Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Unidentified Objects

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.

Any thoughts?

No comments: