Re: I don't know what it was

CmdrJaycee (CmdrJaycee@aol.com)
Tue, 31 Mar 1998 06:49:13 EST

In a message dated 3/31/98 4:21:17 AM, chewtansy@juno.com (Matthew J Tansy)
wrote:

>Mar 29 at 00:50 PST (08:50 UTC)  I looked into the northeastern sky and
>saw a very bright  (mag -2) star.  I compared its movement to other
>nearby stars, thinking it was a satellite but it did not move.  After 10
>seconds it slowly began to fade.

Wow.  Boy did your note hit home.  That sounds JUST LIKE what I saw early
Sunday morning (3/29, during a Messier Marathon), only I caught just the final
few second just before it started to fade.  The timing you noted - 00:50
sounds roughly in the ball park in my case - I left for home about 2:00 a.m.,
and this had to be about an hour before that.   The only real difference in my
case was it was EST for me (we were viewing about 30 miles NW of Washington,
DC), three hours ahead of you. The position you cited also sounds just about
right, too.  I looked up and saw a star at least as bright as Vega, if not a
bit brighter (-2 mag sounds close enough), appearing almost planetary, only
Vega was visible to the lower right (east) - this star was in between it and
Polaris.  As I stood their, mouth gaping in wonder what I had just seen, a
friend came up only a matter of seconds after it disappeared and tried to
convince me it was an airplane, perhaps turning on its landing lights (being
near three major airports, we got a lot of those).  I replied "but it didn't
move.  It didn't move at all."  We shrugged it off as something doomed to be
lost to the unexplained.  Now at least I know I wasn't "seeing things" after
all.  And neither, Matthew, were you - even if neither of us "know what it
was."   Thanks - your note has restored my sense of confidence to trust my own
eyes.

Jim Cook
Germantown, MD
39.2N, 77.3W