|Occurred : 10/14/2017 19:30 (Entered as : 10/14/17 19:30)
Reported: 10/14/2017 6:57:38 PM 18:57
Location: Middletown, VA
|Very bright, light jigging relative to commercial aircraft and stars in the area.
Background: I am an engineer and work for a defense contractor. One of the ones that conspiracy people get really paranoid about, but I promise that I don't work on any spooky projects.
My father was with me. He works for the government. Also, nothing too spooky in the conspiracy sense.
I have a passing familiarity with military and commercial aircraft, he has a pretty detailed knowledge in being able to profile and identify aircraft. He also has one of those augmented reality aircraft identification/tracking apps and makes plane-spotting (along with hawk-spotting and star watching) part of his hobbies.
The area it was observed has a clear view of traffic routes flying into IAD, DCA, and BWI, plus some other private airfields in the area and Andrews AFB.
Observation: We had already seen 2 satellites pass over, 3 shooting stars (two parallel to the quite clearly visible milky way and one perpendicular), and probably a dozen aircraft. The night is super clear, probably the clearest we have had in a week.
I was staring at the shocking amount of stars out but didn't immediately identify any planets I wanted to check out with a telescope or set of binos (silly, Saturn was right behind me). I walked around the truck and asked dad to turn off the garage lights, and when I turned around again there was a shockingly bright light in the sky that I hadn't noticed before.
'Not too strange, just didn't see it.' And then it started moving, looking like it was dropping down in the sky. 'Well, okay, it's flying away from us not quite in the traffic lanes'. It was moving pretty fast. Faster than the satellites, slower than some of the closer low flying planes that had red/white blinking lights. Also was just one steady tone, a cream-white color. Very bright, brighter than any of the stars by far, brighter than Venus or Mars. Then it hooked a starting to a reverse J, then into an L turn to the right.
Then it started... jigging? Bouncing up and down, left and right. At first I thought it was my eyes playing tricks on me just because it was so bright, so I steadied myself, set my head down on the truck bed, and kept watching. Still jigging. Then another aircraft passed below it in my view and it and the stars around it were rock steady, not moving strangely at all, but that light was still jigging around relative to all of it.
Dad got the AR app out and it showed a couple aircraft in the sky kinda near it, but one of the craft was not identifiable on the app. The other was a clearly visible commercial plane (the one I mentioned above).
Then it started to fade. Didn't change color, just rapidly went dark over the span of about 10 seconds and that was the last we saw of it.
Speculation: First guess was it was a flare because of how it faded out, its color, and how bright it was. But, the flare explanation didn't cover the jigging. It didn't look like any of the other aircraft in behavior or appearance, so I don't think it was one of the commercial craft.
((ADDENDUM FROM WITNESS))
Thanks for the reply.
I asked a group what they thought, and they suggested I check the ISS orbit. NASA says I should have been able to see the ISS 65 degrees off the horizon for about 5 minutes, disappearing 19 degrees above ESE, at 19:28 pm. That would have lined up exactly with what I saw.
That's going to be my going explanation.