Date: January 6, 2014
Time: 10:18-10:20pm PST
Duration: approx. 2-3 minutes
Location: 37���58���35���N, 122���29���34���W
Direction of sighting: start = 315��� NW; end 280���W
Angle of elevation: estimated at 30��� above horizon, constant
Sky condition: near total cloud cover ��� cloud base not known ��� guestimate 10-20,000 feet
My wife and I were in our hot tub, and had been in it for approximately 15 minutes when I noticed three bright objects about the size and brightness of planets (or the ISS) in the night sky ��� blue-white in color, twinkling. We have lived at this address for seven years, and have had our hot tub almost as long, and have spent many hours looking up at the night sky here ��� we know what we���re looking at in the sky here.
At first I thought it was an airplane, as I only glimpsed them through branches of a tree on our property. We live on a flight path to SFO, so we get periodic commercial aviation traffic overhead ��� near enough to distinguish each wing, and the lights on them. This was entirely different. Two of the lights were moving rapidly in together, with a third one behind them. Distance between them was approximately 3-4full moons.
They were heading south, toward the edge of the trees on our property, by leaning over the south edge of our hot tub we could see them emerge from behind the trees. As they did, they joined up with another constellation of 7-10 similar objects that appeared to be stationary, at 280deg W. These objects were oriented in a backwards capital letter ���L��� pattern, with approximately 3 objects oriented horizontally, sloping upward to the south, and a vertical line of 3-4 more going up. They occupied a about 3 full moon���s worth of sky vertically, and maybe 2 horizontally. They appeared to me to be quite uniform in size and color, and were twinkling (or perhaps flashing rapidly).
At first I thought I was looking at an unusually bright (and severely compacted) version of the constellation Orion ��� that was the only thing I could think of that looks even remotely like this.
As my wife and I watched and tried to figure out what we were seeing, the group of objects slowly began to change shape and appeared to move toward the south, where they eventually dimmed ��� probably fading into the clouds. They still persisted dimly for some time ��� maybe another minute or two. We debated whether to go inside and grab a cell phone to take a picture, but this would not have been feasible in the low light conditions.