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Satellite or local object?

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#1 malatincia

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Posted 19 September 2021 - 12:19 PM

So early today- at 1:22 a.m precisely central time zone i was observing the moon. Noticed the coolest sight yet!
A rather large diameter shadow on the moon face.

Just on the edge of the almost full moon. Traveling from top to bottom relative to ground level.

The shape was pentagon or hexagon. Really sharp edges.
Took about 15 seconds to pass.

Based on dimensions of craters i would estimate the shadow to be 10-20 miles across.
I'm pretty sure it was a shadow on the moon, as it was so sharp ( and moon shadow transit of Jupiter was happening last night too).

So my question- a local object, or actual shadow on the moon?

#2 rblackadar

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Posted 19 September 2021 - 01:27 PM

It's not a shadow, unless you think some 10-mi diameter object is orbiting the moon. I think I would have heard the news if that were the case.

 

Very hard to say, seems too slow for a satellite (ISS) or airplane. Perhaps a balloon of some kind? Or debris like a plastic bag that somehow got blown aloft?



#3 malatincia

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Posted 19 September 2021 - 02:54 PM

Well precisely why i'm posting it here.

 

Very sharp edges that were elongating along with surface features of the moon.  Pentagon shape.  Very distinct.  Movement like a satelite.  Maybe someone was imaging at that moment.



#4 malatincia

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Posted 19 September 2021 - 03:10 PM

Few reasons why this was not a small object just floating in the sky-

- the movement was in an arc.

- too fast for just a floating item

- shadow edges so sharp

 

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#5 ngc7319_20

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Posted 19 September 2021 - 07:06 PM

Couldnt find any satellites at that time / location.  Weather balloon?



#6 Tom Glenn

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Posted 20 September 2021 - 12:20 AM

Few reasons why this was not a small object just floating in the sky-

- the movement was in an arc.

- too fast for just a floating item

- shadow edges so sharp

None of your points above argue in favor of anything other than a local object.  Movement in an arc is never observed in orbital objects over short distances; satellites appear to move in straight lines when transiting the Moon.  The object you are describing is not fast.  15s for a lunar transit is very slow.  Objects in low Earth orbit transit the Moon in under 1s in most cases.  The sharp edges of the object simply mean that it was in focus.  For objects in silhouette (which is what we are talking about here and different from a shadow) anything more than several hundred meters away from your scope may appear acceptably sharp, and anything over several kilometers away will appear perfectly sharp.  There aren't many satellites large enough to produce an obvious silhouette when transiting.  Really the ISS is the only one you could see that would be noticeable in real time to the naked eye, although there are several smaller satellites that can be imaged (Hubble, Tiangong) but those are very small and transit in under 1 second.  Weather balloons (and other similar balloons) are quite commonly the source of observations such as the one you are describing.


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#7 malatincia

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Posted 20 September 2021 - 01:05 PM

Thank you for replying.
I do realize the odds of this being an actual shadow on the surface are slim.

Thanks to all that responded. This was a very cool sight.

Back to the comments-
My points listed to stress the observed motion.
So it was north to south. It was on slow and very smooth line. And the shape of course made for a intriguing sight.
Could a floating balloon do that? Probably not. Any other object other than a large drone? But what drone would be flying at 1:22 a.m?

Oh well. Thanks to all that responded.


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