|Occurred : 8/15/2006 19:50 (Entered as : 8/15/06 19:50)
Reported: 8/16/2006 11:10:05 AM 11:10
Location: Gladeville, TN
|Circular light in day sky, resolvable as disk with binoculars.
I'm an amateur astronomer, age 54...retired. A friend and I like flying model planes. In the summer heat we typically go out late and fly until dusk. Naturally we are looking up at the sky as it darkens.
One day last week we are flying, and my friend Jim asks me "what is that bright planet overhead." I look up and see a "star" a couple fists width due west of Zenith that has to be as bright as Venus at sunset. But, I know there is no star or planet that bright in that part of the sky. So, I tell my friend that I have no idea; maybe an iridium satellite? After a while, my friend says the "satellite" hasn't moved, and I take my eyes off my plane as long as I dare to confirm that no movement is detectable. We decide that we just don't know....maybe it is a slow moving satellite that we have no sky reference to detect motion.
As it darkens, the star/satellite disappears, and we don't say anymore about it.
On Tuesday, August 15, at 7:50pm CDT, my friend calls me on the phone and tells me "that thing" is back in the sky, and "in the same place." I go out on the deck, and there it is again...same light, same brightness, same place...best as I can tell. I laid my back down on the house deck and aligned the object with a mark on the handrail to see if I could detect motion....I couldn't. I'm interested, so, I ran into the house to get the binoculars.
Outside with the binos 15 seconds later, I lay down on the deck to steady myself, focus, and....I can resolve a disk at 10x;...circular and bright, definitely not stellar in any case. Reminds me of Jupiter through a low power view, perhaps 50 arcseconds in diameter to show a disk at such low power. Now I'm really interested, except that the binoculars fogged up in the humidity in just a half minute, and I can't see anymore.
So, I trot off to the shed thinking of what instrument I could grab for a quick view and mentally settle on 80mm f/5 "shorty" refractor that is mounted on a Bogen camera tripod and ready to snatch and view. It takes about 10 seconds to get to the shed door, and as I look up to fix the object from that location, it is completely gone. The object dropped from what was probably about -3 to -4 visible magnitude to absoutely nothing.
Phone rings...it's my flying friend, and I know what he's going to say....he has a telescope and says that he had the object sighted in the viewfinder, but when he looked into the 40x eyepiece...it was gone.
I don't know what the object was, but I can say for certain what it wasn't. I wasn't a planet, a satellite, a comet, an asteroid, an aircraft, or a star. I'm thinking high altitude balloon?