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National UFO Reporting Center
Sighting Report
Occurred : 11/16/1999 18:00 (Entered as : 11/16/99 18:00)
Reported: 11/17/1999 06:49
Posted: 3/4/2003
Location: Madison, WI
Shape: Fireball
Duration:45 seconds
Very large fireball with trail arched silently from SE to E/NE. Thought it was a plane crashing. When it went over the horizon, I waited for the sound of a crash which never came.

I walked outside of my house just before 6:00 pm to walk the dog. The sky was clear, dark and the air temp cool. I noticed how starry the night was. About 10 seconds after walking outside I looked up straight up and saw this massive fireball with a long trail behind it. My first instinct was it was some sort of a jet plane going down. Although the airport is 5 - 7 miles away, planes from Milwaukee & Chicago fly over my neighborhood on their approach. This "plane" was coming from what seemed to be SE and headed E/NE. I thought that if it was a plane, it had taken off from the Madison airport to the SW, encountered problems and continued an arc that brought it E/NE and over my house. Elevation seemed to be maybe 4000 feet and then as it headed towards the horizon & went over the trees, it looked like it was going to crash on the east side of town or in the village of Cottage Grove. The speed of the object was no faster than a plane making a landing approach. It moved silently. When I first noticed the fireball, it was directly overhead. From that moment until it went over the tree horizon, about 45 seconds to maybe a minute went by. It was long enough that I contemplated running to my next door neighboor's house to tell him to come out and watch this. After the object dissapered and I heard no explosion, I went on my walk with the dog (who by the way did not act strange during this event)all the while trying to figure out what I had just seen. I knew about the upcoming meteor shower, but I thought that 1) it was so huge, I didn't know meteors looked like that 2) I thought the meteor shower was going to be in the middle of the night. When I got home, I ran in the house & turned on the local news. The Channel 3 weatherman was on and talking about the meteor shower. Since I turned on the TV in the middle of talk, I missed most of what he said. He was indicating however that the meteor shower was already starting & that was what people were seing. He said (paraphrased), "we've just had several calls about sightings, and that's what you're seeing folks - the meteor shower." So that did it - I just assumed I saw a meteor. Then last night I turned on Art Bell, because I was curious to hear if he would talk about these impressive meteors. Boy was I in for a surprise. When you came on and played the tape from that lady in Northern Michigan, I nearly died. It was incredibly similar to what I saw. Like she said, it was moving slow enough to pull over and get out of a car. Just incredible. To give you a bit of background - although open to the idea of UFOs and such, I have never seen anything which I would describe as unidentifiable until last night.