|Occurred : 6/11/2008 16:45 (Entered as : 6/11/08 16:45)
Reported: 6/13/2008 4:36:28 PM 16:36
Location: Washington, D.C., DC
Duration:1.5 -3 min
|Daytime sighting of bright light changing to stationary white/blue gray annulus and then moved very fast.
Weather: Temperature (est) upper 80s/low 90s), humidity (dew point 60s), wind light, clear sky with patch of high level cirrus to north east. Air craft contrails moderate to short with definite gaps in trail.
Narrative: I was sitting on a lounge chair located in the patio shade attempting to read a novel as I played with my granddaughter and a neighbor’s child. They were interested in how the chair could change positions as I relaxed so they were tilting me to and fro. My grandson was off exploring around the corner of the house.
I observed a contrail passing from North to South as an aircraft flew along the usual flight path to the west of Washington. This contrail was short to moderate in length as it evaporated into the dry upper-level air. The next aircraft observed along that path did not pass until after 1700 hours. Length of contrails depends upon humidity level of the surrounding air and there were definite long gaps in these contrails.
As I looked at the contrail and the aircraft started to disappear behind a nearby tree, my attention was drawn to a bright light very slightly above the contrail. I assumed this light to be caused by the sun reflecting from another aircraft. As I looked at the light source, its position in the sky relative to the contrail did not change. Thus it could not have been caused by reflection from another aircraft. Nor could it have been caused by reflection from a satellite. Both sources would have moved relative to the contrail.
Shortly the apparent position relative to the still existing contrail changed from above to below the contrail. Time for this change from the initial was estimated in the neighborhood of 30 to 60 seconds. I noted that the light was now an object that appeared to be similar to a high flying balloon such as those used for upper air studies. So my next guess at the cause of the bright light that I first noticed was a reflection from the instrument package. Thus I arose from my lounge chair to call my grandchildren so that I could show them the balloon.
The object now appeared against the blue sky background as a white/blue-gray annulus with a darker blue-gray center. It was much larger than the original light source. Relative size can be compared to that of a pea (3-5 mm) held at arms’ length. From my viewing angle I assumed that it was a round object with a flat bottom since it appeared elliptical. Color and shading was consistent with light shining through, not reflecting from, a high flying polyethylene balloon. Brightness was similar to that of the moon which was in the eastern sky on that day. The moon in the southern sky was hidden from my view by the roof of the home.
I continued to view the object as it moved quite quickly for a short (relative) distance and stopped. Upon this movement, I started to think that perhaps the object was much closer to me and that it could be some type of air borne seed (such as cottonwood) or debris moved about by low level winds swirling around the house. Second thoughts occurred as I changed my position relative to nearby houses and trees. This object had moved too fast for wind born insects, seeds or debris.
As I continued to observe the object, it very suddenly accelerated and sped off eastward passing across my field of view from west to east behind the nearby rooftop in well under one second. Total subtended angle of movement before moving out of my sight was in the 20 degree range. No contrail or other evidence of its passing remained except the image in my minds eye.
Altitude of this object cannot be estimated from this single observation since the size of this object is unknown. Estimated angle above the horizon at first sighting is around 40 degrees. The apparent standing still with respect to the contrail can be explained by the initial movement of the object directly toward me. The object would have moved closer to me and toward the north as it descended below my reference contrail and become a recognizable shape. From my viewing angle, the object was probably circular giving it somewhat of an elliptical "cigar" shape popularized by other UFO reports. It moved too fast across my field of view to describe it better. Total viewing time was 1.5 to 3 minutes. This is estimated from my first sighting to my subsequent moving about to locate my grandchildren. I certainly did not look at my watch during this event.
Observer Background: Meteorology (retired)
((NUFORC Note: Witness appears to us to be an exceedingly qualified observer. PD))