Reports Report 4097aj (Event 4097-2015)

Name Stanley S
Experience Level 3/5
Remarks This object/event was so bright and long-lasting, others must have witnessed it, also.
Address Reno, NV
Latitude 39° 29' 35.44'' N (39.493179°)
Longitude 119° 51' 25.16'' W (-119.85699°)
Elevation 1514.48m
Time and Duration
Local Date & Time 2015-12-22 18:10 PST
UT Date & Time 2015-12-23 02:10 UT
Duration ≈7.5s
Moving direction From down right to up left
Descent Angle 271°
Facing azimuth 275°
First azimuth 270°
First elevation 50°
Last azimuth 145°
Last elevation -
Brightness and color
Stellar Magnitude -20
Color Gold, Yellow
Concurrent Sound
Observation No
Remarks -
Delayed Sound
Observation No
Remarks -
Persistent train
Observation No
Duration -
Length -
Remarks -
Terminal flash
Observation No
Remarks -
Observation Yes
Remarks Just as the head of the object was about to disappear over the southeast horizon, it appeared that it might be beginning to break up, as I saw at least one glowing 'particle' appear to 'fall off' in a downward direction. There was no flash of light after this object disappeared over the horizon; I did watch for something like that, wondering if part of the head might fall somewhere in east-central NV. The tail was not persistent, nor did it leave a 'smoke trail.' The tail was quite long and distinct (10-15 degrees at maximum, as the object passed more directly to the south) but the glowing 'particles' in the tail did not hang in the sky along the route of travel after the head and tail disappeared from my view beyond horizon. The tail appeared to be burning materials trailing off of the burning head, not a trail of exhaust smoke. The tail became distinctly shorter, at least from my perspective, as the object approached the SE horizon. Throughout, the head appeared as a glowing ember, similar to the exhaust of a jet or rocket engine. Note: the near-full moon was low in the eastern sky, and its bright light did not reflect off any remnants, but it may have obscured any afterglow, if their was one. My initial reaction was this was a piece of space debris gliding slowly back to earth, since it seemed to move slower and stay in view longer than any of the 'large' meteors that I've seen flash quickly across a relatively small arc of the sky. This object did not streak, it sailed across the entire southern sky, almost deliberately so that all could watch, wonder and marvel at it.