At about 10:15pm 04/09/2019, i was standing on my balcony enjoying the cool night air, because my apartment was hot. it was about 80 degrees during the day, and my building won't be turned over from heat to ac for another few weeks. i was looking up at the sky, to try to look at visible stars or planets (few, due to light pollution) when i saw three unblinking white lights to the south. they looked sort of like stars and were totally silent. i took them to be seagulls at a fairly low altitude, because i've seen seagulls flying at night many times. the city lights reflect off their bellies and their glide is recognizable. two of the light were fairly close together, and the third got closer to them. they traveled towards the west for a few seconds, and then the third one accelerated soundlessly and descended very quickly behind some clouds, in an arc shaped like your fingers cupped over, but not touching, the base of your hand's palm. i tried to follow the path of the third light, but i couldn't see it through the clouds. i don't know what the other two did; i assume they went behind the clouds, too. i'm not sure they were seagulls, because i suspect the lights were too high to be seen unaided at night. i'm basing this assumption on metar data for dca, approximately 20 minutes before my sighting. i'm including that information here, omitting the runway crosswinds data: location: kdca washington - national - usa (d.C.) latitude: 38â°51'07"n - longitude: 077â°02'16"w. magnetic declination: 10.83â°w sunrise: 10:39 utc sunset: 23:40 utc report emitted the day: 10, time 01:52 utc tuesday 9 april 2019 21:52 local time. minimum horizontal visibility: 10 statute miles (16093 meters). clouds: scattered (3-4 oktas), at 10000 feet above aerodrome level (3048 meters). clouds: broken sky (5-7 oktas), at 25000 feet above aerodrome level (7620 meters). temperature: 22 degrees celsius (72 fahrenheit). dewpoint: -4 degrees celsius (25 fahrenheit). relative humidity 17.23 %. qnh (sea-level pressure): 29.68 inches (1005 hpa). additional information: automated observation with precipitation discriminator (rain/snow). peak wind speed since the last metar: true direction = 330 degrees, speed: 28 knots (52 km/h) (14 m/s) occurred at 00:54 utc (20:54 local time). sea level pressure: 1004.8 hpa (29.67 inches). temperature: 21.7 degrees celsius (71.1 fahrenheit). dewpoint: -4.4 degrees celsius (24.1 fahrenheit). the altitude of the scattered clouds (10,000 feet) suggests to me that the three lights were very high up, and possibly fairly far away. the third one's rapid descent didn't look like a bird's dive, from what i've seen; birds at night tend to fade away, but the light was constant until the clouds blocked it. i saw airplanes after seeing the lights, but they were normal dca traffic.
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PA Media December 26, 2021