|Occurred : 6/24/2010 22:15 (Entered as : 06/24/10 22:15)
Reported: 6/26/2010 4:57:49 PM 16:57
Location: Waukee, IA
|Bright Zig-Zagging Light over Des Moines, 6/24/10
So, I'm standing on my back Deck in the town of Waukee, Iowa [6/24/2010, APRX 9:15 OR 10:15 PM CST] waiting for my dog to pee so I could take her back in and go to bed.
Explanation of the time discrepancy: I vaguely remember looking at a clock after this sighting and THOUGHT it said 9:15, but realized the next day that the sun hadn’t fully set by 9:15 on that day and I remember it being dark, because despite the ambient light of the city to the east of my house, I could clearly see stars. This leads me to believe that it was really 10:15 and I had misread the clock the night before.
Anyway, on 6/24/2010, as I look up, I glance to the west south west I see a very bright white light moving in a easterly direction (toward me, toward Des Moines proper). The brightness is what caught my eye.
It was traveling (as near as I can figure) in a straight line toward the east, perhaps east, north east. No green/red aircraft lights as one would see on an airliner. In fact I saw a jet liner flying to the east far above this object.
I am not good at estimating altitude but it, and as such I have a hard time telling you how big this thing was. But the jet liner moving east above this thing looked to be more than twice as high, that's the impression I got anyway.
So I figured, it's an airplane with its landing lights on and the landing lights are washing out the red/green strobes so that I can't see them. But as the thing keeps moving east, the light doesn't die out at all.
If it were an aircraft landing light, it would be directional. You might see it very brightly as the aircraft was moving toward you but it would become more difficult to see as the plane moved over and started moving away from you.
The thing moved over where I was standing, perhaps to the south of my position a little bit but clearly over the city of Des Moines, then it kept moving at the same rate of speed BUT it began moving (or at least the light did) in a slightly, nearly unnoticeable zig-zag manner.
Mind you, I can see nothing but the bright white light. I see no craft/structure, no wings, nothing but the light. And the light continues off in an easterly direction until I lose sight of it behind the roofline of the other houses behind mine. It moved in a straight tack and for about 15 seconds, in a slightly zig-zag manner but it stayed at a steady speed. It wasn't very fast at all. The jet liner above it overtook it easily.
It made no noise that I could hear but it might have been too far away and it appeared to be illuminated all the way around. In other words, the light stayed bright, no matter the angle at which I viewed the thing.
I doubt it was a helicopter because if it was it seemed too high (although I have a hard time judging altitude) and even if it was a helicopter, what's with the 360 degree illumination effect? Even those super bright spotlights on helicopters are directional.
I tried taking a picture of it, but my crappy cell phone camera is all I had close and all you could see was a blurry white spot on a black background, it didn't tell the story at all and I deleted it out of frustration (sorry). By the time I could have gone in and gotten my good camera, come out, set it up and get the shot, the thing would have been gone.
So, whatever this thing was, I remember thinking that the airliner flying above might not have been able to see it because of the illumination from the city below, but who knows? If the airliner did see it, he didn't alter his course or anything so it must not have concerned him. But the thing was very bright, in comparison to the stars (and the night was very clear), it was easily noticeable at first glance.
All told, it crossed the sky (from rooftops to the west to roofline in the east) in about 90-120 seconds. I remember distinctly thinking that whatever I was seeing wasn't normal so I made a point to watch it intently (another reason I didn't go for the good camera). It was right after I made this decision that it started to zig-zag (again, ever-so slightly) and I remember wondering just what exactly I was seeing. The zig-zag was just enough to be noticeable but slight enough to make me wonder if I was perhaps seeing things correctly.
Now I am rationalizing and explaining it away as any number of plausible explanations. But the fact that it was #1 so bright #2 had no red/greens #3 moving relatively slowly compared with the air traffic above it #4 IT ZIG ZAGGED. I'm baffled and my logic tells me that it could not have zig-zagged, but I KNOW I saw the thing zig-zag! So tell me I'm not crazy! Explain this thing to me. I know what it was not...It wasn't a balloon (too fast, steady speed, night, over a metro area close to an airport). I know it wasn't the space station, a meteor or a satellite...a jet liner flew OVER it. The jet-liner above it was further to the south than the light, but from my angle I watched as the airplane disappeared briefly behind this light then reappeared as the plane outpaced the light.
I seriously doubt that it was a helicopter. I was a flight medic for some years and I know rotor-craft, especially the commonly seen rotor-craft in this area. The flight path didn't make sense (for a medical helicopter anyway). It came from out of town and bypassed all hospitals and went back out of town to the east.
Maybe it was military, but our Air Guard base is south of where this thing flew...it wasn't on approach to DSM International, it was WAY too far north, its course did not change and it didn’t appear to change altitude at all (again difficult to judge & be certain). It certainly didn't just take off from DSM either. I suppose it could have been like a private plane/jet or even a military jet, but I could hear NOTHING and what's with the light? Let alone the ZIG ZAGGING!!!??? Once the light disappeared over the roofline to the east and I could no longer see it, I brought the dog back in and went to bed. I had completely forgotten about seeing the light until the following evening and I shared this report on an online forum where someone suggested that I report the event to you.