12-078-FB1 (Tampa, FL)

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Synopsis: On 07 Oct 12, while taking photography of the sky at pre-dawn, the witness of this investigation saw a bright object in the sky fly overhead. Initially, the witness thought the object was a satellite until it became extremely bright. The bright object then faded away as it continued to fly away.

Evidence Submitted: A video and photo of the object.

Initial Action: This UFO investigation was opened as an FB1, a fly-by of a UFO that traveled in a straight line across the sky.

Investigation and Findings: After a review of the video, the investigators conducted research on various satellite and meteor reporting websites. According to several satellite tracking websites, and the description of the UFO given by the website, the UFO was an iridium flare from the Iridium 96 communications satellite.

Object Details: On 11 February 2002, a Delta 2 rocket launched The Iridium 96 communications satellite into Low Earth Orbit. Part of a constellation, the satellite enables link between phones from anywhere to anywhere on the globe. The satellite remains in Low Earth Orbit with an apogee of 682km and a perigee of 678.3km. A satellite flare, moreover, is the phenomenon caused by the reflective surfaces on satellites (such as antennas or solar panels) reflecting sunlight directly onto the Earth below and appearing as a brief, bright “flare”.

 

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