Reported: 1999-09-12 00:00 Pacific
Duration: 1 minute
No of observers: 4
Location: Cornelius, OR, USA
Thought we were seeing a satellite arcing approxiamatley E-W, then object increased brightness, apparent size, then dimmed/brightened, seemed to change direction, faded away above the horizon.
We were looking at the night sky. One person asked if they were seeing a satellite. I said it looked just like a satellite, one point of light, travelling in a smooth arc across the sky, from the east to the west. We saw it directly overhead looking to the north, so it was moving to the left. All of a sudden, the object became very bright, and seemed to increase in size, to about the size and white color of Venus (or whichever planet is now visible to the east)and it continued to travel smoothly to the west. The object dimmed and the size seemed to shrink to "satellite" size, then became very bright again. Then the object appeared to change course slightly, then faded in brightness and size, very dimmly until it disappeared, roughly at the same zenith. It seemed odd in that I had never seem a satellite change brightness, or fade from sight. I can usually track satellites until it is obstructed by trees, or mountains, etc. I don't think the apparent change in course was caused by the object passing near other stars as the eye looses track for a moment. This time, the object seemed to change direction when it was not passing other stars. Just after it faded, I looked back to the east and noticed another satellite, at about the same zenith, but it was travelling west to east. I had not seen this satellite as I was looking at the one going to the west. I would have thought I would have seen the two "cross paths". This satellite seemed normal, size, speed, color, brightness, direction etc. as other satellites I have seen before. The night sky was very clear, no clouds, no wind, about 50 degrees. We could clearly see the "Milky Way". We were just far enough from Portland that you could only make out a glow on the horizon to the north. It was travelling at "satellite speed" and there were no streaks, sparks, or trails like I have seen with "shooting stars", plus it was travelling much slower. I am a male, 34 years old, that works for a State Agency in an Engineering field. I have a B.S. deg! ree. I w as with two women, both who have Masters degrees. The forth person was a male child, age 6. He was the one who first saw the object, and he became very frightened. He was afraid it was going to land! We had to try and convince him that it was a satellite, but we all wondered about it.
If the facts contained in the report are correct, the object probably was not a satellite. Technical reasons seem to militate against its being a manmade object in orbit.
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