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JesseCuster

What did I just see in the sky?

8 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

I'm just back home from taking a walk to the shop and back. On my way home, I was wandering down the dark lane, with my eyes on the sky as I regularly do, just enjoying the view. There wasn't much to see as it's not long after dusk and few stars were out.

However, I noticed a very faint moving object - it was moving steadily and slowly across the sky. I assumed it was just a satellite or airplane. But it got brighter and brighter until it seemed almost as bright as Venus which was very bright in the eastern sky. It reached a maximum brightness and then as it continued across the sky faded away back into nothingness. It went from being barely visible to maximum brightness back into nothing. It had quite a vivid bright neon blue color, especially noticable when at its brightest, unlike the white stars. It came and went in the space of probably about 20-30 seconds, it's hard to judge these things accurately.

I certainly don't think it was an alien spacecraft, but this seems to be the right forum to post about seeing odd things in the sky.

Any clue as to what I witnessed?

Edited by Archimedes

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Always worth checking out HeavensAbove for Iridium passes at your location.

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Always worth checking out HeavensAbove for Iridium passes at your location.

Well, whaddya know! I punched in my co-ordinates at that site and did a search and at about 9:10 this evening, when I was walking home, there was an Iridium flare of estimated magnitude -3 visible.

I'd never heard of Iridium flares before. That certainly explains that.

Cheers!

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Depending on the angle, sometimes a reflection can show different colors of the spectrum. Could have easily been a plane. Of course, an Iridium flare sounds completely feasible. :yes:

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I saw exactly what you are describing... but for me, it was about 2-300 feet off the ground. I thought it was ball lightning. Guess I gotta do some more research...

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Those flares, I would say, make up 99% of the "bright light" UFO sightings people report.

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It is possible this was a chinese sky lantern nearing the end of it's wax block's burn time, burning blue as the flame fizzles out. I put most 'lights in the sky' sightings down to these because of the massive rise in their use this past two years or so as a safer alternative to fireworks. I like them, and often buy the ones with the bamboo frames and they are kinder to the enviroment, they're pretty without the noise, mess and danger of fireworks.

So sorry to rain on your parade, but this may have been a sky lantern, or even a model aircraft. Also you might want to check if the millitary uses any land around the area for training operations, there's a chance this was a flare of some sort too.

If it's meteor shower time (not sure exactly when at this time if year, I think we've just passed quadrantids if I'm right) it could have been a tiny meteor too.

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Posted (edited)

Whose parade are you raining on?

I already said I didn't think it was an alien craft and Opponos Astros in post 2 suggested that it might be an Iridium flare from the Iridium comms satellites which are known to do just what I saw. And the website he linked to confirmed that in my part of the world at the time I saw it, a bright iridium flare was indeed expected in the sky over me and I agreed with him after checking it out.

A quick Google of Iridium flares reveals descriptions that almost perfectly match what I saw. It certainly didn't behave like any Chinese lantern I've seen and I've seen dozens of them since they became popular a few years ago.

BTW, I goofed in my original post, Venus was to the west, not east. I still get my east and west confused.

Edited by Archimedes

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