reply to post by Tearman
I completely agree.
Satellites can't actually make sharp turns, but it is possible to mistake multiple satellites for a single satellite under the right circumstances.
Satellites are cris crossing the sky constantly, and very often they are only visible to the naked eye for brief periods of time, but that does not
mean that they are not there, just that not enough light is being reflected back to your eye to see them.
As the angle between the observer, the satellite, and the sun is constantly changing, different parts (solar panel arrays for example) of the
satellite (or junk) can glint as they catch the sun at the right angle. It's not unusual that these "flares" or "glints" can be a few hundred times
brighter than the normal brightness of the object.
The recreation the OP posted would be consistent with this IMO...
Note how you do not actually see the "object" making a turn.
There is however the suggestion that a turn has been made, since the original satellite is below the threshold of visibility, and the next one becomes
I have spent a lot of time trying to photograph meteors (over 14 years), and satellites (or their tracks) are visible in a significant portion of the
many 10's of thousands of images I have taken. It's not unusual to have a single 10 or 12 second exposure with 2 or 3 different satellite tracks on
I've made a crude diagram based on the OPs animation to demonstrate what is going on:
The white dashes represent the times the satellite is visible, and the blue dots represent when it was below the threshold of visibility. Four
satellites (A, B, C, and D) would be sufficient to create this effect (or "illusion" if you like). Satellite A is responsible for for flares A1
through to A4. Satellite B is responsible for for flares B1and B2, and so on.
Just as in the OPs animation, satellites often travel parallel to each other, and
"iridiums" make a good example
since they are bright and there are lots of them. Satellites also usually cross the sky going from either E>W/W>E
or S>N/N>S ie at 90 degree angles to each other, which also fits the animation.
So, as you can see, it is possible for multiple satellites to appear to be a single satellite making a series of turns.
It's also quite easy to prove this with a decent camera/lens/tripod. Try it...
Thousands of people take photographs of the sky every year (my self included), yet no one has captured these "satellite like objects that make turns",
and the reason is, that you can tell that it is a satellite because you can see the parts of the track that were not visible to the naked
edit on 29-12-2011 by C.H.U.D. because: added a bit more info