NUFORC Sighting 25945

Occurred: 2002-11-03 16:30 Local
Reported: 2002-11-04 22:41 Pacific
Duration: 2-3 minutes
No of observers: 2

Location: Livermore, CA, USA

Shape: Unknown

Bright stationary object momentarily visible in late daytime sky behind drifting cirrus cloud in otherwise clear sky.

While out mountain biking in Morgan Territory my friend and I, both avid sky watchers noticed a small bright object at 45 degrees above the horizon (near celestial equator), due south by southwest from the top of Morgan Territory Road. The sun hadn't set and there was ample daylight. The light was perfectly motionless and appeared brighter than any normal celestial object (including Venus). It was not Venus or a satellite. It was as bright or brighter than Venus at it crescent phase. We didn't have binoculars but after 3 minutes or so, it faded and was lost. Sitting and using a branch as a reference point, no discernable motion was evident. It was first noticed visible through a cloud (cirrus) and would have never been seen except for the momentary interest of the cloud. The cloud moved east, but the object didn't. We were certain it was celestial until it disappeared. I've found no record of any similar object in any of my web searches and I am a amateur astronomer familiar with most bad identifications of "possible UFOs". It was clearly not a planet or any routine aerial phenomenon. It was not a geosynchronous satellite flare because it was too bright - these are reported but never as daylight objects - these are night sky telescope objects. It wasn't an Iridium flare because it was stationary. I've seen those and the international space station in orbit. It seems it could be include possible a very high altitude balloon (but seems that it would have remained visible or would have drifted), or it could be a bright, but previously unknown celestial event (such as a nova) but much shorter lived (gamma ray burst?), or ... some other unknown aerial phenomenon. It would have been unlikely for a casual observer to notice it because of the relative brightness of the sky and small angular extent. It wasn't until I gave a very explicit set of location information (relative to the cloud shape which attracted my attention) that my companion even could see it. His observations were consistent ! with min e.

Posted 2002-11-09

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