My wife and i were on the patio at approximately 2230 on 14 april, 2018.We frequently do this to watch satellites on clear nights. while looking directly overhead i observed what i thought first to be an aircraft strobe light. i have over 20,000 hours of flight time as a former military pilot and an airline pilot, so i have seen many, many strobe lights over time. the light had a unique light burst to it that made me pay more attention as i saw it again and noticed the flashing was random. this light burst appeared to be at great altitude and i then eliminated aircraft from my thinking. then i thought perhaps a satellite but geosynchronous? i attempted to point it out to my wife but it took her another 3 or four pulsating bursts for her to locate it.One of the bursts i saw had a beam shoot out to what would have been the west from our location but it was a limited distance. it was strobe like but also unlike any strobe i have seen. a strobe is the only close analogy that i can come up with. these pulsations were of various intensities and colors. i think there were about 10 or 12 bursts of light in all but only one included the strobe like incident. needless to say it was quite exciting. i imagine there is a perfectly good explanation but in all of my time aloft..... never anything like this. in closing, the object appeared stationary but at great height. it did not move off but rather discontinued the emitting.