multiple objects, all "star-" or "orb-" like, some solo; others in staggered formation, but moving across sky intelligently, usu. 1 spotted, and another 1 or 2 trailing behind and adjacent as if in formation, and at same approx. rate of speed (steady & controlled, w/ instances of deliberate.
Appeared as what healthy skepticism would deem a "satellite," but changed course and appeared as if performing some sort of reconnaissance or sweeping of visible geographic area under visible canopy of sky above.
AT APPROX 0300 I went into my back yard to soak in spa. My neck & back killing me from hours on end at table studding for Bar Exam. I typically am in my yard, pool, and/or spa a few times throughout the night, and regularly notice star-like objects overhead (probably satelllites) as the object would move at a regular rate and in apparently set path, always singular and rarely going in-and-out of view.
Last night the same objects were viewed, usu. not more than 1 per 5-20 min, as typical. I also noticed the objects reported, in addition to the normal near earth objects. This was completely different.
in the beginning objects were heading due South, and occasionally from S. at a mid-point in the sky overhead (location is 1/2 mi E. of 99 & at most N-E tip of Stockton). sightings were ongoing, and increased in frequency until most concentrated just after 0420. B/w approx. 0500 on until sunrise washed away night sky all sightings were of objects moving in groupings of 2-3, always staggered both in order and flight path, with the lead being about the length from the next of 2 adult male hands at arms-length in- front of the face( i have no idea how far up from Earth they could have been, so best way I could describe perspectively), the same was true of the 3rd trailing behind. However, on at least 1 sighting, there were first 2 heading back from the S-SW and at around the edge of town (8 mile rd & 99N) the lead object made steady change of course due E, the next followed, BUT THEN another (previously unseen) appeard from the NW (from Lodi/Elk Grove direction) and interjected itself between these 2 others, thereafter all 3 took steady course E (slightly NE) towards direction of Calaveras County/Murphys (towards Sierra Nevadas), and maintained that direction until out of eye sight. Apart from the suddenly appearing behavior, all others spotted until dawn took same Eastern route.
Just before I began to see object heading E, and away, a MUCH BRIGHTER sphere-like object (at night all i can see is light, so no way to distinguish size, shape, etc.=all would appear as round as any light in the dark) CAME DIRECTLY OVERHEAD at slow steady pace, very bright, whitish w/ hues of orange-yellow, but not blinding like a headlight, more suttle, but very bright. It flew directly over my home and took that Eastern course, only after did the other objects proceed to take the same course. This bright object appeared to be much closer (maybe 200-300 ft) and with absolute silence. Neither this nor any others had any lights regularly seen in known aircraft. Nor did any of them exhibit sound or other behavior typical of modern day aircraft. I was well-trained in all aspects of aeronautics and aircraft mechanics while in the Navy. I have some knowledge at least of flight characteristics and demands of physics.
This was not something I can put in that class of modern technological capability.