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National UFO Reporting Center
Sighting Report
Occurred : 10/11/2011 19:40 (Entered as : 10/11/11 19:40)
Reported: 10/26/2011 9:23:36 AM 09:23
Posted: 12/12/2011
Location: Des Moines, IA
Shape: Light
Duration:90 seconds
An unexplained, unidentified flying object.

On Tuesday, October 11th, at 7:40pm, I was heading home when I saw something that resembled an object on fire. It was a reddish-orange light, about the exact color of fire, and was traveling in a northerly direction. I stopped the car on the off ramp and got out for a better look.

There was a nearly full moon behind me as I watched the light move across the sky. I hold a private pilot's license, and although at this time I am not "current", I've been around aircraft all my life, and I've never seen anything like this. There was a thin/broken layer of clouds I estimated to be about 4,000 to 5,000 feet above ground level. The light was below the clouds and appeared to be the size of a BB held at arm’s length.

I applied 'critical thinking' in my attempt to identify the light. I asked myself "Why couldn't this be _____?" No aircraft I know of produces a reddish-orange light. Plus there were no position, navigation, or anti-collision lights visible. Also, this was not a landing light, as it was Omni-directional, not shining ahead as a landing light would.

Then I considered it may have been the ROSAT satellite, which is due to re-enter the atmosphere and burn up. The light had no trail of fire in its wake, and it appeared to be traveling in straight and level flight.

Also the light appeared to be moving fast, so this was no "Chinese Lantern". I would guess the light was at least 3,000 feet, and traveled from horizon to horizon in less than 90 seconds.

I have also filed this report with MUFON.