June 5th 11:53 pm
June 5, 2004 at 23:53 my wife, my sister and I were out with a telescope that we got at Christmas. We were in Charing Park in the Craig Henry area of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
The night was partly cloudy, mostly clear skies. We were facing directly at Jupiter, we had been viewing it with the telescope. I just now checked the evening sky map at skymaps.com and found Jupiter to have been due west of us. Earlier, I called the hotline to report our sighting, and I reported on the phone that the object was Northwest of us, but I did say that it was righ next to Jupiter. I correct myself here, for the record, it appeared just a few degrees South of due West.
All three of us were facing the right direction, at the right time. I can't speak for the other two, but I'm sure I was looking right at it the moment it appeared. It was a bright object, moving from South to North by Northwest OR from South to North with slight declination. It seemed to be moving in a slight arc, but that may have been an illusion created by its trajectory. It first appeared brighter and bigger by far than any of the stars in the sky. It appeared in the sky about as big as the eraser on the back of a pencil, held at arms length. We estimate that it was 30 to 45 degrees above the horizon, we all slightly disagree on this, but I think it's a small enough range to consider it an accurate estimate. We all agreed that it travelled a hand span (at arms length) across the sky, ending one fingers width south and two fingers widths below Jupiter. During this time it flared brightly three times, bright enough to illuminate a small portion of the clouds with each flare. I have been told that a bright flare from an object close above the clouds will light up a large area of cloudcover, but a bright flare from high altitudes will illuminate a smaller area in a 'beam'. This was probably the latter. It did not die out in one of the flares. It appeared, in the first instant, a constant intensity, flared, returned to original intensity, flared brighter (I think), back to original intensity, had its third flare, then a distinct period of slightly lower intensity tham at the start, before vanishing without a trace.
Two more observations that we made, but I think are suspect. We all thought it slowed down as it flared, BUT that could easily have been an illusion created by the flares. My other thought on that, and I'm not educated in this, so don't take my word for it, but maybe if it was something breaking up in the atmosphere it actually would slow down with each flare. We also thought that it may have slightly changed trajectory, its angle descending slightly with each flare, but again, perhaps an illusion.
In shape, I suppose one could call it a "fireball". It had no tail, no debris could be seen coming off as it flared, but maybe if it had been daylight we would hae seen debris, or a tail. The colour, though, we had to discuss. After the event, we tried to note all the details right away, but none of us ever said "What colour was it?" So now, 3 hours later, I remember it being red and green, when it flared it was more red with yellow. The other two remember it as being blue/green and flaring just brighter blue/green.
So this was all very exciting, seeing a "UFO", filling out this report, talking to the guy at the UFO report center. But in the end, I really don't know what we saw. I've seen pleanty of shooting stars in my life, and this was worlds apart from a shooting star. This moved way too slow, it was way too big, bright, and flashy!! On the other hand, I have no reason to thinks it's an "unexplainable phenomena" or a flying saucer. It made no manoeuvres, no course change significant enough to be sure of, nothing to indicate that it was controlled. Though on a side note - if AVRO built an actual flying saucer that successfully lifted off, hovered and manoeuvred a little then had a rough landing FIFTY YEARS AGO, imagine what 50 years of development would have done. SO I do believe in flying saucers, but not necessarily aliens. I'm pretty sure that what we saw was not a flying saucer, but we did see something. It wasn't a shooting star, it wasn't an iridium satellite flare (which I just learned about at heavens-above.com). So what was it? I gave this organization permission to contact me, so if you have any suggestions, or if you witnessed the event, report it to this website and they can contact me. I'd love to get a reasonable explanation.
OH! I almost forgot! Two last details, there was no sound associated with the sighting, air traffic seemed heavy in the area in the hours before the sighting.
Our thanks to NUFORC