Stars that move in the sky at night??

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  • Member since
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Stars that move in the sky at night??
Posted by dave robson on Friday, July 19, 2013 9:08 PM

Hello everyone,

I have now on a couple of occasions witnessed what seemed to be stars moving in the sky at night. These "stars" move extremely quickly across the sky.... far too fast for them to be planes or helicopters not to mention far to high as well.

These "stars" as well as moving quickly across the sky also seem to be changing direction. I have read through various different explanations online to see if I could shed any light on this and the obvious answer that keeps being repeated is that they are satellites. This would be a great plausible explanation if it was not for the fact that they change direction and seem to navigate across the sky.

can anyone else bring any other explanation to the table??

 

thanks

Dave Robson 

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Posted by Antitax on Saturday, July 20, 2013 5:06 AM

  Where do you observe from and what part of the sky were they in (if you can situate north, south, east and west at night)? Did you have a chance to look at them with binoculars? What was their brightness and color compared to fixed stars? What time was it? Do airports or weather stations operate in your area? How big an arc did they travel across the sky, remembering it's a 90° angle from zenith to horizon? How long do these sightings last?

  (Hope I don't come across as a cop interrogating you).

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Posted by Centaur on Saturday, July 20, 2013 9:37 AM

At this time of year they could be fireflies.

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Posted by dave robson on Monday, July 22, 2013 1:11 PM
I was in my back garden in Morecambe. It definately was not fireflies as they had far too much altitude... i have seen helicopters going overhead before and it certainly was not a helicopter... again too much altitude. there was about five or six of these and they were witnessed by five of us. I was standing in my back garden with the coast on my right hand side so I was looking in a southerly direction. Alought these sightings seemed to be more above than south. They were seen with the naked eye and looked the same as the stars around them initially. As they started to more their speed was far beyond the speed of a plane. They moved one at a time and there was just one that moved from south to north. The sightings lasted for around a minute at a time and went on from about 1:30am to 3:00am. There was a plane that went over head earlier and the plane was a lot closer with its blinking lights and a whole lot slower.
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Posted by zachsdad on Monday, July 22, 2013 2:13 PM

Satellites. Any perceived change in direction would be an optical illusion based on their change in relative position compared to the background stars.

Terry's Law of Cosmology: "Light travels faster than sound. That's why some people appear bright until you hear them speak."

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Posted by Antitax on Monday, July 22, 2013 2:48 PM

dave robson

They were seen with the naked eye and looked the same as the stars around them initially. As they started to move their speed was far beyond the speed of a plane. They moved one at a time and there was just one that moved from south to north. The sightings lasted for around a minute at a time and went on from about 1:30am to 3:00am.

   Sorry, I can't figure out what you saw. Satellites don't stay put and then start moving; they move continuously. Chinese lanterns don't fly one at a time, and they don't last 90 minutes. One person could be deluded about a satellite seeming to change speed or direction, but not five persons. And no plane, helicopter, blimp or satellite appears for a minute before going away, only to come back and repeat the dance. Moreover they wouldn't or couldn't do these maneuvers in groups.

   All I can say is find yourself a handy binoc that's convenient to use even with your neck tilted back (practice by day), and log your observations. Some stargazers or weather observers operate all-sky cameras that register all the movement in the sky for hours, and show the result on a computer. Some even come with a software that selects the frames where something moves fast, while ignoring the rest. If such an equipment could be brought to your area, a material and studiable account would be obtained.

http://www.moonglowtech.com/products/AllSkyCam/

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Posted by Centaur on Thursday, July 25, 2013 12:28 PM

dave robson
It definately was not fireflies as they had far too much altitude...

You seem quite certain. What was their precise altitude? How did you determine this? Did you use radar or triangulation? If the estimate was made simply by eyeballing a mysterious object, the brain can be tricked.

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Posted by zachsdad on Thursday, July 25, 2013 2:12 PM

Well, the human ability to perceive depth using binocular vision is a form of triangulation. I don't think the poster needs to be able to quote a "precise altitude" to know that the objects he was seeing were further away than lightening bugs.

Terry's Law of Cosmology: "Light travels faster than sound. That's why some people appear bright until you hear them speak."

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Posted by Centaur on Thursday, July 25, 2013 2:26 PM

zachsdad

Well, the human ability to perceive depth using binocular vision is a form of triangulation. I don't think the poster needs to be able to quote a "precise altitude" to know that the objects he was seeing were further away than lightening bugs.

Human binocular vision fails after about 10 meters and much closer without background objects at a close angular separation for comparison. The night sky can present illusions to eyes that are arranged to excel in the daytime.

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Posted by Genesis 1:1 on Thursday, July 25, 2013 4:01 PM

Now that we are duly impressed with your knowledge of fireflies & illusions perhaps we might be allowed to return to the OP's question.  Smile, Wink & Grin

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Posted by zachsdad on Thursday, July 25, 2013 4:01 PM

But, then again, lightening bugs aren't a part of the night sky.

Terry's Law of Cosmology: "Light travels faster than sound. That's why some people appear bright until you hear them speak."

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Posted by Centaur on Thursday, July 25, 2013 4:32 PM

Genesis 1:1

Now that we are duly impressed with your knowledge of fireflies & illusions perhaps we might be allowed to return to the OP's question.  Smile, Wink & Grin

How about these?
 
