Flashing Light In Orion

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Flashing Light In Orion
Posted by precision alignment on Sunday, November 14, 2010 7:21 PM

Hello. I looked up this sight after seeing the same flashing light in Orion. Around 4:30 A.M near Beetleguese. I've seen it on three occasions in the last week. I'm interested in the UFO theories but have not seen any proof. I find it curious that previous folks have seen this flashing light in the same location, at the same time in the morning. But they are seeing it on the east coast at 4:30 in the morning, and i am seeing it on the west coast at 4:30 in the a.m. I find it hard to believe that a sattelite would be in the same location, at the same time, for several times over a week. The light moves extremely slow. Sometimes seems to stop, or even back up? Always at the same pulse rate, about every 7 to 10 seconds. I presume it might be millitary in nature. So Cal has seen a lot of wierd stuff lately, from that rocket contrail a few days ago, to booming sounds through the night. Loud enough to rattle the windows in my house. But we have heard these noises for years off our coast.

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Posted by Aratus on Tuesday, November 16, 2010 12:23 PM

Hello

 Strange things are sometimes seen in the sky, but speculation about a particular sighting, unless it is an astronomical object, or some other easily explained phenomena, is often devisive and attracts some strange people to these forums! 

So we have been asked to stick to the subject of 'astronomy'.  Smile

Aratus

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Posted by Antitax on Tuesday, November 16, 2010 12:47 PM

If you don't have a camera, try to find someone who can photograph or film this, since it comes back regularly. Then it will be much easier to interpret what it can be. Good amateur photographers and videographers are not rare, and if you warn people in an astroclub from your area, maybe they can keep this recurrent phenomenon under watch.

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Posted by Centaur on Tuesday, November 16, 2010 2:00 PM
Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4

 

 

Welcome to the discussion group, Precision Alignment.

How near to Betelgeuse and in which direction from it?  (A Full Moon is 0.5° in diameter and the zenith is 90° above the horizon.)  How bright is it compared with known stars?  Does it change colors?  Do you intend to take photographs?  There are several bright stars near Betelgeuse that scintillate (twinkle and change colors), especially when not far from the horizon or in a polluted atmosphere.  I assure you that the millions in the astronomical community, both professional and amateur, would have noticed anything unusual and quickly disseminated information to the media about a discovery.  We are not in a gigantic leak-proof conspiracy and have no reason to be. 

For astronomical graphics, including monthly wallpaper calendar, visit:

www.CurtRenz.com/astronomical


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Posted by precision alignment on Sunday, November 21, 2010 9:24 PM

I'm sorry, I'm quite the novis star gazer. I get up early A.M. to look for sattelights, and look for meteorites. I just know the flashing light i see is below Beetleguese and moves slightly east of it from about 4:30 A.M to about 4:45 A.M  I'm in So. Cal. USA. It's not there every morning.Reading other sights, it seems other people have seen the same thing for a year or more. Just looking for an answer.

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Posted by chipdatajeffB on Monday, November 22, 2010 6:16 AM

Sirius (being so bright) is often mistaken for an aircraft or spacecraft, especially when it is rising and the air is turbulent. It often appears to me to be flashing like a warning beacon or an ambulance light. This is a phenomenon called atmospheric prismatic dispersion and is natural, especially when the object is bright and near the horizon (as when rising). While it's in the same part of the sky as Betelgeuse, Procyon (also quite bright) is nearer, so that's another possibility.

Either of these bright stars will "be there" every morning, but they may not always "flash" since the air is sometimes much steadier.

These things lead me to the conclusion you're seeing Sirius through unsteady air:

  1. It's "below" Orion when rising.
  2. It rises about the time you report seeing the light.
  3. It rises every night.
  4. It rises in the same place.
  5. As it rises, it appears to move left/right relative to Orion (illusion caused by Orion moving westward).
  6. You can see it from both coasts of North America at roughly the same time (ignoring "artificial time zones").

One way to test this idea is to observe it on several consecutive mornings and take particular note of its location relative to Orion. If it matches the light you see, then that's probably it.

Or, as has been suggested, a photograph would prove or disprove it, since Sirius is bright enough to show on film or chip if the stars of Orion also show up.

Orion is the "home" of many satellites. Due to its location near the celestial equator, a good many satellites are stationed there, and others move through it quite frequently. However, these are not generally bright enough to be seen to twinkle and they don't have flashing beacons on them.

If you see this phenomenon repeatedly and frequently, and if it never appears to stray far from the horizon, then it most likely is one or more aircraft  in the distance. It can't be the same one as seen from the opposite coast, but the same sort of thing may be occuring there.

Reports like this are difficult to assess since they're not coordinated (by experienced observers simultaneously) and are not quite specific enough to rule a particular cause in or out (see Centaur's questions).

The universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it's stranger than we CAN imagine. --- JBS Haldane

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Posted by precision alignment on Tuesday, November 23, 2010 9:14 PM

Thank you for youre idea. I know where Sirius is. This flashing light is much closer to Beetlegues. It is about the same color and brightness as the three stars in Orions belt. It flashes about every 7 to 10 seconds for about ten minutes or so. It moves very little, and is not there every morning. Thank you for youre interest. I'm not some loon, i've really seen this on several occasions over the last few weeks. I'm sure there is a rational explanation for it. Maybe there are satelights that hold there position in orbit?

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Posted by chipdatajeffB on Tuesday, November 23, 2010 9:51 PM

Note:

Orion is the "home" of many satellites. Due to its location near the celestial equator, a good many satellites are stationed there, and others move through it quite frequently. However, these are not generally bright enough to be seen to twinkle and they don't have flashing beacons on them.

... yep, there are some there.

I observe about one night in three, on average, year in and year out. This time of year I spend a lot of time in the area between The Pleiades and Sirius (working on a spectroscopy project). I've never observed what you mention, though I have seen satellites in that area (most often in the lower half of the Orion constellation).

If you can define "much closer to Betelgeuse" a bit more specifically, I'll give it a more thorough look. For example, is it between Betelgeuse and Bellatrix? between Betelgeuse and Orion's Belt? between Betelgeuse and Procyon? or where? And how far from Betelgeuse?

Directions and distances would help, if you see it at the same point every time. For example, if you hold your hand out, arm outstretched to its fullest, is it one hand-width from Betelgeuse? More? Less?

If it stays within a small area like that, and you can describe it that way for us, then maybe one of us here can verify what you saw and we'll have a better idea what it might be.

If it moves across the sky with the stars of Orion as you observe it, and it only flashes for a few minutes, then it could be a satellite rotating and directing sunlight at you from its solar panels or antennas. If it doesn't move with the starry background, then it's more likely within Earth's atmosphere (an aircraft of some sort). A non-geosynchronous satellite wouldn't likely orbit so consistently through the same point so often.

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Posted by Antitax on Wednesday, November 24, 2010 8:45 AM

chipdatajeffB

Orion is the "home" of many satellites. Due to its location near the celestial equator, a good many satellites are stationed there, and others move through it quite frequently. However, these are not generally bright enough to be seen to twinkle and they don't have flashing beacons on them.

Satellites stationed in space would be the geosynchronous ones, but they are 36,000 kilometers away, about 100 times farther than non-geosynchronous satellites. The distance renders them in the range of 10,000 times fainter than low satellites; no one could see them with the naked eye, and even giant binoculars would barely reveal them.

Could be that some low-orbit gear has engines to slow their orbit in order to observe a particular region for long; I don't know because than it would surely be classified equipment. However, as you said, they would not shine bright enough to twinkle and the observer mentioned they don't outshine the belt stars, anyway. So the only way to settle this would be to make precisely timed observations, pictures or movies of this, from different locations. Then the altitude and position in space (or within the atmosphere) could be triangulated. But the effort is difficult to coordinate, and its success is unsure, since the object does not come regularly.

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Posted by Antitax on Wednesday, November 24, 2010 8:51 AM

precision alignment

Thank you for youre idea. I know where Sirius is. This flashing light is much closer to Beetlegues. It is about the same color and brightness as the three stars in Orions belt. It flashes about every 7 to 10 seconds for about ten minutes or so. It moves very little, and is not there every morning. Thank you for youre interest. I'm not some loon, i've really seen this on several occasions over the last few weeks. I'm sure there is a rational explanation for it. Maybe there are satelights that hold there position in orbit?

