posted on Jun, 24 2009 @ 08:49 AM
Guys, what you're seeing are satellites and junk in orbit.Depending on your latitude, during the summer, objects in orbit can be seen throughout the
night as the sun never gets too far below the horizon. During winter, the sun dips much lower below the horizon, so satellites and junk are usually
only seen a few hours after dark, and a few hours before light, when the sun is not too far below the horizon.
"Leap-frogging" and wavering motions are due to your own body movement. If you film the objects you will see that they move along a straight
Flashes are caused by junk glinting in the sun. In rare cases, you may have seen a point-meteor, which is a meteor that heads directly towards you, so
there is no motion, only brightening and dimming. The "camera like flashes" are most probably junk though. You can usually catch more than one flash
if you scan the area close by where you saw the first flash. They often flash at regular intervals, but not always.
Satellites appearing to stop is probably due to the satellite moving into earths shadow. When they do so, they disappear from view, and the eye
latches onto a star that was not noticed before, since the brightness/motion of the satellite distracts from dimmer objects in the sky. The effect is
worse the more light polluted your sky is I think, since contrast is low, and your are less likely to spot stationary dim stars/objects while your eye
If you film these, you will see that this is the case.
Someone previously mentioned that they had to sit with a friend in order to be able to observe the whole sky. I had to chuckle! You can cover the
whole sky, from horizon to horizon with a single pair of eyes. Get yourself a reclining lawn chair or sun bed that can go fully horizontal (or just
use a blanket/ground sheet), lay down flat, and face straight up.
This way your eyes will pick up motion in the sky all the way down to the horizon, and everywhere else in the sky. This technique has been used
successfully for many decades to observe meteors, and is very effective.
I personally have been looking up at the sky and observing meteors for over a decade, and many of the observations posted in this thread are common
occurrences, seen by amateur and professional astronomers/observes all the time. They are well documented, and I have seen them with my own two eyes.
There is so much junk in orbit that it's impossible not to see them if you look.