• SUPPORT THE SHOW AND ENJOY A PREMIUM PARACAST EXPERIENCE! Welcome to The Paracast+, seven years young! For a low subscription fee, you can download the ad-free version of The Paracast and the exclusive, member-only, After The Paracast podcast, featuring color commentary, exclusive interviews, the continuation of interviews that began on the main episode of The Paracast. We also offer lifetime memberships! Flash! Use the coupon code ufo20 to receive a 20% discount on five-year or lifetime subscriptions. And PayPal now accepts cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, in payment. We also offer a second payment method for major credit or debit cards (which also includes Apple Pay and Google Pay), so act now! It's easier than ever to susbcribe! You can sign up right here!

    Subscribe to The Paracast Newsletter!

Anyone An Amateur Astronomer?



exo_doc

Foolish Earthling
Had a weird event last night starting at 10:05 and lasted until 10:35. Unfortunatly, I was not at my home where I have several telescopes and binoculars while this was happening.
I was looking up at the stars like I obsessively do on clear nights, and I saw a small flashaboput one second long, approx. magnitude of 2-3 or so in brightness. I kept an eye on that area and about a minute later it happened again in the same area, so I kept watching that one area.
It was about half way between Hercules and Coma Berenices.
After observing several flashes this is what I felt was happening;
1. Some space trash/debris was slowly rotating and reflecting sunlight.
2.HOWEVER, after watching for 15 minutes and seeing about 10 irregularly timed flashes, I realized the object was not moving like a satellite should (I've seen thousands of satellite passes over the years),....it was staying in the same area, and continued to flash in irregular intervals until my wife made me come inside at 10:35.

Possible Explanations?
1. High altitude balloon with a warning light?
2. Space junk in low orbit moving VERY slowly?
3. Space junk in a very far orbit, so far in fact it just appeared not to move?

Any ideas would be appreciated.:D
 

dusty

Skilled Investigator
Hi exo doc,

I had a look on a program I have called "Stellarium", sorry cant quote a web address
for you to get the free download.
I picked up on it through another thread here some time ago, so if you dont already have it I can definitely recommend you get it. Maybe do a little searching here or look it up on Google.

I have found a couple of possibles if I am using this tool correctly. You can view the sky from more or less any vantage point on earth and at any time just takes a little while to figure out. Oh well Happy hunting.

Cheers,

Mark
 

fitzbew88

Skilled Investigator
Had a weird event last night starting at 10:05 and lasted until 10:35. ... I saw a small flashaboput one second long, approx. magnitude of 2-3 or so in brightness. I kept an eye on that area and about a minute later it happened again in the same area, so I kept watching that one area.
It was about half way between Hercules and Coma Berenices.
After observing several flashes this is what I felt was happening;
1. Some space trash/debris was slowly rotating and reflecting sunlight.
2.HOWEVER, after watching for 15 minutes and seeing about 10 irregularly timed flashes, I realized the object was not moving like a satellite should (I've seen thousands of satellite passes over the years),....it was staying in the same area, and continued to flash in irregular intervals ...

Possible Explanations?
1. High altitude balloon with a warning light?
2. Space junk in low orbit moving VERY slowly?
3. Space junk in a very far orbit, so far in fact it just appeared not to move?

Any ideas would be appreciated.:D

This is a tough one.

Assuming the light source *did* remain in the same location relative to the other stars for at least 30 minutes, we can rule out:

Aircraft
ISS
Virtually all satellites
Virtually all space junk

Balloon-born light? This doesn't seem likely. At 8pm (two hours prior to your sighting) in Greensboro, the winds were described as about 14 kts at one mile altitude. So a balloon at 1 mile altitude should have moved at least 7 nautical miles relative to you in the space of a half-hour. It certainly would not have appeared stationary relative to the stars! If we move the balloon to higher altitudes, we have to account for even higher winds. And then we require a very significant light for it to still be so bright (you don't seem to be describing a strobe, anyway). So I would be skeptical of any kind of "free floating" object solution.

The area of the sky you are describing would seem to rule out any kind've "geostationary orbit"-type phenomena. You were looking right at Bootes...anything in a geostationary orbit would need to be more southerly or southwesterly. Also, to be directly illuminated by the sun, it would probably need to be at least 150 miles away --- and bright --- and large.

