Occurred: 2013-08-09 12:15 Local
Reported: 2013-08-09 14:02 Pacific
Duration: 1 hour
No of observers: 12

Location: Merced, CA, USA

Shape: Circle

Two bright dots, moving west to east, viewed in a telescope

At 11:45, on August 09, 2014, a police officer at Merced College asked me (I am an astronomy Professor), what the object in the sky is. He pointed to a bright dot of light that was approximately at zenith and a magnitude brightness of about (-2). The officer said that he was reported about the object about 15 minutes earlier. The skies were clear blue, and the sun was bright, almost at zenith.

I set up the colleges 5 inch Celestron telescope with a 20mm objective.

Under magnification, the object was indeed a disc with what appeared to be a set of “lights” in the 0-90 degree quadrant of the circle. Another astronomy instructor, 2 more police officers and several students observed the object as it moved from zenith to the west. It covered about 25 angular degrees in the span of about 15 minutes. We took photographs of the object with cell phone cameras through the telescope.

While watching the object, an officer saw another, similar object coming in from the east, at about the same magnitude brightness. The object moved westward, until it was at zenith overhead and then continued west. The time it took to travel from an altitude of about 80 degrees to zenith was about 10 minutes. We observed this object under same magnification, and saw a silvery disc, with the same “lights” along the same quadrant.

Both objects left our view, passing westward. The entire viewing time was about 1.5 hours.

Our working hypothesis is that we saw Mylar balloons, or weather balloons, with the sunlight reflecting off the “dimples” along the edge of the balloon.

End of report

Posted 2013-08-30

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