Get some cheapo 10x50 binoculars quick if it comes back that often. You will need them for stargazing, anyway. 10x is enough to show if it's just a plane, or maybe a chopper; that would explain the slowness, or the hovering and reversed course. The standard 15x70 Celestron Skymaster astro binocular costs only $80 or less.

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Posted by Siriusly on Tuesday, December 14, 2010 3:10 AM

I am a novice/newby observer and was observing the geminids tonight (the night of Dec 12-13) in the Houston area.   I observed a very similar (assumed) flashing "satellite" sometime near midnight +/- 30 minutes Central time.    I observed a flashing light which passed very slowly, within 2 degrees of Procyon (just below), on a heading due East.   It traveled a total of approx 5 degrees in 10 minutes, and flashed very regularly at once every 6-10 seconds.  Each flash lasting no longer than maybe half a second.   The color was nearly pure white, maybe with a slight orange tint.   The brightness of the flash was very comparable to Gomeisa.  It was easily noticeable with the naked eye, if you happened to be looking when it flashed.    My brother and I were able to observe it for 15-20 minutes.  We were also able to observe it also using Celestron Skymaster 15 x 70 binoculars.   Most of the flashes appeared the same as observed with naked eye (no noticeable increase in size, shape or color), although a couple of the flashes appeared to be elongated, more like a flare.   I found this site when attempting to identify what we saw.  In reading some of the comments, I now wonder if the flashes could have been an engine firing in trying to modify the orbit of a satellite??   Seems a little hard to believe.  Could you actually see that?  Are satellites actually steered around that regularly and would they actually need to fire the engines every 8 seconds for 15 minutes straight??     Doesn't seem right to me, but??  I originally thought that we were seeing reflective flashes off a rotating satellite, but the sun was way too far below the horizon, and I wondered if reflections of the moon could actually light that thing up that bright.   Could it be a weather balloon with a beacon?? 

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Posted by chipdatajeffB on Tuesday, December 14, 2010 3:24 AM

Welcome!

If what you saw was in orbit, it's most likely a tumbling rocket booster. These appear to "flash", though generally not so much that you'd easily notice it visually. I have tracked some with binoculars that had that appearance.

Do you know about Heavens Above? The home page is at:

http://www.heavens-above.com

You register there (free) and select your home city or observing site. You can then look at pages of satellites passing over that location on a given night. In a satellite table there, if you click on the time of the passage you will see a page that gives a detailed track through the sky for that prediction. You can generally nail the identity of an observed satellite that way. If you click on the satellite's name you will see a page that gives you details about the satellite (e,.g., whether it's a rocket booster still in orbit).

There is a date discrepancy in your report: you say "tonight" and you also say "Dec. 12/13", but as of the date you posted this (Dec. 14th) that's off by a day.

I do not see a satellite or rocket booster in the tables for either tonight or the previous night.

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Posted by Antitax on Tuesday, December 14, 2010 7:14 AM

A tumbling piece of orbiting junk could flash but not move that slow, or change its course. Maybe a modern zeppelin could account for those sightings. The flashes could be a safety beacon but why wouldn't the thing have the standard red-on-the-left and green-on-the-right lights?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3n5cUaG5fg&feature=related

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Posted by MattO113 on Tuesday, December 14, 2010 9:43 AM

My girlfriend and I observed something extremely similar to what these posters describe in Milledgeville, Georgia last night... (December 14) around 12:30-1 AM. It was located within the Monoceros constellation and moved slightly to the east over a period of about 15 minutes before we could no longer see it. I timed it with a stop watch to see that it was flashing once every 8-10 seconds. It most definitely was not a twinkling star because it had a definite pattern to its flashes. Its magnitude was less than Sirius and probably Betelgeuse (using nearby major stars as references) but it was flashing at about the magnitude of the average star at night. We were watching the Geminids and I have a pretty decent knowledge of the night sky and I have seen anything like it. What is interesting to me is that it seems a lot of people saw it in the same region of the sky in different parts of the U.S. Many people have described it as being near Orion which I would also consider it to be. 

Just thought I would  give my 2 cents as I was looking this up and found some posts about it but no one seems to really know what it is. Thanks

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Posted by Kevin Bozard on Tuesday, December 14, 2010 10:07 AM

MattO113

My girlfriend and I observed something extremely similar to what these posters describe in Milledgeville, Georgia last night... (December 14) around 12:30-1 AM. 