If it was self-illuminated, then this is irrelevant.

I think I would have to call this an Unknown. But it's not necessarily paranormal. You could've just been very lucky and witnessed some type of naturally occurring stellar event.

Interesting to note that the sky "moved" 5-6 degrees during this half-hour period, just due to the earth's rotation. Did the light source move at all relative to the stars? If not, I might lean more toward strange astronomical event.

I wish you had had your binoculars.
 
C

crazyflyer

Guest
Done a little amature astronomy and seen some weird stuff too. The thing you seen could have been a satellite catching the sun. I believe its called an IRIDIUM FLARE. I once seen what I thought was a satellite moving across the night sky. It then stopped, seemed to flare up in brightness and zoom away from my viewing posistion and became a pinpoint of light which faded out. The thing is, satellite's dont just stop dead in the sky. Was really strange.

:)
 

fitzbew88

Skilled Investigator
Done a little amature astronomy and seen some weird stuff too. The thing you seen could have been a satellite catching the sun. I believe its called an IRIDIUM FLARE. I once seen what I thought was a satellite moving across the night sky. It then stopped, seemed to flare up in brightness and zoom away from my viewing posistion and became a pinpoint of light which faded out. The thing is, satellite's dont just stop dead in the sky. Was really strange.

Good suggestion. But if the "object" remained in the same position relative to the stars for a half-hour, the Iridiums can be ruled out.

Truly geostationary satellites can be ruled out, at least on that date and time in the direction of Bootes.

That the phenomena stayed in the same place for a half-hour makes a satellite solution very difficult.
 

exo_doc

Foolish Earthling
This is a tough one.

Assuming the light source *did* remain in the same location relative to the other stars for at least 30 minutes, we can rule out:

Aircraft
ISS
Virtually all satellites
Virtually all space junk

Balloon-born light? This doesn't seem likely. At 8pm (two hours prior to your sighting) in Greensboro, the winds were described as about 14 kts at one mile altitude. So a balloon at 1 mile altitude should have moved at least 7 nautical miles relative to you in the space of a half-hour. It certainly would not have appeared stationary relative to the stars! If we move the balloon to higher altitudes, we have to account for even higher winds. And then we require a very significant light for it to still be so bright (you don't seem to be describing a strobe, anyway). So I would be skeptical of any kind of "free floating" object solution.

The area of the sky you are describing would seem to rule out any kind've "geostationary orbit"-type phenomena. You were looking right at Bootes...anything in a geostationary orbit would need to be more southerly or southwesterly. Also, to be directly illuminated by the sun, it would probably need to be at least 150 miles away --- and bright --- and large.

If it was self-illuminated, then this is irrelevant.

I think I would have to call this an Unknown. But it's not necessarily paranormal. You could've just been very lucky and witnessed some type of naturally occurring stellar event.

Interesting to note that the sky "moved" 5-6 degrees during this half-hour period, just due to the earth's rotation. Did the light source move at all relative to the stars? If not, I might lean more toward strange astronomical event.

I wish you had had your binoculars.


Wow fitzbew, excellent analysis, I'm very impressed. That was uncommon researching to find out the altitude wind speed and so forth.

As best as I could observe without a stationary telescope, the flash did not appear to move significantly in relation to any nearby stars, but that's a very rough estimation based on dim, intermittant flashes. If indeed it had been moving, I am certain it did not travel more than one-half of a degree in any direction at a maximum.
The more I think about what I saw, the more intrigued I become because likely explanations justy don't hold up. And I really want to know, or at least have a reasonable theory, as to what that was........

....A dim flash that occured some where between 1 to 2 minutes irregularly, that gave every appearance of something rotating and reflecting sunlight, and remained generally stationary relative to nearby stars for 30 minutes....not an aircraft, balloon, satellite, space junk.......weel then what the hell was that?

