|Occurred : 7/13/2008 04:18 (Entered as : 07/13/08 4:18)
Reported: 7/27/2008 11:01:28 AM 11:01
Location: Fenton, MI
|Nocturanal lights following US Spy Satellite
Fenton, Michigan. Nocturnal Lights.
On 13 July, 4:18 am, I spotted a satellite in the WSW that was being perfectly accompanied in speed and a constant distance by two bright white lights. I observed the satellite and the lights for about 25 seconds until all disappeared behind a tree line.
Using data from the Heaven’s Above website, and comparing to my own recorded observations, I discovered that the satellite I sighted was USA 129 which was at a magnitude of 3.8 and an elevation of 66 degrees.
The two bright white lights each appeared to be twice the size of the satellite and at least twice as bright.
At arm’s length, using my thumb as a guide (2.5 inches in length) the satellite was 2.5 inches above the lower white light. The upper white light was 3/8ths to ½ inch above the lower white light. The satellite and the two lights were nearly in perfect vertical alignment with the lights leading the satellite by a degree or so.
NOT TO SCALE, but representing the relative size and positions as viewed. Satellite on top.
Satellite o ____________ ↑ White lights 0 2.5 “ 0 _______↓______ I could see stars between the satellite and the upper white light but could not see stars between the two white lights themselves, giving the illusion that that lights were on a solid object. This ‘illusion’, real or not, could be due to the close proximity of the bright white lights masking dimmer stars which should have been visible between them.
My observation lasted for 25 seconds, doing the count in my head during the sighting. I used my cell phone to check the time of day the moment I spotted the satellite.
I was standing a few hundred feet east of Hickory Ridge Road between Bone Road and Sackner Road at the time and generally looking to the southwest. The only light in the area at the time was a single bulb exterior garage light, 100 feet away in a northeasterly direction from my position which did not enter my field of view.