On the evening of 22 August 2013, between 2147 and 2215, I observed a strange object in the night sky. I am retired US Air Force and I am an amateur astronomer. I am quite familiar with the night sky in Missouri.
I have been observing Saturn all summer, and have lately been observing Nova Delphinus 2013. I set up my telescope at the same location every night. (I can be contacted privately for the exact latitude/longitude/altitude of the location.)
I align it using the stars Arcturus, Altair, and Polaris. Once the scope is aligned, I focus on the area of the sky I plan to observe. While I wait for my eyes to become accustomed to the dark, I look for the ISS, which passes overhead quite regularly.
Unknown Flying Object Seen
This evening the ISS passed over around 2135 (approximately). After it had passed overhead, I turned toward the east, facing the constellations Cygnus, Saggita, and Delphinus. Before I looked through the telescope, I planned to use binoculars to see if I could spot the nova that way first. As I turned to pick up the binoculars, I saw a moving object.
The object was slightly larger than Venus currently appears from Earth in the evening, and its relative brightness was equal or slightly brighter than that of Venus. It came from the North-West and crossed the visible sky going South-East. It was moving quickly, but I was able to sight it with binoculars.
Through binoculars it appeared brighter. I then hand-tracked it with the telescope for the space of perhaps 10 heartbeats. It was completely silent, and the lights were steady, not flashing as they would be, for example, with a B-52 or other large aircraft. It did not change in color, brightness, size, shape, speed, or trajectory throughout the time I observed it.
Night Goes Silent
When the object was directly overhead, the telescope failed. Also at that point, all traffic noise from Missouri 13 stopped, although this may have been coincidental. All insect and animal noises including summer cicada chirping stopped.
I thought the telescope had simply come unplugged from the 12-volt outlet in my Ford Ranger, or alternatively that the battery in my truck had somehow died. I got into the truck and tried to start the engine but was unsuccessful. There was no click from the starter, and the engine failed to start. I unplugged the telescope and attempted to push-start the truck (it has a standard transmission) but it failed to start.
My nose began to bleed heavily at this point. I got out of the truck to load the telescope into it. I noticed the object still moving South-east, toward a cell tower located near Lakeland High School. The red hazard lights on the cell tower died away. Both the flashing top tower lights and the constant mid-tower lights faded as the object appeared to approach them. The tower was completely dark for several seconds before the warning lights returned.
I loaded the telescope into the truck. I had left the key in the ignition and the ignition on when I got out loading my gear. When I got back into the truck, I saw that the panel lights were now operative so I tried once again to start the engine.
This time it did start, so I drove home immediately. Once I arrived at home I found that the telescope's hand computer had been completely reset. All data had been cleared, including the boot data, and will have to be restored. Since the telescope has battery backup, this cannot have been caused by a simple loss of power; the computer's memory has been erased.
By the time I arrived home (a five-minute drive), the nosebleed had stopped. However, I did (and still do as of this writing) have a headache approaching migraine proportions. This may be coincidental, or stress-related, and nothing to do with the object itself.
Whiteman Air Force Base Confirms No Object
As soon as I got in the house I telephoned to Whiteman Air Force Base, which is (relatively) near my location. I spoke with Sergeant Fry, who advised me to telephone the National UFO Reporting Center. She stated that there was no military activity in the area of Deepwater, MO, this evening, and that the information I gave her, including the report on my physical condition, should be reported to proper authorities at the Center.
I have no idea of the object's actual size, or of its relative velocity. I was so astonished and upset by the experience that I also do not have a solid trajectory for it. The best I can do is to say that it moved from slightly northwest to slightly southeast and was visible for at least five minutes. It passed east of the star Vega, and slightly west of the star Altair as it moved across the sky - in fact, very near the constellations Delphinus and Saggita, which is why I saw it to begin with.
Not a Stellar Object
This was not a stellar object; it was moving too fast to be such a thing. If it was simply a satellite, it is one with whose trajectory I am not familiar. Given the fact that I observe this area of the sky nightly that is unlikely. To the best of my knowledge, the object was not a satellite; I can find no reports of satellite trajectory, IF events, or the like which match the time, date, area of the sky, or description of the object.
I have never had an experience like this before, either during the time I spent on active duty, or as an amateur astronomer, and am unable to explain it.