Possible Fireball / Satellite Reentry / ? or, Airplane ?

From: Steve Walter (SteveWalter@worldnet.att.net)
Date: Fri Sep 01 2000 - 18:27:15 PDT

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    Hi All ...
    
    A strange phenomena in tonight's sky to report ... perhaps simply a 
    fast moving plane, but I'll take others' opinions on the matter:
    
    On Friday evening, September 1, 2000, between 07:40-07:42pm ET 
    (2000/0902 00:40-00:42 z) we saw a fast, high altitude object moving 
    above our horizon from the North East to the West/South West.  We 
    tracked it through about 40-degrees of arc, passing several degrees 
    beneath the crescent Moon in a mostly cloudless dusk sky ... it had a 
    bright, consistent trail stretching behind it by about 5-degrees.
    
    The object was observed through binoculars with no discernable body. 
    Nor was there any obvious brightening at the head of the object.  The 
    trail only existed immediately behind the object, and did not remain 
    in the sky after its passage.
    
    The quick speed, no observable navigation lights, and non-lingering 
    contrails suggests to me it was not an airplane, but I could be wrong.
    
    I doubt this was a satellite re-entry, since it would have been an 
    awfully retrograde orbit.
    
    
    Steve + Lynn Walter
    Glenn Dale/Greenbelt, Maryland
    approx 76d 49' W  x  +39d N
    
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