From: Robert Ottley (
Date: Sun Dec 02 2001 - 16:34:07 EST

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    My name is Robert Ottley, I am a pharmaceutical scientist who has dabbled 
    in amateur astronomy from time to time.  I have no experience of satelite 
    observation but am keen to acquire some.  The main reason for joining 
    writing to the group is to report a sighting presumably related to the 
    topic currently under discussion 'possible re-entry'. I was not aware of 
    this newsgroup but sent the following messages to a couple of local amateur 
    astronomical societies this morning.
    "I am not a member of the society but I wonder if you can help me with an 
    unusual observation I made last night (Sat 1st Dec) at about 22.15.
    I live in Seaford, Sussex and was walking the dogs along the seafront when 
    I noticed what appeared to be a glowing vapour trail approaching from the 
    South. As it got closer it resolved itself into several small objects which 
    it was impossible to identify, each trailing a shower of bright red 
    sparks.  At first my thoughts were that it was a very large meteor or even 
    a shower of meteors.  However, the objects persisted for too long and 
    proceeded across the whole sky, heading north, until they were obscured by 
    buildings.  The whole occurrence took perhaps a minute or so and was quite 
    silent, from which, because of likely speed and altitude, I concluded that 
    it was not an aircraft of any sort.
    The next best explanation is that it might have been an artificial satelite 
    re-entering orbit and burning up.  However, would this not also have been a 
    very brief event like the entry of a meteor? The sight was fairly 
    spectacular and could not have failed to be noticed by many others. Have 
    you had other reports of this sighting?"
    I have sent this message simply to corroborate the one reported from 
    belgium and for general interest. I suspect the sighting must have been 
    pretty unusual even for experienced satelite observers.
    Robert Ottley
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