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I saw a large and bright object early in evening. Does anyone know what it is?

Astrometry Beginner Binoculars Observing
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#1 Tyler Shaffer

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Posted 24 July 2021 - 11:28 PM

Around 8 this evening in Spokane, Washington a few friends and I saw something very bright on the sky. We took out an astronomy app thinking it was a planet, but we found that the two visible planets were on the horizon and what we saw was in the south. There were no stars that would make sense to be that bright that early. We watched it for a while and found it was moving south at an inconsistent speed. As it moved farther south it got a red tint and got much dimmer. At around 9, we weren’t able to see it anymore. It was round for the most part, but it wasn’t a perfect circle. We didn’t have a telescope with us, so we had to use binoculars which didn’t help much. Does anyone have a clue what it is?

#2 Ayaan Hashim

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Posted 25 July 2021 - 12:01 AM

I once mistook an aircraft(I don't remember which one it was-must have been a plane) flying over sea the as a UFO after I was going back home from stargazing(I think about 11pm in the night)-Then when it came closer I was able to resolve the lights on the aircraft and I could pick up the sound. Before I don't think I could make out the noise it made-It was probably more than 3 miles away, I guess-And it seemed to me to be a stationary white bright dot in the sky and after a while it seemed to move-Until eventually it resolved into more than 2 small lights and passed somewhere overhead-I believe.



#3 chanrobi

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Posted 25 July 2021 - 01:21 AM

Around 8 this evening in Spokane, Washington a few friends and I saw something very bright on the sky. We took out an astronomy app thinking it was a planet, but we found that the two visible planets were on the horizon and what we saw was in the south. There were no stars that would make sense to be that bright that early. We watched it for a while and found it was moving south at an inconsistent speed. As it moved farther south it got a red tint and got much dimmer. At around 9, we weren’t able to see it anymore. It was round for the most part, but it wasn’t a perfect circle. We didn’t have a telescope with us, so we had to use binoculars which didn’t help much. Does anyone have a clue what it is?

www.heavens-above.com



#4 Sleep Deprived

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Posted 25 July 2021 - 02:34 AM

If it was brightly visible for close to an hour, it wasn't a satellite.  Probably not a plane, either.  I would hazard a guess that it was something like a weather balloon.  They can reflect sunlight like nobody's business.  I know there are lots of wildfires in eastern Washington now, so the red color may be caused by the sun shining through the smoky air.



#5 oldmanrick

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Posted 25 July 2021 - 10:15 PM

I would vote for a balloon too, except the prevailing winds at higher levels at that time of day have been from the southwest for the last couple of days, at least over here.

 

Do you have any estimate of it's altitude and how far it moved during an hour or so?  Also did it just fade out or disappear over the horizon, or behind heavier smoke?

 

I agree that wildfire smoke was likely causing the reddish tint.

 

Welcome to Cloudy Nights, and thanks for the interesting post!

 

Rick



#6 csrlice12

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Posted 25 July 2021 - 10:25 PM

We should call the Scottish Police to investigate.  They have experience in these matters.grin.gif



#7 Ayaan Hashim

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Posted 26 July 2021 - 01:50 AM

Watch the video on a UFO filmed by astrobiscuit on youtube if you would like to!-

https://www.youtube....h?v=7_CgfM6yN78


Edited by Ayaan Hashim, 26 July 2021 - 07:14 AM.


#8 Tyler Shaffer

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Posted 26 July 2021 - 12:46 PM

I would vote for a balloon too, except the prevailing winds at higher levels at that time of day have been from the southwest for the last couple of days, at least over here.

Do you have any estimate of it's altitude and how far it moved during an hour or so? Also did it just fade out or disappear over the horizon, or behind heavier smoke?

I agree that wildfire smoke was likely causing the reddish tint.

Welcome to Cloudy Nights, and thanks for the interesting post!

Rick



I’m not entirely sure about the altitude, but it was pretty high up. It didn’t disappear over the horizon, it disappeared into the smoke.

Edited by Tyler Shaffer, 26 July 2021 - 03:14 PM.


#9 Sleep Deprived

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Posted 26 July 2021 - 05:18 PM

I’m not entirely sure about the altitude, but it was pretty high up. It didn’t disappear over the horizon, it disappeared into the smoke.

Or, it might have popped.

 

I have seen home-made candle balloons at night - they can be eerie.  Basically, take a Hefty bag, tie a platform underneath the opening, mount a candle, and let it go.  Yes, it can be a fire hazard.  They can stay up for a long time.  The flickering of the candle illuminating the whole thing makes it look eerie.  Of course, you have no idea where it will land.  It is ill advised to do this especially during a drought.  Also, they don't go too high, at least compared to a weather balloon.  Maybe a couple 1000 feet, so they are guided by different winds than a weather balloon.



#10 oldmanrick

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Posted 26 July 2021 - 10:54 PM

Probably a weather balloon, with the winds moving it in a different direction than I would have expected.  If its changes of speed or direction were sudden and erratic, then might have to reconsider.

 

At 8:00 PM in Spokane the sun would still have been shining on it so it could have been bright, if it were slightly East of your position so the side you were looking at would have been illuminated.

 

Rick



#11 Ihtegla Sar

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Posted 27 July 2021 - 12:18 AM

A couple years ago I saw a very bright (brighter than Venus) light hovering a ways above the horizon just after sunset. I quickly set up my Tak to take a look. The planets were really low in 2019 so the Tak was set up for straight through viewing and this thing was maybe 20 or 30 degrees above the horizon so I didn't bother getting out a diagonal. The thing looked really strange and I half convinced myself it was some type of UFO, until remembered that a refractor without a diagonal inverts the image. Once I turned it right side up in my mind I immediately recognized it as a weather balloon.

A few minutes ago I saw something else weird. A very bright (a little brighter than Vega) pinpoint directly over head. It didn't appear to be moving and at first I thought it was Vega. I watched it about ten seconds, trying to figure out what star it was but before I could identity what star it was, it just winked out. Now that I am looking more closely, it was no where near Vega but was just above Bootes, right near the zenith in an area where it there aren't any bright stars. My guess is it may have been a satellite that was rotating and caught the sun just right for a moment, since the sun just set about an hour ago.

Edited by Ihtegla Sar, 27 July 2021 - 12:19 AM.


#12 Keith Rivich

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Posted 27 July 2021 - 09:11 AM

I wonder if it may have been a balloon or some other platform being used to monitor the fires. 

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm...les/PMC5017475/



#13 stomias

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Posted 29 July 2021 - 04:38 AM

Yup, saw a weather balloon once while observing long ago....It freaked me out a first...




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