|Occurred : 6/15/2006 23:52 (Entered as : 06/15/06 23:52)
Reported: 6/15/2006 11:39:02 PM 23:39
Location: Buhl, ID
|A triad of star-like lights, arranged in the shape of a miniature Aries, slowly passed from NW to SE in a possible formation.
I was doing some naked-eye astronomy, including successfully finding M-13 and seeing epsilon Lyrae as a double, plus occasionally looking for satellites, when I saw at approximately SSE (160°) azimuth 70° what appeared to be extra stars to the north of Serpens Caput, near the southern end of Hercules. They were arranged in a very flat triangle quite closely resembling Aries' three brightest stars in overall shape moving from northwest to southeast. The lead 'star' corresponded to the one furthest from the other two and was easternmost of the triad. It was the faintest at a maximum magnitude of about 4.0-4.5. The central object was brighter by about half a magnitude and always was to the WNW of the leading object. The final object was brightest at magnitude 3.0-3.5 and was always positioned almost straight west of the central object. Compared to the other satellites I saw tonight, the triad moved more slowly, covering about 10° in a minute. The spread of the objects was about 1/4 the actual size of Aries, covering maybe 2° in total width. The objects passed below naked eye visability a few degrees above Sagittarius, possibly blocked by a thin cloud that was covering that part of the sky. There was no deviation from straight-line flight, nor was there any changes of relative positioning of the three component lights. Aside from some scattered clouds, the skies were steady with only minimal light polution near the horizon. The Milky-Way was very clearly visible, and stars were visible to below 6th magnitude. Seeing was excellent with virtually no turbulence (stars weren't twinkling).
I also have a very old record of another sighting I made in 1979, coincidentally in the area of Ophiuchus by Serpens Caput, but that time the objects were definitely not satellites, as they stopped and reversed direction. If I find the note, I'll make a separate report, as I recorded the date and time of observation when it had happened.