|Occurred : 9/24/2009 00:00 (Entered as : 09242009 00:00)
Reported: 3/16/2010 3:41:48 PM 15:41
Location: Kennesaw, GA
|MUFON Investigation of Large Brilliant Light Over I-75 North of Atlanta
3Nov09, 9:15PM, this writer phoned and interviewed the witness in this case.
He was found to be a literate and well spoken individual currently employed as a computer technician and is a former police officer for a large Atlanta-area police agency (graduate of the Georgia Police Academy).
He reiterated his written account and added additional information.
The witness, with his brother-in-law driving, and his 18 YOA son in rear of mini-van, was returning to Fayetteville southbound on I-75 where I-575 intersects about 20 miles NW of Atlanta proper.
About mid-night on 24Sept09 (may have been shortly thereafter making it 25Sept09) the driver pointed out a glowing light in the sky ahead and brought it to the attention of the witness about the time the witness too saw it. Witness stated that as they drove southbound (actually SE toward Atlanta) he observed a steady circular glowing light moving E to W (left to right) about 45 degrees above the horizon. The course seemed to be more or less straight and horizontal, but as it approached the extreme right of his field of view (about 2/3s of the way through the duration) it seemed to gradually arc slightly downward.
THE DURATION OF THE OBSERVATION WAS ABOUT 4½ TO 5 MINUTES, THE LIGHT DID NOT APPEAR TO BE MOVING AT THE SPEED OF THE MANY REPORTED FIREBALL METEORS.
The traffic began to slow down and backup as they watched, as if other drivers were also observing this event. Witness thought that he lost sight either by it going into the distance or perhaps some obstruction eventually blocking the view. During further discussion, witness stated that he did not notice any burning-like effect, no glowing debris breaking away, no smoke or luminescent trail or terminal burst. It just appeared circular, steady, glowing bright blue-green, no fuselage-like structure observed. No electromagnetic or physical effects were noticed. Also observed was a large aircraft, perhaps large airliner size, moving rather fast in the distance, but unknown if related to the original observation. Witness stated the light's size was about that of three (3) lunar masses, but he could not specifically equate to the lunar diameters or mass. He estimated about the size of a quarter held out at arms length which is about three lunar diameters = about 1 1/2 degrees.
GPS Coordinates for I-75SB @ I-575 Interchange: 33°59'53N and 84°33'39W.
A check of the data base at the 'Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies' revealed no scheduled man-made reentries for the time period of the event described herein. As well, a check of the database of the 'American Meteor Society' found no recorded observations of any fireball activity in the SE United States for the same period.
The witness agreed to continue his assistance and provide more data as this inquiry unfolds.
This investigator has requested identification data and a statement from the two secondary witnesses, but this has not been received as of 24Nov09.
Additional research in this matter has included checking for NASA launches involving various atmospheric experiments as in the 'barium cloud' launches that generated several reports in past years. Information from the official NASA website indicated that on 19Sept09 (five days prior to this event reported to CMS) NASA launched the below described experiment. As indicated in the NASA mission profile below........"STPSAT-1 will track the 'CARE' dust cloud for DAYS or even MONTHS.......first space viewing of an artificial noctilucent cloud.......visible ONLY when illuminated by sunlight from below the horizon while the earth's surface is in darkness......" -------------------------------------------------------- Description of mission from the NASA web site, Wallops Flight Facility; "Night Time Artificial Cloud Study Using NASA Sounding Rocket09.19.09 A NASA Black Brant XII rocket launches carrying the CARE experiment Credit: NASA View Larger Image A rocket experiment that may shed light on the highest clouds in the Earth’s atmosphere was conducted from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on September 19, 2009. The experiment was launched on a NASA Black Brant XII Sounding Rocket.
The Charged Aerosol Release Experiment (CARE) was conducted by the Naval Research Laboratory and the Department of Defense Space Test Program using a NASA four-stage Black Brant XII suborbital sounding rocket. Using ground based instruments and the STP/NRL STPSat-1 spacecraft, scientists will study an artificial noctilucent cloud formed by the exhaust particles of the rocket’s fourth stage at about 173 miles altitude.
Ground based cameras and radars were based at various observation stations along the Atlantic coast and in Bermuda. Because of the optical observations, the launch required clear skies not only at Wallops but also at the multiple observation stations.
The Spatial Heterodyne IMager for MEsospheric Radicals instrument on the STPSat-1 spacecraft will track the CARE dust cloud for days or even months. The SHIMMER instrument has previously viewed natural noctilucent clouds for the past two years. The CARE is the first space viewing of an artificial noctilucent cloud.
Data collected during the experiment will provide insight into the formation, evolution, and properties of noctilucent clouds, which are typically observed naturally at high latitudes. In addition to the understanding of noctilucent clouds, scientists will use the experiment to validate and develop simulation models that predict the distribution of dust particles from rocket motors in the upper atmosphere.
Natural noctilucent clouds, also known as polar mesospheric clouds, are found in the upper atmosphere as spectacular displays that are most easily seen just after sunset. The clouds are the highest clouds in Earth’s atmosphere, located in the mesosphere around 50 miles altitude.
