|Occurred : 9/28/2007 20:23 (Entered as : 09/28/07 20:23)
Reported: 9/28/2007 10:08:00 PM 22:08
Location: Warren, MI
Duration:~ 20 seconds
|Dynamic formation of five fast-moving, silent objects flying over Detroit area
My twelve year-old son and I were outside in the early evening tonight, kicking a soccer ball around. As dusk started to settle in, I noticed a polar-orbit satellite going over and pointed it out to my son. We chatted for a while after that, then started scanning for more sats as the evening got a little darker (I had just mentioned the Sputnik anniversary, so we were inspired).
Before long, we saw another sat... I think that it was about this time (maybe 8pm) that we came in and looked up visible sat passes tonight on heavens-above.com.
Went back outside, both looking up - and we both notice, at the same time, a fairly tight group of objects nearly straight above us, somewhat to the north. There are five small lighted "somethings" moving quickly across the sky toward the south...
They were in a line, not perfectly straight across, but close... Moving much faster than a sat, not pinpoints like stars but *very* small, distinct circles. Not very bright - from comparing to the sats that we saw tonight (mostly Cosmos rocket bodies), I would say magnitude 3 or so each. The whole group was maybe 2-3 moon widths across. My first thought was a large meteor breaking up, but it was too slow for that.
If the speed wasn't enough to dismiss the meteor theory, the behaviour of the objects was - they changed their orientation, one to another, almost as if jockeying for position as they crossed the sky, eventually forming a shallow arc! I started saying "holy $#&^!" out loud by this time, and my son and I had time to look at each other and look back up and watch these things fly off to the south, probably 15-20 seconds after we spotted them. They disappeared into the light pollution on the horizon at maybe 20-30 degrees up and off to the SSE.
I must have looked totally freaked out, because my son said to me several times, "I saw them, too, Dad, I saw them too!". I flipped open my cell phone for the time - 8:23pm.
There was no sound, absolutely nothing. Too fast for high altitude aircraft. No lights like aircraft. No way they were sats or breaking up debris - they swapped position with each other, very quickly, and flew in formation.
I even checked the upper air data when it came in later this evening to see if maybe, just maybe, we were looking at balloons (I know my high altitude balloons are sometimes reported as UFOs - things can look strange way up in the sky). Upper air sounding from 0z tonight showed winds in the right direction at around 9k-12k feet (I think - not near the ground, anyway, so they weren't party balloons and we mistook the apparent altitude) but only at 20 knots or so (which looks really darn slow from 10k feet away). And there's no way that I could make balloons - even purposely-designed as a hoax - do what these things did.
This is the third time in 20 years that I've seen something downright unexplainable in the sky. First time was 20 years or so ago - six or so lights in a "T" arrangement, apparent triangular outline, moving silently across the night sky (dimmer yet than these tonight). Second, about seven years ago, *exactly* the same as the first time, but moving in the opposite direction (first time the "T" arrangement went base-first, second time went top-first). Silent both times, hard to even see. Now this… Honestly, I wish I hadn't seen this. I'm still rather freaked - and I'm rational, teach computers and science, design and fly high-altitude scientific balloons, do a reasonable amount of sky-watching, take no medications, rarely drink... I *wasn't* seeing things and I can find NOTHING that matches what we saw.
The two triangle things in the past I have written off to the much-rumoured secret mil airship - fits the descriptions in Aviation Week from a long time ago). But this?? My son was thrilled, wanted to see it again, seemed to be totally in awe. I can't sleep right now but wish I could….