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Sighting Reports 2009

Amateur Astronomer Sees Dark Red Object in Night Sky

Date of Sighting: May 8, 2009
Time of Sighting: 9:09:30 PM CDT
Location of Sighting: Cottage Grove, Minnesota (Suburb to SE of St. Paul)

Description: I was traveling East on 80th St. I observed a dark red illuminated object that also appeared to radiate some other lighter colored illumination in its periphery. It's apparent size was about twice the size of a standard aircraft marker light. It was not as bright. I pulled my car off the road onto a boulevard and parked it. I continued observing the light. I glanced at the car clock and it said 9:08. I then estimated that I had been watching the object for about 30 seconds. I then started counting at about 1 second intervals and the clock changed to 9:09 at about second 45. This put the initial visual at about 9:07 and 45 seconds. I noticed an airplane approaching at about 3000 to 4000 feet, traveling West-Southwest at an estimated 240 to 250 degrees. It appeared to be below the light and to it's East. The plane also appeared to make a slight heading correction of 15 degrees or so, as it approached the light, and continued through my line of sight. There is no way the pilot of the aircraft could have not seen the light. From the intersection of 80th St S and Hinton I estimated the bearing of the light at about 340 degrees or so from my location. I continued watching the light, and at approximately 9:09.30 it disappeared into some patchy clouds moving from West to East. It had not appeared to move any in the sky until that point. I used a tree in the area adjacent to where I was parked, to reference any movement. I am an Engineer, amateur astronomer, and have some light aircraft flight time. I was raised around aircraft, and have been around them most of my life. This was not an aircraft.

Note: The witness's professional background is quite evident given his thorough report. He obviously felt that he did not see a regular aircraft. I have no reason to disagree with him.