After having a day to think about our sighting last night, I've come to the conclusion the object was not a plane.
Nor Chinese lanterns.
And not fireworks.
While I "believe" (abhor that word in this context; I don't "believe" in aliens, or that they exist, not in a religious doctrine fervor framework. I am of the strong opinion, based on experience and evidence, that they exist) aliens exist, and we are being visited, and have been visited, by extra-terrestrials for a very long time, not everything seen in the skies is an alien craft. Oh most definitely much of it is; in this case though, I think what I saw (or we, as my husband saw it as well) was a human made object. Military or industrial, or both, since both are indeed strange and cozy bedfellows. That relationship has been an open secret for decades.
What makes me think last night's sighting most likely was of something from this earth, as opposed to outer space? Timing, for one. Midnight, or a tad after, on New Year's Eve? What better time for the government, or private industry testing some new technology, than midnight on New Year's Eve? It's possible whoever was behind such an object was testing its visibility factor. How noticeable is the object under certain conditions? On the one hand, no one is paying much attention. Too much going on. Fireworks, lanterns, partying, drinking, drugs, excitement. How many people look up and notice under such conditions? And what is their reaction in that context when they do?
Well, if one has had too much to drink and is full of general New Year's Eve joy, seeing something like that in the sky might not compute. Just another fireworks, or something . . .
Those that did not drink or party (like myself, we stay in and have a quiet night) look up and notice. In fact, Jim and I both commented that, out of the entire block, we were the only ones who stepped outside at midnight to look up. Neighbors were home, they just didn't bother to step outside.
Another reason I think what we saw last night was some type of human made object: the recent media items about drones. Oregon is one of nine states recently approved by the FAA to test drones. The bulk of that goes to Eastern Oregon, quite a ways from Eugene. But then today, I read that OSU -- Oregon State University in Corvallis, forty-five minutes from Eugene -- has also been given a contract to explore drone technology. It's possible setting off a drone at midnight was a perfect time to test it; how it works at night under certain conditions (New Year's Eve, etc.) and how it's perceived by people, at night, and under those conditions.
So, big deal, human made object, not an alien craft from Mars.
That's a frequent response from many, that a weird looking and behaving object in our skies is "just" an object made by us. Such an explanation is given, accepted, and dismissed.
Okay, so the thrill of aliens from outer space is gone, but still. Still. We are now faced with the fact we, us, humans, are creating drones and other flying objects that spy, patrol, collect data, mess with the weather, mess with us... this is not cause for dismissal, but diligence.
There are drones and other flying things created by us that are very tiny and unobtrusive, as well as big and obvious. There are things up there that have nothing to do with ET, but everything to do with us and our not so nice side. Our violent, cruel, controlling, arrogant selves. We create these objects to do harm. Sometimes we create these objects to help, or so we tell ourselves. Make things easier; rescue operations, agriculture, for example. Technology, partnered with private industry and government, is a creation unto itself. Regardless of the ostensible purpose of such technology, we need to remain aware. We need to avoid the inane response that aliens/UFOs are silly, paranoid and uneducated fantasies, while taking responsibility for the repercussions of our own technological creations.