was an almost perfectly clear evening on Saturday, just
some evening mist in the valleys below us. Tina and I had
been on top of Garway Hill for several hours to film the
beautiful views, time lapse film the sunset and later, the
darkness falling and the stars emerging. We had left our
coats in the van at the foot of the hill and were feeling
chilly. We had finished the tea in our thermos flasks and
we were hungry, so at 8.20pm, we decided that we would continue
filming until 9.00pm and then head for home. As the camera
clicked away, we sat watching the stars. We saw two meteors,
several ordinary, noisy aircraft and quite a few satellites
drift silently overhead.
8.56 pm I pointed out to Tina what I thought was a bright,
red star rising, to the right of Ross-on-Wye from our perspective
- looking at the photo, possibly over Cinderford. Having
a pretty good knowledge of the night sky, I realized that
it should not be there and wondered what it could be. At
first, Tina suggested Mars but it was twinkling, and planets
do not twinkle due to the fact that they are close enough
to be discerned by the human eye as a disc shape. Anyhow.
I was aware that Mars was not due to rise until the early
hours of the next morning. We watched it for a minute or
so, rising like any other star but then I noticed it had
speeded up. I pointed this out to Tina and as we watched,
it rose approximately twice as fast as the other stars.
Puzzled by this, we were discussing, 'perhaps it's a Chinese
lantern.' Suddenly though, its movement became rapid - very
fast jet speed as it changed direction and headed silently
towards the south west (to our right). I began to think,
'Police helicopter perhaps?'
was as it reached just above the opposite horizon, below
the moon in the south west that this theory was discounted.
Its movements had become extremely erratic. It began to
zigzag, in a way which was impossibly fast for any known
aircraft. It was almost as it was being buffeted from right
to left and back again, a considerable distance, by a gale
camera was still taking 15 second exposure photos of the
stars rising above Ross and Cinderford at the time but I
decided I MUST try to capture this and turned the lens towards
the object. Unfortunately, the exposure was still set to
15 seconds and as soon at I fired the shutter, the object
vanished - suddenly. The scenery in the resulting photograph
was lit like daylight as a result of moonlight and the long
exposure. The camera captured a few star trails but I missed
the strange flying object.
is all I can say. I have no idea what it was other than
a VERY strange aircraft. Can anybody identify it? See notes
accompanying the photos...