A "Dancing" Star?

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aphh

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Hi!<br /><br />It's my first post but I guess everybody has to have the first time. I've been out the last 3 nights in a row because of excellent weather here in Helsinki and to prepare myself for the coming meteor events. More meteors each night plus one really slow moving large fiery ball.<br /><br />But tonight I saw something different. I've chosen a spesific quadrant that I keep an eye on laying on the ground for an hour or two. I chose this spesific direction after a few nights of familiarizing myself with the sky to see where most satellite trajectories seem to intersect. At times it's possible to see 4 - 5 satellites racing through the sky, mostly at polar or near polar orbits but other intersecting orbits aswell.<br /><br />As I was laying on the ground some movement caught my eye. At first I thought it was another satellite entering my view but very soon I noticed the movement was entirely different. It was not a satellite, although the brigthness was very similar, because it didn't move on an arc as if it was on orbit but the movement was irregular. It accelerated and moved a bit, then suddenly turned direction as much as 90 or even 180 degrees. It was basically "dancing" in the sky. No other stars seemed to do this and satellites just kept racing across the sky.<br /><br />I watched this dancing star for an hour and a half and when I left it was still there. I would say it's relative position did not seem to move but clearly there was motion, acceleration and deceleration and sudden change of course. As if somebody drove on a parking lot randomly.<br /><br />Is this related to athmospheric movement in the upper athmosphere and is it possible to create this kind of result for just one star? This "dancing" star was inside of several more brighter stars but it's brightness was enough so that I could spot it immediately again when I moved my eyes momentarily away and then located the dancing star again. <br /><br />It just kept dancing. You can bet that I am going to be
 
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billslugg

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It would be helpful if you could identify the star. Could you make a sketch of the star field and post it along with your coordinates and the date and time? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p> </p> </div>
 
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enigma10

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Did it look like any of these dancing stars?<img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <em>"<font color="#333399">An organism at war with itself is a doomed organism." - Carl Sagan</font></em> </div>
 
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alokmohan

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Puzzled.I want to see dancing star,cant catch one.Help.
 
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enigma10

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Don't think you can catch them, but you might be able to eat these Dancing stars.<img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <em>"<font color="#333399">An organism at war with itself is a doomed organism." - Carl Sagan</font></em> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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Hi there, welcome to Space.com!!<br /><br />This is a very common question.<br /><br />What you are seeing is an optical illusion. The star is not really moving.<br />If you could tell us what part of the sky it's in, and what time it is we could probably identify it.<br /><br />My wild guess would be Arcturus.<br /><br />If you follow the curve of the handle of the big dipper away from the bowl, does it point to that star?<br /><br />I know you don't want to believe it is an optical illusion, but you'll just have to trust me. It is very commen to see motion when it is not there, particularly with bright stars. Once we identify the star, you can the learn the rest of the constellation, and will be able to prove to yourself it's not actually moving <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /><br /><br /><br />Now it may flicker, change colors, and jitter due to atmopshereic turbulence, but the change is position is imperceptibly small.<br /><br />Help us identify it, at least what direction, what time it is, and if there are any nearby constellations you do recognize.<br /><br />We're here to help <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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aphh

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Thanks everybody for your help. <br /><br />I indeed realized tonight it is an illusion. This was actually a pretty dim star located quite far from another stars right in the middle of a large triangle of 3 bright stars. They are the brightest stars right above me. The triangle is above me, a little to the south and the farthest tip is the southernmost bright star. I am facing east (if I looked ahead and not up). Recognizing constellations seems to be tricky, even Ursa Major is almost lacking one star (light pollution or eyes getting older). Ursa Major is behind my field of view a little to the North West.<br /><br />Anyway, I could "command" the star to dance. When I trained my eyes on it pretty soon it started to dance. I can replicate this with another star but not so easily because other stars have reference points, other stars, closer. The star that played with my mind has no other stars in my field of view when I have trained my eyes on it. When I concentrate on watching it, it starts waltzing.<br /><br />I will try to create of draft of what I see from my vantage point a bit later. Thanks again and shame that it was nothing of significance <img src="/images/icons/frown.gif" />
 
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aphh

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I made a very, very rough sketch of what I see from my usual viewing location. It might be possible I had drawn Cassiopeia, but I can not be certain. Also, without compass I can not be quite sure of the azimuth. Field of view is an guestimation, but if it's Cassiopeia indeed then everything else is pretty much in scale.<br /><br />If anybody is interested it's located at http://www.zweg.com/dump/photo/star_chart.jpg <br /><br />Edit: Actually, UBB seems to be on, let's see if this works:
 
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MeteorWayne

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Looking at your map, and using East as a direction, and the posistion and time you listed, it looks like the 3 stars from left to right are:<br />Deneb, the tail of Cygnus the Swan.<br />That also mahes sense, the three dimmer stars in a line to it;s right are the winds of Cygnus.<br /><br />The bright one highest up, would be Vega, and the one on the lower right would be Altair, the brightest star in Aquila the Eagle.<br /><br />That would make your waltzing dim star Albireo, the head of Cygnus. If you have binoculars, take a look at it.<br /><br />It's one if the finest double stars in the sky, with a great contrast in color between the the two.<br /><br /><br />It is truly amazing the tricks your eyes can play on you. I am a meteor observer (Meteor Wayne <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /> ) so spend many hours each clear night looking at the whole sky, and I see all kinds of odd visual effects.<br />No UFO's yet though <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /><br /><br />Nicely drawn map, by the way.<br /><br />That probably is Cassiopia where you drew it as well<br /><br />Thanx for the mystery, I had fun solving it; your great map helped.<br /><br />Wayne<br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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I'm going to try and attach an image of the right part of your map. You can see the 3 star I identified as your bright triangle. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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aphh

Guest
Excellent! Thanks for the professional analysis.<br /><br />Tonight I'll know a lot more about "my" sky. I'm going to get binoculars and perhaps a compass/gps, but I decided to familiarize myself with the sky starting from one quadrant and then moving into another. Thanks to you I'm almost ready to turn 90 degrees <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /><br /><br />It is true what you said, that one can see many kinds of things in the sky. After awhile of training the eyes on the sky many kinds of motion and lights can be seen. I'm most surprised about the vast number of man made objects racing across the sky in all directions. Sky is literally littered with satellites and junk, it seems.<br /><br />Weather is not often co-operative here in Helsinki plus light pollution is an issue, although it helps that the seaside is darkened. August is the best time because it's still warm to stay outside plus nights are already growing darker.<br /><br />Thanks again for the information and let's hope for a great Perseid show in the coming nights!
 
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