Amateur astronomer Allen Epling described it to a local reporter as looking "like two fluorescent bulbs, side by side, parallel, shining very brightly."
It would get so bright they would seem to merge, and you could see it very clearly with the naked eye. Then, it would dim down almost invisible.
Epling wasn't the only one who noticed; police in Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee got phone calls from concerned citizens.
Calls were made to nearby airports, but government officials could shed no light on it.
The unidentified flying object, estimated to have reached an altitude of 60,000 feet, remained more or less stationary for hours, suggesting that it was tethered to the ground somehow, or hovering under its own power.
Now, an article in Wired magazine has revealed the secret behind the mysterious craft: a Google-financed tech endeavor code-named Project Loon, Fox News reported.
Wired's Steven Levy wrote that the people in Pike County were witnessing a test of Project Loon, a breathtakingly ambitious plan to bring the Internet to a huge swath of as-yet-unconnected humanity via thousands of solar-powered, high-pressure balloons floating some 60,000 feet above Earth.
The balloon stayed aloft for 11 days before reaching Canada.
The Project Loon balloons, while providing fodder for UFO websites and conspiracy theorists, travel "on the edge of space, designed to connect people in rural and remote areas, help fill coverage gaps and bring people back online after disasters," according to the project's website.
The solar-powered balloons would circle the planet, floating in rings about 12 miles (19 kilometers) above Earth in the stratosphere (about twice the altitude at which commercial airplanes fly).
--ANI (Posted on 17-08-2013)