Re-entry over Melbourne Australia?

Robin Whittle (rw@firstpr.com.au)
Fri, 15 Jan 1999 00:14:21 +1100

Hi SeeSat people,

I just did a web search and joined this list because I saw what I am
reasonably sure was a re-entry of some man-made object - less than two
hours ago.

I had been for a bike ride along the Yarra River, and was riding west
and just entering a built-up shopping area with bright street lights
and advertising signs.  The night was perfectly calm, clear, warm and
moonless.  Time was about 10.35 to 10.40 Melbourne daylight saving
time, which is really 9.35 PM, and our time is 10 hours before GMT
(see: http://aa.usno.navy.mil/AA/faq/docs/world_tzones.html).  So I
think that makes it 11.35 AM GMT.  I didn't have a watch, but I was
home at about 10.48 to 10.50, so 10.35 to 10.40 is my best guess.

I always keep my eyes on the sky - less than an hour before I had just
seen for the first time some "sugar gliders" little marsupials which
glide from tree to tree and scurry like mice on speed up the branches.

The object was a single point of bright bluish light - at least as
bright as Venus - and at first I thought it was a fast moving aircraft
or the search-light of the Police Helicopter at a lower altitude.  

It was travelling directly south to north.

It may have had some minimal kind of trail behind it - but not one
that persisted or that I can remember seeing.  It did not split up.

It retained its initial brightness (from when I first saw it) for a
second or so and then faded over the next one or two seconds.  The
final one or two seconds was obscured by trees.  It is very hard to
estimate time in situations like this!

I was facing West, and it was directly ahead of me.   

Theres a map with a green arrow pointing to my location at:

   http://www.firstpr.com.au/geog/

(and a Shuttle photo of the Melbourne area).  Click on the map to see
the detail.

My longitude is about 145 west and latidude 37.5 south.

The elevation was about 40 degrees, so I guess it was located about 50
km to the west of my location - perhaps around Melton or Baccus Marsh.

degrees of my vision, in the plane of looking up at 40 degrees.  At
first it was straight above and to the west - the direction I was
facing - but its re-entry would have been south of this.  It moved
from my left to right. 

Thats about all I have to report in a technical sense.   Probably
other people saw it because it was a beautiful evening, and there are
3.5 million people or so here.

I am convinced it was man-made orbital material - it was way to slow
for a meteor and I have never heard of meteors travelling directly
north-south.  Also, its travel was horizontal as far as I could see.

I really enjoyed seeing this!

Does anyone want to hear about a the other re-entry I saw - a more
dramatic affair over Fraser Island (25 south, 153 east) in mid to late
October 1973?


Greetings from summery Australia!

- Robin Whittle

http://www.firstpr.com.au