It was the October 2003 air show at MCAS Miramar in San Diego, California. The day, Saturday 18th, was very warm and the day shows had ended. We were waiting for the night show while laying down and resting. As the sun was getting lower in the sky, the sky was turning a darker blue. We had brought with us some cheap 10x25 binoculars.
As I relaxed, I took the binoculars out to look around at the planes. Then I wanted to see if I could see some stars that might be coming out. After looking around for a little while, I saw a dot of light I thought might be a star, but straight up in the sky. Then I saw a thin line come out from it with a smaller dot on the end of the line and then pull it back in. I thought maybe a satellite.
But then the object stayed in position for at least 20 minutes. I saw the object send a line out in different angles which does not make sense if the line is a pole attached to a satellite that is tumbling on an axis.
Maybe a special spy satellite, but what would look like that? It had to be pretty big.
Also, why would a spy satellite be tasked to hover above Miramar during an air show?
I don’t think you can see low earth orbit (LEO) satellites while the sky is blue. LEO altitudes are around 350 km (217.5 miles). MEO and HEO satellites are even higher than LEO so it cannot be those either. Space is considered to start around 100 km (62 miles). I would guess that the object was lower than 100 km but higher than 50 km. But then how did the object not move because gravity should be pulling it down?
The picture attached is a recreation of what I saw through the binoculars.
If anyone has any ideas, please post a comment.