NUFORC Home Page
Web Report Indexes : by Event Date | by Location | by Shape | by Posting Date

National UFO Reporting Center
Sighting Report
Occurred : 12/3/2016 16:00 (Entered as : 12/03/16 16:00)
Reported: 12/3/2016 11:19:15 PM 23:19
Posted: 12/5/2016
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Shape: Light
Duration:21 minutes
1 dozen light orbs seen over 20 minutes travelling through sky

Santa Cruz, California, USA 95060 Approximately 4:00pm (16:00) Dec 3, 2016. The Place and Time, Weather, Orb Count and Equipment I was standing in my back yard on the Westside of Santa Cruz, California, December 3rd, 2016. This approximately places me at the Santa Cruz Lighthouse on the cliffs overlooking the Monterey Bay. It was approximately 4:00pm (having checked my watch a few minutes later at 4:05pm).

The sky was mostly clear, and sunset was about an hour away; though the sun, close to the horizon in the west, was hidden behind hazy cloud cover, which I believe I have now identified as wispy Cirrus or Cirrostratus clouds. These clouds covered about half the sky in the west, breaking up overhead.

A couple of wispy Cirrus (I believe) clouds lay 40 degrees over the horizon, East by North East, opposite the low sun, and it was from one of these I saw three bright orbs, seemingly lights, appear, heading South, to the right. They traversed the distance from my first sight of them to out of sight behind various trees at about East by Southeast, so I had a view of them in the sky for about 45 degrees of the horizon. They traversed this distance in about 15 seconds.

At this time, I called for my girlfriend to get my glasses from inside, my astigmatism causing the first sighting to look distorted and fuzzy. Bringing them out immediately, she also left and returned briefly with a pair of binoculars (Sans & Streiffe #889 Viking, 8x30mm, field 10& #730;). We waited for a bit, and then at approximately 4:06pm we saw another single light orb leave the same cloud, heading in the same southerly direction of the others. This too passed out of sight in about 15 seconds.

The next 25 minutes were spent in their entirety by myself scanning the sky for more orbs/lights, and my girlfriend coming outside intermittently and surprisingly being present for most of the orbs. At no time during this period did I think to take more than one image with my phone, as its picture quality is notoriously awful. The one I took at approximately 4:04pm was not of orbs, but of the first of two clouds that the orbs apparently came from. This was for reference, in hopes of understanding how high up they were by the cloud type. As I mentioned before, I thought these were Cirrus, but they may be medium level clouds. They lacked any of the “fluffy” features found in low level clouds though. The clouds were clearly either obscuring the orbs as the orbs flew behind them, or in fact were the source of the orbs. I should say, every time we saw any orbs during this event, they either appeared from behind/within the clouds, or as I'll mention later, materialized next to exi! sting orbs.

Every couple of minutes from 4:06pm until approximately 4:15pm, a single orb, or two orbs would appear from within/behind one of the two clouds (whichever was approximately in the position of the first sighting) traveling South, to our right, for about 15 seconds until passing out of sight from our narrow, 45˚ field of view. At the end of this period we waited another 5 minutes until it was about 4:20pm without any further sightings in that area of the sky. My girlfriend headed inside again and I stayed to watch the whole sky now.

At approximately 4:21pm, looking directly above me, at the zenith of the sky, I saw the brightest of the orbs, a single orb, also heading South, materialize from within a high cloud bank: these clouds I have researched and I suggest they are Cirrostratus. Because of the place in the sky it arrived, this orb remained in my view for longer than 20 seconds, being lost to sight behind trees to the south. From 4:00pm to 4:21pm, both my girlfriend and I guessed that we had seen about 1 dozen orbs, with two groups of three, two groups of two, and the rest single orbs.

The Orbs, Their Properties, and the Binoculars With my glasses on and the Binoculars well adjusted, I watched the orbs singly or in their small flights of two and three. The first group of three, though I didn't have my glasses or the binoculars then, flew in a loose pattern, one ahead of the others by twice the distance from the second and third. The two that trailed followed at perfect distance, but approximately half way through their short 15 seconds in my field of view, one of the rear objects overflew the other, switching positions. This appeared to be an smooth, non-linear acceleration and deceleration. As this was the first sighting, and I didn't have on my glasses to be sure, I thought perhaps they were stunt planes far up, and one was performing a maneuver. The rapid change of location in the formation however made me second guess my assumption.

I'll state here, I have never before seen a UFO; that is, a saucer, ship, craft or other phenomenon which I took to be extraterrestrial or black-ops in origin. I am, however, keenly interested in the subject of UFO phenomena, and I have researched how these assumed extra terrestrial and/or government vehicles and phenomena behave and move. What I saw in the first sighting from one of the three orbs immediately alerted me to very improbable behavior for a conventional aircraft.

