|Occurred : 7/14/2021 23:00 (Entered as : 07/14/21 23:00)
Reported: 7/23/2021 2:52:36 PM 14:52
Location: Clifton Forge, VA
|Bright orange fireball loiters for 4 hours over rural town.
On the evening of Wednesday, July 14, 2021 I have been driving for approximately four hours on the interstate with intermittent stops, for travel related to family matters. When I arrived at my uncles house at 11:00 PM I paused to look up at the night sky, as I always do because I am an amateur astronomer, and I saw a light at least as bright as Jupiter and probably a little bit brighter in the North, moving from left to right on a flat trajectory to the northeast. It looked very close, but it vanished after about 3 seconds of flight, during which it covered about 20 degrees of arc in the sky.
I then went in and visited my uncle for 4 hours.
It just so happens that my house is also to the north, so after visiting my uncle I drove to my house in the country about a half-mile away. When I arrived at my house, the sky was fully dark, completely clear, and there was no moon that I could see from my vantage point but there are some trees that may have been blocking it.
Upon getting out of the car I looked up to the north and immediately saw the same object at 3:00 AM that I had seen some four hours earlier. Again this object was a single bright point of orange light, about as bright as Jupiter or perhaps a little bit brighter, but not as bright as Venus on an early morning. This object was in the northern sky making what appeared to be huge curves or circles, slowly loitering above our rural town.
I attempted to film it with my iPhone but it was impossible because the quality was too bad. I saw the object move from approximately northwest to approximately north east in a soft curve trajectory that was definitely pronounced enough to be a curve, but there were no sudden movements. Judging from my days of model rocketry, I would estimate the altitude to have been approximately 1500 feet to 2500 feet, and the object appeared to cover approximately 1/4 the sky in the space in a time of maybe six or seven seconds. At no time was there a contrail or a sound of any kind. It just looked like an extremely large, bright orange fireball that was very orange in color and resembled the planet Jupiter burning clearly on a dark night, only it was moving in a curved path.
After curving from approximately Northwest to Northeast, left to right, over six seconds, it doubled back to come in my direction and rapidly grew dim at the same time, then vanished without a trace.
I stayed outside for about an hour looking for this object to return since it had loitered in the area for approximately four hours, but it never came back. This was a rural town that is quite small and there are no airports or drone activity anywhere around here. The only air traffic we get is passenger jets at a very high altitude, and occasionally we get an Osprey Naval aircraft flying through to get to Norfolk Naval base, but they make so much noise you can hear them for nearly a full minute before you ever see them, even in broad daylight.
The object I saw on July 14 at 11:00 PM was unmistakably 100% the same object I saw in the same area of sky on July 15 at 3:00 AM. I have no idea what this was, it remains an extremely intriguing and unexplained sighting for me. I tried to take a video both times, but I was too late the first time, and the second time it was there but I set the camera at max zoom hoping to get a closeup, and I could not aim the camera to get the object in frame the way it was moving, at that zoom level. I’ll be glad to send NUFORC the videos.