Following evening class at Syracuse U. in February 1947, 2 of us walked across campus under a clear starry winter sky.
It was quite cold with several inches of snow on the ground.
As we approached the university observatory my buddy noticed that the dome doors were open, there was some light inside and that the upper end of the telescope could be seen swinging back and forth in the opening about every 10 seconds.
When we were passing the building, we saw that the entrance door was open, in spite of the cold, and we were curious enough at that point to enter the ground floor.
It was a fairly small building, round and perhaps about 20' to 25' across.
In the center, some kind of support for a small telescope had been constructed to hold the telescope mount about 10' to 12' above the floor.
This was surrounded by a grille platform.
The telescope was a refractor about 6' to 7' long.
The man using the telescope was walking it back and forth rapidly the length of the dome opening.When we began to climb the stairs to the platform, he swung around to look and then exclaimed:
Thank god you guys are here. Come and look and tell me I'm not crazy.
Explaining that he had seen something strange in the starry sky, he asked us to each look at whatever he had been observing and not mention what we saw until all of us had a good look.
Both of us each had, I believe, about 2 or 3 minutes for the initial observation, with the telescope fixed in position.
This was an old instrument, in good condition, but dating probably to the late 1800's, and not very powerful.
It was a cold, very clear winter night.
The star field seemed very rich to someone like myself who had grown up near New York City.
As I began my observation, a moving light entered the field and traversed it completely in,
I would guess, about 5or 6 seconds.
The astronomer told me to keep looking.
I wasn't counting, but I would guess that within another 20 to 30 seconds the next light appeared, and then another and another, until I had seen 10 or 12.
At this point, I turned it over to my friend, Dick, and he made his observation.
But what were we looking at?
Comparing notes, it quickly became obvious we were all seeing the same objects.
There was an unending stream of elliptical or circular objects crossing the heavens, obliterating stars as they passed at a high rate of speed.
They were apparently navigating an unseen highway, because each followed the same track.
The only details visible through that telescope were a grey bottom surface, slightly lighter than the night sky background, possibly starlight reflected from snowfields far below, but maybe not, and a thin bright yellow orange trailing edge which seemed to ripple slightly.
Some were a little brighter than others.
None of us really had any ideas what we might be looking at, but the astronomer assured us he'd never seen anything like it.
He then released the telescope so that it could be moved freely, and we were able to track these objects from zenith almost to the horizon, a traverse that only took about 15 to 20 seconds, I think.
We each looked at another 25 to 30 or so, and then decided to call it a night, as neither of us was dressed to stand around in that weather.
The other recollection which comes back to me clearly was that each of these craft, or whatever they were, arrived at approximately the same area the track they were following and appeared to make a little hop to one side and continue without losing speed, perhaps following a magnetic line to the North.
With the naked eye, they were essentially invisible in the starfield.
We never met the astronomer again, although Dick and I discussed it a number of times.