|Occurred : 1/17/2016 14:56 (Entered as : 01/17/16 14:56)
Reported: 1/31/2016 11:33:17 AM 11:33
Location: Mineola, TX
|Extreme altitude object moving at high speed North. Possible near Earth pass by a large asteroid.
Event Date: 01/17/2016 Event Time: approximately 14:56 Central Time (GMT – 6:00) Location Coordinates: 32°37'55.0"N 95°27'34.0"W Location Name: Mineola Nature Preserve, Wood County, Texas Weather Conditions: 52° Fahrenheit, clear with scattered thin high altitude clouds, a light breeze, and with wind gusts up to 13mph.
Object description: The object appeared to be oblong in overall shape but irregular similar to a potato. It appeared to be silver blue very much like the moon seen during the daytime. Its apparent size was slightly smaller than your thumbnail viewed at arm's length. It appeared to be blurry or hazy like an object viewed through the atmosphere at great distance. This is in contrast with the commercial jets seen at the time that were in sharp detail and white in color. This object made no detectable noise, made no condensation trail, did not appear to be burning in any way, and was very obviously at an extreme altitude.
While visiting the Mineola Nature Preserve out on foot, me and one other family member we were watching the local aircraft. There was a small Cessna aircraft and a biplane flying at low altitudes, intermittently performing aerial acrobatics. This location is approximately 100 miles East of the Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) area and other commercial aircraft were traveling from West to East leaving the major airport hubs of the DFW area at midrange altitudes as they climbed towards but have not reached cruising altitudes. As we could easily hear the engine noise from the commercial aircraft, we would look up at them pass nearly directly overhead which is when we spotted the unknown object.
At approximately 14:56, as a commercial aircraft passed almost directly overhead traveling East South East we spotted this object traveling North. As we watched the object it progressed from almost directly overhead to the north. It became difficult to see as it reached an inclination of about 35° above the horizon.
The time it took to travel from approximately 90° above the horizon to 35° was between 15 seconds and 20 seconds. Immediately after loosing track of the object I checked the International Space Station (ISS) tracking website (http://www.isstracker.com/) to rule out the object as being the ISS. The website showed the then current position of the ISS as being over the Northern section of the Red Sea Moving North East.
Conclusion: After waiting a few days to see if this object was reported by any news agency I decided to see if I could calculate the objects speed.
Knowing that I can not accurately determine speed without knowing its altitude, I calculated this objects speed using two potential altitudes. These two altitudes were 35,000ft for a possible commercial or military aircraft and 200 miles for something passing at an orbital range. With the 35,000ft altitude, I came up with a minimum speed of 1,700mph up to 2,500mph. With the 200 mile altitude, I came up with a minimum speed of 51,300mph and a maximum of about 68,000mph. Given that there was no sonic boom and that the object was hazy and indistinct in a perfectly clear sky I believe that this object was outside of the atmosphere and passed very close to the Earth. The downside to this belief is that any object that could be seen during the day at that distance with that apparent size would have to be very very large.