NUFORC Sighting 41582

Occurred: 2004-10-20 15:55 Local - Approximate
Reported: 2005-01-21 08:11 Pacific
Duration: 10 min.
No of observers: 1

Location: Vienna, VA, USA

Shape: Sphere
Characteristics: Aircraft nearby

Spherical metallic objects closely follow passenger jets westward in late afternoon.

Westbound passenger jets are visible daily, weather permitting, from the Tysons Corner area of Northern Virginia. This time, while waiting on a street corner (Old Courthouse at Lord Fairfax) for a bus, I observed a jet flying towards the southwest, at an altitude of perhaps 30 degrees above the horizon, being trailed by two apparently spherical objects, one larger than the other, giving what appeared to be a metallic or specular reflection. The objects maintained a roughly constant distance from the aircraft of a mile or less, following consistently on the port side of the jet (clearly away from the contrail left by the jet). The jet (and others like it) were leaving contrails, but the spherical objects did not. As the airplane and the objects passed into the distance, the smaller of the two spheres became less visible, being obscured in the general haze at times, and eventually all three were lost to view. Other than the haze, the sky was cloudless. The jet appeared dark in silhouette against the sky, unlike the objects--i.e., the reflection patterns of sunlight were entirely different for the objects from those of the aircraft. The observation location was -77.22943 long, 38.91296 lat.

While riding the bus home from that point a few weeks later, at nearly the same time of day (about 1615 EST--note that the first observation was in daylight time, though), I again observed the same phenomenon, this time with only one spherical metallic object in view, with the plane and object nearly overhead, rather than lower in the sky and well to the southwest of the location. The sky had a lot of high broken clouds, and the plane and object disappeared and re-appeared among the clouds more than once. Because of the angle of observation through the bus window, the phenomenon could be observed for only a couple of minutes this time.

Weather permitting, I have continued to observe west- and southwest-bound jets at this time of day since, but have not seen the phenomenon again.


Date is approximate. We wonder whether the a/c might have been part of a refueling operation. Also, given the proximity of the a/c to Washington, D. C., we suspect that they may have been military. PD

Posted 2005-01-27

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