|Occurred : 1/28/2009 18:00 (Entered as : 01/28/2009 18:00)
Reported: 1/28/2009 8:02:51 PM 20:02
Location: Nampa, ID
Duration:Approx. 100 seconds
|Interesting light in sky, definitely space-object, behaved like satellite, but was momentarily very, very bright
It was right around 6PM local time, Sun had barely set, and I was standing in my backyard enjoying a cigarette. Was not looking at sky but eyes drawn to sky by radiant light suddenly appearing in the sky. It was as bright as an airliner's landing lights, when viewed about ~2000 feet above and ~2000 feet away from you, aimed in your direction. The light suddenly and rapidly dimmed into the very low apparent brightness of a satellite, and it cruised at satellite speeds directly overhead towards the southeast. I'd say when I initially saw it - when it was really bright - it was about fifty degrees of arc above the eastern horizon.
I'd normally think it was a satellite. Speed was right, direction was right, and it crossed in my vision with the Sun below the horizon, and could have hit the satellite at just the right angle to make it very bright. But this thing was BRIGHT. It would have been a massive satellite to glare like that from so far away. I watch the ISS sometimes - actually look where it is on the internet and plan for it to fly over me in that very type of lighting situation - and it wasn't the ISS. In that lighting situation ISS does not get as bright, and then does not get so dim, as this thing did.
The other odd aspect of this thing's illumination was it did not ever get totally dark when it crossed the terminator heading to the southeastern horizon. When I've observed the ISS in the same situation, it rapidly turns a gorgeous red and then fades into black at some point before crossing the other horizon. The ISS is spectacular when it does that. This thing did not disappear when it crossed the terminator. It was a very interesting phenomena.