Now, I realize it's that time of the year when we see those spiffy Perseids (I've laid outside on the roof at my cabin a few times in the past and
watched them for hours, my then fiancée and I counted over 800 in around an hour a number of years back and actually even heard a few whoosh and
crackle). That being said, what I watched (with two friends) last night wasn't a meteor shower.
I happened to be looking up (just because it's that time of the year) and it was approximately 11:10 - 11:15PM CST (last night not tonight, the 10th
not the 11th). The sky was partially cloudy but not overcast, and I'd guesstimate I could see around 75% of the sky/stars/etc. with most of the clear
sky being directly overhead (clouds to the west horizon and north horizons). We were in a low light area out near an airfield where we launch rockets
and fly (or in my case lose) RC aircraft, or if it's night and clear we might bring some scopes, copious amounts of insect repellant, and perhaps
smoke a fat one (hey, we're Canadians) and stargaze for a few hours. I'd again 'guesstimate' less than 1.0% light pollution (at most). What was
visible in the sky was pretty clear; sunset was something like 8:40 and twilight was something like 9:20 (these aren't accurate, but I sort of pay
attention to this as this is "my" best time of the year to go out with the scopes to look up -- it's still warm out late at night and it's usually
Enough background, on to what we saw.
Like I said, I was looking up to see if it was worth returning with my scope and I noticed a fairly bright light moving in a perfectly straight line
from NNW to SSE (sure looked like a satellite to me). I said to my buddy beside me, "Hey! See that satellite? Watch it'll probably flash soon."
(Iridium) He looked up and saw the satellite almost immediately. Maybe 6-8 seconds passed and instead of flashing, it changed direction
instantaneously and went off at around 60 degrees from its original track. I said, "What the #? Did you see that?" He did, we then stood there
mumbling about what it was we saw and agreed it was both neat and strange and both tried to explain it away. Of course, now all 3 of us were looking
up and mumbling away about it. Perhaps 2 or 3 minutes later another satellite came across the sky on a WSW to ENE direction (similar brightness),
about 1/2 way across the sky it changed direction almost 110 degrees and headed off south (at pretty much the same speed as far as I could tell). All
three of us saw the object/light this time (and its path) and then its direction change.
One time seeing a light in the sky change direction is interesting, and probably chalked up to two different satellites, at different distances,
passing across each others orbit path (relative to our viewing angle) and your eyes simply tracking the brighter one and "forgetting" about the
original object -- but twice in a 5 minute period?
I've seen this before a long time ago when I was in university, and my buddy's dad said he's seen the same thing many times (he night fishes a lot
out in the middle of the lake in a near zero light area). Just wondering if anyone here has an explanation of what it is we're seeing or has seen
It made me want to go park my ass back out there with my scope (which is a futile idea anyway, it's hard to track a fast moving object like a shuttle
or satellite or even space station with a big scope), but then I decided it was getting cold, I was tired, and TV and the couch sounded like the best