Jump to content


Photo

Flaring Object in Puppis

  • Please log in to reply
33 replies to this topic

#1 timtrice

timtrice

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 643
  • Joined: 01 Aug 2013
  • Loc: Katy, TX

Posted 08 November 2013 - 07:02 AM

About 20 minutes ago I was on my back porch smoking, enjoying the morning sky. I noticed a very bright star just above one of the rooflines of a two-story home down the road so no more than 10 degrees above the horizon. The object gradually (over dozens of seconds) faded and I thought nothing of it; an airplane.

However the object quickly began to reappear again and became quite bright between 0 and -2 (I'm horrible at these estimations but as Sirius was in the vicinity the object did rival). The object maintained brightness for a few dozen seconds before gradually fading again. It actually pulsated during this time dropping to maybe mag 1 or 2 before brightening slightly and then fading a bit. It became very faint shortly after but then made one more brightening run to around mag 2 before fading again.

I didn't want to go get my camera as I don't have a tripod; my scope mount was in garage so I knew I'd have to pull that out, set it up blah blah blah. But when the object faded the second time I decided to at least try. Of course, when I made it back to the porch, the object was gone and I never saw it return.

So at the risk of "UFO" talk, I'm hoping perhaps someone is aware of a new variable in or at least near the southern edge of Puppis or something? I do plan on being better prepared tomorrow morning just in case but I have no realistic expectations.

A search of bright variables in Puppis returned nothing so far.

#2 BrooksObs

BrooksObs

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 917
  • Joined: 08 Dec 2012

Posted 08 November 2013 - 08:20 AM

There are absolutely no such things as variable stars, or really any other trans-Earth objects, that can generate brilliant but very short durations flares. In every instance such reports of objects seen simply refer to nothing more than a man-made satellite exhibiting glints off some reflective surface. Consulting one or another of the on-line satellite passage tables for a particular geographic location will usually quickly indicate just which one is involved.

BrooksObs

#3 timtrice

timtrice

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 643
  • Joined: 01 Aug 2013
  • Loc: Katy, TX

Posted 08 November 2013 - 08:40 AM


I'm well aware of tumbling satellites and if the object was moving I would've credited nothing more than just that. But it wasn't, it was stationary. Thus my original question of perhaps being some type of variable or other event that I wasn't aware of.

Heavens-above was the site used to see if there were any known objects in the area; nothing. Certainly not stationary and of that brightness.

So if anyone wants to have a reasonable discussion of ideas without griping how many times you've had to clarify something, please go right ahead. Otherwise, I'll just let my imagination go wild with the possibilities.

#4 BrooksObs

BrooksObs

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 917
  • Joined: 08 Dec 2012

Posted 08 November 2013 - 08:58 AM

Tim, I'm not being hostile but this same sort of question is asked here on a weekly, if not almost daily basis. Right now just two or three posted questions below yours in this section of Cloudy Nights is another such posting concerning the same sort of sighting. How did you miss it? The fact is that the nature of the sighting alone, if not an aircraft, dictates it had to be a satellite, as there is no other possible source. After half a century of the space program, such sightings are common knowledge among just about all amateur astronomers except perhaps the very newest. So, don't take offense if you just happen to be one of those, but just look around this site for similar occurences before any rush to post.

BrooksObs

#5 Steve OK

Steve OK

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 861
  • Joined: 22 Sep 2007
  • Loc: OKC, OK

Posted 08 November 2013 - 09:08 AM

Hey, Tim. One of the details in the good report of your observation makes me think it was a satellite you saw; it appeared about 10° above the horizon. When a satellite is overhead, its motion is very apparent. By the time it is that close to the horizon, it is moving almost directly away from you, and its motion would be hard to detect. If you had had time to get a scope on it, you would likely have seen it moving, though slowly (apparently). Satellite flares can be surprisingly bright. I saw a -8 mag Iridium flare last Friday. Keep looking up!

Steve

#6 steveward53

steveward53

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1988
  • Joined: 14 May 2012
  • Loc: Newmarket,UK

Posted 08 November 2013 - 09:25 AM

Could well have been the HST , being so low down it could be greatly affected by the atmosphere which would make it appear variable (seen this with the ISS at low elevations) and it's very bright when it catches the Sun.

Stellarium screen shot from your approx location this morning.

Attached Files



#7 Steve OK

Steve OK

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 861
  • Joined: 22 Sep 2007
  • Loc: OKC, OK

Posted 08 November 2013 - 09:45 AM

Well, that throws a kink into my explanation! I assumed a N-S polar orbit for my "moving directly away" scenario.

