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The UCS Satellite Database is a listing of the more than 900 operational satellites currently in orbit around Earth.
Usually it is the larger brighter stars such as Sirius that will flash the blue and red color and usually when below 30° above the horizon.. The flickering you see in stars is caused by atmospheric turbulence and is often referred to as scintillation, and, is often a sign of poor "astronomical seeing". The red and blue you see is also caused by the atmosphere and is a phenomenon called "Atmospheric Prismatic Dispersion".. Sirius and Venus are two popular objects where that phenomenon is most often observed..
Whenever light travels through one medium, such as air, water, or different types of glass, it slows down. For each different medium the speed of light is different. When light travels from one medium to another, it bends and changes direction as its speed changes. This is called refraction. Different (colors) wavelengths of light bend differently, this is the dispersion effect. Longer red wavelengths don't slow down as much and bend less than the others. On the other hand the blue (shorter) wavelengths slow the greatest, and bend the most. . When we see the light from stars in the night sky, that light is passing through the Earth's atmosphere where it is refracted, and the different wavelengths are dispersed. This is called atmospheric prismatic dispersion Usually blue on top and red on the bottom.. Lower to the horizon the more noticeable.. Sirius and Venus are always good for observing this effect/phenomenon.
Originally posted by coastalite
I've seen these flashes many times. They light up the entire night sky for less than a split second. Like others have said, if you blink you'd miss it. My buddy believes it is lightning, but I argue that they occur in completely cloudless skies at times so how can it be lightning flashes. I was never able to determine where these flashes were coming from though.