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Old 07-09-2014, 09:14 PM   #1
steph
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Default What did I see?

Maybe this belongs in Brighton Lounge, I don't know.
I'm trying to get a clearer idea of what I saw this night. It was about 19:40 UTC, give or take a few minutes, when I saw something that looked like a rather faint pass of the ISS (I'd eyeball the magnitude at about 0 or -1 at most), but moving a lot faster, linearly from west to east. From the looks of it, I'm quite sure it was a satellite, or maybe some sort of plane. It had the same "point of light" look as the ISS, no blinking and with no distinguishable features, but moving much faster even than an aircraft would. Let's not say in 10 seconds, but in 20 seconds it had gone from basically overhead to fading towards the eastern horizon.
I've looked on heavens-above.com, but I can't seem to find any suitable pass. An Iridium Flare is listed at approximately the same time, but it was going North-South and it would have moved too slow for it to be what I've seen.
The way it faded as it went east makes me think it was something airbourne/ in orbit. It faded a bit smoother than the way ISS does when it goes into Earth's shadow, but then again, the sun hadn't set that much time ago, light might still have been shining on it.
So..something that looks like a satellit, but goes much faster....Maybe a lower orbit? Perhaps a high eccentricity orbit, maybe Molnyia? I was also thinking it might have been something that started reentering, though there was no ionization trail.
The viewing location was Cluj, Romania. I would've taken pictures or filmed it, but my phone camera is way too crappy to see it, and the street lights would've made it worse. To give an idea about the magnitude, I had to block a streetlight from view with my hand in order to see the thing clearly.
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Old 07-09-2014, 09:33 PM   #2
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20 seconds from zenith to horizon doesn't seem too much of a quick pass to me. Could be almost any object in LEO.
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Old 07-09-2014, 10:28 PM   #3
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Aliens. It was Aliens.
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Old 07-14-2014, 04:11 AM   #4
Matias Saibene
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I saw something similar a few weeks ago (I think three weeks ago) and I think I've seen the ISS.
If you want to be sure that you have seen the ISS, you can enter the date and time when the sighting occurred at the following website:
http://www.isstracker.com/historical
I hope you have served.
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Old 07-14-2014, 05:18 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steph View Post
 Maybe this belongs in Brighton Lounge, I don't know.
I'm trying to get a clearer idea of what I saw this night. It was about 19:40 UTC, give or take a few minutes, when I saw something that looked like a rather faint pass of the ISS (I'd eyeball the magnitude at about 0 or -1 at most), but moving a lot faster, linearly from west to east. From the looks of it, I'm quite sure it was a satellite, or maybe some sort of plane. It had the same "point of light" look as the ISS, no blinking and with no distinguishable features, but moving much faster even than an aircraft would. Let's not say in 10 seconds, but in 20 seconds it had gone from basically overhead to fading towards the eastern horizon.
I've looked on heavens-above.com, but I can't seem to find any suitable pass. An Iridium Flare is listed at approximately the same time, but it was going North-South and it would have moved too slow for it to be what I've seen.
The way it faded as it went east makes me think it was something airbourne/ in orbit. It faded a bit smoother than the way ISS does when it goes into Earth's shadow, but then again, the sun hadn't set that much time ago, light might still have been shining on it.
So..something that looks like a satellit, but goes much faster....Maybe a lower orbit? Perhaps a high eccentricity orbit, maybe Molnyia? I was also thinking it might have been something that started reentering, though there was no ionization trail.
The viewing location was Cluj, Romania. I would've taken pictures or filmed it, but my phone camera is way too crappy to see it, and the street lights would've made it worse. To give an idea about the magnitude, I had to block a streetlight from view with my hand in order to see the thing clearly.
Try using Heavens Above (http://www.heavens-above.com/) and your coordinates to narrow it down.
(I usually print out a sheet of passes before I head out on camping trips into the mountains. It can be quite entertaining to lay out on a summer night at 1750 meters of elevation or higher and watch the satellites pass by.)
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Old 07-14-2014, 12:34 PM   #6
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Old 07-14-2014, 07:38 PM   #7
statickid
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masthead light...
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Old 07-14-2014, 10:47 PM   #8
Traveller
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It could have been the Hubble Space Telescope.
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Old 07-24-2014, 10:14 AM   #9
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Been a bit of night sky watcher all my life. Last few nights seen something I'm not sure of. I'm very use to watching aircraft at night, often spot satellites but I've seen something a bit different several times in the last few days.

The lights look high as in orbital, but flash at a low frequency, much lower than say an aircraft strobe light. They appear maybe for one, two or three flashes. I'm not seeing things as my son saw them last night also. I live in Essex UK, last night the lights were directly overhead. A couple of nights ago a little to the West.

I've considered debris, or spinning satellites? One last night had the distinct flashes of bright light (around aircraft strobe intensity but appearing much higher in the sky) and I could just make out for a second or two between the flashes that there was an object there with what appeared to be an orbital trajectory.

I'm fascinated as I've never seen anything quite like it before!
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Old 07-24-2014, 10:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Odahs View Post
 Been a bit of night sky watcher all my life. Last few nights seen something I'm not sure of. I'm very use to watching aircraft at night, often spot satellites but I've seen something a bit different several times in the last few days.

The lights look high as in orbital, but flash at a low frequency, much lower than say an aircraft strobe light. They appear maybe for one, two or three flashes. I'm not seeing things as my son saw them last night also. I live in Essex UK, last night the lights were directly overhead. A couple of nights ago a little to the West.

I've considered debris, or spinning satellites? One last night had the distinct flashes of bright light (around aircraft strobe intensity but appearing much higher in the sky) and I could just make out for a second or two between the flashes that there was an object there with what appeared to be an orbital trajectory.

I'm fascinated as I've never seen anything quite like it before!
Do you have the time of observation and (if you can remember) what direction it flies from (and what stars it pass close to)? If so ask at www.satobs.org/seesat/ and see if the experienced satellite observers have the answers!
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Old 07-24-2014, 01:15 PM   #11
Odahs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Galactic Penguin SST View Post
 Do you have the time of observation and (if you can remember) what direction it flies from (and what stars it pass close to)? If so ask at www.satobs.org/seesat/ and see if the experienced satellite observers have the answers!

I think one possibility is iridium flares after doing a bit of research, but oddly I've seen the lights sometimes as more than one object at a time! I'll make a point of recording some details if I see them again. Seems almost like I've been seeing them whenever I happened to look though, which made me think of some form of debris field.
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