If it was some sort of astronomical event, it would be something I have never seen or read about. It was not a star twinkling from atmospherics, I am dead certain of that. It was not a nova, nor a comet or asteroid (the observational ephemerides show there was nothing in that area at the time). IF it was undiscovered asteroid it's albedo (or natural surface reflectance) would have to be greater than 90%, maybe even 95% approaching mirror reflectance.

If I had JUST been home, I could have gotten my 16 inch Dob out, hooked up my ccd, and recorded it for all to see. But nooooo, I had to be dragged to a funeral (oops) I mean wedding rehearsal dinner. Chris and Kathy better have a damn good marriage or Ill be even more pissed.

BUT, doesn't that seem to happen all the time with unusual weird paranormal events?
I have no recordings, no photos, no evidence at all. Just my anecdotal observation.
I know I saw what I saw, and at the moment, it can't be explained away, and it's driving me batty.
 

fitzbew88

Skilled Investigator
As best as I could observe without a stationary telescope, the flash did not appear to move significantly in relation to any nearby stars, but that's a very rough estimation based on dim, intermittant flashes.

You say "dim", but if your magnitude estimate was accurate (2-3), this was quite bright, right? It would've been as bright as any other star in Bootes (except Arcturus).

Did the light have like a on/off quality or did it "grow" in brightness? Then fade out?

If it was some sort of astronomical event, it would be something I have never seen or read about. It was not a star twinkling from atmospherics, I am dead certain of that. It was not a nova, nor a comet or asteroid (the observational ephemerides show there was nothing in that area at the time). IF it was undiscovered asteroid it's albedo (or natural surface reflectance) would have to be greater than 90%, maybe even 95% approaching mirror reflectance.

You're thinking tumbling close-pass asteroid? But so bright? We might be able to definitively rule this out. Off-the-cuff, I'd guestimate for an asteroid to be so bright it would have to be so large or close that it being an unknown asteroid would be a difficult idea to sell.

When I was speculating about astronomical causes, I was thinking distant supernova or quasar dying or something one-in-a-million like that.

Isn't most of the sky covered now by cameras doing asteroid searches? If this was astronomical and in visible light, somone may have noticed it or some instrument may have recorded it. It's a possible avenue of search.
 

exo_doc

Foolish Earthling
You say "dim", but if your magnitude estimate was accurate (2-3), this was quite bright, right? It would've been as bright as any other star in Bootes (except Arcturus).

Did the light have like a on/off quality or did it "grow" in brightness? Then fade out?

I was speaking about brightness in general, because 2-3 magnitude really isn't all that bright for anything except stars.
And yes it did grow in brightness then fade away, but the entire "blink" lasted maybe only 1/2 second? Maybe somewhat less. It really did behave as a reflector of some sort would.

You're thinking tumbling close-pass asteroid? But so bright? We might be able to definitively rule this out. Off-the-cuff, I'd guestimate for an asteroid to be so bright it would have to be so large or close that it being an unknown asteroid would be a difficult idea to sell.

When I was speculating about astronomical causes, I was thinking distant supernova or quasar dying or something one-in-a-million like that.

Isn't most of the sky covered now by cameras doing asteroid searches? If this was astronomical and in visible light, somone may have noticed it or some instrument may have recorded it. It's a possible avenue of search.
That's true, if it was a passing asteroid (which seems very unlikely), there should be some record of it somewhere. Spaceweather.com doesn't have anything about a near earth object anywhere near earth for last Friday, but that's only one source.
Thanks for the help fitz! If I ever get even an inkling of what it was I'll let you know.
 

tomdownie

Paranormal Novice
what you saw was part of the iridium satellite system. there are a number of these satellites which orbit the earth and they are accompanied by intermittent flashes, sometimes quite bright though brief. I forget the purpose of them but you can check them out on wikipedia probably.
 

exo_doc

Foolish Earthling
what you saw was part of the iridium satellite system. there are a number of these satellites which orbit the earth and they are accompanied by intermittent flashes, sometimes quite bright though brief. I forget the purpose of them but you can check them out on wikipedia probably.


Good thought, but I have seen the Iridium satellite flashes many many times, and this one did not move across the sky like all satellites do(excepting of course any geosynchronous satellites, but they are what, 52,000 miles away? And it was no where near the ecliptic).
Thanks anyway.
 
Top