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National UFO Reporting Center Sighting Report
Occurred : 7/19/2020 23:10 (Entered as : 07/19/2020 23:10)
Reported: 7/20/2020 6:30:23 PM 18:30
Posted: 7/23/2020
Location: Portland, OR
Shape: Light
Duration: 2 minutes + 10 minutes
Characteristics: There were lights on the object, The object changed color
Bright color changing object visible across a large field of sky and exhibiting non-ballistic movement

My family of four was out in a deserted rural location to see Comet NEOWISE. I am a professional analyst and investigator with some law enforcement background and a lifelong interest in astronomy and space. My wife grew up on Kauai and has had a variety of managerial and administrative positions. My two children, daughter age 12 and son age 10 were also present.

The elevation at the location was approximately 1400'. We had an unobstructed view of the sky from West-North-West to North-East. We saw a bright light coming into view from the west, approximately 10 degrees above the horizon. It was approximately 5 times brighter than the brightest visible star. I thought at first it was an aircraft and we all were looking at it because of the brightness. We then saw it exhibit some non-ballistic motion; it was speeding up and then rapidly slowing to a stop, sometimes abruptly jumping up or down 2 degrees from its base course, and jinking around as it proceeded generally eastward.

I had a pair of 10-22 x 50 binoculars (to see the comet) and was able to get the light in view. It was jinking around enough that its motion, combined with the binocular motion, made it too blurry to see any shape. When I was watching it magnified it started to pulse the brightness and change color; we saw the brightness vary by about 33% up and down, and the colors shift from white to red, blue green and purple in no particular order.

We tracked the object across our entire field of view, which took about 2 minutes. We also saw one plane in the sky on a northward path (likely a Portland to Seattle flight) which made a stark contrast to the object as the plane had distinctly separate lights on the wingtips, did not change color, and was nowhere near as bright.

As the object was nearing the eastern limit of our view, my wife and daughter saw 4 more objects in a line that started changing color and brightening as the one object we were observing approached. I was able to see 3 of the four from my location with the binoculars. None of them were as bright - they were about the same brightness as the nearby starfield. They did not move during the next 10 minutes. They also displayed multiple colors, however only white, red and blue. The brightness did not vary much. Due to the lack of motion and different visibility profile, I could not personally confirm if they were other objects or distorted stars.

It is not possible to get a good estimate of distance on a light in the sky without reference points and knowledge of the object, but my best guess is given the brightness and comparing it to the plane we did see it was in the atmosphere at least 20 miles away.