By Dennis Hill
Several McCracken County residents have been looking for answers to an unusual object they saw in the sky Monday night, but so far they have come up empty.
"I hesitate to say anything," said Suzanne Goehman, who lives on Lovelaceville-Florence Station Road. "People will probably think I'm crazy, but I know what I saw."
Goehman said she isn't claiming she saw a UFO, but what she saw was extremely unusual and she would like to know what it was.
Goehman said the incident began 9:40 p.m. Monday. "I looked out my kitchen window and noticed a bright object in the sky, with lots of all different colored lights. At first I thought it was an airplane because they fly over here all the time, coming and going from Barkley Field."
Goehman said the object appeared to be stationary. "The more I watched it, the more curious I got, so I went and got my binoculars."
Goehman desribed what she saw as dome-shaped, outlined by a white glow, with multi-colored beams of light emanating from its bottom.
Goehman called a neighbor, Sharon Settles, to come over and look at the object with her.
It was after Settles arrived that they discovered a second object, identical to the first.
"They seemed to be together." Goehman said both objects appeared to be moving at a very slow speed away from them. Settles described the objects as "umbrella shaped" with the colored beams shooting periodically in different directions. She said at the center of the colored lights was a white light.
Goehman said at one point, an airplane approached one of the objects and it became much brighter. "It lit up for a few seconds."
At one point Goehman said, two more of the objects approached the two they were watching from the east, slowed, then turned south abruptly and disappeared to the south.
Goehman and Settles both watched the objects until nearly 1a.m., she said.
"We didn't know who to call, or what to do," she said. "I called my uncle who has a telescope, but he wasn't at home. But his wife and their children went out and looked at it, and they were as baffled as we were."
Settles also called the tower at Barkley Regional Airport, where she reached air traffic controller Jim Wasson.
"I remember talking to the lady," Wasson said. "I saw something in the sky, which I believe was a planet, probably Jupiter. Monday was an exceptionally clear night and you could see a lot of things in the sky that you don't normally see, if you take the time to look."
Wasson said the variety of colors, which he didn't recollect seeing, could have been light refracting between the planet and earth. But he said he saw only the one object and is as sure as he can be that it was the planet Jupiter.
"Maybe they saw some aircraft. Flying objects can play tricks on your eyes at night. If they are flying toward you, they appear to be standing still, and if they turn, it can appear they suddenly accelerate in the direction they turn."
Bill Burnley, professor of astronomy at Murray State University was in the campus observatory Monday night with a class, watching Jupiter and Mars through a large telescope.
"I didn't see anything unusual, but we were focusing pretty closely on the two planets. That doesn't necessarily mean something wasn't there."
Burnley said he left the observatory shortly before 9p.m., 40 minutes before Goehman and Settles made their observations.
Capt. Russell James, public affairs officer at Fort Campbell, said the army was conducting no night flying operations in the area on Monday night.
Ray Williams, official-in-charge of the National Weather Service in Paducah, said weather balloons were released Monday, but it is unlikely they could have created the impression described by the women.
He said the balloons carry a flashlight on the bottom.
By Mary Bates Tafoya
An unidentified flying object was reported to the Breckinridge County Dispatcher Monday night, November 28, about 9 p.m. The strange light that was viewed by several residents around the county seemed to move with pulsating colors of blue, green and white, as it crossed from the eastern sky and moved southwest.
Residents said the object appeared west of Hardinsburg, moved east toward Texas Gas, circled to the Harned area, then southeast toward Hardin County, and faded out of sight.
As one group traveled in search of the strange light, south on Ky. 261, red and yellow light beams came down from a flattened moon-shaped object, and then it disappeared.
The Kentucky state Police were called to a residence west of Hardinsburg. Tooper Robert J. Williams viewed the object through binoculars and phoned the airport at Fort Knox to see if they could find any objects in the area on their radar.
The Fort Knox radar picked up nothing on their sweep of the area, said Williams.
Williams, who has been studying astrology for 30 years, offered this explanation:
"At a certain time of the year there appears a thermal inversion with pulsating lights changing from blue to green to white, and always looks like its going away from you," said williams.
"What I saw appeared to be a brightly colored star below Orion's belt in the Orion constellation, just above the horizon in the East," he continued.
In the Orion belt three stars appear in a straight row, and just below that is a very large star. The most prominent light in the sky at this time is the planet Jupiter, located just above the Orion Constellation.
"The planets and stars follow the Zodiac Belt," said Williams. "Jupiter appears as a large star just to the west the moons of Jupiter can be viewed by a telescope. The red colored light is Mars, and Orion is below that," he continued.
"Theere are 58 navigational stars. Each star appears at different places in the sky each night and is measured by hours. minutes and seconds. Each star each night, can be used by navigators to plot courses and find where they are on the earth," Williams explained.
So don't get excited. A special star appeared in the sky nearly 2,000 years ago for a special reason. God only had one son.