Flashing Light from Space?

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swifty69chevelle

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<p>Hi everyone,</p><p>&nbsp; This Morning Sept 27, 2008 I was having trouble sleeping. I went outside to have a smoke and found the clearest night sky I had seen in awhile. I like to just look up there and get lost in the vastness of space. Too my suprise I noticed a blinking light. 1 light and it was moving very slow and not the direction the heavens are moving. Let me fill you in on the details.</p><p>Spring Hill, Florida Lat - North 28.3839 / Long - West 82.4977</p><p>Time is 4:30AM - 5:00AM One half an hour watching</p><p>Blinking is constant about 15 seconds between blinks.</p><p>I am facing south looking up at about a 65 deg. or so and I see it&nbsp;to&nbsp;the left of the&nbsp;big dipper and just below three stars close together in a triangle patern.</p><p>During the half hour period it moved about two inches in the sky.</p><p>I have seen once in my life a&nbsp;satelite glowing across the sky at night. It was on the news and moved faster than what I observed this morning. I went inside to look up blinking lights in the sky and was in for 10 mins. I go back outside and no longer can I find the lights blinking. They should have been there because I tracked it for 30 mins. I knew just where it should have been and it was not. I spent 30 mins looking for it to no avail. I'm Confused!!!?</p>
 
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MeteorWayne

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Hi everyone,&nbsp; This Morning Sept 27, 2008 I was having trouble sleeping. I went outside to have a smoke and found the clearest night sky I had seen in awhile. I like to just look up there and get lost in the vastness of space. Too my suprise I noticed a blinking light. 1 light and it was moving very slow and not the direction the heavens are moving. Let me fill you in on the details.Spring Hill, Florida Lat - North 28.3839 / Long - West 82.4977Time is 4:30AM - 5:00AM One half an hour watchingBlinking is constant about 15 seconds between blinks.I am facing south looking up at about a 65 deg. or so and I see it&nbsp;to&nbsp;the left of the&nbsp;big dipper and just below three stars close together in a triangle patern.During the half hour period it moved about two inches in the sky.I have seen once in my life a&nbsp;satelite glowing across the sky at night. It was on the news and moved faster than what I observed this morning. I went inside to look up blinking lights in the sky and was in for 10 mins. I go back outside and no longer can I find the lights blinking. They should have been there because I tracked it for 30 mins. I knew just where it should have been and it was not. I spent 30 mins looking for it to no avail. I'm Confused!!!? <br />Posted by swifty69chevelle</DIV></p><p>There are many satellites and rocket bodies that flash in periods from to a few seconds to a few minutes between flashes. I see them quite often when meteor observing.</p><p>That is undoubtedly what you saw.</p><p>Tracking down which object it was is very difficult, however if you watch the sky enough, you get used to (and look forward to) them.</p><p>When meteor rates are low, they become my friends to keep me awake :)</p> <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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swifty69chevelle

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Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>There are many satellites and rocket bodies that flash in periods from to a few seconds to a few minutes between flashes. I see them quite often when meteor observing.That is undoubtedly what you saw.Tracking down which object it was is very difficult, however if you watch the sky enough, you get used to (and look forward to) them.When meteor rates are low, they become my friends to keep me awake :) <br />Posted by MeteorWayne</DIV><br /><br />Thanks for the answer. I looked at a couple of websites that said there are no lights on satelites so I was not sure what I was looking at. If it was a&nbsp;rocket or debris from it, that would explain why I lost track of it because debris tumbles.
 
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MeteorWayne

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Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Thanks for the answer. I looked at a couple of websites that said there are no lights on satelites so I was not sure what I was looking at. If it was a&nbsp;rocket or debris from it, that would explain why I lost track of it because debris tumbles. <br />Posted by swifty69chevelle</DIV><br /><br />It also could have gone into the earth's shadow. Many satellites (even ones that don't tumble) are only illuminated by the sun for part of a visible pass. <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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Mee_n_Mac

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>There are many satellites and rocket bodies that flash in periods from to a few seconds to a few minutes between flashes. I see them quite often when meteor observing.That is undoubtedly what you saw.Tracking down which object it was is very difficult, however if you watch the sky enough, you get used to (and look forward to) them.When meteor rates are low, they become my friends to keep me awake :) <br />Posted by <strong>MeteorWayne</strong></DIV><br /><br />I would agree with you but for 1 thing.&nbsp; The OP said it took 30 minutes to travel about 3 degrees*.&nbsp; This is slower than any visible satellite I've ever seen.&nbsp; I wonder if a weather balloon isn't a more plausible explanation ??</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>* My interpretation of 2" is 2"&nbsp;at an arms length.&nbsp; Maybe the OP can help out here.</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>-----------------------------------------------------</p><p><font color="#ff0000">Ask not what your Forum Software can do do on you,</font></p><p><font color="#ff0000">Ask it to, please for the love of all that's Holy, <strong>STOP</strong> !</font></p> </div>
 
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deapfreeze

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>I would agree with you but for 1 thing.&nbsp; The OP said it took 30 minutes to travel about 3 degrees*.&nbsp; This is slower than any visible satellite I've ever seen.&nbsp; I wonder if a weather balloon isn't a more plausible explanation ??&nbsp;* My interpretation of 2" is 2"&nbsp;at an arms length.&nbsp; Maybe the OP can help out here. <br /> Posted by mee_n_mac</DIV></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>It's a UFO... LOL. A weather&nbsp; balloon could fit the profile but I have seen some pretty slow moving satellites..</p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font size="2" color="#0000ff"><em>William ( deapfreeze ) Hooper</em></font></p><p><font size="1">http://deapfreeze-amateur-astronomy.tk/</font></p><p> </p> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>I would agree with you but for 1 thing.&nbsp; The OP said it took 30 minutes to travel about 3 degrees*.&nbsp; This is slower than any visible satellite I've ever seen.&nbsp; I wonder if a weather balloon isn't a more plausible explanation ??&nbsp;* My interpretation of 2" is 2"&nbsp;at an arms length.&nbsp; Maybe the OP can help out here. <br />Posted by mee_n_mac</DIV><br /><br />I don't think a weather balloon fits. Why would it flash?</p><p>Without knwing how far in degrees it moved we can only speculate on a possible satellite altitude.</p><p>I agree that sounds slow, possibly a gesynch or Molniya orbit booster could stay in the sky that long.</p> <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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CalliArcale

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Thanks for the answer. I looked at a couple of websites that said there are no lights on satelites so I was not sure what I was looking at. If it was a&nbsp;rocket or debris from it, that would explain why I lost track of it because debris tumbles. <br /> Posted by swifty69chevelle</DIV></p><p>Actually, a few satellites do have lights on them.&nbsp; Most don't; there's no point.&nbsp; But manned spacecraft such as the ISS, Shuttle, Soyuz, and (presumably) Shenzhou do, and so do unmanned supply vehicles (Progress, ATV).&nbsp; The lights are to illuminate the vehicle during docking operations and/or spacewalks.&nbsp; I believe Genesis 2 also has a floodlight, so it can take pictures of itself even during orbital night.</p><p>But it doesn't matter.&nbsp; These lights are all much too faint to be seen from Earth.&nbsp;&nbsp; You just can't see a lightbulb 300 miles away, not with the naked eye and probably not even with a telescope.&nbsp; All the light you see from spacecraft is reflected sunlight.</p><p>I've occasionally seen pics of tumbling rocket bodies, taken from the ground with very little magnification (so, equivalent to what the naked eye would see).&nbsp; I'll try to find one so you can see if it resembles what you saw. </p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#666699"><em>"People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly . . . timey wimey . . . stuff."</em>  -- The Tenth Doctor, "Blink"</font></p> </div>
 
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Par72

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<p>&nbsp;</p><p>Funny true story follows......happened to me!!</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>I live in some what of a small town, and do my share of watching the heavens.</p><p>Last year I am leaving town and notice this odd flashing light....blinking with regularity&nbsp;, position either above my town, or out in the heavens..can't be sure..to dark. I take out my camera and commit it to film....just incase the feds need some proof !!!</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>I call a friend on the other side of twon maybe 5 miles away and have him scan the sky for said light ...nothing.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The aliens must be cloaking from his direction...that must be it!! I decide to drive north and get a look from that end of town...</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>I get to the north end....it's gone...sadness.....as I head back to my house it reappears....so I head straight to the source.....</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>They are not from my area.........they are from ....Seattle..and they have just moved in a rather tall crane..taller than anything around, and with the light tower and flag on top it was at least 12 stories. The highest thing in my podunk village is 70 feet at best!!!</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Like I said it's a small town I live in ..we don't git a whole lot of those hifalutin crane thingys 'round these parts. Naturally I thought it was extraterrestial.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>I still have the disk saved on my camera....I view it anytime I need humbling. <img src="http://sitelife.space.com/ver1.0/content/scripts/tinymce/plugins/emotions/images/smiley-laughing.gif" border="0" alt="Laughing" title="Laughing" /></p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font size="2" color="#3366ff">I am par72 since '03 and <font size="3" color="#0000ff">I'm a cluster finally</font>!!! <font size="1" color="#000000">pay no attention to that stuff on the left!!!</font></font></p><p> </p> </div>
 
