|Occurred : 6/26/2007 21:30 (Entered as : 06/26/07 21:30)
Reported: 6/29/2007 8:07:09 AM 08:07
Location: Loganville, GA
Duration:1 to 2 minutes
|Bright White Light, Northeast Georgia
On June 26, 2007 at approximately 21:30, my wife and I saw a strange light travel across part of the sky, changing significantly in brightness before fading out. Sky conditions were clear.
Beginning in the East-Northeast sky (from the point I first noticed it) at approximately 60 degrees above the horizon, the light traversed almost 50 degrees, heading South-Southwest before fading out of sight near South.
When I saw the light, the brightness appeared to be close to a magnitude 1 star. Shortly after I made visual contact, it slowly (close to 10 seconds) increased in brightness until it was at perhaps a magnitude of -5, noticeably brighter than Venus in the West. As soon as it began to brighten, I alerted my wife who was sitting with her back turned to the object. She also witnessed the brightening, though a few seconds after I did. I was bright enough that I did not even have to point it out to her.
After reaching maximum brightness, it returned to the initial brightness in about 5 seconds, then faded out of sight in the South about 40-50 degrees above the horizon. The entire sighting lasted less than 2 minutes.
My initial reaction that I was very exited about was that I had just seen the International Space Station showing off one of its “flare” phenomenon due to the new huge solar array briefly catching the sunlight. However, the next day I researched sighting opportunities in my area for the previous night. The ISS was supposed to be low in the West, heading in a Northerly direction, never reaching more than 20 degrees above the horizon. This is not even close to what we saw. I do not know of any other satellite that could produce a reflection that bright.
Based on what I saw, I am certain it was not an airplane – its trajectory placed it opposite the sun, and the light we saw was a reflection of some sort and very likely not artificial, and there was no “flashing” – the light was purely white from our perspective. There was also no trail behind it, so I also do not think it was a meteor skipping off the atmosphere, but I’m not positive.
I’m not suggesting anything extra-terrestrial. It was just a strange phenomenon that I have never seen, and cannot explain as I have ruled out my most logical explanations. Perhaps a rocket stage firing, but we don’t launch rockets from north of Georgia towards the south that I’m aware of, and as I stated before I believe only the ISS is large enough to be that bright and it was not in the vicinity of the sighting. I’d love any other possible explanations.
I work professionally as a performance analyst and consultant. I am also an amateur astronomer and a private pilot (though not current). My wife is an optician.