Neighborhood in a forested mountain area about 10 KM separated from town. Dark sky lots of stars and no clouds.
There were firecrackers going off occasionally around the neighborhood and even though our sector was quiet I went outside and walked down the street.
While waling outside a few houses down, I saw a light through the trees (ponderosas); yellow/orange mixed. Indistinct.
I moved to the far side of the road to get a little more perspective and move the object higher into the thinner upper pines from my perspective for less obstructed view.
Description of the object is spherical throughout, but changes as it flew. While low/large it was a fuzzy orb with a nucleus in the upper left area from my position. At this point it was a yellow/orange color. As it ascended, it shrunk in size, became sharper, and transitioned from yellow/orange to orange, to dark orange, and then dark red. No flashing lights. No sound.
[*I will insert my assumptions as this report progresses.]
[Since the aircraft was obviously low, I initially assumed it was a helicopter with some sort of forward looking light. But the light was not a beam as far as I could see. But at the moment it didn���t occur to me that there was no rotor, propeller or jet noise.]
The object���s size was about a third of a full moon at first. It seemed to be approaching my direction because it grew for about 10 seconds and seemed to hover towards my vicinity.
Then it started to rise, slowly at first.
It was right around midnight 12/31 and there were occasional firecrackers going off, and I could hear some distant boom fireworks from the town miles away.
[As the object rose, I shifted my thinking (I was still very banal and casual at this point), that this was now a fancy backyard firework with a parachute, sort of like a military flare, which I have seen before. If that was the case, it would have been 1/4 mile away or closer. Plus, normally, you would hear people cheering its launch. Aside from that, but why does it keep rising?]
At this point I realized ���wait a second, this isn���t normal?���
As it rose, its shape became more solid, switched from fuzzy yellow/orange to orange and finally solid red.
It gained speed as it rose and arced northwest until it disappeared, still increasing speed.
It is difficult to assess speed and elevation because I could not tell how large the object was.