#8 *skyguy*

*skyguy*

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2028
  • Joined: 31 Dec 2008
  • Loc: Western New York

Posted 08 November 2013 - 09:50 AM

Tim, I'm not being hostile but this same sort of question is asked here on a weekly, if not almost daily basis. Right now just two or three posted questions below yours in this section of Cloudy Nights is another such posting concerning the same sort of sighting. How did you miss it? The fact is that the nature of the sighting alone, if not an aircraft, dictates it had to be a satellite, as there is no other possible source. After half a century of the space program, such sightings are common knowledge among just about all amateur astronomers except perhaps the very newest. So, don't take offense if you just happen to be one of those, but just look around this site for similar occurences before any rush to post.


Sorry, I don't agree at all with this advice. I happen to enjoy the posts from members who see something strange in the sky. Yes, it's most likely going to be a satellite ... however, I also very much enjoy doing some sleuthing work to try and identify which satellite it might be!

So ... in the future ... if you you find some post offensive because of its repetitive nature ... the solution is not to reply to the post. Let some other member ... who enjoys the discussion of strange sky sightings ... respond to the OP.

#9 timtrice

timtrice

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 643
  • Joined: 01 Aug 2013
  • Loc: Katy, TX

Posted 08 November 2013 - 09:55 AM

I've seen plenty of tumblers though never of this variation. It was my initial thought but as it sat right above the roofline, I drew an imaginary line up from the corner of the house and though this object was close to that line it never crossed or strayed. I suppose it's possible under a fantastic setup; it just seemed very odd. And again, this was nearly five minutes (long enough for a cigarette). As it wasn't moving I just thought it was a very bright star that I was not aware of and perhaps high clouds far away were causing the fading. But there are no stars of that brightness in Puppis. I even though it may have been Canopus but no way I would've been able to see it over that house.

I have seen commercial jetliners give a similar appearance and that was another thought. But I have never seen them coming in from that direction. However, that's honestly my best guess.

Steve, thanks for posting that pic but it wasn't HST. This happened around 5:30CDT. HST was gone by then. No other known satellites around that time period (5:40CDT) reached that brightness that I'm aware of.

#10 PeterR280

PeterR280

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1186
  • Joined: 27 May 2013

Posted 08 November 2013 - 09:57 AM

What if it was a supernova and people were shy about reporting it?

#11 StarStuff1

StarStuff1

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3904
  • Joined: 01 Apr 2007
  • Loc: South of the Mason-Dixon Line

Posted 08 November 2013 - 10:11 AM

Weather balloon?

This type of naked eye observation is another reason to get a grab 'n' go scope such as a 70 or 80mm refractor on a lightweight mount. Or at least some binoculars in the 8-10X range.

#12 kt4hx

kt4hx

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 268
  • Joined: 21 Jan 2009
  • Loc: Fredericksburg, Va

Posted 08 November 2013 - 11:37 AM

Tim, I'm not being hostile but this same sort of question is asked here on a weekly, if not almost daily basis. Right now just two or three posted questions below yours in this section of Cloudy Nights is another such posting concerning the same sort of sighting. How did you miss it? The fact is that the nature of the sighting alone, if not an aircraft, dictates it had to be a satellite, as there is no other possible source. After half a century of the space program, such sightings are common knowledge among just about all amateur astronomers except perhaps the very newest. So, don't take offense if you just happen to be one of those, but just look around this site for similar occurences before any rush to post.


Sorry, I don't agree at all with this advice. I happen to enjoy the posts from members who see something strange in the sky. Yes, it's most likely going to be a satellite ... however, I also very much enjoy doing some sleuthing work to try and identify which satellite it might be!

So ... in the future ... if you you find some post offensive because of its repetitive nature ... the solution is not to reply to the post. Let some other member ... who enjoys the discussion of strange sky sightings ... respond to the OP.


Very well put skyguy. No reason to get persnickety just because someone asks a question that has been asked before. If you don't like the show, change the channel. If you don't like the question, don't respond.

#13 Usquebae

Usquebae

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 245
  • Joined: 11 Jun 2013
  • Loc: 43 N, 73 W

Posted 08 November 2013 - 11:53 AM

It was probably a TARDIS. :grin:

#14 esd726

esd726

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1088
  • Joined: 30 Sep 2004
  • Loc: Rochester, IN

Posted 08 November 2013 - 11:59 AM

Tim, I'm not being hostile but this same sort of question is asked here on a weekly, if not almost daily basis. Right now just two or three posted questions below yours in this section of Cloudy Nights is another such posting concerning the same sort of sighting. How did you miss it? The fact is that the nature of the sighting alone, if not an aircraft, dictates it had to be a satellite, as there is no other possible source. After half a century of the space program, such sightings are common knowledge among just about all amateur astronomers except perhaps the very newest. So, don't take offense if you just happen to be one of those, but just look around this site for similar occurences before any rush to post.

