|Occurred : 7/4/2013 21:00 (Entered as : 07/04/13 21:00)
Reported: 7/5/2013 5:16:17 AM 05:16
Location: Port St. Lucie, FL
|Circular Red/Gold Lights flying overhead
On July 4, 2013, between 2100 and 2200, we were in our backyard shooting fireworks. One of our daughters was looking up in anticipation and noted 3 moving lights in formation. When first observed, the lights were located to our southeast. I at first thought they may be the headlights of a small plane since there are many that fly in this area. However, it became clear these were different and unique. Approximately 10 minutes later a fourth light passed and a fifth passed approximately 10 minutes after the fourth. All lights were similar. There was a fairly strong westward wind and it was partly cloudy with the clouds travelling northwest. The following is a summary of the observation.
Formation, speed and flight path: When the 3 light formation first appeared, the lights were noted at about 45 degrees from vertical while facing south east and appeared to be travelling directly towards our location. For the fourth and fifth lights, the same pattern was observed.
The 3 light formation may have been a vee, but with only three, this is likely an assumption although the middle one seemed to slightly lead the others. They remained close together approximately in the same position relative to each other as they approached us and travelled overhead. As they moved away, it appeared that the formation may have separated but the light intensity changed and this again may be as illusion.
It is hard to judge speed, although it seemed to be constant. I have observed many planes flying overhead and most commercial flights that are landing at PBI, can be seen travelling between 10,000-15,000 altitude and I believe their speed is much less that 500 mph as they ready their approach. The lights appeared to be of similar altitude but this is very hard to judge. Based on this assumption, the speed would be greater than the commercial flights by approximately a factor of two which could be over 500 mph. This is very hard to judge and is highly dependent on altitude. For example, I have also observed satellites and they do not appear to be moving rapidly, but due to relative altitude, they are in fact travelling much faster than a plane. The speed seemed constant and unwavering during the approach and while overhead. after they passed and were moving away, it is possible that the speed changed dramatically since the brightness faded rapidly as though they were travell! ing rapidly away from us. However, this occurred in a very short observed distance so if this were the case, the altitude would have to have been increasing as they would be moving in nearly a straight line from our angle of observation. This is unlikely. The more reasonable condition is a change in intensity as described below. The flight path was straight from the southeast to the northwest with the potential change observed just before we lost view. For example, vision of one light ended well before the other two. For the fourth and fifth lights, the same pattern was observed.
I was specifically looking for flight changes that would be difficult for any known aircraft but this was not observed. The speed seemed to be well within known craft and there were no observable changes in acceleration. Overall, with the potential exception of the anomalies towards the end of the observation period, no unusual flight information was observable.
Lights: Each of the lights looked about the same, although the intensity of light varied between the three each was constant to itself during the approach and while overhead. The one in front was the brightest and the other two were close but slightly different in intensity with respect to each other. The intensity of the fourth and fifth were similar but cannot be compared directly.
The lights were different than any plane light. The light was not a beam but was more of a glowing effect. The main light was golden yellow emanating from the center with a bright red perimeter that was concentrated on the front or lead end possibly half way around, however, with no clear demarcation point. The general intensity was much brighter than stars and similar to plane head lights until they began to fade after passing. The lights were beautiful and glowed in a consistent fashion providing the impression of a Christmas ornament. The intensity was the same upon approach and while overhead. The intensity lessened after they passed and the red glow became much less observable. While overhead, they appeared to be circular, however there may have been a slight ovality with the long end aligned with the travel path. This, however, is a guess in that the two colors may have been deceiving the eye. Also, the shape of a light is automatically assumed to be circular or spheri! cal.
After passing, the light intensity slowly faded and then changed dramatically when the angle was about 45 degrees. One light faded and extinguished from our view while the second and third remained possibly 30 seconds to a minute longer with each fading and finally disappearing. The fourth and fifth light acted in similar fashion.