A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Frank Reed
Date: 2020 Apr 8, 21:23 -0700
David Pike, you wrote:
"However, while searching, I saw a little white dot high, high, up, travelling quite fast from left to right, flying past where Venus ought to be. In, fact I thought it was Venus at first until I realised it was moving. Can anyone suggest what it was, because I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a Stratoseagull."
It could have been practically anything. What do you suppose was the minimum distance from you when you saw it, and how would you know? Could it have been a hundred feet from you? How about a thousand feet? A thousand miles?? This is why UFO stories exist. Without some estimate of distance, a "white dot" could be practically anything from a bit of dust to a child's balloon to an alien starship. We might be able to exclude some possibilities. You said it was travelling "quite fast". Can you quantify that at all? Quite fast compared to what? Could you estimate an angular rate?
I've told the story before of the first time I spotted Venus in daylight. Reviewing the timing, it was probably early July 1975. I was twelve years old then. The circumstances then were quite similar to the present Venus opposition.
I was "hanging out" some afternoon with friends. I looked up in the sky and chanced upon "something" in the sky in the middle of the afternoon all by itself -- a white dot hanging high in a deep blue sky, just floating there. It didn't drift. It didn't change. But it seemed to change position slightly as I watched (this is a common visual illusion, as it turns out). In my imagination this was surely some exotic thing... maybe a new weapons platform, perhaps something connected with Skylab or Apollo-Soyuz, or, yes, an alien spacecraft.
I abandoned my little group of friends, who were completely uninterested (I remember they said "it's an airplane" --obviously not) and rode my bicycle home fast. I had a telescope back then. When I set it up and got it aligned on this mysterious white dot, I was actually disappointed to see the familiar shape of the planet Venus. Just Venus... That was the first of only three times in my life when I have "stumbled" upon Venus in the daytime sky without knowing where I should expect to find it. And it was the first and only time that I didn't recognize it until I looked through the telescope.