|Occurred : 8/14/2006 00:30 (Entered as : 08/14/06 00:30)
Reported: 8/18/2006 11:13:05 AM 11:13
Location: Bathgate (UK/Scotland),
|triangle of lights seen very high over Central Scotland
I was setting up in a local park to take some astronomical photographs on a clear summers night, hoping to see the odd Perseid meteor from the NE quadrant of the sky. The moon was just past it's full phase and lit up the night quite well, making stellar photography difficult. The park is on the northwest outskirts of my town and the light from it is blocked by trees and low surrounding hills, making for a reasonable observing site. The nearest airport is 12 miles away at Edinburgh and the flightpath for it crosses well to the south, with aircraft already low on their approach. Flights practically cease after 11pm.
As I was waiting for my telescopes tracking systems to calibrate i was looking to the northeast to see if I could catch site of a meteor or two. I noticed what I at first took to be a satellite since it moved in much the way satellites do, just fast enough to be noticed and on a silent, straight course across the sky. However the reason I noticed it so quickly was that it was quite bright, too bright to be a satellite and yet far too fast to be a planet.
I grabbed a pair of 10 x 50 binoculars and followed the light across they sky for about a minute, and the reason for the brightness became clear. The binoculars resolved the light into 3 lights in tight triangular formation, giving the impression that they were fixed to one craft moving on a southerly course. The lights were unblinking white and never varied in position, size or intensity. I was unable to discern what they might be part of, the distance being too great. I had to return to my equipment for a few minutes and when I once again looked for the object I was unable to find it. I would assume it was somewhere near the full moon by this time and I would have little chance of seeing it if it were not already over the horizon or hidden by the haze of the town lights.