Late last night I was helping my grandfather irrigate our 40 acres of vineyards. As we were driving along I was staring up at the sky as it was a moonless night (around 11:15 pm) and the stars were out in multitudes. As I was looking to the west I saw what I thought were two stars rather close together that looked out of place when one star started to move and increase in luminiousity only to fade out after a few seconds. I assumed it was a satellite, but wasn't quite sure.
A bit curious as to what I actually saw I jumped on the internet and looked up satellite sightings and came across what are called Iridium Flares. There is a group of satellites in orbit called the Iridium Satelite Constelation. They are a group of communication satellites that provides both voice and data coverage for satellite phones. Each satellite has three large antenna about the size of a door and are highly polished. Occasionaly one of the antenna reflects sunlight back down to the Earth and that is what causes the flare.
After a bit more research I found a website called Heavens Above and they offer information on how to track objects in the night sky, from planets and comets to satellites. After entering my location I was able to determine that I indeed did see an Iridium satellite. The actual time was 23:11:15 on July 1. Here is the link to the actual infomormation, though I don't know how long it will be available.
So this had me thinking. How many people have seen these and thought and possibly reported these as a UFO. Hell even I wasn't familiar with an Iridium Flare. If I hadn't assumed it was a satellite I would most likely have reported it to the Nation UFO Reporting Center. I decided to search YouTube in hopes of someone had filmed one, given the fact that they are easily predictable. I got lucky and found a video showing something similiar to what I saw.
I am definitely convinced now that what I saw was not a UFO, but just the reflection of sunlight off a satellite's antenna. I checked the Heavens Above website and there is supposed to be another sighting tonight (July 2) at 23:05:19, this time to the east (here's the link for more info). I'm going to try to get some video of it if I can. But it shouldn't be that hard for anyone to see it as long as there isn't much light pollution around you.