NUFORC Sighting 180484

Occurred: 2024-02-18 03:15 Local
Reported: 2024-02-18 15:23 Pacific
Duration: Approximately an hour.
No of observers: 1 - Pilot

Location: Manawa, WI, USA
Location details: Varied from approx. 60° to 85° azimuth and 25° to 30° slope above the horizon from the obs. point.

Shape: Orb
Color: Bright, "cool white"
Estimated Size: No frame of ref to which to compare.
Viewed From: Land
Direction from Viewer: Approx. 60° to 85° compass azimuth. Progressed throughout this range while visible.
Angle of Elevation: 30
Closest Distance: No frame of ref. As close as 10 miles?
Estimated Speed: Seemed faster than jet at alt. or prop at less.
Characteristics: Emitted other objects

1 to 3 fairly bright orbs (varied) maneuvering and loitering in ways uncharacteristic of typ. aircraft. No reference to judge distance.

I observed what first appeared to be what I thought was a typical satellite, though in retrospect seemed to be a bit brighter and more white than the cooler, bluish hue a typical satellite displays.

It appeared to be heading approximately due north and faded out from visibility as satellites do when crossing over the terminator line into darkness.
It was just after 3:00 AM. Given the time of morning and the fact that it was in the eastern sky and appearing to head due north, I simply assumed that it was just a satellite fading into the darkness while passing into the earth's shadow.
Just a few minutes later I saw what appeared to be the exact same object (same size, color, brightness, speed, etc.) traveling what appeared to be due south and even appearing to “climb” in altitude some from my perspective. It instantly occurred to me that this was not a satellite.

Additionally, I dismissed this as being a typical aircraft as it's trajectory appeared completely perpendicular to my line of sight, making it clear to me that what I was seeing was not landing lights and it was also the wrong color, number, and brightness to be aircraft navigation lights. Similarly, the apparent speed seemed a bit too fast to be a passenger jet at altitude or even a prop-driven craft at lower altitude.

I have taken flight lessons and grew up around major Air Force installations. I have always had a fascination with aircraft of any kind and pay close attention to all air traffic of any kind that I see, day or night. I have been that way since childhood. This was not a typical aircraft in either marking, appearance, speed or trajectory.

After traveling south through approximately 20 to 30 degrees on the azimuth, it then turned back to the north and went into what appeared to be a turning dive heading almost directly toward me and downward. At this point, two other orbs of the same brightness, speed and direction seemed to “peel” off the object from each side veering slightly away in trajectory from the original so that 3 objects were now visible within a very close field of view.

This “shedding” of the 2 other objects looks a lot like when a meteor breaks up except that it was clear after the split that all 3 objects were operating under apparent intelligent control. These objects appeared round and had no tail just as the first. This was not space debris of any kind like others I have seen. These objects took separate flight paths and each faded out independently of each other (different times).

I watched these objects for approximately a full hour. I did take a break and went into the house for about 10 to 15 minutes and then went back outside to check if they were still there.

While I can accurately approximate the range of both the bearing and slope of the field these objects operated within, judging their size, distance and speed is difficult as I had no visual frame of reference to which to compare. I wish I could be more specific as to range, altitude and speed as that.

I not only attempted to search online immediately thereafter, hoping someone else was reporting something similar in real-time, but I also “downloaded” flight radar data, hoping for either an explanation or other witnesses with integrity such as airline pilots. The radar data showed virtually empty skies in proximity to the airspace where one would expect these objects to either be or at least a location from where these objects could be observed from aircraft.

Posted 2024-03-13

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