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Space Station, Iridium Flares and Satellites - learn to recognize them.

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posted on Jul, 15 2010 @ 12:13 PM
After watching quite a few videos of Iridium Flares, the International Space Station, and communications satellites I thought I would post some videos of them.

Watch a few of these and learn to recognize them when you see them. This way you won't be fooled by the videos of "lights" with an explanation.

Iridium Flare


This is the ISS with night vision and an airplane both.

The low orbit satellites usually travel from a westerly direction to an easterly direction : Source

Equatorial - of low/medium inclination (0 - 70 degrees or so) where the satellite will nearly always appear to travel from the western half of the sky to the eastern half. Most satellites are in such orbits; it is preferential to launch satellites in an easterly direction in order to take advantage of the Earth's rotation to assist the launch - this bonus can be used to either reduce the fuel requirement or increase the payload capacity of the launch vehicle (or both).

If you see one going from an easterly to a westerly direction it bears more research.

posted on Jul, 15 2010 @ 12:15 PM
reply to post by SeenMyShare

Thanks so much for the thread! This should be a good guide to apply to any new UFO sighting, be it a video, photo, or just a claim. It'll certainly help me out as well!


Kind regards

posted on Jul, 15 2010 @ 12:24 PM
Excellent thread OP! I think a lot of people see sattelites and just because they dont blink like a plane, novice skywatchers throw them in the UFO category. I was shown a sattelite in the night sky before by someone who was convinced it was a UFO "powering up" when in reality it was a sattelite orbiting and was being hit with the light of the sun, giving it the effect it was 'powering up', when in reality what is happening is much more mundane.

posted on Jul, 15 2010 @ 12:33 PM

I can remember seeing "UFOs" many years ago but research showed me I was seeing satellites. If my earlier lack of education can help someone else not be fooled it's worth it.

I was recently pointed to an online satellite tracking program that I don't see how I ever lived without. I'd used a different one but it didn't have the level of quality and accuracy that I find with Heavens Above.

Now, that's not to say I don't see things that don't line up with known objects. We were tracking what I thought was a satellite coming from the south west to the north west (normal tracking direction) when it stopped. My husband flashed his light at it and it flashed back (thought it was iridium flare and noted the time to look it up). He flashed his light again and it flashed again (still not moving, second flash - hmm, perhaps not Iridium flare - they only flash once).

Looking this up in Heavens Above there was an iridium flare that night but my field of view to the west is blocked by a mountain at 18 degrees of elevation and the flare was at 10 degrees of elevation. Also, the second Iridium flare that night wasn't a few seconds apart but a full 9 minutes apart, and only at 11 degrees of elevation. We shouldn't have been able to see either one.

I won't say this was UFO, I'm just saying I can't explain it

posted on Jul, 15 2010 @ 12:33 PM
Actually its pretty simple to distinguish between something normal and something remarkable..

Watch the path it flys in...things in space = always a straight path (keep in mind a slight curve of the earth though)...if something makes a 90 degree turn, then its something interesting.

Speed also is something to monitor...things cannot stop or back up in space...they go at a constant speed...however, the further away it is from you, the slower it will appear to be going (one inch overhead may be a mile, a inch on the horizon may be 20 miles...its not slowing down, your perspective is just different as it moves away)

posted on Jul, 15 2010 @ 12:39 PM
reply to post by SaturnFX

Thanks SaturnFX for the reply. Yes, satellites cannot make right turns, stop, or go backwards. Flares are a one flash event too. They don't flare more than once per sighting. Sometimes satellites appear to blink but then one has to account for atmospheric disturbances on lesser illuminated satellites, or thin clouds that aren't apparent in the night sky.

posted on Jul, 15 2010 @ 07:18 PM
There are things that can fool us about the motion (or lack thereof) of objects in the sky. The movement of clouds near the object can create the illusion that a stationary object (like a star) is in motion. The same effect can cause an object in motion (like a satellite) to appear to have a different motion than it actually does. If a cloud happens to be moving at the same apparent rate and direction as a satellite it can cause the satellite to appear to be stationary.

There is also the autokinetic effect which causes a stationary point of light to appear to move.

The autokinetic effect (also referred to as autokinesis) is a phenomenon of human visual perception in which a stationary, small point of light in an otherwise dark or featureless environment appears to move. It was first recorded by a Russian officer keeping watch who observed illusory movement of a star near the horizon.

We cannot always believe our eyes. Important to remember that.

[edit on 7/15/2010 by Phage]

posted on Jul, 15 2010 @ 07:41 PM
reply to post by Phage

Hi Phage. Good point! Our back deck is wide open and watching the sky from there will really fool you. If I see something that really catches my eye I move to a place where I can keep a ground based stationary object in view for reference like a tree or a roof top or whatever is handy.

posted on Jul, 16 2010 @ 12:34 AM

I'd like to see more threads of this quality on ATS. Whilst its not actually a UFO thread as such it goes a long way in identifying a source of credibility to the site.

Thanks for posting this up. I shall take a good look at the videos you provided as well.

In friendship

posted on Jul, 16 2010 @ 12:48 AM
reply to post by SeenMyShare


Thank you for your interesting & informative thread.

Kind regards
Maybe...maybe not

posted on Jul, 16 2010 @ 01:16 AM
reply to post by SeenMyShare
Good thread idea and OP. I keep a 'useful thread' folder and this can go in there for quick reference. FnS

A sighting I had years ago involved watching the Mir or a satellite crossing overhead. It passed above or beneath a similarly sized light that was moving in a triangular holding pattern. The Mir/satellite carried on it's path and the other light remained and continued to follow the triangular course. After a few minutes of puzzled observation and a lot of swearing...we walked on.

I've yet to identify what that could have been and regret not staying to watch for longer.

posted on Jul, 16 2010 @ 01:27 AM
reply to post by Kandinsky


I keep a 'useful thread' folder

As opposed to your 7 terabyte "useless thread" folder!

Cheers mate
Maybe...maybe not

posted on Jul, 16 2010 @ 07:35 AM
reply to post by Superiorraw

Hi Superiorraw,
Actually it has more to do with the UFO theme than is apparent because its in this forum that I've seen the satellites, Space Station, and Iridium Flares called UFOs.
What better place to put this post than where its needed most?

I wish I had this information many years ago when I was "fooled".

posted on Jul, 16 2010 @ 07:43 AM
Good thread.

Here's a couple I wrote up to help out too:

Astronomy: The Basics

A simple lesson on PERSPECTIVE

posted on Jul, 16 2010 @ 08:03 AM
reply to post by Chadwickus

Chadwickus Excellent information in those two posts! Now, for a question that perhaps I should know and don't... how do I "save" those threads for quick future reference?

posted on Jul, 16 2010 @ 08:12 AM
reply to post by Phage

Does this same effect happen to camera lenses? Because of what we see appear on video not on our eyes?


posted on Jul, 19 2010 @ 08:05 PM

Originally posted by SaturnFX
... Watch the path it flys in...things in space = always a straight path (keep in mind a slight curve of the earth though)...if something makes a 90 degree turn, then its something interesting.

Hi! First post here, so be kind

About 6 weeks ago, I was watching a faint satellite going south to north. After about 20 seconds, the "satellite" stopped for no more than a fraction of a second and completely reversed direction and headed south. Object did not appeasr to maneuver like an airplane would in order to go back where it came from and appeared much too high to be a plane. Only had binoculars so all I saw was the light, no form.

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