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Unusual dark object caught on video - what is this?

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#1 le93baron


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Posted 19 June 2018 - 09:00 PM

The other day I was setting up to record a lunar occultation event when I noticed something pass near the moon.  I started to track it and recorded it for some minutes.

I can't really tell what this object is.  It almost looks like a tumbling asteroid.  But it may just be space junk.  


I'm surprised it doesn't reflect any light though.  I think it was only the back shine of the moon's light that enabled me to track it.  But it appears to reflect little or no light.  Everything else I've seen up there is reflecting or emitting light.


Please check out this video and let me know what you think this is.




At some point I zoomed in so keep watching so you can see more definition and the shape of the thing.






#2 Sky Muse

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 09:10 PM

Could be a large bird, like an eagle, and gliding mostly.

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#3 mashirts


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Posted 19 June 2018 - 09:26 PM

A bat.

#4 csrlice12



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Posted 19 June 2018 - 09:50 PM

You did not see this.  You were never there.  Leave it at that.  Thank you, the Government with the approval of our alien Overlords.

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#5 jim kuhns

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 09:54 PM

Weather balloon?

#6 BrooksObs



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Posted 19 June 2018 - 10:02 PM

I would tend to concur with brother Alan that the object is most likely a night bird of some sort. Several times during the video the shape briefly becomes distinctly bird-like in outline, with wing appendages quite evident to me. To be visible as a dark silhouette against a sky background illuminated by moonlight absolutely necessitates that the object would have to be in the Earth's atmosphere and likely not very distant from the observer. Any object in space would either shine brightly by reflected sunlight, or be invisible if within the Earth's shadow. The only possible exception to this would be if the object were seen projected against the dense bright star clouds of the Milky Way, which was clearly not the case here.



Edited by BrooksObs, 19 June 2018 - 10:03 PM.

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#7 kreasonos


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Posted 19 June 2018 - 10:45 PM

I think it's moving way too straight to be a bird. Any idea how high it was? Any idea the size? I wasn't looking through your scope so I have no point of reference but to me it looks like a satellite, the trajectory looks purposeful. 

#8 NiteGuy



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Posted 19 June 2018 - 11:12 PM

This really looks like one of those oval-shaped mylar balloons that got loose from a party or something. Obviously this one's not chrome silver like most of them but I've seen them in all colors. If you check as to what the wind direction was at the time, I'm confident the object's motion will match with the wind.

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#9 rogue river art

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 11:33 PM

100% sure it's a UFO.

#10 scadvice


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Posted 19 June 2018 - 11:36 PM

I think it's a garbage bag that got carried up by a aircraft taking off. I saw that once near an airport. That's all I got!

#11 eric gillin

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 11:53 PM

it's a turkey vulture.

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#12 Dynan



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Posted 20 June 2018 - 12:17 AM

"I'm not saying it was ALIENS, but it was



#13 Jond105



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Posted 20 June 2018 - 01:40 AM

SR-71 mission reboot


Edited by Jond105, 20 June 2018 - 01:55 AM.

#14 ThatsMyCoffee


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Posted 20 June 2018 - 03:59 AM

Looks like a helicopter to me.  Flying slow, straight & level.

#15 apage


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Posted 20 June 2018 - 06:11 AM

Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster?

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#16 epee



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Posted 20 June 2018 - 07:08 AM

Likely a bat. I've seen both them and birds cross the Moon at what must be a greater altitude than we are used to seeing them in daylight. The object in your video seems to be flapping away at times but eerily still at others; I submit this is a seeing effect. 

#17 Eddgie



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Posted 20 June 2018 - 08:06 AM

Weather balloon?

Yes, a balloon.


Aircraft would have anti-collision lights/strobe that would show easily in at telescope (and with care, should even be visual with the unaided eye). 


The exception would be if the OP is near a Military Operations Area (MOA) and it is a military aircraft flying in stealth mode (IR markers only, no beacons).  I do all my astronomy with night vision gear and I have caught the IR markers once in a plane flying in stealth mode.  No strobes, but easy to see in the night vision device, which is the whole point of the IR markers. 


With this exception though, all aircraft would have a beacon/strobes going at night. That is so they don't bump into one another by accident.


Looked like a weather balloon to me though. Looks resolved as a round/oval object.  Used to measure winds aloft and other important meteorological data.   Might be a an escape party balloon. 

Edited by Eddgie, 20 June 2018 - 08:19 AM.

#18 Cotts


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Posted 20 June 2018 - 08:16 AM

Bats don't soar in pretty much a straight line. Ever.


Vultures and other large soaring birds don't fly at night.  


At no point is there any indication of wing flapping....


In the latter half of the video after the OP zoomed in some, a slow rotation - about 2 seconds per rotation -  of an oval object can be clearly seen.   It continues for quite a while.  Weather balloon have the equipment dangling from them so they don't rotate like this....


I'll say with some certainty a helium-filled party balloon seen in silhouette against the moonlit sky and about a few miles away at most.



#19 Sketcher


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Posted 20 June 2018 - 09:07 AM

At the top of my list would be a goose.  They often fly at night, and sometimes one will see a lone goose in flight.


Anything beyond earth's atmosphere is definitely ruled out -- object is too dark.


Bats simply don't fly like that.

#20 ninelives


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Posted 20 June 2018 - 03:11 PM

From the motion I am also in favor of a partially-spent helium balloon. Doesn't look like organic motion.

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#21 NiteGuy



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Posted 20 June 2018 - 07:31 PM

It's settled then...mylar party balloon, possibly somewhat deflated, coasting in the wind a mile or two away...case closed.


One time, I was 2800 feet up at an observatory waiting for it to get dark and, high on the mountain in the twilight, a mylar party balloon floated slowly by in the light breeze while remaining perfectly level and going in a straight line. I immediately thought, "what the heck is a balloon doing at this altitude," but there it was!

#22 rhcrooks


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Posted 20 June 2018 - 08:15 PM

The motion is far too linear for it to be an animal, My guess is it's someones drone that is running low on batteries, and heading for home.


I'd say it was a plane except there are no strobes. It's also obviously pretty low since it shows up black against the light pollution.


I'd be surprised if it's not a drone.

Edited by rhcrooks, 20 June 2018 - 08:21 PM.

#23 rhcrooks


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Posted 20 June 2018 - 09:02 PM

It could be a party balloon. Though, there is no such thing as a partially deflated party balloon - they deflate immediately and drift briefly, and fall into someones yard as trash.


I've taken a second look at that video and I don't think it's a busted balloon.

#24 Cpk133



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Posted 20 June 2018 - 09:11 PM

Balloon boy 2.0

#25 rhcrooks


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Posted 20 June 2018 - 09:23 PM

Another hobby of mine is high power rocketry and I have experience observing objects falling from great height, including rogue parachutes. This object just does not look like a failed recovery device / deflated balloon / other trash that was lofted somehow. It looks like it is under power, and making for a way-point.

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