|Occurred : 7/1/2000 16:00 (Entered as : 07/01/00 16:00)
Reported: 12/24/2017 4:17:50 AM 04:17
Location: Austin, TX
|Needleship? Bright straight line of light over Austin, Texas.
I was out on my patio deck smoking a cigarette, looking to the east, when I noticed a line of light, like a bright needle floating in the clear blue sky. It was so high that I could see no details, and I don't think I would have seen it at all if it had not been perfectly perpendicular to the direction of the sun, whose light reflected brightly from its entire length. Holding a ruler at arms length, the needle measured between 3/4" to 1" long.
At first I thought it might be a jet, but all I could see was that single line of light, very straight and bright, no other details at all --no wings, no curve, and barely moving. Yet a commercial jet's wings are approximately as wide as the jet's fuselage, and there were no wings visible, nor any interruption of the straight line of light where wings ought to have been.
It was moving so slowly across the sky it appeared to be barely moving at all.
I continued to watch it for about ten minutes, until the angle between it and the sun had finally changed enough that it no longer reflected any light in my direction.
I'm an engineer who has flown commercially many times. I know about how long a city block appears to be from cruising altitude -- tiny! I also know how to calculate image length versus distance.
So if this aircraft was at normal jet cruising altitude (7 miles), then it was at least 1100 feet long, more than four times the length of a Boeing 747 commercial airliner.
Yet its apparent velocity was so slow that it appeared to be moving barely as much as its own length each minute, while jets cruise at 175 times their own length per minute. To stay aloft with wings at that height, it would have had to move at least 22 times its length per minute.
So if it was human in origin, it could not have been flying with wings. Therefore, it must have been in orbit.
But if it was in orbit, then just how big was it? That depends on how far away it was.
If it was in low earth orbit (1,200 miles) then it was at least 37 miles long. Which strains credulity. Also, it moved much more slowly than any LEO satellite I've watched in the night sky.
But if it was just below geostationary orbit (22,000 miles) - say, at 20,000 miles? -- Then its actual length was at least 625 miles long. Which is ridiculous.
More -- In order for its surface to reflect enough light to be seen in full daylight, it must have been a mirror-bright cylinder. And in order for that cylinder to have a wide enough surface for the reflected light to be very bright and obvious in full daylight, its width must have been at least 5% of its length.
Back of the envelope -- a craft only two miles long and 500 feet in diameter, with inner shells 20 feet apart, an inner core 100 feet in diameter, and assuming that the outer surface of each shell is the "floor", has over 100 MILLION square feet of space. Depending on how efficiently the ecosystem is organized, a ship two miles long could easily support 10,000 people, perhaps even more if the decks are closer together and the food/air/recycling farm fills its decks from floor to ceiling.
If the ship was actually 50 miles long and 2.5 miles in diameter with a core that was 0.5 mile wide, then it had 264 decks 20ft in height, with a total usable area of 62,000 square MILES. The outermost deck all by itself is 392.5 square miles. If the inner core were dedicated green space, it would provide over 78 square miles of park-like grounds. The line of artificial suns running through the center to light the core park would be 1,300 feet overhead -- about the height of the Empire State Building.
Ridiculous for any purpose except colonization.
So, let's assume that it had anti-gravity to keep it aloft and stationary. In that case it could have been at any height, though for the sake of discretion it would have made sense to be well above airliner cruising altitude.
In that case it might have been only 15 miles high, less than half a mile long, only a few hundred feet in diameter, less than 10 million square feet of decks, maybe a third of a square mile.
Bear in mind that all the above calculations are extremely conservative. In every case of "between low A and high B", I chose A or less rather than an average of A and B.
((NUFORC Note: Witness indicates that the date of the event is approximate. PD))