|Occurred : 12/20/2012 21:20 (Entered as : 12/20/12 21:20)
Reported: 12/20/2012 1:36:18 PM 13:36
Location: Johannesburg (South Africa),
|Large red/orange light moving fast over Johannesburg. Not an aircraft!
First off, I have been working in the aviation industry for the past 12 years, so I know what an aircraft looks like. What we saw, was not an aircraft! Further more, I have a keen interest in astronomy and often spend time star gazing, this was not a meteor fireball either!
I was standing outside having my evening cigarette, when I noticed a large (street light sized) light moving fairly fast (about 6-8 seconds to cover an arc stretching 20 deg off the horizon from the West to 30deg on the eastern horizon, 45 deg inclination) overhead. I immediately called my wife and she then had a couple of seconds to observe the object as well. We both agreed this is not something normal.
The light was closer to red than orange, flashing slightly in intensity but never disappearing. No sound accompanied the object. The sky was mostly overcast, I would say 7/8 coverage with broken patches at various heights. It seemed like the light was higher than the lower cloud base which I would estimate at 1000' AGL (5'500 AMSL) but still shone through.
Given the size of this fireball object, if it was an aircraft or helicopter, your would definitely have heard its engines. This thing w absolutely quiet.
Whilst watching the light pass, a commercial airliner passed overhead and we had a brief moment where we could directly compare the light to the aircraft. The crew in that aircraft must have seen it too! The lack of sound from the light was in complete contrast to the sound of the aircraft passing. You could clearly make out the shape of the aircraft as well with the various navigation lights.
The light moved from the East towards a Western direction in an arching line, then out of sight behind tree cover.
I swear, I've never seen anything like this before! Yes, logically the red port light of an aircraft would fit the angle we were seeing this object, but it does not account for the size of it nor the manner in which it shone.
The best way to describe it, is like a ever so lightly flashing meteor fireball on a clear sky without the distinctive tail and accompanying bits breaking off from ablation.