White Orb Over Northen California

NorCal Dave

Senior Member.
This story showed up on the local Facebook Rants and Raves page. Seems several people saw something similar, even allowing for some "Oh yeah, me too" sightings. On May 2, around 9:15 PDT, 14:15 UCT (I think). The description about the size, 48" and being just above the treetops, (~100') doesn't take into account that size is based on distance. One person, who only says he's on Forbestown Rd., managed a video that matches the description, and the OP said the video is the same thing she witnessed. It was traveling West to East according to most witnesses, though judging by the map it's more like Northwest to Southeast.

My first impression of the video, as well as the descriptions was the ISS. It did fly over, but at 2:30am according to what I found, but maybe I'm reading it wrong.

Location of OP and of video:

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Unfortunately, I can't seem to copy the video, just a link to, what I assume is the Facebook page. The video is in the comments:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/268...cently_seen&multi_permalinks=2348396508698774

I can do some screenshots:

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Maybe a bit with the Snipping tool:


 

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it's a private group so we cant see anything.

the video was a 2am?

The video was supposedly at around 9:15pm. I think I managed to add a snippet of the video now and the original description. Gotta head out for a bit, but I just learned how to use the Snipping tool for video and share it here. I'm a bit slow :(
 
(and 2:30 on may 2nd would be BEFORE ...if he filmed after her that would be May 3rd..no?

I'm not sure. I found this site:

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So, nothing for evening of May 2. The ISS was just my first guess after reading the description and seeing the video.
 
This story showed up on the local Facebook Rants and Raves page. Seems several people saw something similar
External Quote:
Are there totally silent drones?
(Quote from screenshot taken by NorCal Dave)

No idea about what the thing is, but obviously drones / UAVs can be seen without being heard, just as we can see airliners without hearing them. They don't have to be silent to be too high/ far away to hear.
 
The description includes "semi transparent hazy orb ... tiny bright light in the middle". That sounds like just a tiny bright light, blurred out by ground fog and/or an out-of-focus camera, which of course means that you can disregard any size estimates that were given.

The word "orb" is pretty much an archaic term these days, except for those among the UFO-believers who talk about "orbs" as if they are distinct entities, rather than merely being descriptive of the shape. Blurring for whatever reason can turn any near-point-size light into an "orb".
 
The description includes "semi transparent hazy orb ... tiny bright light in the middle". That sounds like just a tiny bright light, blurred out by ground fog and/or an out-of-focus camera, which of course means that you can disregard any size estimates that were given.

Agreed. The size/distance estimate always relies on size/distance, and if one doesn't know either it's just a guess. In this case in the dark. There was no fog last night, but I think there were some thin high clouds. The OP you're quoting didn't have a camera, so it's just her description. The video was shot by someone else around 25 miles away, with no exact location given:

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IF the video was taken at close to the same time of the OPs seeing it, it's obviously higher than the treetops.

No idea about what the thing is, but obviously drones / UAVs can be seen without being heard, just as we can see airliners without hearing them. They don't have to be silent to be too high/ far away to hear.

Agreed. But as noted above, if the video and the sighting(s) are happening at about the same time, it's not a drone and much higher in the sky.

There's a thread on Reddit about Mass UFO sighting in Central/Sourhern California where the (skeptical) consensus seems to be there was a SpaceX second stage rocket de-orbiting last night that was widely seen.

The initial poster said he saw it farther south around 9:05-9:07 p.m. Pacific time, which puts it at roughly the same time.

That sounds like a reasonable candidate.
 
This translates to 19.37 Pacific time on May 2. Would this launch cause a report at 21.15 Pacific time? Perhaps the second stage de-orbiting after one orbit?

That seems a likely answer. There were 2 Space X launches on May 2, Elon was busy. The first was from Vandenberg AFB in California earlier in the day, just before noon PDT, than the second launch from Florida. I know the boosters return for reuse, but I assume some of what goes up is wasted and burns up. I'm just not having any luck finding any kind of tracking data to show something reentered over this area.

