|Occurred : 4/4/2013 21:55 (Entered as : 04/04/13 21:55)
Reported: 4/4/2013 11:23:46 PM 23:23
Location: Oceanside, CA
|Three orange to red undulating lights above cloud cover, in series, at somewhat regular intervals of five to eight minutes.
At approximately 2150 I went out for a walk with the dogs. I’m a habitual star gazer, and was looking at the night sky. A low and light cloud cover with intermittent gaps provided a peaceful view as I walked. At 2155 I noticed, approaching from a northwesterly direction, a bright orange point of light with a slight reddish glare. It was just above the clouds. The intensity of the light undulated and the speed was variable. This was not due to the effect of uneven cloud cover, as it was too thin in the beginning to be the cause. Even in the gaps, where the sky was clear, the color and intensity of the light undulated and the speed varied. The object also moved almost imperceptibly from left to right at irregular intervals, but kept to its trajectory toward the southeast. From the horizon (zero degrees) to approximately 130 degrees (sorry, I can’t calculate angular velocity here), it traveled for about 20 seconds before speed slowed and the light began to fade! . It almost looked as though it was ascending or stopping at the end, but as it moved over thicker cloud cover, I could not discern which. There was no flicker or winking as it faded and disappeared from view, and no noise with the exception of a civilian helicopter in the distance.
I called the national UFO reporting center and was interrupted by a second light at approximately 2108. A second call was interrupted by a third sighting, another five to eight minutes later. In all three cases, the light appeared from over the northwest horizon and moved southeast, passing directly overhead. Again, there was no noise, slight wavering in direction, slight variation in speed, and dramatic slowing at the end as the light faded.
After the third siting, and upon the advice of the gentleman who answered my call to the NRC hotline, I called the FAA Flight Service Station in San Diego, which reported light cloud cover at 1300 feet and very light winds.
I called the Camp Pendleton Command Duty Officer, who said there were no exercises on the range that he was aware of. He speculated that illumination from an artillery battery could be the cause, but as a Marine myself, I know of no reason why the 11th Marines would be firing arty illumination over the civilian population more than fifteen miles to the south. (The altitude of such illumination would be much higher than seen as well -- though not as high as illumination launched or dropped by aircraft – in either case, this is definitely not what I saw.) This was not something that looked like any conventional illumination the USMC might use in training.
I called the Oceanside Police Department desk sergeant, who said there were no other calls or operations in the area – and frankly I am not sure the Oceanside Police would have any reason to launch flares from a helicopter. The desk sergeant said she would have thought they were flares as well.
I want to say these were flares. They looked much larger and brighter than stars, undulating, and fading, but not winking out. The cloud cover prevented a clear, sustained view for the entire arc of movement. These objects seemed to be moving much faster than any flare I have seen, including military grade flares. They were directional and not drifting, and when they faded they didn’t appear to descend at all, but either remained at altitude (above 1500 feet at least) or ascended. If they were flares, they were pretty darn good ones -- just not for ground illumination! Very strange, indeed.
Unfortunately, I was unable to capture any images on my iPhone.