Sighting Reports 2010Pilot Sees 3 Airborne Silent Moving Objects Moving Rapidly North
Date of Sighting: May 8, 2010
Description: Listen to Witness Report (MP3)
Note: The witness says that he saw the "real deal" and has never seen anything like this. Given that he is a pilot one has to say that he probably is a good observer and saw something unusual. Comments received below and further research have revealed that the witness likely saw a NOSS satellite constellation (3 satellites). These satellites are used to location and track ships by detecting their radio transmissions.
Comments Received May 12, 2010: Visibility at such a late hour is due to the NOSS (1) orbital altitude being on the order of 800 to 1300 kilometers, much higher than most satellites we are used to seeing. The witnesses' moderately northern location, and the fairly high orbital inclination make for a good location to observe these satellites. The Heavens-Above ground-track visibility plot (which I find incredibly useful) leaves no doubt that it was visible to the witness at his location and time.
(1) - One of the interesting sights in the night sky are the Naval Ocean Surveillance System (NOSS) satellite formations, each having two or three satellites in close proximity to one another. Normally these satellites are relatively dim to the unaided eye, but on occasion they brighten sufficiently to be easily seen in a dark sky. These satellites are used to locate and track ships by detecting their radio transmissions.