NUFORC Sighting 121588

Occurred: 2015-07-29 20:20 Local
Reported: 2015-08-31 18:42 Pacific
Duration: ~20 seconds
No of observers: 1

Location: Honolulu, HI, USA

Shape: Other

Moving yellow-orange orb seen by myself for about 20 seconds before passing behind cloud, have tech background to r/o normal objects

On 7-29-15 at approximately 2020, I was returning to my apartment on the 16th floor walkway of our high rise condo building and noted that the sky was partly cloudy with cumulus clouds, the almost full moon was out, and a few stars visible. I then noted in my peripheral vision another bright object in the northern sky, at about 70 degrees elevation. Initially, I assumed it was Jupiter, being yellow-white in color and bright, but this object’s magnitude (brightness) was actually somewhere between Jupiter and Venus when I looked directly at it. Then I realized that Jupiter/Venus had been in conjunction in the western sky lately and could not be the object. I am also familiar with the appearance of stars, other planets, and the time of year they are visible.

This was different, in that the object appeared as a steady orb and to my surprise was moving downward in a northerly linear/ballistic direction with relation to the building overhang. There might have been some slight wobble side to side, but being familiar with auto- kinesis, I could not rule this out as the cause.

I looked to see if the object had any lesser peripheral lighting such as aircraft position/navigation or anti-collision lights, but none were apparent. I thought it strange if this was a landing light of an airplane that it is usually not totally and consistently visible at that angle when moving away (plus it tends to waiver due to aircraft movement and atmospherics). I could not tell the exact altitude of the object, but it seemed as high as an aircraft might traverse or maybe even higher. It was visible while moving for perhaps 20 seconds before disappearing behind a cloud and not re-emerging on either side. Frankly, for lack of a better description, it! reminded of the scenes from the movie “Close Encounters of a Third Kind”, which depict the spacecraft crisscrossing the sky at altitude, albeit in this case at a little slower speed. A friend suggested that it might have been a commercially available drone flown by an individual, but it seems unlikely as it was at least at about 2-3 thousand feet in altitude in order to pass behind the prevailing cumulus clouds (which were forming about 1-2 thousand feet at the time), and they would have probably lost track and control of it. Additionally, the lighting was not pinpoint, diode, or laser like.

Strangely, no noise was noted, which would usually be heard from an aircraft/airliner, as the back side of the building is normally quiet.

Furthermore, the closely adjacent low mountain ridge (only a couple of hundred feet away) and our building form sort of a bowl for collecting sound. Surface winds were light and would not have distracted much from any sound.

I also thought maybe it could be a weather balloon being illuminated at high altitude where the sun was still striking it, since it was only 2020 and the sun sets later in summer, so I cannot totally rule this out. I do not know what the prevailing high altitude winds were at the time. However, I do recall when I previously observed such balloons and even satellites in the past, that they tend to oscillate in brightness due to the changing sun reflection off the envelope or shifting hard surfaces.

This is the first time I have experienced something like this in all my 58 years and believe that if others in the east Oahu area of Hawaii Kai (City & County of Honolulu) were looking in the same direction at the same time, they would have easily seen it. I am contemplating contacting the Honolulu Star Advertiser local newspaper on this matter to see if any others reported this. I now have a greater appreciation for those who say they didn’t have time to take a photo or get other witnesses, as I was just outside my apartment and briefly contemplated rushing to get my wife and son to come out, but now realize that if I had done so, it would not have been in time and I would have missed part of the event.

With respect to my background, I have a past that includes aviation (private pilot single engine land & sea rating, licensed FAA aircraft mechanic with ratings for airframe & powerplant, former FAA air traffic controller Tower trainee, including National Weather Service observer training, did some aviation accident investigation for worldwide aircraft insurers through AirClaims in Hawaii & Alaska, and have a bachelor’s degree in Aviation Administration from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University-which included coursework in flight physiology). I have also been an avid amateur astronomer since childhood, having built and owned various telescopes and taken several formal college level courses in the subject (including astrophotography).

I most recently worked the last 23 years as an acute inpatient psychiatric RN at a major hospital in Honolulu after getting my nursing degree. I also completed some graduate level education in nursing.

Given the aforementioned, I believe that I am somewhat familiar with aerial and astronomy phenomena and have been able to be clinically objective in my appraisal of anything I have seen, but this episode was unusual and unexplained.

Sincerely, ((name deleted))

Posted 2015-09-02

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