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National UFO Reporting Center
Sighting Report
Occurred : 11/1/2002 12:05 (Entered as : 11/01/02 12:05)
Reported: 11/1/2002 12:59:18 PM 12:59
Posted: 3/11/2003
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Shape: Circle
Duration:15 minutes
Small, high-altitude reflective object moving steadily to the south over Santa Cruz, CA.

I am a 24 year old waiter and substitute teacher living in Santa Cruz, California. At approximately 12:05 in the afternoon I went to the curb to take out the garbage. I heard the sound of an airplane overhead, and I looked up to spot the airplane as I often do. I saw the airplane travelling along the usual course that I see airliners take, but before I got back to the task of taking out the trash I spotted a strange, small bright light in the sky. The light was about 45 degrees from the horizon in the northwest corner of the sky. At first the light looked stationary like a star, but then I perceived it slowly moving towards me to the east. The object moved very slowly, almost imperceptively. As I continued to watch the object, it became clear to me that it was moving to the south. At this point, the object seemed to start moving slightly more rapidly, but that could have just been my perception. The object seemed very far away and appeared to reflect light much like a star or a satellite. The object appeared to be circular to me. About five minutes into this encounter I ran inside to get my phone and called my neighbor who was out running errands. As I talked to him I continued to watch the object travel south at a steady pace. Approximately ten minutes into the encounter my neighbor came home and I pointed out the object to him. He admitted that he found it strange. He suggested that it was a balloon, but a balloon would not reflect light like that. Could I have perhaps seen the space station in orbit? This is not the first strange encounter I have had with unidentified objects in the sky. Please contact me if you can provide any explanation.

((NUFORC Note: The ISS is not visible during daylight hours, under most circumstances, and it certainly is not visible from the ground for 15 minutes. It usually passes out of sight of an observer on the ground within 1-4 minutes. Moreover, although the ISS was visible over Santa Cruz on this date, it passed over at 04:27 and 06:00 hrs. (local time). Please see the following URL for details:

The fact that Santa Cruz sits on the California coast probably reduces the likelihood that the object was a helium-filled balloon, since it would have had to drift in from the ocean, since the winds apparently were generally from the west at the time of the sighting. PD))