MADISONVILLE, La. -- A light in the late night sky north of Dale Noel's home stopped him in his tracks last Sunday, September 18.
"When I seen the light, it was like flying and the light was pulsing like it was getting brighter and brighter and brighter the further it was getting," he said.
He ran to tell his fiance he thought a plane's wing was on fire, but returned outside to an empty sky.
Then, "We both looked up in the sky and we saw the same thing. It made the same pass, so we started recording it," he said, "It was lighting up, lighting up, lighting up and then it blew up in the same spot the other one did. And then a third one came by."
Noel said, "We were just kind of freaking out, like what is this, what is this?"
Noel took the debate to his Facebook page where some friends suggested drones, others suggested flares. They also checked with the American Meteor Society who said it wasn't necessarily a meteor, or fireball, but it could have been space debris. We checked with NASA, who said it may not have been either.
"The problem you run into is that it's too slow for a meteor and you don't get multiple pieces of space debris burning up in the same area in the same night," said Dr. Bill Cooke, lead of the NASA Meteoroid Environmental Office.
Cooke, who monitors meteor activity for NASA, said there were no other sightings reported in the state that night with them, or with the military's Space Command, which monitors space debris. Also throwing him off is the objects' paths.
Without more data, Cooke said he's stumped, but it isn't the first time.
"In this case right now, to quote a science fiction story, we have insufficient data for a meaningful answer," he said.
That leaves Noel, and many others, still wondering.
If you saw the same lights, and want to report it, or ever see anything similar and want it on the record, head to amsmeteors.org.
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