With my glasses on and the binoculars in hand, the third or fourth sighting of orbs, a pair, were clearly visible. At first, only a single orb flew Southward from the second of the two drifting clouds, but at near half its distance in my field of view, another object appeared next to it; without a snap, more of a quick “fade in”. It was flying in unison with the first orb, but unlike the first orb, or any of the other orbs seen in this report, it was not totally a ball of light, but had physical definition. At a distance it looked less bright, and seemed to have a physical form.

My perception (through the binoculars) was that it was a dark, hard, physical object, but with a glowing orb obscuring its center. From my vantage point, given the angle from which I was viewing it, it looked like a glowing orb with two rounded “wings” or structures coming from either side of it, (as the physical parts were extending from the light orb perpendicular to the object's flight path, and seemingly level with the ground plane). On second consideration, I think I was seeing either an oval shaped craft flying parallel to its short axis, or more likely, a disc at an oblique angle. Either way, it had a bright light in the center which obscured all but the outer thirds of it. This was all in very small detail on the less-than-powerful binoculars, but allowed for at least some observation. Like the first observation at approximately 4:00pm, this darker, “physical” object changed attitudes from behind to in-front-of the other orb in the flight, though the latter never cha! nged speed or direction.

The rest of the dozen orbs before 4:21pm were regular in their appearance every couple of minutes; appearing in the same part of the sky to the East by North East, stable in their aspect of bright orb without physical form, straight travel paths, 15 seconds in view in a 45˚ field of view of the sky, at presumedly high altitudes.

At 4:21pm, the last of the orbs that I saw in this report was the orb that passed directly overhead. It, unlike the others, seemed to strobe in light intensity over a cycle of a few seconds. Perhaps growing bright then dim in 3 or 4 seconds. I was careful to consider whether I thought it was the orb passing within cloud layers, a light (totally unlike an aircraft's multiple lights and colors), or the glow of the haze-covered sun reflecting off of a tumbling object. I felt that an oscillating light was the best impression.

Other Observations in the Area, and Thoughts on Speed During this half hour that I stood in my back yard and made the sighting observations, I also decided to note as much as I could about the normal everyday sky and its more mundane occupants. Many air corridors exist over Santa Cruz, and I spotted jetliners and cargo jets flying several times. I used one jet as the object to focus my binoculars on, at around 4:10pm, and another that was invisible to the naked eye, but which left a long set of contrails that indicated it was there.

My observations were: if the orbs were flying at the altitude of the highest of the jets, they were traveling in excess of the speed of sound, perhaps more. Whatever the speed of the highest jets leaving contrails, the orbs were many times faster than that.

The lowest flight corridor of jets, flying north to San Jose airport, made the distance in the orbs' field of view in about the same amount of time as the orbs. If the orbs were at this altitude, (pretty low as jets fly considering it's an approach run to an airport, though 30 miles out), then they would be going at least several hundred miles per hour, but would have been vehicles without visible wings, no more than 10 feet across, and glowing white.

Stars, no.

Birds, I considered. Could the sun, however diffused from the hazy western clouds, have lit up the white bodies of Southerly migrating birds? I've seen many a bird here, and at the distance at which a bird's wings or head would be blurred out by its glowing body, I imagine these birds would have been traveling in speeds in excess of a hundred miles per hour, while interacting with clouds that seem to be high altitude sorts, and in two cases performing abrupt acceleration and deceleration.

Satellites, for some of the same reason as birds, seems unlikely to me.

Balloons, while arguably traveling in the direction of the wind, would be hard pressed to have one of their number twice in the sighting change position rapidly and then regain its original speed. And certainly the orb I saw above me was an actual light of some sort, and given its integration with the cloud layer, would have constituted a balloon drifting at many hundreds of miles an hour.

Final Thoughts It is my opinion, from what I know of conventional aircraft and my hometown's air corridors, and the size and speed of jets flying at various altitudes, that these orbs were not conventional craft. I do not think they were birds, and they weren't satellites to the best of my understanding of how satellites work. One had a physical form, though obscured with a bright light in the center. Another strobed in what looked to be an artificial manner. They all flew in a solid, smooth path, save the two that performed rapid formation changes. All but one seemed to appear out of the same stretch of sky, without having first traversed the path of sky to get to that point. They all moved in the same direction, along the same corridor (save for the one I saw directly above me), and they appeared at regular intervals. I have seen images and video in the past that approximated what I saw today, and I'm placing this report here to help others make some sense of what they too might have seen.