As I was returning to my truck after shopping, I saw what appeared to be an airplane approaching from the NE. What caught my attention was its appearance which was a very bright, white, fuzzy, elongated shape. At first, I attributed this to a glint, but as it neared this appearance didn’t change. During its passage, it passed behind several, low, scattered clouds, the bases of which were at 3200 feet (as per the NWS).
Due to its appearance remaining ill-defined, I decided to get a picture of it. By the time I had the camera out of the truck, turned on and zoomed, the object was nearing a tree in the parking lot, so I was only able to take one shot. Luckily, I captured the object just before it would have been lost behind the tree. As it was, it was just behind the tip of a leaf. I did not see it emerge from the far side of the tree, but it was receding into the distance and would have likely been very distant at that point.
The object followed a straight-line trajectory at an elevation of 25 degrees above the horizon and was not leaving a contrail or any other trail. It made no sound that I was able to discern. The object’s brightness and appearance were constant until it disappeared from view behind the tree.
The camera is an image-stabilized Canon Power Shot A710 with 6X optical zoom. Digital zoom was not selected. When the image was examined, I saw that the object was just as I had seen it–an elongated, bright white, fuzzy shape.
A subsequent test of the camera photographing an airplane at considerable distance, and in the same frame with a tree 50 feet from the camera, resolved the plane with no problem. That seems to confirm that the camera was essentially focused at infinity when the exposure was made. There was no post-processing of the image.
I later went back and traced the outline of a leaf from the tree which could be used for scaling the object’s size if there would be some way to determine its distance or altitude. As mentioned, the tree was at a distance of 50 feet from where the photo was taken. Based on the total duration of the sighting (50 seconds) and arc through which it was observed (100 degrees), the average angular velocity is 2 degrees per second.
I have attached the full-frame photo and a cropped zoom done with Window’s photo viewer.