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Mee_n_Mac

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Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>I don't think a weather balloon fits. Why would it flash?Without knwing how far in degrees it moved we can only speculate on a possible satellite altitude.I agree that sounds slow, possibly a gesynch or Molniya orbit booster could stay in the sky that long. <br />Posted by <strong>MeteorWayne</strong></DIV><br /><br />The balloon couldbe swinging or rotating in the winds and aligning a reflective surface to the Sun and viewer ... much like a tumbling satellite.&nbsp; Do we have any tumbling satellites in an orbit high enough to be in range for the OP's timing ?&nbsp; I don't think Heaven-Above lists any satellites&nbsp;that high ... <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>-----------------------------------------------------</p><p><font color="#ff0000">Ask not what your Forum Software can do do on you,</font></p><p><font color="#ff0000">Ask it to, please for the love of all that's Holy, <strong>STOP</strong> !</font></p> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>The balloon couldbe swinging or rotating in the winds and aligning a reflective surface to the Sun and viewer ... much like a tumbling satellite.&nbsp; Do we have any tumbling satellites in an orbit high enough to be in range for the OP's timing ?&nbsp; I don't think Heaven-Above lists any satellites&nbsp;that high ... <br />Posted by Mee_n_Mac</DIV><br /><br />It's hard to imagine a weather balloon would be illuminated at that time, of course that depends somewhat on where the poster lives. I don't recall a location in the original post, so can't really say for sure.</p><p>Edit (there is a location there, sorry I missed it. Let me check the sun location below the horizon; i'll be back)</p><p>Edit 2....no not a balloon. At that hour (5 AM) the sun was 31 degrees below the horizon. No chance of anything in the troposhere being illuminated.</p><p>To my knowlege, Heaven's above does not list flashing satellites at all unless they would be above the +4.5 threshhold in between flashes. That's one thing that makes it so difficult to track down flashers. After many long attempts trying to identify the dozens I've seen, I pretty much have given up. As it is, my observations of sats are secondary to my metor observing, so I spend my time the next morning preparing my meteor report and submitting it. It's not worth spending a few hours of often futile effort trying to ID a flasher. The brighter sats I see are usually pretty easy to ID using Heavens Above (the 65% that I can ID), so it doesn't add too much to my time load.</p><p>On busy meteor nights, I don't even have time to do that. The sats are in my records, but I just can't afford the time to track down the fainter ones, or the ones not listed.</p><p>Sat observing is a hobby, meteors are my passion :)</p> <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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CalliArcale

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<p><BR/>Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>It's hard to imagine a weather balloon would be illuminated at that time, of course that depends somewhat on where the poster lives. I don't recall a location in the original post, so can't really say for sure.Edit (there is a location there, sorry I missed it. Let me check the sun location below the horizon; i'll be back)Edit 2....no not a balloon. At that hour (5 AM) the sun was 31 degrees below the horizon. No chance of anything in the troposhere being illuminated.To my knowlege, Heaven's above does not list flashing satellites at all unless they would be above the +4.5 threshhold in between flashes. That's one thing that makes it so difficult to track down flashers.<br /> Posted by MeteorWayne</DIV></p><p>Well, Heavens Above does list extremely dim satellites (even geosynchronous ones), but in exactly the wrong way to try to find out what you've seen.&nbsp; You can select a satellite and ask for all theoretically visible passes, or even all passes, period, over your location.&nbsp; But it only works if you already know the identity of the object, which makes it exactly backwards for our purposes here. </p> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p><font color="#666699"><em>"People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint it's more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly . . . timey wimey . . . stuff."</em>  -- The Tenth Doctor, "Blink"</font></p> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>Well, Heavens Above does list extremely dim satellites (even geosynchronous ones), but in exactly the wrong way to try to find out what you've seen.&nbsp; You can select a satellite and ask for all theoretically visible passes, or even all passes, period, over your location.&nbsp; But it only works if you already know the identity of the object, which makes it exactly backwards for our purposes here. <br />Posted by CalliArcale</DIV><br /><br />Yep, that's why it takes too long to be worth the effort in most cases. <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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Mee_n_Mac

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Replying to:<BR/><DIV CLASS='Discussion_PostQuote'>....no not a balloon. At that hour (5 AM) the sun was 31 degrees below the horizon. No chance of anything in the troposhere being illuminated. Posted by <strong>MeteorWayne</strong></DIV><br /><br />Very good !&nbsp; So balloons are out.&nbsp; Given the angle the OP gave I ruled out a tower of some sort (ala Par72)&nbsp;as it would have to be so close it would be visible in the daylight.&nbsp; A plane would also seem to be ruled out as the angular speed seems too slow for that as well.&nbsp; I guess a circling one or helo might remain as a possibility. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>-----------------------------------------------------</p><p><font color="#ff0000">Ask not what your Forum Software can do do on you,</font></p><p><font color="#ff0000">Ask it to, please for the love of all that's Holy, <strong>STOP</strong> !</font></p> </div>
 
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