 
 
My friends and I had a similar experience about fifty years ago. For a couple of nights in July we saw a number of UFOs (Unidentified Flying Objects) hovering what seemed to be far overhead. Then during the second night one of them grew much brighter as it swooped down to approach us. It was a firefly.

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Posted by Genesis 1:1 on Thursday, July 25, 2013 5:05 PM

Since I have no fireflies, in my part of the country, to be fooled by, I will defer to those who have had such Close Encounters. (Although, as a young boy, I may have had a 'minor' firefly sighting, in the night sky.)

Today, much of my viewing is done with hand held binoculars, sometimes tripod mounted binoculars, & I have yet to be deceived by flying insects.

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://smileys.on-my-web.com/repository/MSN_Emoticons/MSN-Emoticon-alien-044.gif&imgrefurl=http://smileys.on-my-web.com/categorie-MSN%2BEmoticons.html&h=120&w=85&sz=44&tbnid=rsgklrIeBPQ9tM:&tbnh=90&tbnw=64&zoom=1&usg=__clMDpP9sMyl0n_sCR1q9cVw003k=&docid=B2OpVt__XkQujM&sa=X&ei=x6LxUeaMPIfVrgHkzIGwCA&ved=0CFEQ9QEwCA&dur=610

Backing up your comments, with real evidence, as you just did, makes it easier for the rest of us to understand   where you are coming from.

Thank you  

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Posted by Antitax on Thursday, July 25, 2013 5:08 PM

  What Dave Robson and his friends saw stood still in the sky for a while before setting itself in motion; fireflies don't do the hovering. Also, fireflies are yellow-green, were these flying lights only yellow-green, Dave? And moving with the agitated randomness of bugs?

  Which reminds me, on one of my latest stay at the rural obsy I spotted a weird stationary green dot in the dark trees around the field. The light didn't move a bit, contrary to the fireflies. It looked like a laser, but kinda weak, and motionless. No one is entrenched in the dense foliage with a puny laser in hand, I thought, that doesn't make sense, and I would see him in the near-darkness.

  Maybe the reflection of a diode on some shiny object stuck in a tree? Could be, the C11 building's door is open and pretty close to that foliage. There are so many diodes in there, one could reflect on a chewing-gum wrapping stuck in a tree. But on closer approach, only a tiny greenish-yellow dot hanging in front of the tree was there, with no clue as to what kept it hovering.

Hmm

  If it's not stuck in the foliage, how does it stay put in mid-air, attached to nothing? Walking a couple steps closer and aided by a flashlight, the truth of the hovering glow revealed itself: a dying firefly, caught in a spiders' trap, was hanging motionless at the end of a thread of twisted spider wires. Its glow faded slowly as I did my closest examination: the spider was near but let its prey loose, hanging at its torn web cause it had no longer concerns about any escape; it had already injected the poison. True to predation, the luminous insect faded to black as it died. As light was shed on this little puzzle, the bug's light dimmed to nothingness.

Dead

  End of a life, of this off-topic and of fireflies stories. What Dave and his friends witnessed was not that naive a thing. Only inarticulate and vague, or quick-to-jump-to-sensational-conclusions people are that deluded, which is not the sober account he gave.

EDIT: I posted this before seeing your latest post about fireflies confusion, Centaur.

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Posted by Tony383 on Sunday, October 27, 2013 11:50 AM

I know this is an old post, but how late at night was it, and was it in a really dark sky location?  I have had that effect especially when I am in an extremely dark sky location, and it seems to get worse as I get more tired during the night.  My girlfriend also sees that effect, I think it has something to do with the huge amount of stars visible to the eye which creates the illusion.  

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Posted by DaveMitsky on Sunday, October 27, 2013 1:37 PM

There is an illusion of movement known as the autokinetic effect.

http://indianapublicmedia.org/amomentofscience/autokinetic-effect/

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Posted by Tony383 on Sunday, October 27, 2013 3:51 PM

Thanks Dave.  I knew it had a name, just couldn't remember it!  

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Posted by Wanted1 on Wednesday, April 09, 2014 3:23 AM

i just saw the same thing im in alaska they whete high in the sky looked the size of a star going fast too high to be a plane ! i seena few they will change directions and even apear to stop and then go a diff direction then dissapear in th clear moon lit sky . its a verry un nerving feeling seeing this .

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Posted by LeslieAnn on Friday, April 11, 2014 12:16 AM

I've also seen this.  The first time I noticed was in the fall of 2006, in Rogers, MN (about a 30 min drive from downtown Minneapolis).  I was just looking up to observe the night sky, and noticed within some clusters of stars erratic movement.  Almost like darting back and forth, because it is rather quick, these lights or "stars".  Plus, their movement is quite rigid, not at all fluid or graceful.  It's like Zip!Stop!Turn.Zip!Stop!Turn!  I know that might sound silly, but I cannot think of any other way to describe it.  Also, sometimes these "stars" will make a series of same handed turns, so that it's route appears to complete a square.  

It was those types of movements that really got me thinking that these can't be satellites.  I can understand how our eyes can play tricks on us, and how atmosphere can play tricks with light travelling through it.  I also know that I've used familiar "landmarks" (i.e., constellations) as reference points in the background and these "stars" are most definitely moving relative to these.

Everytime I go outside at night I look at the sky.  Sometimes everything is still and normal, sometimes I'll see just one or two zipping around up there, and some nights it's like they're all moving about. 

 

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