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Sighting Reports 2011

Several Bright Orange Orbs Move North in Night Sky

Oak Harbor is About 60 Miles North-Northwest of Seattle.
Oak Harbor is About 60 Miles North-Northwest of Seattle.

Date of Sighting: May 27, 2011
Time of Sighting: About 10:30 PM PDT
Location of Sighting: Oak Harbor, Washington (See Map)

Description: I stepped outside about 10:30 PM PDT last night to see if there were any auroras as spaceweather.com indicated there may be. I immediately saw a very bright orange ball moving very fast from north to south (left to right) about 35 degrees from the horizon. This object was far larger and brighter than four to five planets together (I think brighter than the space station, which I have seen once). I at first thought it was the space station, but the fact that it nearly stopped changed my mind about that. The fact that four more showed up about one to two minutes apart also rapidly changed my mind about that.

I have seen plenty of jets and planes at night since I live near an air station, and I have never seen anything like this, size, speed, or color. The object slowed down and seemed to hover, or possibly head east away from me. It was there long enough for me to grab my binoculars and phone to call my neighbor. Unfortunately, the thing flared, blinked, and faded away before my neighbor got a good look. However, one just like it came over the treetops moving very fast, so I was able to get my neighbor to see it this time. The second object I saw had identical behavior, slowing down almost to a stop and then fading away after a brief flare. It was a little cloudy, which could attribute to the disappearance; however, I saw five in total. Each object came from the same spot on the tree line to my north and disappeared at the same spot. Even through my binoculars, I could see no blinking lights or features, just a bright orange ball. I heard no noise except that during one sighting a small airplane could be heard in the area. Other than that, the others were silent.

Unfortunately I did not have a camera.

Additional Comments by Witness: Thank you. Yes, I have seen Chinese lanterns people launched for the 4th of July a couple years ago and these were moving far too fast for the weather conditions, and far brighter than any lanterns I had seen. They were the wrong color for emergency flares, but nearly as bright (again, not to mention, way too fast).

There was a party going on up the hill from me, but I believe these objects were too far east to have resulted from anything those folks were doing. I can ask the neighbor to see if they were doing anything like that.

I have always been a sky watcher, and this was definitely out of the norm.

The witness I called said he didn't really want to make any sort of report, and was questioning what he was seeing as being an airplane or jet, and wondered why the Navy did not send out some recon to chase it down since it was near a base. Good question, but I believe the military has learned to ignore UFOs because they can never catch them even if they try. I'm sure the Navy was tracking them though, since they were too close to NAS Whidbey.

It would be interesting to know if anyone else in my area saw the lights.

Third Report From Witness: It probably was a Chinese lantern after all. My first clue is a rather large red balloon out in Skagit Bay, tugging something along in the water. I think the party on the hill may be the culprit, and the close proximity and launch location would have made it seem like it was moving fast because of the vertical rise. The close proximity could account for the size and disappearance as each burnt out.

Note: The space station nor any other bright satellites were visible and moved in the direction described by the witness. Sometimes chinese lanterns can cause effects observed by the witness. The winds aloft were from the south to southwest, but were not strong with speeds less than 15 MPH up to 10,000 feet. The witness stated that the objects moved fast. Any objects moving with the wind would have been moving slow so chinese lanterns are an unlikely explanation. There were scattered clouds at the time of the sighting with cloud layers at 3,000; 8,000 and 20,000 feet. Surface winds were light and from the east at 3.5 MPH. The sighting occurred near Whidbey Island Naval Air Station.

Update: The sighting was of Chinese lanterns after all. UFOS Northwest thanks the witness for supplying the additional detail.

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