|Occurred : 6/5/2010 01:00
Reported: 6/12/2010 3:08:41 PM 15:08
Location: Topeka, KS
|Two orange lights traveling over Topeka. They made no sound and appeared to be powered.
I was sitting in my back yard facing straight south on Saturday 6-5-10. I had been outside about 15-20 minutes and then at approximately 1:00 AM, still facing south, I spotted, at an altitude of about 45 degrees up, and just slightly to the west, two separate lights, side by side, traveling directly from north to south. I ended up following one of the lights with a pair of 10x 50 binoculars, south, to an altitude of about 5 deg, just above the trees down the block. By this time it was far off and very dim. The sighting, from beginning to end, lasted around 35-45 seconds.
The objects made no sound, jet, prop etc., completely silent. No blinking, or flashing lights. Magnitude was 2.0 to 1.0, approximately. Looking through binoculars, the colors were a dim orange glow with no distinct lines and the shapes of the glows were rectangular with rounded over corners. Through binoculars they were approx 0.25" inch wide, maybe slightly larger and the position of the "rectangles" were symmetric to one another. My first impression when viewing through binoculars was that they looked like sky lanterns as they start to burn low, when all that's visible is the glow from the lower part of the paper sack. It was hard to tell, but the shapes looked like they were the bottoms of something as opposed to being the entire object. I could see (with binoculars), a very faint reflection or distortion out in front of the orange glows. This was dark in color and not a reflection of the orange light but more of a reflection or distortion of the night sky. These "refl! ections or distortions" were extremely faint to the point of fading in an out of view. Height of the lights could have been satellite altitude or as low as passenger jet altitude, but I couldn't be sure. I do believe the lights were much higher than local low flying air traffic. Speed appeared slightly faster than satellite speed. Distance between the two objects, when I first spotted them, (extending my arm up, in front of me at a 45 degree angle and spreading two fingers apart) was about 3".
I like watching satellite/Iridium pass over, so initially I thought I was seeing two satellites. Movement of the objects appeared powered and were very fluid and constant. They stayed perfectly fixed, side by side, traveling in a straight line like two fighter jets in formation. They were definitely not something being carried on the wind. There were stars between them so I know they weren't attached. I watched them like this, with naked eye, for a few seconds, but the lights looked different than satellites, not pin point reflections, but more of a dull glow, so I switched to my binoculars. After a few seconds I began watching just one of the lights (the other light was outside the field of view of my binoculars) until it dimmed out of sight, so I don't know if the other object stayed beside it the entire time. As far down on the horizon as it traveled, about 5 deg, I would think the other object would've come into the FOV but I didn't see it. The "dull glow" of these objects was dim enough that had they been the smaller size of the pin-point of reflected light given off from a satellite passover, I probably wouldn't have spotted them. Because of their larger size, though, they were very evident to the naked eye.
Night was clear, moonless, little or no breeze.
I would be curious to know what these lights are, and someone else may be able to easily explain them, but in all my years of looking up, I'm at a loss. I thought possibly a couple of Stealth fighters, but then they wouldn't be very stealthy with the orange glow part. Forbes Field, (Previously Forbes Airbase) is a few miles to the south, so maybe it had something to do with that. I'm not an expert, but I would think aircraft running lights would be required when flying over a city.
Background; 48 year old male, some college education. Work in manufacturing, Interested in astronomy, I own an 8" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope. Though I'm very much an amateur when it comes to astronomy, I'm not someone who mistakes things like Venus, aircraft running lights, satellites/iridium flares, meteors, etc. for ufo's.