|Occurred : 12/30/2011 20:45 (Entered as : 12/30/2011 20:45)
Reported: 12/30/2011 8:48:18 PM 20:48
Location: Thompson's Station, TN
|Distant point of light zig-zags, hovers and then moves rapidly across sky
While walking in back yard, the first witness spotted a bright light above the tree line to the northwest. At first, he thought it was just a nearby helicopter, since military aircraft/helicopters frequently fly over our house. The light really caught the witness's attention when it zig-zagged three times, each time moving a distance of six or seven degrees in a fraction of a second. The witness reported seeing two rows red and green blinking lights, but this could have been due to atmospheric instability. The witness then ran inside and got two more people (including the author of this report). The point of light was still visible and appeared to be stationary. From time to time, however, it would wobble rapidly from side to side, rapidly oscillating an angular distance of one to two degrees. The light slowly got dimmer. The craft remained stationary for an hour, descending at a rate slightly faster than the nearby stars, moving closer and closer to the nea! rest star (Deneb, in Cygnus). It was roughly the same brightness as Deneb. Everyone got cold and went inside, but two people went outside to look for it again about 85 minute after the initial sighting. The point of light wasn't where it was previously. As they searched, the two observers spotted movement in their peripheral vision and automatically directed their attention to it. A point of light about 30 degrees to the left of the place where the first point of light was moved rapidly overhead, crossing the entire sky in under a second, and then disappeared behind the trees. One witness, formerly in the Air Force, said the point moved at least 100 times faster than any aircraft he'd ever seen. The point of light did not change intensity, color or shape as it moved. There was no trail behind it and both witnesses are certain it wasn't a meteor.
Site Location: 35.7772536260909N, 86.7728685713739W Atmospheric Conditions: No clouds, but very poor seeing / high atmospheric instability Apparent Magnitude of Object: Initially, reported to rival brightness of Jupiter, but got dimmer. Stabilized at around brightness of Deneb (1.2 magnitude) Location of point in sky: NW, Between Cygnus and Cepheus Background of observers: 1) male, 48 years old 2) male, 21 years old, Yale undergraduate / amateur astronomer 3) female, 46 years old 4) male, 60 years old, retired US army 5) male, 35 years old, retired USAF