|Occurred : 1/9/2015 17:00 (Entered as : 01/09/15 17:00)
Reported: 1/12/2015 7:59:08 PM 19:59
Location: Seal Beach, CA
|Mystery light visible from Seal Beach, CA.
On the evening of January 9th, 2015, I was at the pier in Seal Beach, CA, specifically to observe the conjunction of Venus and Mercury, visible to the west as the sun set.
As I was parking my car on the street adjacent to the pier, I looked to the west to see if I could make out the conjunction, and I was surprised to see both Venus and what I thought was Mercury in the western sky. I was surprised by the brightness of “Mercury”, as I had witnessed the conjunction the previous evening, and Mercury was very small and dim compared to Venus, while on this occasion it appeared at least the same visible magnitude as Venus in the evening sky.
I parked and grabbed my binoculars, having brought a good pair of lenses with me to view the planets. This was approx. 1700 as the sun, I believe, had not yet fully set. I picked a good spot to stop and bring up my binoculars in a little park at the base of the pier. Looking through the lenses, I was shocked to see Venus, Mercury looking small and dim below and to the right of Venus, and in the same line formed by Venus and Mercury, another object that I perceived as another planet, below and to the right of Mercury. It was this object that I initially mistook for Mercury while driving up to the pier. Looking through the binoculars, it looked very much like a planet under magnification, revealing what, to me, looked like a planetary disk and having a distinct, yellowish color. The size of the disk and the yellowish color put in my mind that I was looking at Jupiter, which really baffled me as Jupiter was not suppose to be there!
As I was trying to figure out what planet this was, I noticed that it was not in the same place as it was when I first started observing the three objects (2 planets and this whatever-it-was). In the approx. 3 or 4 minutes that I had been looking at it, it had moved directly under Venus, from my perspective! It did not change in elevation, but just moved to the left. The movement was very slow, I could not perceive it moving by looking at it, only by looking away and then looking back, and using Venus and Mercury as reference points, could I see that it was indeed moving. As it moved to the left, it became more orange and started approaching red when, after moving well to the left of Venus, it started an upward and to the left movement, again at the same, almost glacial speed. By this time the sun had set, and although Venus and Mercury were becoming brighter and brighter in the darkening sky, this object was becoming dimer and whiter, having gone from almost red when it started its upward motion to orange to yellow and finally to white, at which time it finally disappeared from my view (by the time it turned white, it was only visible in my binoculars). I would say that the time frame that I observed it was approx. 8 to 10 minutes.
I have been around aviation all my life, and have owned a telescope since I was just a kid, and I have never seen anything like this object before. It was definitely not an aircraft, as it had no anti-collision lights, navigation lights, or any type of beacon. Blimps and drones also operate in the area, I have observed plenty of those, as well, and I can say that it was neither. A balloon? Possibly, but unlike any balloon I have ever seen, changing color the way it did and shining with at least the same visible magnitude as Venus before the sun fully set. I would way the it was spherical, but cannot be 100% certain of that as I only perceived it as a disk. Conditions at the time were relatively clear, with a slight haze over the ocean and twilight lighting. This did all take place over the ocean in the direction of Catalina Island.