|Occurred : 5/25/2006 00:55 (Entered as : 05/25/06 00:55)
Reported: 5/26/2006 5:45:32 AM 05:45
|Multiple luminous objects sighted in night sky
(Note to receiver: I am sending this again because I saw in the confirmation page that my apostrophes didn't display correctly as I copied and pasted the report from Microsoft Word. Please accept my apologies.)
I would like to report a series of object sightings that took place in the early hours of this past Thursday morning. I would have reported it on Thursday, but unfortunately did not have the time to do so. I observed multiple luminous objects again this (Friday) morning, and will fill out a separate report for this.
As I mentioned in the one previous report I sent to your website (2/19/05), as I was an astronomy student for many years, and still enjoy it as a hobby, I am familiar with the sky and the phenomena it can present, and also know about optical illusions like the one that occurs when you stare at a star for a few seconds and it appears to jump around in place. I also have very good eyesight (20/10). I say these things merely to let you know the type of observer I am.
The sightings began at 0055 on Thursday morning, when I was settling into bed. I sleep with my curtains open, and as my bed is right next to my window, I sometimes look at the sky before I go to sleep. I live out in the Scottish countryside, where there is little light pollution, so we get some fantastic nights when the clouds stay off. This night was a totally clear night and remained so until sunrise, which is very early here in the summer (about 0430 right now, so my viewing window is short). A bright object moving in a southeast-northwesterly direction caught my eye. It was simply a white light the size of a star with no other light on or around it, and it moved slightly faster than an airplane would have at that estimated altitude. It then gave off a bright flash the size of a pinkie fingernail held at arm's length that was about twice the magnitude of Sirius. This lasted 1 second, then it continued on its course until it flew over my house and out of sight. I could hear no noise coming from the sky at this time.
I immediately jumped up and grabbed a pen and paper from the table in my room in case any other objects appeared and I could write down anything noteworthy. Approximately 1 minute later, I saw two other objects heading in the same direction as this previous object. They were also both the size of a star and consisted of nothing but a point of white light, however, these 2 were lower in magnitude than the first. They flew very close to one another, a distance of 2 dimes held at arm's length. I continued to watch them until they disappeared out of sight.
I did not have my digital camera or my binoculars in my room at this point, but I was so riveted by this that I could not bear to turn my eyes away. I started to need to use the toilet halfway through the night, but did not dare leave then, either. In any case, I knew that my camera's memory was full and its battery was not charged (though its video feature does not produce good video of the night sky anyway).
From this point on, these objects continued to appear, one after the other, again and again that night. Their altitudes and magnitudes varied, but they were all simply points of white light with no position lights that an aircraft would have (I confirmed this the following night with my binoculars). I jotted down details as I went along, but I was working in almost no light, except the light that was coming from outside, so my notes are not as thorough as the next night, when I had an Indiglo light that I turned on whenever I needed to write something, and was able to record the exact time and heading of each object.
After one object had disappeared from view, I would stare at the center of the sky, let everything fall out of focus, and wait for any moving points of light to appear. When one appeared, I would then follow that one until it disappeared, and so on.
The headings of the objects were mainly southeast-northwest and west-east. In total, I counted 14 of these objects and up to 3 unusual (what appeared to be) conventional aircraft.
After the 2nd and 3rd objects I mentioned that appeared together, a new object would appear approximately every 5 minutes for the first half of the group or so (the intervals grew as time went on), and travel in one of the headings mentioned above until it was out of sight. Their movements were straight and precise, though faster than a passenger airplane. Their speeds and magnitudes would vary. One object, the 11th object, was particularly noteworthy. It seemed to appear very low in the sky, at about 10 degrees elevation, then began moving vertically upwards. It did not move straight up, but in a sort of side to side aberrant motion, even one time moving down a little before moving up. After it had reached about 30 degrees in the sky, it travelled straight down again at tremendous speed accompanied by a streak of bright white light, brighter than Sirius. It disappeared after this. It travelled a distance of about from the tip of my thumb to my wrist held at arm's length in less than 1 second.
There was another white object after this, same in appearance as the previous, then I noticed what appeared to be an aircraft flying towards my direction (southeast-northwest) from where the bright object was. As it approached I could hear it, and it had green and red position lights on its right and left wings, respectively. It also had a very large (the size of the head of a tack held at arm's length), pulsating white light on the underside of its fuselage. I have not seen this type of light on an aircraft before, but I am not an expert on aircraft lighting. It flew over my house at an altitude of at least 10,000 feet, I would estimate. I could hear it in the sky after it flew past my house, until its noise faded out of range.
I should note that passenger aircraft are not that common in our area as others, perhaps due to our location relative to the airports in the country as well as the path of other flight routes passing over the country. Our sky never seems to have any contrails in it. An aircraft of any type is uncommon, save for the fighter jets from the nearby air force base, especially at night (I hear the occasional passenger aircraft during the day when they do pass, but almost never night for some reason, even when I am up very late), and therefore one of this appearance was even more bizarre. I was to see what was either the same aircraft making more passes, or 1 or 2 other aircraft of the same type making passes, twice later on that night. It is impossible to say if it was the same craft as the first time I saw it, it passed over my house and I did not have visual contact with it the entire time. I happened to note the time of this craft, and that was at 0204. The second and third planes, the last objects I saw that night, appeared at 0253 and 0258 respectively, both heading west-east. The last white object I saw was at 0235, and I went to bed shortly after 0300.
The number and behaviour of these objects is what astounded me. I have watched meteor showers before and knew they weren't meteors. The fact that the two white objects that in particular displayed remarkable characteristics were identical to the myriad of other white objects makes it hard for me to accept at the present moment that these other objects were conventional aircraft. I should note that there is an air force base, RAF Leuchars, approximately 10 km to the northeast of here. Their fighter jets can be seen and heard flying in the skies here every day, but never at night, and make a considerable noise even when at high altitudes.
The average altitude of the objects was hard to determine. They could have been small objects quite close, or large objects considerably far away. My best estimate would be between 20,000 and 30,000 feet.
I am not here to report conclusively what the objects were, as I cannot say this, but only to pass on this information. I will continue to monitor the sky here and report any other activity.