JUNE 23, 2016 ………JACKSONVILLE FLORIDA…………12.31 AM
A fast-moving, pentagon-shaped object rapidly transiting across the northern face of the moon.
Observation of a Fast Moving Lunar Transit Anomaly Jacksonville, Florida, June 23, 12:31 EDT. At about 0:31 hours (12:31 EDT, to the nearest minute) this morning, I was observing the waning gibbous moon from our driveway with a 4.25” f/6 reflecting telescope. At the time, I was using a magnification of about 100X with a # 21 orange filter. Although the rising moon was still low in the SE, seeing was quite good, and there were no clouds or haze. While observing features on the lunar terminator near Mare Serenitatis, I noticed a fast moving, solid black pentagon-shaped object traversing from west to east [moving from the terminator roughly in the direction of Mare Imbrium] across the lower (mid-northern) portion of the moon. The estimated time of passage before it swept out of the eyepiece’s field of view was – my best guess – well under five seconds. As I was not wearing a watch, I immediately went inside and looked at a wall clock (known to be accurate within a minute or so), and recorded the time.
The most unusual aspect of this observation was the shape of the object. Because it swept across the field of view so rapidly, I am not 100% sure that I am getting this exactly right, but my recollection is that its silhouette was something between a pentagon and a five-pointed star, as shown on the accompanying drawing. This rendering is based on a quick pencil sketch that I made within a few minutes of seeing the object. The thing that sticks in my mind is that this object was inky black and perfectly symmetrical – with no change of shape or tumbling effect as it crossed the face of the moon. As to the object’s size, I have tried to relate it to some of the named lunar craters in this area, and – again, to the best of my ability – it seems to have had an apparent angular size midway between that of Menelaus (27 km) and Manilius (39 km), so my best guess would be an apparent size of about 30 km, as projected against the lunar disc. Based on its eastward trajectory, moving roughly in line with the ecliptic, my suspicion is that this is some kind of large, earth orbiting satellite – but what could it be? Although I have never witnessed a lunar transit by the International Space Station, I am familiar with its appearance, both as it has been imaged in telescopes and as it has been photographed traversing the moon, but the object that I observed looked noting like this. Has anyone else seen anything like this?
((NUFORC Note: Witness provides very nice illustration of what the object looked like in the field of view of his telescope. PD))
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