|Occurred : 6/9/2008 20:00 (Entered as : 06/09/08 20:00)
Reported: 6/19/2008 4:19:19 PM 16:19
Location: Tucson, AZ
|Burning Embers Sighted in Sky Near Tucson
I was sitting on my front porch facing South on Monday June 9, around 8:00PM, gazing out to the West at the remnants of the sunset against the Tucson mountains. An orange light in the sky appeared against the red-orange-green of the fading daylight. The light was relatively stationary over the West part of the city (about 20 miles away from me) at about 3,000 ft in the air. And so I assumed that it was an airliner on it's landing approach to Tucson International. A few things about the light, however, caught my interest. It appeared to be too orange to be an aircraft landing light and it seemed to be positioned too far to the North of TIA's runways 11L/11R to be on the final approach leg to one of those runways (the lines of descending lights on Tucson's Western horizon at night are airliners landing on these runways).
After about 2 minutes a smaller orange light broke away from the original light and after a few seconds the two lights casually faded out . The manner in which this happened made me think of a small plane on fire and a part breaking away from it before falling out of the sky, yet I heard no explosions or saw no burning embers fall to earth. Still, the novelty of this event inspired me to wait around a while to see if I could hear any police sirens or breaking news reports about a small plane crash over Tucson. As I was doing this I kept my eyes on the Western sky to see if anything else appeared.
After about 15-20 minutes I became bored and went into the house to get something. About 5 minutes later I returned to the porch and resumed my scanning of the Western sky. The sky was now a bluish-green horizon turning to the blackness of night as I spied another similar orange light to the South of the original one, this one farther away and appearing to be at a much higher altitude . This light only appeared for half a second before falling fast like a tear drop and disappearing. I stayed outside for about 30 minutes after that and did not see any other similar events. When I finally went inside, it was night.
I wonder if anyone else in the city saw this? A few things to think about: Davis-Monthan Air Force Base is situated in between my house and the airport. I am a former pilot and have never seen this type of thing before. It could have been a flare drop at the Barry-Goldwater range in the desert to the West of the city, yet it seemed too close for this; it appeared to be in front of the Tucson mountains from my frame of reference. It could have been space phenomena, i.e. meteorite activity, yet all of the meteroite entries into the atmosphere I have seen have been very fast an angular.