|Occurred : 10/28/2008 17:55 (Entered as : 10/28/08 17:55)
Reported: 10/29/2008 4:00:48 PM 16:00
Location: Iowa City, IA
Duration:1.5 - 2.5 minutes
|Late-Afternoon Object Not Depositing a Vapor Trail Unlike Several In-Vicinity Airliner Jets
On Tuesday, October 28th, while walking my bike in a large meadow immediately north of I-80 I sighted a single object at about 1755 hours which was traveling westward in a sky with perhaps 35% to 50% broken high-cloud cover. The air temperature at ground level was between 40 to 49 degrees Fahrenheit.
The object was observed for approximately ninety seconds to two minutes thirty seconds. I was about twenty yards east of a fairly-high treeline, but was looking through a gap in the canopy (for at least the final part of the sighting).
The object demonstrated the following characteristics:
1) The size of the object appeared similar to that of airliners at high altitude (30,000 ft approx.).
2) The shape of the object seemed to differ from that of airliners however (it seemed lumpish, as a large grain of sand). This characteristic is what first caught my eye. High-quality IS binoculars were needed to clarify and I didn’t have any.
3) The color of the object was at first darkish, then further along it became highly reflective (due to solar reflection).
4) The altitude of the object was perhaps 25,000 ft to 35,000 ft as during part(s) of the sighting it seemed to be passing through high thinish cirrus-type clouds.
5) The speed of the object appeared to be similar to airliners at altitude.
6) The object maintained a straight course.
7) A striking and much more clearly distinctive (vs. the indistinctive shape) characteristic was the lack of any vapor trail whatsoever. Several airliners in the vicinity [traveling in various directions] were all emitting heavy vapor trails.
Finally the object seemed to pass into a thin and narrow cirrus-type cloud and I didn’t see it emerge (It may/must have but I was mildly frustrated by not seeing that). It was about this time if I remember aright that I noticed two eastbound airliners (one trailing the other by possibly several minutes) approaching the vicinity to the south of the object. I waited a minute or two then continued on.
Perhaps the lack of vapor was attributable to a propeller-driven aircraft and/or the altitude being rather lower than estimated(??).
To give an inkling of the general location of the object in the sky I sighted it not directly overhead, but angled down 10 to 15 degrees to the south from the zenith, then up 60 to 80 degrees above the western horizon when initially spotted, then 30 degrees or so above the western horizon when visual contact was lost. Admittedly I’m best-guessing here in retrospect with respect to these aerial measurements.
In conclusion the incident was mildly strange.