|Occurred : 9/8/2004 03:14 (Entered as : 09/08/1904 03:14)
Reported: 9/8/2004 4:24:03 AM 04:24
Location: Pacheco, CA
Duration:Three to Four Minutes
|I was watching a video when I heard a noise outside. The windows were open because it's been very warm here in the Bay Area. The neighbor's dog was loose (as usual), but it sounded like someone might have tossed a plastic cup on the street, so I went out with my flashlight. Seeing the dog loose, I figured things were OK. As I turned to come back into the house, something in the sky caught my eye to the east. Being an amateur astronomer, it's quite common for me to give the sky a glance, even under such circumstances.
What I saw amazed me. Just below the waning Moon yet above the constellation Gemini was a large burnt orange "planet" in the sky. The reason I say "planet" instead of "star" is because it looked like a larger version of what Mars looks like when it was at its closest approach to Earth last summer (or the summer before, I forget at the moment, I'm nervous). It was moving like a satellite, but it was too huge to be the space station. I have seen it before. It was heading towards the northeast. The constellation Auriga was high above it. I watched it for at least a minute. It was moving so slowly, I decided to go in and grab a pair of binoculars. The first pair I found was an old trusty 7x35 Tasco (114 m/1000 m-341 ft/1000 yrds). I rushed back outside, took my glasses off, and zeroed in on it. What I saw astounded me. Not only was this object not circular, it had amazing detail to it. The bottom of it shone with a bright oval glow, just like it was a propulsion of some kind. It reminded me of the Gulf Breeze photos of that Polaroid UFO. Above the smaller, oval "bottom" to it was a larger body above it, attached to it. It looked like three orange beams with at least two dark columns between the glowing parts. Above the "columns" was a dome of some sort, and it all seems to be one piece moving together.
It seemed to be turning, like a tumbling satellite, but I could actually see parts of the craft seeming to twist, giving itself new shapes as it went along. As it continued, the bottom shone brighter and dimmer, and so did the rest of the "craft." It took on a long string-like shape with three prominent oval orange lights, top, middle, and bottom after a while, and when it did that, orange sparks began shooting from the bottom of the "oval" glowing part. I've never seen anything like it. It made no noise, and I'm led to believe it was a dying satellite of some sort, but I've never seen such detail in a satellite, let alone with such a small pair of binoculars. I watched it for at least three minutes. I have a digital camera, but it's hard to even catch the Moon in it, and this object was not as bright in magnitude as the Moon.
Venus was rising when I went back out to take a look at the direction it traveled. It was much larger in size than Venus, although not as bright. To the unaided eye, the object's magnitude was pretty much evenly distributed over its area. Saturn was above and right of Venus, and you could have used 7 Saturns just cover this object with the unaided eye, easily. Did anyone else see this???