|Occurred : 8/19/1999 19:45 (Entered as : 08/19/99 19:45)
Reported: 4/10/2001 21:53
Location: LaVergne, TN
|Strange satellite behavior observed over Tennessee.
My family and I attended an outdoor concert on this night (The Moody Blues), and while laying on our backs looking at the sky waiting for the show to start, we spotted a tiny pinpoint of light almost directly overhead. Our location was about 10 miles SE of downtown Nashville, TN, at the Starwood Amphitheatre. The time was 19:45. Because of the angle of the sun and the height of the "speck", my first guess was that we were seeing a low-orbit satellite. It was tracking WNW at an altitude of at least 100,000 feet. We had two sets of binoculars with us, so I watched it with 10x50's while my wife watched it with 8x35's. It resembled a lollipop, of all things, with the round sphere brightly reflecting the sunlight and the "stick" end clearly rotating around its axis once every 4-5 seconds. This was all pretty cool -- I had never been able to see one so clearly before. And then a strange thing happened: it appeared to "explode". Right before our eyes, we watched this object, still tracking to the West, split up into several pieces. The largest chunk emitted something like a cluster of BB's, in other words, where there was one object before, now there were two or more smaller objects and an array of tiny pieces, each reflecting the sunlight perfectly, fanning out toward the South. The fan of BB's and the main object(s) continued tracking together, but gradually increased the distance between themselves. A third piece moved rapidly away from the main group, at a faster velocity than the BB's, toward the SE. My first thoughts were that we had just witnessed some space junk disintegrating on re-entry, but the speed didn't seem excessive, and the movement of the third piece didn't seem to jive with the general motion of the main body. The total elapsed time of viewing this thing before it was obscured by clouds was about 5 minutes. In that time, it traversed maybe 10 degrees of overhead sky.