On October 17, 2009, witnesses in Amarillo and Lubbock, Texas, including Clovis, New Mexico, were evidently seeing the same object.
Exactly what was this object and could it have been a weather balloon? From the reports I have collected, it does not appear to be. Here are 6 reports, describing what the witnesses saw that evening.
(Click on any image for a larger view.)
MUFON Case Number: 19998
Date/Time: 2009-10-17 19:00
Location: Lubbock, Texas
Went out into my backyard early in the evening. No moon or stars were visible yet. In the west / northwest sky was a bright triangle / diamond shaped object. At first I might have thought it was a blimp or a balloon. But it sat too still in the sky. It was so still it was almost creepy. It gave me the weirdest feeling. I watched it for what must have been thirty or forty-five minutes and took some pictures and video or my cheap digital camera. I finally went back inside because I had dinner on the stove and I didn't want it to burn, but I kept peaking at it from time to time, and it was just there. Finally about an hour later when it was a little bit dimmer (but still no stars out) I could tell that this object was not just reflecting the sunlight, but was actually glowing, kinda a blue light, kinda like the blue halogen light color like are on some newer cars. Then I noticed a tiny red dot that had dropped below it for a short distance. Then very strangely the triangle slowly faded into a small dot much like the one below it. Then they both slowly just faded and vanished. It's hard to describe. They didn't just fly away or move off into the distance, they just faded off. I actually had a very similar experience to this a few years ago, but didn't have a camera then. In the pictures you can tell the diamond / triangle shape but really can't get much more detail. Sorry, but at least it's something. It amazes me that other people saw the same thing and are describing it in almost the exact same words. How amazing!
MUFON Case Number: 20035
Date/Time: 2009-10-17 00:00
Location: Amarillo, Texas
While my wife was driving to store 5601 Amarillo blvd West I ( passenger) noticed a very bright star to the west at the intersection of Avondale and West 9th. When we got to store I pointed it out to my wife. The next night we are at 2530 S Georgia We came out of the store it was 7:20 pm and the car is parked to the south and in the SW sky is the bright star again. We get out the field glasses to get a better look. The man in the truck next to ask what we are looking at. He sees it also and then a few other people notice it in the parking lot too. What we see is a Blue white diamond shape object very bright. In the field glasses it appears to have 4 bright spots going across a line that would be 1/4 down from the top. My wife looks with the field glasses and sees the red sphere dropping from the white line heading to the bottom or point of the object. Other noticed the red sphere as it existed the object and drifted down out of the object. Then the white object changed it shape to an inverted tear drop and then both red and white objects faded away. Time was about 7:30. The object was still all during our viewing of it.Are feelings in awe of what we had seen. As so were others in the parking lot.
MUFON Case Number: 19986
Date/Time: 2009-10-17 18:15
Location: Clovis, New Mexico
I had just put a batch of cookies in the oven and set the timer for 10 minutes. I went to put my dog in the backyard, when I opened the door which faces east I noticed a large very bright round light in the sky, it was still daylight. I watched it for a minute then went thru the house to go to the front yard to see if anyone was outside so I could show it to them. The neighbors were just coming out of their house and the three of us watched it for a short time then they had to leave. On my way thru the house I noticed the oven timer still had a little over 3 minutes left. I stood on the back porch to look at it. The oven timer went off, I took the cookies out then went back outside. After a couple of minutes it looked liked it was changing shape, kind of like a blobby circle-ish shape. Then I saw a very small red light on the bottom of it. It was only there for a few seconds, then it dropped off of the big light. As the red light fell down the bright light was getting smaller. I saw the bigger light circle around the small light. Then they both went higher into the sky eastward until I couldnt see them anymore. It was 6:32 p.m.