They are normally too faint to be seen with the naked eye and are visible only when illuminated by sunlight from below the horizon while the Earth’s surface is in darkness.
A team from government agencies and universities, led by the Naval Research Laboratory, is conducting the experiment. In addition to the Naval Research Laboratory, participants include the DoD STP, NASA, University of Michigan, Air Force Research Laboratory, Clemson University, Stanford University, University of Colorado, Penn State University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology/Haystack Observatory".
End NASA mission description.
9Dec09, this investigator spoke with Dr. Paul A. Bernhardt of the Navy Research Laboratory, Plasma Physics Division, Washington D.C., 202-767-0196, firstname.lastname@example.org Dr. Bernhardt was the chief scientist and supervisor for the NASA 'CARE' rocket launch from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on 19Sept09.
This event was described to him, and he was asked if the resulting experimental noctilucent cloud could have drifted near or over Georgia in the days after the launch and experiment. He responded that things at that 100+ kilometer altitude (ionosphere) were very different and winds below would not influence the cloud. However he stated that it is feasible that the cloud, or a part thereof, might have drifted over Georgia or vicinity, but would definitely need to be illuminated by sunlight (as stated in the mission abstract) to be visible to the human eye. When asked, he replied that the color of the cloud at the time of the experiment, immediately following the launch, was blue. During additional comments, he stated that another type of experiment connected to research at Clemson involved a release of TMA or trimethyl aluminum. TMA chemically reacts with oxygen thereby creating a bluish effect or cloud that is self-luminous.
A check of the various science departments at Clemson indicated that the TMA launchs were from several years ago and no recent activity was noted.
The witness in this case stated that their observation occurred about mid-night on 24Sept09. This FI is of the opinion that the sun, being almost directly on the opposite side of the earth, would not provide any light in the ionosphere over or near Georgia to illuminate a cloud such as that created in the 'CARE' experiment. Orbital satellites are not visible after about 10-11PM and until about 5-6AM, thus the lower altitude of any said cloud would likewise be in the earth's shadow.
General information-only descriptions of this event/time/date were forwarded to Peter Davenport at NUFORC and the independent TUFORC (Truckers UFO Reporting Center)in an effort to locate any potential motorists/witnesses in the event vicinity on 24Sept09.
Potential witnesses reading this request at NUFORC and TUFORC will hopefully contact MUFON of Georgia.
From the NUFORC data base: Occurred : 9/24/2009 00:00 (Entered as : 09242009 0:00) Reported: 11/24/2009 11:02:55 PM 23:02 Posted: 12/12/2009 Location: Marietta/Kennesaw, GA Shape: Other Duration:5 minutes MUFON of Georgia is, as of 24Nov09, investigating CMS report #20271 which occurred on 24Sept09 at about 12:00 midnight.
Location of witnesses: I-75 southbound at its intersection with I-575 in Cobb County Georgia (which is just a few miles north of Kennesaw and Marietta Georgia). This Interstate intersection is also about 20 miles NW of Atlanta.
A dramatic observation took place at this time and date from the described location. MUFON of Georgia is seeking additional witnesses.
If you observed any unusual aerial activity on that occasion, please contact Tom Sheets, State Director-MUFON of Georgia at ; After 1Jan10, contact Ralph Howard .
Please note that like NUFORC, MUFON will keep all witnesses anonymous.
NOTE: MUFONGA will post a full and complete report here at NUFORC as soon as this MUFON investigation is completed.
Tom Sheets, SD MUFONGA -------------------------------------------------------- During the week of Christmas, this writer was back in touch with the witness to remind of the importance of interviewing the two co-witnesses (family members) and obtaining the sketch of how the event appeared through the vehicle windshield.
In a 23Dec response, the witness advised that things had not been going well, citing a family death, a serious illness, as well as his aformentioned extreme financial distress. He did state he would arrange all of this as things were resolved. Nothing more has been forthcoming as of 22Jan10.
As cited in the below email to the PAO of the nearby Dobbins Air Reserve Base, the PAO had failed to respond to the email request, as well as several phone messages left for him during November and December. One message was also left in the Operations Center of the 94th Airlift Squadron, the major unit utilizing this base. In mid-January, this writer emailed the PAO again explaining all that was needed was some information regarding the night of the event.....anything that the squadron may have been doing that might have been observed by the witness and mistaken for an aerial phenomenon. Furthermore that if this could be done by a simple phone call, it would prevent the red-tape of my filing under the FOIA. On 19Jan10, this writer received a phone call from a XXX XXXXXXXX who stated he was the PAO. He was immediately rude in tone, condescending in nature and openly hostile to the purpose of MUFON. He stated that the reason I had not heard anything from them was that they ign! ored anything to do with 'UFOs', 'space' and such things. Furthermore, when such things came in they just put them aside and went on to something else or words to that effect. This writer then gave him a short 'MUFON 101' explanation, concluding that there were members within our organization that militarily far out ranked him and his associates and that our goals and objectives were based in science and so forth. Before concluding, he indicated that nothing had occurred that would have caused such aerial activity as observed by the witness, but his statement was couched in terms that clearly indicated he would NOT have told us even if something HAD occurred that could be mistaken for an aerial phenomenon. This PAO was directly opposite in attitude when compared to the last such request from this investigator which went through LtCol. XXXXXXXXX of the Georgia Air National Guard......... LtCol. XXXXXXXXX being a true gentleman and professional, and very helpful.
