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National UFO Reporting Center
Sighting Report
Occurred : 8/9/2008 22:30 (Entered as : 08/09/08 22:30)
Reported: 6/11/2009 4:41:27 PM 16:41
Posted: 8/5/2009
Location: Orafino, ID
Shape: Flash
Duration:45 minutes
Saw flashes of light, like strobes, at high altitude but not in a straight line and only every ten seconds or so

Report from Tracy Jenson, Commercial Pilot with 960 hours flight time, and Air Traffic Controller with the FAA for 21 years at six different control towers.

In July or August, 2008, I was in central Idaho for approximately three weeks. On one particular night, as I watched for the International Space Station to go over, I noticed a flash of light near the cup on the Big Dipper. This flash caught my attention even though it was not in the area I was looking directly at. I turned my attention to that area of the sky, and approximately 10 seconds later I saw another flash. I continued to watch and about 10 seconds later saw a flash about the same distance from the second flash as the two "cup" stars (away from the handle) are apart from each other. The flash was the same as a strobe light on an aircraft, but about 5 times brighter. Where a strobe on an aircraft flashes about every two to three seconds, these were a good 10 seconds apart, and were not in a straight line. About 10 minutes later I was looking at the constellation Cassiopeia and noticed the same flash just under the constellation, with another flash about 10 seconds later about the same distance apart as the second and third one near the Big Dipper. A bit later I was looking to the east, and noticed a flash only about 10 or 15 degrees above the horizon, which was a bit brighter than the others. All these flashes were extremely short duration, as in an aircraft strobe light, but much farther apart and not in a straight line, and appeared to be at very high altitude, or in space. As I watched the sky over the next two weeks I saw the same type of flash on every second or third night.

I thought that it may be meteorites coming straight at me but thought about it and ruled that out as that would probably be a rarity indeed.

On one night I did see what appeared to be a satellite, moving in a straight line getting gradually brighter, and then fading out, southbound over Washington and Oregon states. On one particular night I saw what appeared identical to the Space Station (very bright), but it was moving southbound over Montana and was visible 30 minutes before the Space Station was to appear from the west. I waited the 30 minutes and saw the Space Station when it was predicted to come over from west to east.

On this past Monday night (6/8/09) I went out to the back yard in Spirit Lake, Idaho (just north of Coeurd’Alene) about 10:30 PM and was looking at the sky. I thought I saw a flash just under the Big Dipper, but wasn’t sure because I wasn’t looking exactly at that part of the sky again, so I turned my attention to that section of the sky and sure enough about ten seconds later saw the same bright flash as I had seen almost a year ago. I saw three flashes that formed a triangle near the cup of the Dipper. These flashes were not spread over an area, as if being generated by a large light source, say for example the Aurora Borealis, but were from a PINPOINT in the sky. It would be as if a person was in the sky with an extremely bright flashlight and pointed it at me and turned it on and then off within a tenth of a second, or less.

These lights did not form any logical trajectory but seemed to be random. I have a feeling that if I were to go out again over the next ten or 12 nights I would see them again every second or third night, or possibly every night if I continued to look for two or three hours. I have seen satellites go over so I know what they look like. Obviously I know what aircraft look like at night. Maybe there is a military operation going on and they set their strobe for every ten seconds, or so, to keep track of each other, which would explain the non-straight line flashes. But with the use of radar I would think this would not be necessary, unless it is some type of stealth aircraft. I am 51 years old and being a pilot I like to look to the sky (I am interested in Astronomy also) and have never seen this type of thing until the summer of 2008, which makes a person wonder why these sightings started to manifest themselves to me, as if there is something going on that had not occurred in my past years. There are more satellites and space junk up there than ever before, but that doesn’t seem to answer the question as to why the flashes would be relatively close to one another in both position and time.