Occurred: 1999-02-23 19:45 Local
Reported: 1999-02-24 00:00 Pacific
Duration: 30 minutes

Location: Interlochen, MI, USA

Shape: Light
Characteristics: Aircraft nearby

There may have been two objects. I noticed what appeared to be two planets VERY close together in the sky at about 25-30 degrees above the horizon, one directly above the other above the other, about a finger nail's width at arms length apart. Top light was bright and white, bottom was less bright and orange.

I noticed these objects from a second story bedroom window at approximately 1945 on Feb 23 1999. I had a clear, unobstructed view, the sky was clear and the moon was about a quarter full, fairly high in the sky, with a large round but fairly dim halo around it, but the objects did not display this halo. I believed them to be a planetary conjunction at first, but was surprised that I had not heard about this occurrence ahead of time, because it was very unusual and dramatic, and hadn't noticed anything like this the night before. The objects appeared to be stationary. The top light was bright enough to cause a starburst pattern in my glasses, which frankly annoyed me because I wanted a better view and could not get one because of the distortion. The bottom object appeared to be a planet, I assumed Mars due to the orange coloring, and the top object was what I thought might be Venus, except that it was substantially brighter than I recall seeing it. Neither object flashed or twinkled in any way. I watched for approximately five minutes and then returned to work on my computer. My wife arrived home at about 2015. I asked her if she had seen these objects and she stated that she had, just prior to pulling into the driveway. I went back to the window to get another look, and both objects were gone. I went outside to see if they had somehow moved out of view, which seemed unlikely if they were planets, but could no longer see them. While I was watching, I noticed what was probably an airliner with an unusually bright pattern of flashing lights traveling west to east. Ordinarily, I am not able to see aircraft structure at night, but in this case there seemed to be a wide body visible even when the lights were not flashing. I do not necessarily believe that this aircraft was related to the other two objects, but it was unusual enough to catch my attention. The following morning (today actually, 24 Feb 99) on my way to work, I turned on the radio expecting to hear about the objects of the previous night and was surprised to hear that at approximately 0630 there were wide spread reports of fireballs and bright lights seen in various locations in northern Michigan. I did not witness these objects, although I was awake when they occurred. State Police are saying that these objects were probably meteors. No mention was made of the objects of the previous night.


NUFORC: Since the objects reported appear to have been stationary, we presume that the witness may be describing the planetary conjunction, visible in the southwestern sky at this time.

Posted 1999-04-02

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