|Occurred : 7/29/2006 20:20 (Entered as : 7/29/2006 20:20)
Reported: 11/19/2006 10:03:04 PM 22:03
Location: Manchester, VT
|ultra slow moving (~25 mph) light at ~250,000 ft altitude; 30 minutes
bright star-like light appeared during twilight 3.5 degrees W of Jupiter, and at the same elevation angle above horizon (approx 30 degrees), about 1-2 magnitudes fainter, starting at about 20:20 EDT. Over the next 30 minutes, the "light" moved Westward of Jupiter ~3 degrees (in addition to Earth rotation of ~7 degrees during that period of time) for a total of ~10 degrees apparent angular motion relative to a fixed point on the earth's surface. The object appeared to have a similar angular size as Jupiter (38"); it shape was not discernable as being different than circular at 7x.) The object's motion was not noticeable to the naked eye, but became noticeable as the Jupiter to object separation increased as viewed through 7x50mm binoculars over this interval of time. In the final five to ten minutes of observation, the light bagan to moved more rapidly westward, barely noticeble under binocular observation, though still at a very slow rate of apparent angular motion.
At ~20:50 EDT, the the object began to dim significantly. Within 2 minutes it faded out completely, and was no longer visible, even in binoculars. The fade out time of 2 minutes is consistent with the time it takes for the disk of the sun to set; ergo the fade-out at approx. 20:50 EDT corresponds to the sun setting at the objects's altitude, and its illumination being reflected sunlight. IOW, sunset at the object's altitude was at 20:50 EDT, while local sunset at observing location was at 20:17 EDT (as per planetarium software). A cursory calculation indicates this diference in sunset time corresponds to the object's altitute being roughly 250,000 feet ASL.
Starting location of object @ ~20:20 was 30 degrees altitude, ~27 degrees W of South azimuth. Ending location @ ~20:50 EDT was ~27 degrees altitude, ~38 degrees W of South. (Location based on planetarium software data for Jupiter at local time/location) A cursory analysis of this data, assuming same angular size as Jupiter, is an object that is about 100' wide, at altitude of ~250,000 ft, about 100 miles slant range from point of observation. Its average speed is about ~10 degrees of angle/30 minutes; this works out to be about 35 mph at the estimated distance, slower at the beginning of the observation, somewhat faster toward the end.
Geographically, this object seems to have been located over the Catskills in New York state, based on plotting azimuth angle and estimated distance on an aviation sectional map.
I have no idea what "flies" at 250,000' at speeds between 0 to perhaps 100 mph, and is about 100' across, but that what the data says it was.
((NUFORC Note: Please see similar report from Twin Cities, MN, for August 19, 2004. PD))