I was out last night during this same time, from 12:30 until 1:30 AM in South Carolina, but I didn't notice anything unusual in the sky. Just airplanes, and meteors. Smile

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Posted by Antitax on Tuesday, December 14, 2010 2:35 PM

MattO113

My girlfriend and I observed something extremely similar to what these posters describe in Milledgeville, Georgia last night... (December 14) around 12:30-1 AM. It was located within the Monoceros constellation and moved slightly to the east over a period of about 15 minutes before we could no longer see it. I timed it with a stop watch to see that it was flashing once every 8-10 seconds. It most definitely was not a twinkling star because it had a definite pattern to its flashes. Its magnitude was less than Sirius and probably Betelgeuse (using nearby major stars as references) but it was flashing at about the magnitude of the average star at night. We were watching the Geminids and I have a pretty decent knowledge of the night sky and I have seen anything like it. What is interesting to me is that it seems a lot of people saw it in the same region of the sky in different parts of the U.S. Many people have described it as being near Orion which I would also consider it to be. 

Just thought I would  give my 2 cents as I was looking this up and found some posts about it but no one seems to really know what it is. Thanks

What is NORAD doing?

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Posted by Beachbum on Saturday, December 25, 2010 8:23 PM

Antitax

 chipdatajeffB:

 

 The distance renders them in the range of 10,000 times fainter than low satellites; no one could see them with the naked eye, and even giant binoculars would barely reveal them.

I beg to differ on this statement. I am realatively new to astronomy but I know the difference between stars, jets, space station and satellites. On several occasions my girlfriend and I have seen satellites streak across the night sky, on one occasion in particular, we were "fooling around" on the front deck and noticed a satellite moving across the sky when it stopped and took position directly above us. So I flipped it the "moon" . Hope they enjoyed the show, lol.

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Posted by DuneRat on Monday, January 03, 2011 11:26 AM

 

I observed a flashing light in Orion on December 31 at about 9:15 pm mountain time.

It was a visual observation from Mesa Arizona with very clear sky.

The flashing was about halfway between Betelgeuse and the belt.

The flash period appeared to be between 8 and 10 sec.

The light appeared to be white.

The flash duration appeared to be less than or equal to 0.1 seconds.

The flash moved very slowly to the east traveling half orion's belt in about 5 minutes.

The flash grew fainter and faded away after it traveled beyond the belt.

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Posted by chipdatajeffB on Monday, January 03, 2011 1:29 PM

Beachbum
 chipdatajeffB:

 The distance renders them in the range of 10,000 times fainter than low satellites; no one could see them with the naked eye, and even giant binoculars would barely reveal them.

 

I beg to differ on this statement. I am realatively new to astronomy but I know the difference between stars, jets, space station and satellites. On several occasions my girlfriend and I have seen satellites streak across the night sky, on one occasion in particular, we were "fooling around" on the front deck and noticed a satellite moving across the sky when it stopped and took position directly above us. So I flipped it the "moon" . Hope they enjoyed the show, lol.

It's okay to differ. If you re-read my Reply above, I was talking about station-keeping / geosynchronous satellites,which are so far out they are, indeed, not visible to the naked eye.

The exception is flaring due to sunlight glinting from their antennae and solar panels, and that IS bright enough to see naked eye.

If you see a satellite moving relative to the background stars, it is not geosynchronous (by definition).

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Posted by chipdatajeffB on Monday, January 03, 2011 1:32 PM

DuneRat

I observed a flashing light in Orion on December 31 at about 9:15 pm mountain time.

...

The flash moved very slowly to the east traveling half orion's belt in about 5 minutes.

The flash grew fainter and faded away after it traveled beyond the belt.

Sounds like a receding aircraft to me ...

The universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it's stranger than we CAN imagine. --- JBS Haldane

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Posted by DuneRat on Monday, January 03, 2011 5:53 PM

 

It was at 85 degrees off the horizon (nearly vertically overhead) so I was percieving a good percentage of its west to east velocity. It was either going very slowly west to east or was very high. Other high flying aircraft were visible as shimmering colored dots but passed quickly relative to what I saw. The flahing light I saw was only very short duration white flashes--no shimering colors. This seems odd for an aircraft.

