|Occurred : 2/4/2018 19:50 (Entered as : 020418 19:50)
Reported: 2/4/2018 9:17:57 PM 21:17
Location: Chandler, AZ
|Flashing multicolored object spotted above Chandler AZ apparently traveling outward into space in the high southern skies.
I was observing the Orion Nebula with my 8" telescope when I first noticed a reflection of an object rapidly flashing blue, red, green, white, and possibly other colors. I looked up and saw the object – it was close enough to distinguish that the flashing lights were in different positions on the object, but I could not make out its shape. I thought it was an airplane at first, but instead of it flying on a particular heading it was traveling upward and outward with a rocket-like trajectory. However, there was smoke trail it as one would expect with a rocket. Additionally, it did not emit any sound.
When I first looked up, the object was about 70 degrees above the south-south-west horizon in the Aries constellation (near the "41 Arietus" star). The object traveled in an outward trajectory, heading south-south-east toward the Orion constellation, but curving downward toward the Eridanus and Lepus constellations. I called my wife out to see it, and she saw it the last couple of minutes as it was leaving. I tried to track it with my telescope, but it was moving too fast.
As the multicolored flashing object was moving away it became smaller and fainter to see, until it disappeared completely between the "54 Eridani" and the "Epsilon Leporis" stars, near the Eridanus and Lepus IUA boundaries. The only difference between this object's trajectory and a rocket's trajectory is that it never "flattened" out – in other words, the object continued on a semi-parabolic trajectory, as if it were heading into space. Also, the object appeared to vary its speed, but seemed to continue at a fast and constant speed as it disappeared.
It took around 4 minutes for it to traverse the arc described above, and it definitely was traveling faster than a rocket. About 3 minutes after it disappeared, a passenger jet flying west to east flew at an unusually low and flat altitude of about 1,000' to 1,500' above the ground, and it flew right over our house. It was close enough to see the passenger windows and its configuration (either a 737 or an Airbus A320). I presumed it was landing at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (aka, Williams Gateway), which is about 10 miles away from Chandler. This particular plane was abnormally low, which could suggest that "something" was detected by radar, and that the plane was flying low as a precaution.