At this point, 22Jan10, the aerial event described herein exists only through the claims of the primary witness. The data in this report was discussed with him in several long phone conversations and emails. He appeared rational and cooperative throughout and had initially told this writer that his situation at home was degenerating as the holidays approached and was due to the economy, his frustrating search for a better job and various health matters within the family. At such point in an investigation, this writer has an expectation of having successfully interviewed corroborating witnesses and receiving a witness sketch.
This has not been accomplished due to the reasons explained.
In classifying this case, the probable cause used to do so is WEAK in this investigators opinion, but the witness will be given the benefit of a doubt in anticipation of him providing the needed information as his situation improves i.e. the case being re-opened at that time in hopes that the corroborating witnesses will have come forward.
This case is classified as Unknown-Other, but subject to being re-opened when the additional data is received.
Tom Sheets, MUFON Administrator of Professional Standards - Field Investigator........22Jan10 MUFON CASE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM Investigator: Sheets ID#: 11417 Case Number: 20271 BALLESTER-GUASP RESULTS ---------------------------------------------------------- INFORMATION QUALITY INDEX => 100% = 1 Information Acquisition 1. Telephone interview >= 1/2 hr 2. Questionnaire w/ follow-up: Extensive ---------------------------------------------------------- RELIABILITY INDEX => 61% = 0.61 Number Of Witnesses => 1 Witness Profession => Technician, Police or Pilot Familial/Social Relationship => Family or Single Witness Geographical Relationship => Together or Single Witness Witness Activity => Traveling Age Of Witness => 35 to 64 ---------------------------------------------------------- STRANGENESS INDEX => 14.28% = 0.1428 Selected Characteristics 1. Anomalous appearance ---------------------------------------------------------- CERTAINTY INDEX => 8.72% = 0.0872 ---------------------------------------------------------- Public Affairs Officer, Dobbins Air Reserve Base Walter T. Sheets of Fayetteville Georgia here, State Director for MUFON of Georgia (Georgia Division of the Mutual UFO Network....the largest and oldest international scientific group researching aerial phenomenon).
We are currently looking into an event that occurred on 24Sept09 at about 12:00 Midnight. This occurrence was observed by multiple witnesses that were traveling southbound on I-75 at it's juncture with I-575 in Cobb County, putting their position a few (+) miles north of the base at appx. 33°59'53N and 84°33'39W, looking generally SSE or SE.
A brilliant blue-green round light appearing to be the mass of 3 lunar diameters was observed moving from E to W about 45° above the horizon. This light did not move at the speed of the commonly observed fireball meteors, bolide meteors, or even returning space debris. It was under observation for about 5 minutes (a long time as these things go) as the vehicles drove south on I-75. The light seeming to move E to W (left to right) at a more or less horizontal angle (perhaps the reported movement of the light may have been an illusion due to the forward motion of the Interstate traffic). The traffic began to slow down and back up due to the dramatic nature of this observation. We are currently scrutinizing the experimental artificial noctilucent cloud that was created by NASA on 19Sept09 after the Black Brant XII launch from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. NASA has advised that this cloud may be visible after dark for weeks or months when the sun is illuminating it due to! the extremely high altitude. It is possible that this extremely high altitude cloud could have drifted over Georgia in the days after the launch and thus was illuminated after dark by the sun hitting it from the daylight side of the earth. That is one possibility we must check.
Anyhow, I wanted to ask if you could advise us if the 94th Squadron, Lockheed, or any other entity from the base might have been conducting training, flight operations, or tests of any sort that might have been responsible for what was observed. If so, we don't necessarily need to know the exact type of operation if it might be classified or confidential and so forth. We're just in the process of our elimination procedure common to all of our investigations. About 95+% of everything reported to us is eventually proved to be prosaic, mundane everyday occurrences, natural or misunderstood man-made etc. However, the remaining 5 or so percent does often get classified as unknown. As well, did your office receive any calls from the public on or about 24-25Sept09 regarding observation this event? Any help you can provide will be much appreciated. (NOTE: I left a message on your office recorder on 25Nov09 for a call back).
Best Tom Sheets, State Director-MUFON of Georgia...........800-696-2944 -------------------------------------------------------- Mr. XXXXX, Tom Sheets of Fayetteville here, State Director for MUFON of Georgia. We've received your report here in the office and wish to know more. I too live here in Fayetteville so will be calling you soon rather than assigning this to one of our other investigators.
If you agree, there are some more questions we wish to ask in our effort to identify exactly what you observed.
Thanks for contacting us! Tom Sheets, State Director-MUFON of Georgia, MUFON Administrator of Professional Standards, 3Nov09
((NUFORC Note: We express our gratitude to Walter T. "Tom" Sheets, State Director of MUFON/Georgia, for sharing this case with NUFORC. If anyone has additional information about the case, we encourage them to contact Mr. Sheets at the number he provides above. PD))