I have no idea on its origin but thought it odd enough to see if others saw it. 

This thread seemed to fit what I saw.  

 

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Posted by SURESH MENON on Friday, January 07, 2011 11:02 PM

"Flashing light in Orion" has generated lot of curiosity among members.

I watched the region (Aldebaran to Procyon to Sirius to Rigel - which includes Orion). Betelgeuse has always been my favorite star - the super red giant that I sometimes imagine might already have become a Supernova. We have to wait a few centuries to know.

I thought it would be of interest to my fellow American observers to know what is happening in Orion when it is noon in America and I am in mid night. I am very close to the Equator (8 deg. North Lat) and I see Orion straight overhead by 10.30 pm. I scanned the region with a Celestron and a 7 x 35 Bino. for 2 weeks from mid December @ 1 hour per day. I did not see any unusual activity in that region. The flashing light that some have seen may be due to some kind of special atmospheric condition prevailing at that time in that location or for various reasons pointed out by other writers here.

I believe it may be a good idea to watch Orion from different locations in north and south hemispheres and at different times. This will give us the result of 360 degrees/ 24 hours' survey. We have members from all our the globe. I request them to participate in the observation.

I shall continue the observation and let you know if I see anything unusual out there.

Happy New Year to all.

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by dmrowh on Sunday, January 09, 2011 8:35 AM

I have seen this mysterious object 3 times in the last week, and am all the more intrigued now after reading these posts...

From my location in Salisbury, NC (35.66N x 80.49W) I have seen this object between 10.30 and 11.15 PM, around the 'shield' of Orion, approx. location D5.0 x RA5h5m.  It seems stationary, or moving very slowly, flashing at around mag. 3.5, with a 10-12 second period.

I'm an experienced amateur astronomer, satellite observer and 'planespotter', and I've never seen anything like this.  I hope we can figure out what it is.

 

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Posted by chipdatajeffB on Sunday, January 09, 2011 10:08 AM

Can I make a suggestion here?

Those of you who observe this phenomenon and know how to do it, please write a detailed observing report including the object's location in celestial coordinates and, if possible, a second or even third location if it is moving. Please include the specific time (to the second if possible) of your observation (use your cellphone if you don't have access to a time signal).

And (as a couple of you have done) a detailed description not only of what you saw but where specifically you were at the time (latitude and longitude, even if only to the nearest degree or two) would be much appreciated as well.

Furthermore, if you observe this phenoment before local midnight, post an immediate report here so that anyone else who is online might be able to go observe at the same time. A coordinated observation could be vital to figuring out what this is.

I apologize for repeating this, but I observe roughly one night in three, on average, and this time of year I generally spend at least an hour of each session observing and/or photographing Orion. Aside from some satellites and on one occasion an asteroid (viewed through a 20" telescope), I don't see anything resembling what's being reported. Short of photographs, only detailed observing reports from experienced observers OR a coordinated observation, is likely to nail this ...

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Posted by drtyharry on Wednesday, January 26, 2011 7:17 PM

I live in Baytown Texas and tonight , 1-26-11, at 6:30 I was in the back yard with my dog. I looked up at the constellation Orion and saw a VERY bright flash of extremely white light. It only lasted a split second and was located between the belt and the head of Orion close to the center star in the belt. I have never seen anything like this and continued to watch for about 30 more minutes until my neck got sore. I did a Google search on the internet and was amazed to see I was not the only one to see this. I am extremely curious as to what it was.

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Posted by chipdatajeffB on Wednesday, January 26, 2011 8:28 PM

I have seen something similar a couple of times. Once it was SO bright that my brain thought "gamma-ray burst" for a few seconds.

I was looking directly at it and was flash-blinded for an instant. I had an after-image of it for several seconds.

That made it hard to nail its location, but I made a quick note and then went into the observatory to mark it on a chart. After I searched the location it on charts it dawned on me that it was very near the ecliptic, so I did a satellite search and found that a satellite was, indeed, very near that position at the time.

So, I concluded it was a flare. Not an Iridium flare, but from a different satellite. These can be very bright. The brightest I've seen (with foreknowledge) was a -8 iridium flare. Such a flare lasts for many seconds, ramping up over perhaps a half-minute, then flaring briefly, and ramping down more quickly that the build-up phase.

