Reported: 1998-10-12 00:00 Pacific
Duration: 15 min
No of observers: 4
Location: Ipava, IL, USA
Characteristics: Lights on object, Aircraft nearby, Electrical or magnetic effects
An object which resmbled car headlights in the sky was spotted to SW. A discernable craft flew directly overhead and proceeded to disappear over the horizon at low altitude. There was no sound and viewing conditions were optimal.
We were moving harvesting equipment from a remote field back to the farm. While driving I had observed 2 orange fireballs in the southern and 2 in the western quarter of the sky. A cold front had passed through earlier and viewing conditions were optimal. The fireballs were distinctly orange, had a definate round shape, did not move, were all of the same appearent size, and faded quickly after about four seconds. There was no pattern to their appearence; 2 were seen at the same time to the west. I could see only a small area of the sky while driving but saw these while driving for only 15 minutes. The fireballs were approximately the size of the full moon, about half a degree of arc. After arriving at the farm on the prairie at 9:15 PM I asked the other drivers if they had seen the fireballs but no-one had. We scanned the sky and noticed a very bright light to the SW low to the horizon. It was a point source but did not appear to be moving. I determined that it was not a planet because it was south of the plane of the ecliptic. We observed it for a while until we realized it was gaining altitude. It soon resembled car headlights about 2 miles away and was at about 15° elevation. At this point it became evident that it was an aobject moving directly at us and maintaining altitude. I remembered I had my Pentax with a 205mm lens in my truck a started taking pictures. The object flew almost directly over our heads. It had 3 bright white lights that were visible from all angles. There was a white light on each side with the center light slightly ahead of the other two. There was also a cluster of green lights in the center of the object with one or two red ones intermixed. These lights were very faint and did not blink. There was no sound whatsover. As it continued to the NE the white lights were still dominate but there was also faint reddish lights visible from behind. We eventually became bored with the event an left the property about 9:30PM with the object still visible above the horizon. We were treated to 2 more orange fireballs in the west as we left. My cousin says he returned to the field at 10PM and saw the object again. I recall an incident in April of this year just a few miles to the north of this sighting that I saw the same lights (the rear aspect) at about 10PM along the same flightpath as abseved on 10/1. I had lost sight of them as they moved behind a neighborhood house. I am a 40 yr old geophysicist and my cousin is a 43 yr old farmer. his 12 yr old son and my 16 yr old nephew were the other witnesses. My nephew reported that someone at school claimed to have seen an object in a field near Vermont, IL that night. That would have been about 5 miles to the SW of us and consistent with our sighting. and saw the object again. The film was ASA 200 and did not turn out.
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