|Occurred : 11/6/2010 06:45 (Entered as : 11/06/10 06:45)
Reported: 12/4/2010 4:57:38 PM 16:57
Location: Revere, MA
|Light spotted cavorting in the sky near Revere
On the morning of November 6th, 2010, at about 6:45 AM EDT (I remember the date specifically because the time changed the following morning), I stepped out on to my back deck to smoke a cigarette before leaving for work. From the back deck, I have a view of a set of low hills to the north of the town where I live.
I saw a bluish-white light travelling westward along the line of the hills. Initially, I thought that there must be a road along the ridge and I was seeing a car travelling along it. After several seconds, however, the light moved downward from my vantage point on another hill (meaning that the object appeared superimposed on the ridge line but was in fact between my location and the hills behind it) and moved back toward the east.
After moving about 5 degrees eastward, the light moved upward, passing above the top of the hills from my vantage point, and then moved back westward. The object did not rise to a high altitude because there are two radio towers visible to the north of my position, and the object did not appear to move higher than the top of either tower.
I watched the object make numerous loops over a period of about ten minutes. I estimate that the angular distance covered by the object from one side of the loop to the other was about five degrees. The time required to cross this distance was five seconds-I timed it. I later did a "back of the envelope" calculation to determine the object’s speed. Assuming that the hills are three miles from my position, and that the end points of the object’s loop were equidistant from me (not true, but close enough to get an estimate), then we solve the triangle that results given that we know two sides and the included angle. The distance from one side of the loop to the other is roughly one-quarter of a mile, and the object crossed this distance in five seconds. The necessary speed works out to roughly 180 miles per hour.
This speed is consistent with a small aircraft, but I could see no indication of lights other than the object itself, which appeared as a bluish-white light. I’ve seen small biplane aircraft do aerobatic maneuvers at low altitude before, but only out in the country, and never over an area as densely settled as eastern Massachusetts. And again, if it was an aircraft, where were the other lights? The object appeared to me to be a light. I did not see any suggestion of size or shape: what I saw was visible only as a point of light.
There were low-lying clouds that morning. There was sufficient light to see by, but the sun had not yet come up; frankly, the ambient light is not really relevant here anyway, because there is so much light pollution in eastern Massachusetts that I can see the outline of the hills even in the middle of the night because there are towns on the other side of them.
I finally left off watching the object because I had to finish getting ready for work, but it was still making its loops.
I am a college instructor of history, with more than 20 years worth of experience in amateur astronomy. In addition, I’ve spent 15 years working in planetariums.