So... last night (5/27) I was taking my normal 10pm walk. My walk takes me through my neighborhood and I like to do it late at night when it's cool and quiet. My path involves me walking down a about four streets or so, and has a couple of annoying dogs along the way but otherwise is pretty uneventful.
The sky was crystal clear that night. I love the stars and space in general so often as I'm walking I'll have my IPod humming some tune and I'll be looking out at the sky in wonder. Of course all the street and house lighting really detracts from the view but what can you do? I'm also on the approach end of SLC 17, 16R and 16L... I need to go fly it someday, but I'm pretty sure the ILS to either 16R or 16L is smack dab over our house, as is an altitude step down. So we get a lot of aircraft traffic over the house as they approach the airport. The point is, I know what airplanes look like being a pilot and all that.
So last night I'm on the return leg to the house, almost done with my walk and I'm watching the sky when in the west I notice this VERY BRIGHT WHITE light in the sky. The light is moving from west to east at a fair clip, but I would not say it was the fastest thing I've ever seen. I'm telling you that an F-16 at the same altitude you are only maybe a mile away moves pretty darned fast.
So I'm watching this light move from West to kind of a South East trajectory. As I studied it I noticed there was no other lighting on whatever it was that I could see and it was quite high apparently.
My first thought was that it was a satellite being illuminated by the sky, but it seemed way to bright for that and it stayed lit for a long time. I've seen satellites in the sky before and they don't tend to stay lit up by the sun very long.
My second thought was that it might be a missile/rocket launch from CA. or somewhere in the Nevada desert. I've seen rocket engines lit up brightly, and this could have been a rocket engine. I also considered that it might have been some experimental aircraft (Aurora?), but then why would it be lit up so brightly.
The object disappeared into the horizon to the South East... what was truly interesting was just as the object was disappearing I saw another fast moving meteor fly in from the east to the west, seeming to converge with the bright which object. A truly fascinating show to watch in the sky.
So what was it I saw? I came home and did a bit of research. I looked to see if there were any rocket launches from Vandenberg AFB or anywhere, but saw nothing for that day. They mostly launch over the Pacific anyway I'm pretty sure. What I found was that the ISS (the International Space Station) was almost directly overhead at the time. So I'm like 99.99% sure that what I was was the ISS. The meteor was just a bonus object.
It was a fun experience.... I've always wanted to see some UFO before I die... a silent black triangle in the sky, or one of those glowing orbs that seem to float around in south Texas cities... but alas, I'm stuck with the ISS. Blasted Aliens!!