|Occurred : 6/8/2008 19:30 (Entered as : 060808 19:30)
Reported: 6/8/2008 10:16:20 PM 22:16
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Duration:approx 10 min
|Bright stationary circular object in high atmosphere in broad daylight gives way to five smaller moving crescents
June 8, 2008. Approximately 7:30 PM -- While playing in the backyard with my children, my daughter called my attention to what she called the first star tonight -- she was excited because at this time of year it is still very light, with the sun well above the horizon -- essentially still daytime. I initially took it to be a star, located about 2 degrees NE of a crescent-shaped moon. The size seemed about right for a star, but I quickly realized that it was WAY too bright to be a star, as it was still daylight and no other stars were even faintly visible.
I grabbed my binoculars to get a closer look. It appeared to be a circular object in the high atmosphere, with a dark spot in the center -- exactly what one might expect from a weather balloon with something suspended below it, such as a basket with equipment. And the brightness of the object seemed consistent with a balloon reflecting the sun.
What was strange was that the object maintained it's position relative to the moon for about five minutes, which is not the behavior one would expect of a high-altitude weather balloon that is subject to strong air currents.
After a few minutes of observation, the object simply disappeared in a blink. For a good minute I thought it was gone, but with more scoping with binoculars I saw five smaller points of light in the same vicinity. These were too small to be seen with the naked eye, and they were barely visible with binoculars.
The mind tries to make sense of things. I speculated that a weather balloon could have exploded into smaller pieces. This time, unlike the initial round "star" object, these smaller points were crescent-shaped, and they drifted SW until they moved past the moon, growing more faint as they traveled.
It occurred to me that a spherical object in the sky would reflect sunlight in the same way the moon did and assume a crescent shape. This suggests the smaller objects were spherical. This does not explain, however, why the initial "star" appeared perfectly round. Forgive me for a flight of fancy, but a flat, round shaped object -- such as a pie tin -- situated at just the right angle would reflect light across it's entire surface and appear round to an observer.
I can't come up with an obvious explanation for what I observed. What I saw was certainly not an airplane. Very unlikely it was an exploding weather balloon (how could the intact balloon remain stationary while it's exploded parts drifted in the wind?). Puzzling indeed.
One final observation. Seems like an odd coincidence. While observing the crescents in binoculars, a Southwest airline flying at what appeared to be a MUCH lower altitude passed right in between two of the crescent shapes. What are the odds that a commercial airline passes through the tiny window of observation -- relative to the rest of the sky -- visible through one's binoculars at just the right moment under any circumstances? Quite a coincidence.
The entire sequence took roughly 10 minutes. Crescents faded from view within 10 seconds of the airline passing through my field of vision. Again, Helluva coincidence. Nevertheless, I really don't think the airline was related to the objects. Airline was low altitude (either landing or taking off from local airport), and the objects were really high.
((NUFORC Note: Witness elects to remain semi-anonymous; provides only e-address. PD))