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National UFO Reporting Center
Sighting Report
Occurred : 7/15/1987 02:00 (Entered as : 07/15/1987 2:00)
Reported: 2/17/2009 4:35:25 AM 04:35
Posted: 3/19/2009
Location: San Juan Capistrano, CA
Shape: Light
Duration:3 Seconds
Flat ribbon of yellow light cuts swath across nighttime sky, then explodes.

After 22 years, I am succumbing to the argument that certain sightings –seen in the sky – should be reported regardless of what we believe them to be, or not to be. My sighting was of an unexplainable, nighttime aerial phenomenon that took place in 1987, San Juan Capistrano, California.

I lived in a large house at the time, not far from the ocean, and while sitting in the living room facing a very large picture window that faced a sparsely lit, dark expanse of hills and custom homes, a streak of yellow light shot from somewhere overhead and angled downward, across the frame of view afforded by the window.

The “beam” of light was essentially a brilliant ribbon of considerable size, flat rather than vertical, utterly silent, that shot across the sky and ended with a sudden, but not particularly bright flash. Rather than the shower of sparks and arcing trails of debris that one would have expected from such a display, the event was more notable for its lack of detail or fancy after-effects.

The explosive spikes of light that radiated from the center of the explosion, if it was indeed an explosion at all, showed no signs of gravitational arcs, as if residual remnants were falling to earth. After viewing many modern videos of meteors, bolides, and returning space junk, the light event I witnessed bore no resemblance whatsoever to any of the aforementioned displays.

As an amateur astronomer, and a consummate skeptic, I have always believed the phenomenon I witnessed to be some type of high-altitude bolide, a midair, exploding meteor with its own unique characteristics separate from more typical meteors and meteorite strikes.

I further supposed that no two bolides should be identical in how they might appear to different observers, thus the lack on my part of any immediate need to report anything. Over the years, however, and especially recently, it has grown apparent that such a sighting as I experienced, should be recorded regardless of how unimportant I may believe it to be, or not to be.

One last description of the seeming physicality of this “object” as it streaked across a very dark sky, is the peculiar fact that, as said before, it possessed no detail. I mean this quite literally. The ribbon, as I call it, was entirely uniform in structure, in color, brightness and shape, with no irregularities as would be expected by a completely natural event. It was as if a stripe of solid yellow, similar to a painted highway lane marker, zoomed across my field of view, then came to an abrupt stop as it “popped” and faded into the darkness. It all happened very fast. The stripe also bore its own perspective, meaning I could tell that it was nearest when directly overhead, and that as it trailed off, grew narrow, like train tracks leading off into the distance. Thus the object traveled some distance further before terminating or destructing.

This was the strangest thing I have ever seen, and has never been repeated. For what it’s worth, please add this odd little anecdotal tale to the pile, where it can find some meaning, perhaps, for those who truly care about such things.