|Occurred : 5/15/2001 22:45 (Entered as : 05/15/01 22:45)
Reported: 5/17/2001 14:24
Location: Mallory, NY
|brilliant, flashing, point of white light, travelling at unexpected angles
I enjoy watching the stars from my home as the sky is regularly dark enough to observe magnitude five, sometimes better. The evening of the event I had just returned home, noticed the clear, moonless sky with only a slight haze that reduced visibilty approaching the horizon, and decided to spend some time seeing what I could see. I shut off all the lights on my property but one that was blocked from my view by a tree, other than that the nearest light source was from my neighbors over 200 yards away. As my eyes were somewhat adjusted to the dark by my drive home I was able to see that even through the haze lower in the sky magnitude four stars were still visible, except to the south where the glare of Syracuse blocks all but the brightest. Scanning the sky for the usual satellite pass (I'm a great fan of Heavens Above & J-Pass) or even better the elusive meteor I caught a flash in my peripheral vision. Knowing well that it was probably too late to see the display I turned in the direction of the flash (northeast) looking for any trace of a faint afterglow of the shooting star. To my surprise in direct and clear view, three more flashes, points of light, brilliant, white, each about a second in duration, travelling on a path from low in the North to high in the East, each at a different angle. At the time the lights seemed to rotate as though what I was seeing was actually sunlight shining off a highly reflective spinning satellite, or it may just have been twinkle do to the atmosphere. The event was only a matter of seconds. This was like nothing I have ever seen and over the years I've seen alot. (hundreds of satellites & meteors, aurora, fireballs, and even a re-entry!) Continuing to watch the sky for about fifteen minutes for something to help me realize what this was turned up nothing, no "flying star" of a satellite, no regular red, white, green pulse of an aircraft, no jet noise. I did not realize immediately because of an ubstructed view but the lights occurred in the constellation Cy! gnus, sp ecifically in the triangle described by Gamma Cygni, Delta Cygni, and Deneb. The lights (I would equal to the shine of the ISS on a good pass) were much brighter than these stars as well as nearby Vega. I have checked the mentioned Web sites and found satellites in the general wide area of the lights, but I do not believe that is what I saw. (no fade in/out of a satellite) I am skeptical of UFOs but not ETIs, so here are some wild theories based on what I saw: a bird or bat flying in and out of the shine of the one floodlight I left on; a satellite boosting to higher orbit; shooting stars entering head on in my direction. I find it hard to believe any of these.