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National UFO Reporting Center
Sighting Report
Occurred : 8/7/2010 20:00 (Entered as : 08/07/10 20:00)
Reported: 8/10/2010 6:25:50 PM 18:25
Posted: 8/24/2010
Location: Peebles, OH
Shape: Circle
Duration:<1 minute
round object with much smaller attached object circling the main object in vertical motion

I am a casual amateur astronomer with some working knowledge of the night sky.

I had just begun an evening of stargazing in rural southern Ohio and was planning to start with sightings of Venus, Saturn, and Mars, which were grouped quite close together just after sunset on 8-7-10. I noticed the object in question while waiting for Venus to appear after sunset. In terms of brightness it looked a lot like Venus, but it was way too high in the sky to be that planet, and its brightness was probably closer to that of Jupiter, which was not due to appear until much later in the evening. I thought perhaps it was a very bright star but did not know what star it might be.

To attempt to identify the object, I trained my 6-inch Dobsonian with low magnification on the object. What I saw was a disc, but not a disc in the sense of a flying saucer type object seen edge-on. Rather, it was perfectly round and about the size of Jupiter on high magnification. It appeared to have some markings on it somewhat similar to the light and dark areas seen on Mars when that planet is relatively close to Earth. It did not appear to be moving at all.

As I observed the object, I noticed it had a much smaller object which appeared to be circling it, much as you might see the Galilean moons orbiting Jupiter. But the circling was not horizontal like a natural satellite --- east-west or west-east --- but rather a vertical polar orbit. As I watched, the smaller object moved from about the 7:00 o'clock position on the main object up to the very top 12:00 o'clock position. What was even weirder was that the smaller object appeared to be attached to the main object by a line which was very thin but quite visible.

All of this happened very quickly, in a matter of a few seconds, and after this brief observation I was mystified as to what the object might be. I thought perhaps it might be some exotic satellite of which I was unaware. I took my eye from the telescope so I could just look at it to see if it was moving across the sky in a straight line at a steady rate with a steady brightness the way satellites do. But when I looked up it had vanished. Satellites wink out when they enter the earth's shadow and are no longer illuminated by the sun. But as far as I could tell this object was not moving at all. Had it been moving I would have almost certainly noticed some movement of the main object when I was looking at it through the telescope, since magnification also magnifies the perceived motion of an object across the sky.

I have never seen anything like this and I am at a loss as to what this object might have been. I was sober with my faculties intact when I observed it. {:>) If anyone has seen something similar or knows what it may have been I would be interested in some feedback.