Something caught my eyes in the night sky last evening. Maybe some people need stories of UFOs in the news to make them look up, but I spend a lot of my time looking at the sky, especially at night. Since I got my first telescope when I was about 12 I've been an enthusiastic observer of the skies.
Last night's combination of a crystal clear sky a nearly full moon and very little "city glow" out where we live made it almost inevitable that I would be walking with my eyes not on the road ahead of us, but towards the heavens. I was watching the stars through a stand of trees that partially overhangs the road we were walking when what appeared to be a meteor caught my attention. But it was moving - I thought - too slowly to be a meteor; as it traveled in a straight line it brightened until I thought it would explode in a fire-ball: something I had seen fairly often. Then it started to fade, but not quickly like a burnt out meteor, more like a satellite moving out of the bright sunlight.
That's when it did something completely unexpected.
Whatever it was took a rather sharp left turn. About 40 to 60 degrees to the left. "Non-ballistic motion" is the term of art. And then it faded completely from sight.
I don't "believe" in UFOs so it left me wondering just what it was that I'd seen... Satellites don't make sharp turns; orbital mechanics just don't allow such motion. At about 8:00pm, I don't think any aircraft could be at an altitude to catch that much sunlight. And meteors just don't zig (or zag) like that.