It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

Strange sighting, satellite or ...

page: 1
0

log in

join
share:

posted on Jul, 16 2007 @ 02:25 PM
link   
Yesterday I was visting my ex-wife an kids who live in the North of France in a small town called Avesnes-sur-Helpe. Around 1 am, the family was well asleep, I went into the garden to have a smoke, the sky was clear and as usual in this place the stars were very clear and bright.

As I was star gazing my eye caught a small point that was moving at a constant speed from South to North. I have on numerous occasions seen satellites pass overhead, usually moving from South to North, but this one was rather special. As I followed the movement for more that 10 seconds, the small point grew in size (+/- x 30) and became extremely bright. This lasted for about 5 seconds after which it turned again to the size of a small dot until I lost it out of sight.

This is the first time I see a satellite glow that hard, which does explain the increase in size but which doesn't explain as to why it became that bright. A satellite usually flies about 100 to 200 miles altitude, taking the time of sighting in consideration, I can hardly imagine it was the reflection of the sun light that made it glow like that. Anyone has a explanation for this occurrence?

Smalco

[edit on 16-7-2007 by smalco]




posted on Jul, 16 2007 @ 02:34 PM
link   
Satellites will sometimes flare as they pass overhead if they are rotating and you catch a reflection of e.g., a solar array or other highly reflective surface.

The satellite dead giveaway is typically a slow, steady speed with no change in direction. The reflectivity and apparent brightness are merely functions of the angle to the observer relative the light source (the sun), which changes due to position, rotation, atmospheric conditions, and the transition between satellite materials.

Or... ...it's a UFO



posted on Jul, 16 2007 @ 03:33 PM
link   
Most likely what you saw was an iridium satellite flare. Every once in a while I get to see one. The other night I saw one increase to about magnitude -8. It was very bright then faded away to dim. It was the brightest object in the sky for a few seconds. I checked a listing for passes and there indeed one at the time I saw it.



posted on Jul, 16 2007 @ 03:46 PM
link   

Originally posted by roadgravel
The other night I saw one increase to about magnitude -8.


Are you sure? Venus is mag. -4. The moon is mag. -12.

-8 is extraordinarily bright for a satellite I'd think.

[edit on 7/16/2007 by yuefo]



posted on Jul, 16 2007 @ 03:53 PM
link   
You almost certainly saw a satellite flare. They are very common and predictable, and in high summer you can see them quite late at night in the northern hemisphere. On clear nights I will go outside to see them frequently.



posted on Jul, 16 2007 @ 03:55 PM
link   

Originally posted by smalco
As I was star gazing my eye caught a small point that was moving at a constant speed from South to North. I have on numerous occasions seen satellites pass overhead, usually moving from South to North, but this one was rather special. As I followed the movement for more that 10 seconds, the small point grew in size (+/- x 30) and became extremely bright. This lasted for about 5 seconds after which it turned again to the size of a small dot until I lost it out of sight.


Did it look like this?

BTW, -8 magnitude is not unusual for an Iridium Flare.



posted on Jul, 16 2007 @ 04:32 PM
link   

Originally posted by yuefo
Are you sure? Venus is mag. -4. The moon is mag. -12.

-8 is extraordinarily bright for a satellite I'd think.


I am in a very dark spot out here. I believe it was listed as an -8. It was much brighter than Venus when it flared.



posted on Jul, 16 2007 @ 04:52 PM
link   
It would have been better if I hadn't been lazy and just checked:


Some of the flares are so bright (some get up to -8 magnitude, but rarely they can get to a brilliant -9.5) [1] that they can be seen at daytime, but they are most impressive at night.
en.wikipedia.org...

My bad...



posted on Jul, 16 2007 @ 04:54 PM
link   
I saw something similar, I'm in Wisconsin. 4th of July, sitting outside my house, I saw a point of light cross the Big Dipper, south to north. It started just just below the end of the handle, and moved to just above the end of the bucket within seconds. It was already "there" when I looked up, so I never saw a flare up, but I did see it fade away above the bucket.

And to the poster providing the video link, it was nowhere near that bright. I'd have to say it was about as bright as the stars in the Big Dipper. I've tried to make two different posts regarding this, but each time I get the message that the title I chose has already been used in this forum, and to hit the back button to correct it. When I hit the back button, I lose the entire post.



posted on Jul, 16 2007 @ 05:24 PM
link   
The OP stated that the sighting occurred around 1 a.m.

It is my understanding that satellite sightings occur within a couple hours after sunset or a couple hours before sunrise (in all, but the very Northernmost and Southernmost latitudes).

The reason for this is that a satellite must be in a position to reflect sunlight in order for an observer to see it. 1 a.m. would be a bit late for satellite viewing.

My opinion is that the OP saw either a meteorite or something altogether different.

[edit on 16-7-2007 by Xenophobe]



posted on Jul, 16 2007 @ 05:37 PM
link   
I took a photo of one for threads just like this.

This is an Iridium Flare..about a 20 second time exposure.
You can see it start out dim, then brighten, and then dim again.

Is this similar to what you saw?




[edit on 16-7-2007 by spacedoubt]



posted on Jul, 16 2007 @ 06:37 PM
link   

Originally posted by spacedoubt
Is this similar to what you saw?


In my case, that is definately not what I saw. It looked like nothing more than a fast moving star. My sighting was at about 23:00, so as the poster above stated, it could possibly have been a satellite? Do they move that fast would be my question to that.

And just out of curiousity, what causes an Iridium Flare?



posted on Jul, 16 2007 @ 07:42 PM
link   


Q. What is an Iridium flare?

A. An Iridium flare is caused by the sun being reflected from one of the three main mission antennae (MMA) of an Iridium satellite. The MMAs are flat, highly polished aluminium surfaces, and when the angles are just right, they can reflect the sun just like a mirror. There are over 80 of these communications satellites in orbit, and they are operated by the Iridium LLC Consortium. For more information, please see our Iridium flare help page.


