Published: 2:53 PM 7/31/2015
bright object in the northern sky at about 70 degrees elevation...
Honolulu, Hawaii - 07-29-15
Just to let you know my background, I have a past that includes aviation (private pilot single engine land & Sea, licensed FAA aircraft mechanic, former FAA air traffic controller tower trainee, did some aviation accident investigation for a worldwide insurer Airclaims in Hawaii and Alaska, and have a bachelors degree in Aviation Administration from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University-which included a course in flight physiology) and have been an avid amateur astronomer since childhood (having built and owned various telescopes, and taken several formal college level courses in the subject-including astro-photography).
I have most recently worked the last 23 years as an acute inpatient psychiatric RN at a major hospital in Honolulu after getting my nursing degree. I have also completed some graduate level education in nursing.
I believe that I am somewhat familiar with aerial/astronomy objects and have been able to be clinical/objective in my appraisal of anything unusual that I might have seen, but this episode was different and unexplained.
On 7-29-15 at approximately 2020 I was walking towards my apartment on the 16th floor of my high rise condo and noted that the sky was partly cloud with cumulus clouds, the almost full moon was out, and a few stars visible. I then noted with my peripheral vision another bright object in the northern sky at about 70 degrees elevation.
I assumed it was Jupiter, being a yellow-white in color and bright, but this object being actually somewhere between Jupiter and Venus in magnitude. Then I realized that Jupiter/Venus had been in conjunction in the western sky lately and could not be the object. I am also familiar with the appearance of stars and other planets.
This was different, in that the object appeared as a steady light/orb and to my surprise was moving in a mostly linear/ballistic northerly direction with relation to the building overhang. I cannot rule out that there might have been some slight wobble, but being familiar with autokinesis, I could not rule out this as the cause. I looked to see if the object had any lesser peripheral lighting such as aircraft position or anti-collision lights, but none were apparent.
I thought it strange that if this was the landing light of an airplane that it is usually not visible at that angle when moving away. I could not tell the altitude of the object but it seemed as high as an aircraft might traverse or maybe even higher. Strangely no noise was noted, which would be usually heard from an aircraft/airliner. It was visible while moving for perhaps 20 seconds before disappearing behind a cloud and not re-emerging on either side.
I also gave thought to maybe it was a weather balloon being illuminated at high altitude where the sun was still striking it since it was only 2020 and the sun sets later in summer, so I cannot rule this out. I do not know what the prevailing high altitude winds were at the time. However, I do recall such objects and even satellites that I have seen in the past and they tend to oscillate in brightness as they move due to their changing irregular surfaces.
This is the first time that I have experienced something like this and believe that if others in the east Oahu area of Hawaii Kai (City & County of Honolulu) were looking in the same direction at the same time, they would have easily seen it. I plan on calling the Honolulu Advertiser local newspaper in the AM to see if others reported this.