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My now-deceased mother and i were sitting on our 3rd-floor porch of our apartment building facing w (toward the santa cruz mountains) along el camino real, mountain view, ca, in the early evening of early summer 1988. the sky condition was clear with a bright afterglow from the sun that had just set behind the mountains. suddenly, a glowing object passed in front of and elevated just above the mountain range from our left (se) to our right (nw). it appeared to be a fireball with a trail of flames and gray smoke swirling directly and strictly behind the fireball. the smoke and flame trail did not pass beyond the width of the fireball. we heard no noise and felt no heat from it. it moved about as fast as a jet liner landing at an airport, and about that high and far away from our vantage point. it did not swerve or vary from a straight-line path as it disappeared over the horizon to our right. we saw no evidence of a crash landing. it just passed in front of us and was gone. the event took less than 20 seconds or so. a very few minutes after it disappeared, a gray-colored helicopter with the word navy on its tail section flew out from behind us, circled in front of us for a minute or two, then flew back from where it had come. our assumption was that they saw it, too, and were investigating. since the navy’s moffet field is located close by in the general direction behind us, i assume it came from there. i am reporting this now at this late date since i did not know of mufon’s exitance at the time of the event.