|Occurred : 8/15/1987 01:00 (Entered as : 08/15/1987 1:00)
Reported: 5/14/2006 8:59:40 PM 20:59
Location: Marina, CA
|Looked like an asteroid--maybe a near miss?
I am resubmitting this revised item. I originally submitted it two or three years ago and it was apparently not received as it did not appear in the database.
I was riding my motorcycle on my way home from work one night on SR1 in August 1987 and as I left Castroville I kept seeing flashes of orange and green lights out of the corner of my eye. I assumed that they were just reflections from street and other lights nearby in my face shield.
The flashes kept occurring and were random. Then it occurred to me that they were all coming from the same point in the sky. I looked up and saw what appeared to be occasional small flames of orange and brilliant green coming from a small, dark spot in the sky.
I exited the freeway and stopped to get a better look.
I saw a small, dark object in the sky, darker than the sky, to the south and at approximately a 40degree azimuth. The object did not seem to move but I could see what appeared to be sheets of orange and green flame occasionally going from the near end back toward the farthest end.
I took out my binoculars and looked for the object, finding it once another sheet of flame crossed it and saw what appeared to be a dark, rounded rock with a large depression on the side and small pockmarks or craters on it.
The rock was oriented with it's small part toward me and pointing a bit more West and downward, and the much larger part pointing away from me. It reminded me of some of kind of potato.
The rock was much darker than the night sky, even though there were few stars in that area of the sky at the time. Even so, there seemed to be some light illuminating the side I could see as well as the near end, that I assumed was light reflecting off the Earth or from some lights on the ground.
As I watched through the binoculars, sheets of orange and green flame would be emitted or produced from the near end and would spread along the length of the object briefly.
I stood and watched the object until I was falling asleep. It was perhaps just an half hour.
I did not see the object move from where it was. I thought the object had moved but it was the stars that had moved.
I mentioned the sighting in sci.astro about two years later. Someone posted a followup (which I never saw until 2006) saying that I saw a rocket from Vandenberg but there is no rocket that looks like a rock. I also mentioned in the post that it appeared to move a few degrees but I was wrong: it did not appear to move relative to horizon or any landmark that I could see but it did move relative to the stars, or rather, the stars moved behind the object.
I followed up the sighting with inquiries to local news and to the FAA and got no response at all.
I believe what I saw was an asteroid near-miss. The object was probably at the edge of the atmosphere, which would account for the occasional sheet of flame, and was moving at the same speed and roughly in the same direction as the Earth, which made it appear to be relatively motionless and which kept it from hitting the ground or water.
((NUFORC Note: Witness indicates that the date of the sighting is approximate. One of three seemingly high-quality sighting reports from same source. PD))