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National UFO Reporting Center
Sighting Report
Occurred : 12/15/1998 17:10 (Entered as : 12/15/98 17:10)
Reported: 12/16/1998 08:29
Posted: 3/11/2003
Location: Oroville, CA
Shape: Light
Duration:20 minutes
A pair of lights joined by another light. They separate back into pair and single.

Three craft, which I first thought to be satellites, forming a close encounter over the Sacramento/Marysville area - 50 miles to the South. As I watched it was apparent that two of these craft were flying together as a pair up from the south, and a third craft was approaching the encounter area from the West. Clear skies, some very high clouds, good lighting, about a half hour after sunset. The craft pair was arranged so the larger of the two was always to the left of the smaller. All three craft went through continual complex fast changing lighting arrays. Their lights weren't synchronized. Quite bright, brilliant colors, or a brite white light disc. Sometimes the lights would double or form arrays of four, all flashing differently, sometimes with different intensities. This didn't appear to be the light signature of the satellites which are visible here every clear evening, and their movements implied airplane, but on an out of atmosphere scale, which meant that the lights in their fantastic array were very brilliant. The smaller craft almost always was two tightly bound points of scintillating lights. Often times there were four. Only rarely did it become a single point of light. There did not seem to be an structure associated with the light arrays, yet they maintained an integral formation as if there were a structure. It appeared several times that it was presenting a changing profile to the viewer as it moved around, that perhaps a cause of the observed relative movements of the lights. As they converged the solo craft from the west executed a turn to the north and began flying with the two coming from the south. I then thought I was watching airplanes, but there never was a sound, and the scale of movement was wrong for an airplane. The solo craft cruises around the pair who turn to the east. There is movement between the pair, but it is subtle and their overall position remains exactly the same to this observer _througout_ their entire flight! The solo light is, what one could almost call, animated, especially as the scale of this encounter became apparent. The solo craft flew north above a cirrus changing vectors a few degress several times, at one point appearing to reverse course as it circled back over an area - they were complex very large scale manuevers in a patch of sky the size of my hand at arms length - never leaving a contrail or noise. As it did these high speed manuevers, it reached its highest point as it turned westward at about 10:30 as my arm would point to it. As it slowly went into the west glow I could see that it was still manuevering but it was so far away that distance only indicated that this light or group of lights was not an airplane and was way off planet as compared to the usual couple of dozen satellite crossings. Eventually this brilliant cluster of glittering jewels was lost in the evening glow. As I caught up with the pair they had traveled across the sky in an enormous turn from the east to north over in the Reno area. That city is almost exactly East from this observer. They traveled north 15-20 degrees then I saw that they were just slowly getting closer together in appearance which meant that they were now traveling to the Northeast and they maintained that till they faded into the night sky a hands width above the horizon. At their highest in the East they seemed at about 10:00 in the sky as pointed to by my arm. There was never a sound. The scale of these executed movements would seem to require high altitudes. This was a very grand encounter, very majestic, and it would seem, when postulating actual physical craft, quite an extraordinary expression of speed and power. During this 20 minute dance the land and sky were very quiet. No jets and no local noise at all, it was quiet. Any sounds caused by these craft would have been audible, if they had been aircraft, as exampled by similarly placed jet flybys. This happened at 5:10 to 5:30 pm Pacific Standard Time on 15 December 1998.