|Occurred : 8/14/2015 21:38 (Entered as : 08/14/15 21:38)
Reported: 8/16/2015 8:00:49 PM 20:00
Location: Raleigh, NC
|Two concentric rings of light moved slowly across the night sky, stopped for 10 minutes, then moved back in the opposite direction.
On a clear night at 9:30pm, I sat in a lounge chair with my girlfriend on my back deck to do some stargazing, maybe catch a meteor or two, and then view the International Space Station that would later pass at 9:57pm.
At 9:38pm I noticed something unfamiliar in the sky with my naked eye in the area of the Andromeda galaxy. At first I thought I was looking at a star. However, after looking at it for a few seconds, I noticed it was moving very slowly from East to West, it was larger (not brighter though) than a star and it was egg-shaped.
At this point I figured it was some unique satellite so I ran to get my binoculars for a closer look. Within 30 seconds I returned with my Bushnell 10x50 wide angle binoculars. After focusing in on the object I was completely astonished. It was two concentric rings of light with two bright spots on the leading edge of the outer ring.
As my girlfriend and I passed the binoculars back and forth, it continued to slow down ! further until it came to a complete stop (relative to the stars in the binocular's field of view) at 9:43pm. We continued to take turns with the binoculars in complete amazement.
I then decided to go to my neighbor's house to show them this amazing object in the sky. The parents were out for the evening, but their three kids, their babysitter and I went out onto their back deck. Everyone had a couple good looks at it. It was still frozen in place in the sky, however the bright spots on the outer ring of light were on the other side, there were more of them and a little less bright.
I then returned to my house to retrieve and set up my telescope. I knew it would take about 5 minutes to assemble so I went back to my deck to view the object again. Now, at 9:53pm, it had started traveling back very slowly in the opposite direction, now going from West to East. We watched it travel slowly for three minutes, until 9:56pm. Then we both looked down to talk to each other, ! looked back up and it was nowhere to be seen. A minute later, at 9:57 pm, we spotted the International Space Station, traveling West to East, across the northern sky. We continued to search the sky for the object off-and-on for another hour, until 11pm, but never saw it again.
In total we viewed this object for over 15 minutes. I would estimate it was at an altitude comparable to that of satellites orbiting the earth.
I have been an avid stargazer for over 30 years that can easily distinguish the planets (by name) from stars with the naked eye, easily spot satellites and have viewed the International Space Station many times, but this was a truly unique object and experience.