What I saw in Orion that night was like a pinpoint cosmic flashbulb, so if it was a satellite it was a geosat or similar station-keeping one.

I've seen those flashes perhaps four or five times now, but never anywhere near that bright.

It's a single flash, by the way, not a periodic, repetitive "flashing light" -- just one brief Pow!

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Posted by DaveMitsky on Wednesday, January 26, 2011 9:45 PM

Orion sees a lot of traffic.  A picture, as they say, is worth a thousand words.  (Be sure to have a look at the linked YouTube video too.)

http://picasaweb.google.com/ajaytalwar80/DeepSky#5526302697950124002

Geosats at 40 degrees north latitude have a declination of a bit more than -6 degrees.

Dave Mitsky

Sic itur ad astra!

Chance favors the prepared mind.

A man is a small thing, and the night is very large and full of wonders.

  • Member since
    January, 2011
Posted by drtyharry on Thursday, January 27, 2011 7:09 AM

 I received this e-mail from a friend in Houston who is a Mufon investigator....

wish to thank you for taking the time and reporting your sighting to MUFON. The anomaly that you saw was caused by ETS-7 satellite. Below is the ground tracking of the event. The time is within a 10 min + or - . window. The second photo a picture of the satellite. This is give you an idea what the satellite looks like. The third photo is a panoramic view on the ground the direction satellite took. The craft was in an orbit from west to east. If you have any further questions please feel free to contact me.

 
  • Member since
    January, 2011
Posted by sdseal on Thursday, January 27, 2011 10:06 PM

As others, I came to this page after observing something very similar...

Jan 27th, 8:30 pm from Poplarville MS close to 30 N 89 W

Flashing of light for around 5 minutes at 7 to 8 seconds interval. The light was stationary almost at the zenith between Taurus and Orion. In years of observing, I've never seen anything like it. Really interesting. 

The light was white. No intermittent flashes of any other color. Just a steady white flash every 7 second. 

If it was a geostationary satellite, the source must have been extremely bright to be seen at that distance. 

If it moved it was a negligible movement.

 

  • Member since
    March, 2008
Posted by Antitax on Friday, January 28, 2011 8:50 AM

drtyharry

I received this e-mail from a friend in Houston who is a Mufon investigator....

wish to thank you for taking the time and reporting your sighting to MUFON. The anomaly that you saw was caused by ETS-7 satellite. Below is the ground tracking of the event. The time is within a 10 min + or - . window. The second photo a picture of the satellite. This is give you an idea what the satellite looks like. The third photo is a panoramic view on the ground the direction satellite took. The craft was in an orbit from west to east. If you have any further questions please feel free to contact me.

The ETS-7 sat orbits at 545 km, a pretty average altitude, so it's normal that it flashed only briefly because satellites at that height fly by real fast. Their apparent speed is similar to the apparent velocity of high-flying airplanes. But what the other posters saw moves very, very slowly and sometimes moves sideways or backwards. I don't believe they could be geostationary sats because they are about 100 times more distant than low-orbit gear that we routinely see with the naked eye.

So they are 10,000 times (10 magnitudes) dimmer. The very brightest low-orbit sat can flare at -8 mag, that would become +2 mag from the geostationary orbit. A more average sat of +2 mag would then appear as a +12 mag but that's more than a hundred times too faint for the naked eye, and quite faint even in giant binoculars. 

What they spotted was either much closer or much bigger than an average satellite. A superlarge orbiter would be noticed by radar and optical observers so I would guess the culprit is close, maybe it's one of those spooky giant blimps they put in service lately.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3n5cUaG5fg

TS 8x40 Wildlife, 10x50 Marine/Fujinon 16x70/TS 80mm triplet, 6x30 finder, EQ-3 mount, TS 2" 99% diagonal/Celestron C5+ and 6x30 finder, DIY tripod/5" Bahtinov/12" GSO dob, 8x50 finder/Meade 2" 24mm 82°/Hyperion 24,13,10mm 68°/TS Expanse 17mm 70°/SW 7mm Panorama 82°/Ultima 2x barlow/Astronomik UHC-E filter/Baader O-III/Astro Solar 5" & 80mm filters/Sky Atlas 2000/Rükl's Moon Atlas/Canon 400D/5mW green laser

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