Published: 4:55 PM 5/14/2013
Chino, California - 05-12-13
It was a very clear night so my family, wife, child, and I went out stargazing with some of our telescopes. We live in Chino, California about 36 miles east of Los Angeles so light pollution and smog doesnít give us the best night sky views.
But due to high temperatures and a light breeze, the moisture and smog were all but gone, and besides fighting the light pollution it was a particularly clear night.
We had great views of the crescent moon, Saturn, and Jupiter. I am an astronomer with my masterís degree in astrophysics. I hold a B.S. degree in aviation science, and an A.S. degree in air traffic control.
I am very active in tracking passing satellites; the ISS as well as other low earth orbit objects that can readily be seen with the naked eye or a decent pair of binoculars.
So after our great night of gazing we packed up and headed for home. After getting all of the gear safely back into the house I stopped for one more to gander at the sky to take in just how amazingly clear the stars were.
It was 10:28 pm, and I noticed two very bright blue/white stars that seemed misplaced around -2 magnitude. They were located near Arcturus and were not part of the BoŲtis constellation.
As I watched them for about 2 minutes, they dimmed down to about -0.5 magnitude and quickly started in the northeastern direction. Their distance apart from each other did not fluctuate and they dimmed and started motion at the exact same time.
It took them roughly 3 minutes to disappear in the NE horizon. In comparison, the ISS takes roughly 10 minutes to clear horizon to horizon, at 290 miles up and 17,000 mph.
These two objects appeared to be higher up than that, and moving about 3 times as fast. I use an app on my phone called Satellite AR which will show very accurate locations of any potentially visible satellites.
The two objects in question did not match the locations of any publicly known satellites or iridium flares. I am a man of science and I like logical explanations for things, and this occurrence is above what I can personally classify.
I am very interested to see if anyone else saw this occurrence it was rather astonishing to witness. I wish I had my equipment still set up because all my recording devices were packed away in the house at that time.
I didnít feel or hear anything outside of the normal region that I live in.