|Occurred : 9/21/2018 13:30 (Entered as : 09/21/18 13:30)
Reported: 11/30/2018 11:39:23 AM 11:39
Location: Carbondale, IL
|Black polyhedron at low altitude in broad daylight.
Location and conditions: Carbondale, IL, 09/21/2018, time 1:30 PM (about). Sky partly cloudy, visibility very good, temp about 85 F. Slight breeze from the north which the weather channel had reported as 5-10 mph.
I was traveling east on the University Mall Drive, approaching the Post Office. I happened to look up and saw a black object moving from, approximately, North to South at about the speed you would expect a helicopter to travel about 60 mph. We frequently have medi-vac helicopters in the area as there is a local hospital 3 miles west of that location and I am used to seeing them in the air. In fact I used to be one of the ride-along RNs many times in them so I am used to watching them. I estimate the altitude at about 800-1000 ft. or so.
This was not a helicopter, I am certain. Because of the unusual characteristics of this object, however, I continued to look at it as best I could while driving.
Although the altitude and speed were similar to a helicopter, as mentioned, no other aspects matched. There was no noise, no tail boom, no skids, no windows, and was a completely different shape. This appeared to be sort of an elongated, many-sided polyhedron. As it moved, the sun would reflect off a shiny facet now and then as if it had a glossy surface.
It did not move like a balloon. There was no bobbing or slight irregularity in motion as one would expect from a balloon. Its course was steady. Also, the speed at which is was traveling, as above, estimated at about 60 mph, was way above the surface wind speed by a lot. I do not have a wind report for the altitude the object was traveling at (800-1000ft), but there was at least one vulture aloft also in the area, about 300 yards further away than the flight path of the object and I judged, from the steady circling of the vulture, that winds aloft were not very high. That is, there was not a noticeable southward drift of the vulture's pattern that could match the speed of the object.
I pulled into the Post Office parking lot and got out of my car to get a better look. My cell phone was in a zippered bag and I was concerned it would take too long to retrieve so I just continued observing. It came directly over IL Hwy 13, the major East-West route through town, passed the Post Office and appeared to make one course change from about SSE to about due East, then head in that direction at a steady speed. This would be unusual behavior if it was a balloon because the course change happened cleanly with no bobbling or turbulence as one might see if a different air mass intercepted the object. The course change looked to me like I would see a helicopter perform, but, as I mentioned, there was no noise, no tail boom and no other characteristics like a helicopter. I watched it until I could not longer see it due to buildings and trees behind the Post Office.
The most striking features:
1. Silent and swift with no apparent lift surfaces or engine sounds.
2. Steady course with one course change. Stayed at same altitude during period of observation.
3. Nothing like anything I have ever seen in the sky. This I knew within seconds of spotting it.