It's a moot point now as far as the posters on Facebook. But I found it interesting that here was a number of people in the same area describing basically the same thing and then someone getting a video of it, that more or less looks like what people saw. There was something there to see, sorry I missed it.
 
That seems a likely answer. There were 2 Space X launches on May 2, Elon was busy. The first was from Vandenberg AFB in California earlier in the day, just before noon PDT, than the second launch from Florida. I know the boosters return for reuse, but I assume some of what goes up is wasted and burns up. I'm just not having any luck finding any kind of tracking data to show something reentered over this area.

It's a moot point now as far as the posters on Facebook. But I found it interesting that here was a number of people in the same area describing basically the same thing and then someone getting a video of it, that more or less looks like what people saw. There was something there to see, sorry I missed it.
I also spent some time trying to see how much post-launch tracking is available.

For the Falcon 9 Starlink launches, the first stage boosters (which all have names) return for landing within a few minutes and a few hundred miles downrange. The second stage keeps going and deploys the satellites, then flips and decelerates so it drops back into the atmosphere in a controlled manner to burn up/crash into the ocean. The second stages are so disposable no one seems to care about tracking them publicly, though SpaceX publishes warnings about where the debris will come down. (For non-Starlink launches of payloads into higher orbit the second stages apparently don't deorbit and a few dozen are up there being tracked as rocket body debris.)

So if it takes about 90 minutes for a low-earth orbit traverse of the earth, and the earth rotates 22.5 degrees in 90 minutes, so the Starlink 6-55 launch from Canaveral to the southeast at 7:37 p.m. Pacific time brings the second stage coming over the western U.S. from the northwest at about 9 p.m. Pacific time, if I marked this napkin up correctly.

There's a discussion thread about the launch on nasaspaceflight.com, with some guy trying to figure out if what he saw 91 minutes after launch to the west of Colorado Springs was the second stage. "On initial sighting in the west, there is a bright, naked eye object surrounded by a small diameter (moon diameter?) cloudy area. It becomes dimmer as it moves south of my location."

That second stage was supposed to hit the ocean somewhere along a track off the south coast of Africa.
SpaceDebris.jpg
 
"On initial sighting in the west, there is a bright, naked eye object surrounded by a small diameter (moon diameter?) cloudy area. It becomes dimmer as it moves south of my location."

That's pretty much what people were claiming they saw and is what's in the video. As I said, I'm sorry I missed it. The 2nd stage decay of the Florida launch sounds like the culprit and your napkin math puts it close to the right time. I may suggest it on the Facebook page, but at this point its old news there. It's a private group, but has close to 20k members, and I think 75% of the posts are "I lost my dog/cat" or "I found a dog/cat".

I asked the guy that posted the video if I could share it, but never heard back. It's a public video on a private page with 20k people, so I figured a short snippet of it was ok.
 
That's pretty much what people were claiming they saw and is what's in the video. As I said, I'm sorry I missed it. The 2nd stage decay of the Florida launch sounds like the culprit and your napkin math puts it close to the right time. I may suggest it on the Facebook page, but at this point its old news there. It's a private group, but has close to 20k members, and I think 75% of the posts are "I lost my dog/cat" or "I found a dog/cat".

I asked the guy that posted the video if I could share it, but never heard back. It's a public video on a private page with 20k people, so I figured a short snippet of it was ok.
Assuming it's this, it was venting fuel, so the cloudy patch was a fog of now-frozen gases:
External Quote:
"In the rocket's second stage, the expelled fuel instantly freezes into ice crystals due to the low temperatures. Being at such a high altitude, it gets illuminated by sunlight, which causes the mysterious glow against the darkening sky," Kitsak noted.
https://news.err.ee/1609331910/myst...er-estonian-skies-likely-spacex-rocket-debris
 
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