degrees above the eastern horizon I observed an extremely bright light develop rapidly about 5-10 degrees to the left (north) of the Space Station and apparently slightly below the equivelent elevation of the Station. The light developed rapidly to a brightness about ten times the magnitude of Venus, about 4 or 5 times the brightness of a landing light. It lasted for about 4 seconds and then rapidly dimmed to a glowing pinpoint as it traveled very slowly from my right to left. The trajectory appeared to be about 10-15 degrees apart from a line directly between me and the object, I could not tell if it was coming toward me or going away (although my initial impression was that it was coming toward me), and I estimate it's position as somewhere over northern Montana. It continued to dim and vanished as it moved slowly. It appeared to move much more slowly than a meteor, although the shallow angle might account for that. It was the brightest thing I have ever witnessed in the sky other than the moon or the sun. I have witnessed many meteors but my first remark to my mother, who saw the object also, was, "what the hell is that?!" I thought it might be a module that, according to the NASA website, would soon detach from the Space Station and burn up in the atmosphere, however that would most likely appear to be UNDER the trajectory of the Station, and I doubt they would do it over a populated area. I have been an Air Traffic Controller for the FAA at six different control towers for a total of 21 years, 4 years before that on a carrier in the Navy, I have close to 1,000 hours of flight time with Commercial License, Flight Instructor, and Instrument Flight Ratings, am a qualified Weather Observer, and have never seen anything like it. If it was a meteor it had to be very large, but appeared to be moving MUCH slower than a meteor.
((NUFORC Note: Witness is aviation specialist, and commercial pilot, and we found him to be exceptionally credible. There were no Iridium satellite flashes at the time of the event.