|Occurred : 3/20/2007 20:00
Reported: 3/21/2007 11:00:12 PM 23:00
Location: Livermore, CA
|Bright circular object of rusty orange color crossing sky, then quickly fading
On March 20, 2007, my youngest daughter and I were walking toward the local HS parking lot from the gymnasium, returning home after a school event. The night was remarkably clear and I could see all the stars pretty clearly. There were a number of airplanes flying on the normal approach paths. Sirius and Orion were prominent in the Southern sky. The planes approaching SFO and other Bay Area airports routinely stack up in both a southeast and easterly approach corridor.
My eye caught a very bright orange colored light that was roughly aligned to the southeast approach, but definitely the wrong color for airplane landing lights (of which I see many). The light of this object was very bright, a bright rust red/orange, at least 2 to 3 time the brightness of Sirius but the color of Mars through a telescope (I am a life-long amateur astronomer). I’d watched it for 10 seconds or so and was wondering why it didn’t have any navigation lights because up this point, I was assuming it was a commercial aircraft. I’m quite familiar with aviation. I finally mentioned it to my youngest daughter, that I think that object is a UFO, but really half jokingly, expecting any second to see the red/green navigation lights, a strobe or some indication of normal aircraft appearance. It was certainly Unidentified and Flying (or Orbiting) and it was definitely an Object of some kind. The speed across the sky suggested an aircraft or satellite and it moved silently as far as I could surmise above the noise of the other people. I’m not sure any else noticed and I admit I was too shy to point, and say, "Hey, look a UFO!"
My youngest daughter had dashed off in a different direction to seek my other daughter (about 15 seconds into the observation) because there was still nothing unusual other than the bright steady color. I continued to watch for another 20-30 seconds or so.
About this time I looked down to unbuckle my digital camera to try for a picture, although with the glare of the parking lot and lack of any tripod, I didn’t really hope for much, even at full zoom. However, by this time it faded suddenly as it crossed Orion’s belt over the span of 3-5 seconds. Strangely, satellites usually brighten as they head out of the shadow of the Earth and go into sunlight. This object had the opposite behavior, approaching from deep shadow brightly becoming dim as it moved toward the west.
My daughter rejoined me and I told her that our object just vanished before my eyes. I came home and wrote up and drew what I had just seen. The most remarkable part of the event was that Sirius, the brightest stellar object in the sky, was clearly much more point-like and dimmer than the object, which passed within a few degrees of the star on its way toward Orion, and therefore provided an excellent comparison object. The object seemed initially to have almost a planetary disk appearance, which was not twinkling or point like but more like a circular smudge. As it faded, it became much more point like and finally vanished. I’ve seen satellites "flares," and the color tends to be very white. This object was clearly a different color than any satellites I’ve seen. If I was to speculate it could have been a spacecraft or very slow moving orbital object skipping off the atmosphere. At no time did it move in a way that suggested intelligent control so I can’t say for certain it was anything but "a highly unusual sighting."