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A report of my sighting, 25 January 2001.

At about 6:45 pm Eastern time (or 23:45 Universal time), I was driving south from Lebanon on New Hampshire Route 120. I pulled my car to the side of the road and stepped out, the area offering an unobstructed view of the southern sky. And then I saw it: just to the right of the constellation Orion was a light, a rapidly brightening light, which was clearly very high up and moving quickly. After just a few seconds, the object was clearly the brightest thing in the sky, outshining even Venus, of which I took note. But it was speeding away, and as quickly as its light had waxed, it now waned and faded from sight. Despite this remarkable sighting (and the number of people who can accurately identify Orion), there was no mention of it in today's local press.

That's because it was an Iridium satellite, orbiting at more than 400 miles above the Earth's surface. I also made no report because I went out specifically to see it. It was very moving, realizing that this thing was man-made and in orbit. The experience gave me the warm fuzzies. But it also made me realize that there are a whole lot of things floating out there, things that we've sent up, that are visible with the naked eye. Had I not known better, I myself would have been baffled by this thing, this clearly non-airplane object that winked at me and then sped away.

Check out www.heavens-above.com to see what you can see in your neck of the woods. I highly recommend the experience.

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