|Occurred : 8/15/1999 22:30 (Entered as : 08/15/99 22:30)
Reported: 8/17/1999 02:31
Location: Jenks, OK
|Three satellite-looking-lights moving in triangular formation.
I have been a meteor watcher since I was a kid, for more than 35 years (I am 42). In the last few years, it seems that I have seen more satellites than meteors and too often, satellites (i.e. moving points of light in the sky) that just seem to fade in and then fade out. Probably explainable but still odd. Lately, it seems that meteors are even more scarce. That having been said, this is what happened on Sunday night. It was 9:45pm CDT and I had just sat down on my deck which faces south though I was sitting facing SE. My house sits two miles directly south of Jones/Riverside airport, considered a "small" airport though I believe it gets more takeoffs and landings than Tulsa International, 10 miles to the north. So I see lots of airplanes. Again, I had just sat down and looked up over my left shoulder and noticed a "moving point of light" or a MPOL, at my 11 o'clock position or so. It was like a medium bright star (sky was very clear and somewhat crisp) moving from north to south, but no sooner than I saw it (near the constilation Cygnus) that it began to brighten. In about 2 seconds it got so bright that it felt like a beam shining directly into my eyes. For an instant, I thought it was an airplane banking and heading right toward me with its beacon almost blinding me. But as quickly as it brightened, it started fading and within five seconds or so had disappeared. I then got my binoculars, feeling that if anything else happened, I would see it up close. (A note: my binoculars are 10x50 Jason, but have been so abused that I always cover one end and use the left side more like a telescope. It works, but not sure how that effects the optics.) About 30 minutes later, I saw a MPOL moving from north to south, this time with a strobe. I saw it naked eye, straight overhead, then with my binocs I saw it had a two second strobe. I was able to see it for about 10 seconds but I could tell that after each strobe, it was dimmer and dimmer until it just faded out. This happened twice more in about 15 minutes, with a dim but solid light going N to S and then with another "strober" going W to E. Seeing four of these MPOL's in about 30 min. time was really strange to me and my history of viewing the sky. Strange in that they ALL faded away. But about 10:30pm, I saw, again, a medium bright "star" moving slowly from NW to SE, in my 10 or 11 o'clock position, almost going straight down from my perspective. When I focussed my binocs on this MPOL, I tried to use a couple of stars in my view field to make sure this other one was really moving. Then I noticed that these other two "stars" were also moving. The three lights,all the same brightness were moving together in the same direction at the same speed. I do not believe that they were physically connected and it wasnt a solid object for I could see stars in between the point star and the two parallel stars that were trailing. They formed a triangle with legs being about 3 times as long as the distance between the two trailing lights, a thin but long legged triangle shape moving in the direction of the point. I watched for maybe 5-10 seconds before lowering my binocs to get an overall look at the sky, but I couldn't see anything odd with my naked eye. When I raised the binocs again, I could only re-locate the two trailing lights still moving together in the same direction as before. Although I assume these to be the same two, something seemed different about them, but I am not sure what. Less than five seconds later, these two lights faded from view, still far from the horizon where I might expect them to fade away. By now my heart was really pumping. I didn't know what I would see next. And I didn't see anything for over an hour but about 11:45pm, I started seeing meteors. After my long meteor drought, even during last weeks shower (I worked graveyard shift so peak night I only got to view during short brks) I saw four meteors in the ESE part of the sky, all in about 10 minutes. All going more or less to the south. Then at about midnight, I was going to call it a night. I looked at the patch of sky where the three lights had been (now much further to my west) and saw one last beauty of a meteor, right where they had been. With my binocs, I can barely see, at the same time, the 2nd and 3rd stars in the handle of the Big Dipper. It was only a little bit easier to get all three moving lights in my field at the same time. I suppose that would give you an idea of the distance between the point and the two trailing lights. Again, my binocs are used more like a telescope. I must say again, when I realized what I was seeing, I was on the border of being really scared. If they had not disappeared so quickly, well, I'm not sure what I would have done. Hope this wasn't a waste of your time.