MUFON Case Number: 19984
Date/Time: 2009-10-17 19:30
Location: Lubbock, Texas
My wife and I had gone out to dinner and upon returning to our car we saw this very bright object in the north western sky. We stood outside our car for a minute or two wondering what it was and then we got in our car and drove home. We arrived home about 10 minutes later and I got out of the car and looked to see if it was still there. It was still there as it was apparrently not moving. I then ran into the house to get my binoculars and went back outside to try and get a look. I trained the binoculars on the light and was astonished to see that it was triangular shaped with big bright lights at the points. I then decided to go in and get my 8 inch reflecting telescope to try and get a better look. I got my telescope and went into the backyard and I kept an eye on it as I was setting up the scope. I heard my neighbor in his backyard so I drew his attention to it as well. As we watched it, we saw a smaller light leave the main object. From our vantage point, it seemed to drop several feet below the main object and then stop. Then both objects completely faded out and disappeared before I could get my scope trained on them! The whole time I witnessed the main object, it did not seem to be moving at all. The smaller one moved at a steady rate. I can't even guess at the speed of it. I am an avid watcher of UFO Files and UFO hunters. And when I first saw this thing through my binoculars, I immediately recognized it as apparrently one of those flying triangles I had seen on these shows! It was absolutely amazing!!!
MUFON Case Number: 19987
Date/Time: 2009-10-17 19:15
Location: Amarillo, Texas
My wife and I were in a movie theater parking lot and she noticed an odd light in the sky,no visible stars,moon or anything else around,we watched the lights for a few minutes and I grabbed my binoculars from the glovebox and viewed a upside down triangle of three lights fairly far off,the light became harder to see then a small red light emerged from the bottom and slowly descended then stopped headed back to the original light surpassing it and continuing upward then both lights slowly faded and were no longer visible.I read of a Clovis NM sighting about an hour before this tonight almost the same sighting.Took a picture with my cellphone but its barely visible.No reports on the local news tonight.The sighting lasted about 15-20 minutes.
This last report was submitted to UFOs Northwest:
Date of Sighting: October 17, 2009
Time of Sighting: 7:15 PM CDT
Location of Sighting: Lubbock, Texas
Description: I and several witnesses were in a grocery store parking lot on Saturday, October 17, 2009 at around 7:15 PM when everyone began noticing a large bluish lit oval light. It was stationary and did not change vertical or horizontal position for the length of the sighting which lasted around 10 minutes.
As everyone in the parking lot began to stop and look up at the sky I parked my car and rolled down the window to get a clear view of the object. I assumed it was a weather balloon at first glance, but then began to notice there was something off about this object. It did not move at ALL. It was almost as if it were frozen in position. I also thought the sun was reflecting off of it to light it, but as the sun began to go down the object got even brighter blue in intensity. There was not a cloud in the sky and there was no noise generated from the object.
Then it happened. I was so transfixed on this object I was afraid to blink. As it stayed fixed in it's position in the sky a red light began to lower from underneath the blue object. It lowered slowly as if tethered to the object above. The red light lowered for about 6 or 7 seconds then the larger blue object above it began to glow red as well. The two lights were directly lined up about 50 feet apart vertically. THEN the lower red light began to ascend as the object above it moved west. Now the 2 lights were 50 feet apart horizontally still in the same height in the sky. Then the red light on the right continued to ascend until out of view. The other main red light stayed in the same place until becoming so small it could not be seen. This all happened before dark. I could not believe what I had just seen. Of course the local news outlets reported it that it was a NASA weather balloon which I'm fine with as long as they can prove to me that a weather balloon is capable of everything I saw it do.
According to William Puckett at UFOs Northwest:
Note: The witness's description does not sound like a weather balloon. However, a few aspects of his sighting leave the possibility open. The slow movement and red light would suggest a weather balloon. (The photos have the appearance of a balloon.) The red light (described as tethered) could be a light tied to the balloon for tracking purposes. The time and brightening appearance at sunset are also consistent with a weather balloon. However, the separation of the lights and the apparent westerly movement would rule out a balloon. (This is assuming that the observations are accurate.) Apparently the local media (KCBD TV Channel 11 in Lubbock) covered the event, but I am unable to find any information.
Update - October 22, 2009. The witness sent a copy of a news blog from the KCBD TV web site. Click here to read a copy of the news blog (PDF). The blog contains many comments from multiple witnesses and many photos of the object. Given this new information there is confusion about the time that the object was seen. This casts some doubt that the object could have been a weather balloon launched from nearby Amarillo. NASA has a high altitude balloon launch facility in Ft. Sumner, New Mexico. However, a check of the balloon launch log shows that no balloons were launched at the time of the above sighting.