BrooksObs

:ohgeeze:

#15 timtrice

timtrice

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 643
  • Joined: 01 Aug 2013
  • Loc: Katy, TX

Posted 08 November 2013 - 12:04 PM

For whatever reason the TARDIS reply made me remember something years ago. In early 2003, I woke up and went on the front porch to have a cigarette (maybe cigarette's make me see things???).

Anyway, I noticed off to what would've been my northern sky two bright objects floating across the sky. I thought nothing of it at the time; airplanes. I hadn't turned on the news. I lived on the west side of Houston at that time.

It wasn't until that night I was watching the evening news when I saw the tragedy of Columbia. And to this day I know I saw debris from that tragic event.

You never know what you're going to see when you're looking up.

#16 BrooksObs

BrooksObs

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 917
  • Joined: 08 Dec 2012

Posted 08 November 2013 - 12:19 PM

Post deleted by tecmage

#17 timtrice

timtrice

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 643
  • Joined: 01 Aug 2013
  • Loc: Katy, TX

Posted 08 November 2013 - 12:28 PM

Post deleted by tecmage

#18 woodscavenger

woodscavenger

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 624
  • Joined: 20 Aug 2013
  • Loc: Boise, ID

Posted 08 November 2013 - 02:17 PM

We were out observing late one night and had some UBLs (unexplained bright lights) on the eastern horizon that were there for about 10-15 minutes. Some variation in brightness with very slow downward movement. We eventually go our scopes and binos on them and saw hazy smoke around them. we finally realized we were viewing over the local air force base and when a few more appeared we think we were seeing high altitude flares being used for a night war game scenario. It was pretty cool except it wreaked havoc on our night vision if you looked through your scope at it.

#19 brentwood

brentwood

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2581
  • Joined: 04 Nov 2005
  • Loc: BC Canada

Posted 08 November 2013 - 03:30 PM

My thought when I first read the post was that the object was a plane or planes approaching with their landing lights on. I have been fooled so many times with these objects. It is often only when you put some optical aid on them that you can see the navigation lights, but not always. This site can be helpful in determining if it is a plane or not once you allow for the 5 minute? delay and the fact that it does not show military aircraft IMO.

#20 kt4hx

kt4hx

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 268
  • Joined: 21 Jan 2009
  • Loc: Fredericksburg, Va

Posted 08 November 2013 - 11:52 PM

Post deleted by tecmage

#21 Retsub

Retsub

    Vostok 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 138
  • Joined: 08 Dec 2006
  • Loc: Houston,Tx.

Posted 09 November 2013 - 12:15 AM

Checking and using your limited info there were a couple of Cosmos sats about that time and direction for you to see. You don't mention any clouds but being down that low and for our area many things seem to change how they look from time to time. Thanks. *BW*

#22 BrooksObs

BrooksObs

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 917
  • Joined: 08 Dec 2012

Posted 09 November 2013 - 09:21 AM

Post deleted by tecmage

#23 Cotts

Cotts

    Just Wondering

  • *****
  • Posts: 4949
  • Joined: 10 Oct 2005
  • Loc: Toronto, Ontario

Posted 09 November 2013 - 10:42 AM

Post deleted by tecmage

#24 BrooksObs

BrooksObs

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 917
  • Joined: 08 Dec 2012

Posted 09 November 2013 - 11:20 AM

Post deleted by tecmage

#25 Rick Woods

Rick Woods

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 14942
  • Joined: 27 Jan 2005
  • Loc: Inner Solar System

Posted 09 November 2013 - 01:20 PM

(maybe cigarette's make me see things???).


Some cigarettes will! :shocked:

Seriously: at the risk of being obvious, could it have been an airplane, on a course that aimed straight toward or away from you so that it didn't seem to move?

A few years back I saw what I thought was an honest-to-God UFO; but it turned out to be a huge weather balloon, high in the atmosphere. Brighter than Venus, and moving toward the horizon with the sun. This excited me, as I've never particularly believed that Earth was surrounded by ET's come to give us anal probes and cop our DNA.

I have some UFO stuff - "Majestic-12" literature - I printed off the web years ago for fun. When I saw my UFO, I checked this stuff, and there was a drawing of exactly what I saw (through binoculars) in a section describing various extraterrestrial craft. ("Holy... *Bleep*!", thought I.)

Then, I looked at the MUFON web site to see if they were calling it a UFO; they were the ones who said it was a weather balloon!

You just never know.

Edit: I reread the original post - could the pulsing have been caused by passing behind a cloud or some other obscuration? And, is there an airport situated anywhere near you that might fit into this scenario?






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics