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Interesting object in morning sky

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#1 700starman

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 12:25 PM

Good day!  This morning while photographing Venus, Aldebaran, Hyades and Pleiades an interesting object went through the field.  It left a trail.  Later when I magnified the object, to the left of the Pleiades in this link https://bit.ly/_inte...ng_image_200703  there is a shape that does not look like an airplane. My recollection is there were no lights as we typically see when flights approach and depart airports in the area. To see the full object, download the file. The size of the image that can be attached in the forums does not show its shape well enough. (The time stamped on the image is 4:23 a.m. CDT, July 3, 2020, exposure 1/3 sec.)

 

The object with its trail goes past Venus and into the distance in later images.

 

This image is the best of the sequence. 

 

(I am working with a new lens that does not have a hard infinity focal point, so I have been experimenting with where to find the sharpest focus.  Later images are out somewhat out of focus to way out of focus, but the trail is there, and the object is much farther away. This image is not as sharp as I think this lens can do.)

 

The ISS passed over an hour earlier and there were no satellite passes that were along this path, according to Heavens Above. Additionally, the object and trail appear in images that are in a sequence over 3 minutes.

 

Let me know what you think.

 

Happy observing!

 

jlh


Edited by 700starman, 03 July 2020 - 01:51 PM.

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#2 musicengin

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 12:45 PM

That is interesting.  Enlarged, it has a shape more like something manmade than not: three sides of a chunky rectangle, with the open side facing forward, and very square corners, to boot.

 

The trail makes it the more interesting.  The two bolides I have seen were definitely aflame, but they were at night.  This doesn't look aflame, in spite of the tail.



#3 ButterFly

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 12:51 PM

Those look like they could be solar panels.  The ISS, HST, or a keyhole satellite is the best guess because they are the only things that would show any detail at this scale.  Envisat has different solar panels.  Look at heavens-above for your location to see whether anything passed over at the time the shot was taken.  The trail could just be becuase the exposure wasn't infinitely quick.  The trail can be used to estimate speed.


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#4 scopewizard

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 01:10 PM

This is a plane. The contrail expand with time typical of a jet engine. The contrail would not have been visible to the eye but the longer exposure provides light enhancement. As for the shape, this plane moves quite fast in a few seconds. It is also sunlight from below which make the wing brighter but the fuselage darker due to the observer being on the opposite side of the Sun angle or maybe the belly of the plane is a different color which does not reflect light well.


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#5 BrooksObs

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Posted 03 July 2020 - 01:26 PM

I would second the conclusion that this was simply a high-flying jet aircraft, more likely than not a jet fighter, given the single contrail.. At that hour it might well have been high enough to be in sunlight, or at the least, very bright twilight illuminating both the aircraft and its contrail. No object in Earth orbit would show a physical size using such a relatively short focal length telephoto. Likewise, no meteor leaves a trail like the one shown in the image.

 

BrooksObs


Edited by BrooksObs, 03 July 2020 - 01:29 PM.

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#6 oldmanrick

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 10:41 AM

It does not look like any conventional airplane of which I am aware.  When downloaded and magnified, the object appears to have a spherical or disc shaped part in the center, between what look like pontoons or twin fuselages, one on each side.  Visible are what look like two brace arms or beams which reach upward and outward from the central part to the elongated "pontoon" parts.  One of these "beams" is ahead of the central part and the other is behind it. 

 

To me, it looks like a satellite with the "pontoons being solar panel arrays and the central part being instrument, mechanical, fuel, or living quarters space. It certainly does not look aerodynamically efficient enough to operate at any kind of velocity within the atmosphere.  

 

Contrarily, the trail it is leaving does not look right for anything being ejected from it in space, as it does not disperse in all directions as it should if there.  The trail looks very much like a contrail or possibly jet or rocket exhaust in the atmosphere, probably at a very high altitude, as I don't see how it could operate at that speed lower in the atmosphere given it's shape.

 

If I had to guess, I would say it is some type of experimental aircraft or possibly shuttle vehicle entering, leaving, or cruising at the upper reaches of the atmosphere.

 

Another possibility is a satellite emitting some type of material engineered to stay together in a cohesive trail.  I don't know why or how this would be accomplished.

 

It definitely does not look like a naturally occurring object.

 

The mystery remains.  Thanks for the interesting thread.

 

Rick


Edited by oldmanrick, 04 July 2020 - 10:45 AM.

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#7 Keith Rivich

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 08:40 PM

It does not look like any conventional airplane of which I am aware.  When downloaded and magnified, the object appears to have a spherical or disc shaped part in the center, between what look like pontoons or twin fuselages, one on each side.  Visible are what look like two brace arms or beams which reach upward and outward from the central part to the elongated "pontoon" parts.  One of these "beams" is ahead of the central part and the other is behind it. 

 

To me, it looks like a satellite with the "pontoons being solar panel arrays and the central part being instrument, mechanical, fuel, or living quarters space. It certainly does not look aerodynamically efficient enough to operate at any kind of velocity within the atmosphere.  

 

Contrarily, the trail it is leaving does not look right for anything being ejected from it in space, as it does not disperse in all directions as it should if there.  The trail looks very much like a contrail or possibly jet or rocket exhaust in the atmosphere, probably at a very high altitude, as I don't see how it could operate at that speed lower in the atmosphere given it's shape.

 

If I had to guess, I would say it is some type of experimental aircraft or possibly shuttle vehicle entering, leaving, or cruising at the upper reaches of the atmosphere.

 

Another possibility is a satellite emitting some type of material engineered to stay together in a cohesive trail.  I don't know why or how this would be accomplished.

 

It definitely does not look like a naturally occurring object.

 

The mystery remains.  Thanks for the interesting thread.

 

Rick

Holy moley...you see all that? I just see a horseshoe shaped blob.


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#8 oldmanrick

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 09:11 PM

Holy moley...you see all that? I just see a horseshoe shaped blob.

Yes, I was surprised at how much detail is visible when downloaded and enlarged.

 

It would help to know the object's relative speed across the sky.  Was it faster or slower than the ISS?  Was the trail visible to the naked eye, and did the trail appear uniform and consistent as long as it was visible?  About which direction was it going and approximately at what Latitude and Longitude?  Etc, etc.

 

Rick 


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#9 oldmanrick

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 09:32 PM

Another thing I just noticed is that the fuselages or "pontoons" seem to be skewed slightly to the direction of travel when judged by the trail, assuming that the trail was accurately representing the travel direction.

 

Also there was mention in another post of the short focal length of the lens used.  I was unable to find any specifications provided about lens particulars, but such information would be helpful.

 

Rick 



#10 Keith Rivich

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 10:23 PM

Yes, I was surprised at how much detail is visible when downloaded and enlarged.

 

It would help to know the object's relative speed across the sky.  Was it faster or slower than the ISS?  Was the trail visible to the naked eye, and did the trail appear uniform and consistent as long as it was visible?  About which direction was it going and approximately at what Latitude and Longitude?  Etc, etc.

 

Rick 

I did download and enlarge the image. Same same...a horseshoe shaped blob. 



#11 Brian Albin

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 11:12 PM

This is my crop & enlargement. I turned off most of the color, otherwise no reprocessing.

Brian

Attached Thumbnails

  • July 3, 2020, by 700starman at CN.jpg


#12 oldmanrick

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 01:57 AM

Brian, that's pretty close to what I am seeing.  I didn't do any re-processing.

 

I am assuming that the "foggy" stuff around it is light scatter from the bright reflected light.

 

Rick



#13 MellonLake

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 07:18 AM

Clearly Darth Vader's tie fighter.

The relative reflectivity of the object may change its apparent visible shape.  Parts of the aircraft are likely reflecting light away from the observer rather than towards them.

I'm with the above suggestion of a fighter jet at very high altitude.

The contrail is a clear indication it is in the atmosphere.

 

Or the Virgin Galactic drop ship, OP are you anywhere near New Mexico?  


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#14 Reconnaissance

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 08:08 AM

This is my crop & enlargement. I turned off most of the color, otherwise no reprocessing.

Brian

https://www.flyingma...elage-airplane/


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#15 BrooksObs

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 09:00 AM

Poster, although you don't indicate where you are located, if it is in any sort of significantly populated area, it is highly doubtful that any experimental, or secret, aircraft would be tested above there. Satellites are ruled out and so are any astronomical objects, leaving logic to predict that this pretty much has to be a conventional aircraft that for some reason produced an unusual reflection of the rising sun high above the Earth, but definitely within the atmosphere.

 

BrooksObs



#16 Keith Rivich

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 12:20 PM

This is my crop & enlargement. I turned off most of the color, otherwise no reprocessing.

Brian

Now that looks a little more interesting! 



#17 Keith Rivich

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 01:41 PM

Here ya go...someone is flying one of these:

 

https://www.sideshow...aglemoss-905868


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#18 csrlice12

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 03:24 PM

Federation star ship doing a follow-up to an earlier visit by the USS Enterprise ensuring compliance with the Prime Directive.



#19 700starman

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 08:25 PM

Here are answers to questions:

 

50mm lens

 

Yes, I saw the trail visually.

 

I have photos that last about 3 minutes when it was near the horizon.  Distance from Alcyone to Aldebaran is 13.6 - deg.  So it seemed to travel about 20 degrees in 3 minutes.  I'll let others determine whether this is faster or slower than the ISS moves in that time interval.

 

Live near 42-deg N, 88-deg West -- Chicago

 

I had a binocular but did not look at the object with it. (We frequently see airliners with contrails in either morning or evening twilight.  So seeing trails is not unusual because of the frequency of high-flying airliners. When I have looked at airliners in twilight with a binocular the airliner shape is usually easily seen.  It was just unusual when I looked at the image later.)  I was looking to see when Aldebaran cleared the tree line to photo Venus with the Hyades/Aldebaran and the Pleiades above.

 

Get outside to see the moon and planets in the morning. Watch Venus move through the Hyades.  The best morning is likely 07/08.  Mercury appears with the moon on July 19.  Look for the "Classic 9" planets if you have sufficient aperture!  Happy observing!



#20 jiblet65

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Posted 06 July 2020 - 08:59 AM

This is my crop & enlargement. I turned off most of the color, otherwise no reprocessing.

Brian

 

lol.gif

 

c43463b642ee1d92588ca29dea2c158dd6d6bc43


Edited by jiblet65, 06 July 2020 - 08:59 AM.

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#21 Heywood

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Posted 06 July 2020 - 04:28 PM

 

This is my crop & enlargement. I turned off most of the color, otherwise no reprocessing.

Brian

 

lol.gif

 

c43463b642ee1d92588ca29dea2c158dd6d6bc43

 

 

I never could figure out how those things could move through space.  Propulsion system???



#22 Brian Albin

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Posted 06 July 2020 - 09:55 PM

My vote is three angels delivering a white egg to Earth.

 

Brian


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#23 t_image

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Posted 09 July 2020 - 05:47 AM

Here are answers to questions:

 

50mm lens

 

Yes, I saw the trail visually.

 

I have photos that last about 3 minutes when it was near the horizon.  Distance from Alcyone to Aldebaran is 13.6 - deg.  So it seemed to travel about 20 degrees in 3 minutes.  I'll let others determine whether this is faster or slower than the ISS moves in that time interval.

 

Live near 42-deg N, 88-deg West -- Chicago

 

I had a binocular but did not look at the object with it. (We frequently see airliners with contrails in either morning or evening twilight.  So seeing trails is not unusual because of the frequency of high-flying airliners. When I have looked at airliners in twilight with a binocular the airliner shape is usually easily seen.  It was just unusual when I looked at the image later.)  I was looking to see when Aldebaran cleared the tree line to photo Venus with the Hyades/Aldebaran and the Pleiades above.

 

Get outside to see the moon and planets in the morning. Watch Venus move through the Hyades.  The best morning is likely 07/08.  Mercury appears with the moon on July 19.  Look for the "Classic 9" planets if you have sufficient aperture!  Happy observing!

thank you sir for your posts!waytogo.gif

Congrats for your humility to 'let others determine whether this is faster or slower than the ISS moves'

as ironically either intentionally or accidentally such is more educated and informed than the seemingly harmless and well-meaning gross misunderstanding of

how orbital/atmospheric things appear in the sky,

which occasional CN posters find effort to add to threads such as this.

 

I know it takes a little trigonometry and 3-D visualization skills,

but although something like the ISS travels at a constant rate of speed in it's relative orbit compared with reference to the center point of the Earth's core,

such in no way translates to a 'standard observable speed'.............................

Because one needs to take into account how some visualized object is passing relative to the over-the-horizon perspective of the observer in reference to object's own passing orientation.

 

Whether a plane, distant car, or orbiting satellite, any presumption that one can simply determine it's speed from a quick observation without requisite maths involved, such is a childlike error (like thinking the Moon is flat).......

 

Cheers!



#24 Thorkill

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Posted 09 July 2020 - 06:36 AM

thank you sir for your posts!waytogo.gif

Congrats for your humility to 'let others determine whether this is faster or slower than the ISS moves'

as ironically either intentionally or accidentally such is more educated and informed than the seemingly harmless and well-meaning gross misunderstanding of

how orbital/atmospheric things appear in the sky,

which occasional CN posters find effort to add to threads such as this.

 

I know it takes a little trigonometry and 3-D visualization skills,

but although something like the ISS travels at a constant rate of speed in it's relative orbit compared with reference to the center point of the Earth's core,

such in no way translates to a 'standard observable speed'.............................

Because one needs to take into account how some visualized object is passing relative to the over-the-horizon perspective of the observer in reference to object's own passing orientation.

 

Whether a plane, distant car, or orbiting satellite, any presumption that one can simply determine it's speed from a quick observation without requisite maths involved, such is a childlike error (like thinking the Moon is flat).......

 

Cheers!

Right it`s not enough data for exactness but i think he mean approxly, in exampel if the ISS would`ve covered that distance in half a minute instead of 3 minutes it could give a indication. 

 

I wonder what he photographed.



#25 ButterFly

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Posted 09 July 2020 - 03:25 PM

Right it`s not enough data for exactness but i think he mean approxly, in exampel if the ISS would`ve covered that distance in half a minute instead of 3 minutes it could give a indication.

 

You can only do bounds with this one shot because the trail starts at the edge.  If it were in the middle, there would be data regarding the alt/az positions at the start and end of the exposure, as well as an estimate of the angular speed.  If it were in orbit, these three data would suffice to determine the entire orbit within measurement errors (the stars are way out of focus).  The picture also shows Venus and the Pleiades - which are enough to get alt/az (and time, and assuming a field with little distortion, location and refraction comes along with that).  Fortunately, it is only because of the bounds these data provide, rather than a determined orbit, that this one frame can't be an unlawful disclosure of the orbit of a keyhole satellite (good luck getting a prosecutor to do math).  And here's Marisa Tomei regarding the matter.

So yes, math is involved.  A good intro is Introduction to Space Dynamics by William Tyrrell Thomson.  Vector calculus is presumed.  As an exercise, assume it's in orbit and the 1/3s exposure starts when the object is exactly at the edge.

 

I wonder what he photographed.

It's an unidentified flying, I surmise, object.  Because I have no idea what it is, it must be aliens.
 




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