The height of the satellite above earth determines the times that it can be seen. I ask a watcher about late night sightings and was told they are possible.
I'll try to research the iridiums.



Q. Why are satellites not visible in the middle of the night?

A. Satellites are only visible when they are lit by the sun, but the observer on the ground is already in darkness. These conditions are met only when the sun is below the observer's horizon, but not too far down or the satellites themselves are also in the earth's shadow. So normally, satellites are only visible a few hours after sunset, or before sunrise. In the middle of the night the sun is simply too far below the horizon to light them. In summer however, especially at latitudes far north or south, the sun is never too far down, even at midnight, and satellites can be seen the whole night through.



[edit on 7/16/2007 by roadgravel]



posted on Jul, 16 2007 @ 10:27 PM
link   

Originally posted by Xenophobe
The OP stated that the sighting occurred around 1 a.m.

It is my understanding that satellite sightings occur within a couple hours after sunset or a couple hours before sunrise (in all, but the very Northernmost and Southernmost latitudes).

The reason for this is that a satellite must be in a position to reflect sunlight in order for an observer to see it. 1 a.m. would be a bit late for satellite viewing.


[edit on 16-7-2007 by Xenophobe]


Not near midsummer. Then the Earth's shadow is far enough south that even at mid latitude satellites can be visible within an hour or so of midnight.



posted on Jul, 17 2007 @ 10:06 AM
link   
It does sound like a flare from a satellite - and at this time of year the sun is never far below the horizon, so I would say this is the most lightly explanation. (edit: disownedsky beat me to it while I was writing)

If you go to heavens-above.com and enter in your location, you can see if there was an Iridium flare at the time you observed this event.

It may also have been a slow meteor, although the time scale for the event you describe makes this less lightly, since meteors are usually only visible for a second or two, and meteors lasting 10 seconds or more tend to be very few and far between. However, you may have seen one, and a good candidate shower would be the Alpha Capricornids, which have just become active, and are well known for their relatively slow and bright meteors. 1AM is also the time when you most lightly to see one, as the Alpha Capricornid radiant is at its highest point in the sky at this time. The radiant is also in the South part of the sky at this time, which would further add to the possibility that this may have been a meteor from this shower.

If you can recall the point of appearance and disappearance of the object in relation to the stars (or at least its elevation/how high above the horizon), it may be possible to at least rule out this possibility.

There is a significant difference in speed between the fastest satellites and the slowest of meteors, so if you have seen quite a few satellites, then you are probably in a better position to judge which it was.

If you are still not sure, then might I recommend that you try and go out and catch a few Alpha Capricornids during the peak of the shower (around the 1st Aug). Unfortunately the moon will be just passed full then, making viewing fainter meteors more difficult. An alternative, if you have the time/inclination would be to go out over the next few nights around this time and look for them - you can expect to see 1 or 2 per hour as long as the sky is good and there is not too much man made light pollution where you are.

Personally I think it's well worth the time to see just a few - even one *nice* meteor in a couple of hours can make it all worth while, but most people tend to find it boring and not worth the effort. Just remember to dress warm (it can get cold under a clear sky very quickly, even in Summer time - I like to crawl into a sleeping bag and stay cozy!), and find something to recline back on, so you can look straight up, which gives you maximum sky area to view, and stops your neck from getting sore!

Hope this helps. Feel free to U2U me if you (or anyone else reading this) would like any more info/tips on meteor shower observing.

[edit on 17-7-2007 by C.H.U.D.]

[edit on 17-7-2007 by C.H.U.D.]



posted on Jul, 2 2008 @ 02:37 PM
link   
A bit of a late reply, but I move last year and was way to busy to get back on ATS let alone the net.

No it wasn't like the video or image provided. It wasn't a flare, nor did it look like a comet/meteorite tail. It remained at all times a dot but did grow rapdily in size and became way brighter to return to its initial state until I lost track of it.

Meanwhile I continued seeing satellites fly over on the same spot on various occasions over the last 12 months . None were similar to that particular event of one year ago.



posted on Jul, 2 2008 @ 03:27 PM
link   

Originally posted by smalco
No it wasn't like the video or image provided. It wasn't a flare, nor did it look like a comet/meteorite tail. It remained at all times a dot but did grow rapdily in size and became way brighter to return to its initial state until I lost track of it.


Your description matches that of a flaring satellite to a T.

Obviously, it won't look like spacedoubt's photo since that is a long exposure of 20 seconds... same principal as when you do this with a sparkler.

However, spacedoubt's Iridium flare photo does show how the brightness of the flare changes over time - you just have to grasp that it is a "point-source"/star-like object causing it.

By far the best way to solve this is for you to visit heavens-above.com, enter your location and note the times of bright flares for a few days, then go out and observe them yourself. Let us know how you get on



posted on Jul, 2 2008 @ 04:19 PM
link   
It doesn't have to be one of the Iridium satellites to exhibit a flare display. Many other satellites do this, some are much higher up than Iridiums, so can be observed at later hours. Some flares are seen from the rotation of defunct satellites which have gone out of control. Some sats show random flaring, others have regular flare rythms. Only the Iridium flares are predicted on Heavens Above, so they only tell half the story.

WG3



posted on Jul, 2 2008 @ 05:55 PM
link   
I seen something like this around the same time last year and until now was never really sure what it was. So i'm glad I found this thread. It was the 1st time I had seen anything like it and was totally shocked! It was amazingly bright in the sky!



new topics

top topics



 
0

log in

join