Red and Green Flashing lights in western sky below Mars

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z28pd

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Hello, I am new to this site and thanks in advance. I live in Michigan and watched the eclipse this morning, so I decided to take a look at mars tonight and that is when I noticed a star or something that was flashing red and green and was stationary. I even got my neighbor out whom is a Polci Lieutenant and we watched it not move and pulse with red and green lights for at least 35 minutes. Does anyone know what this is? It is not a helicopter and it is not a airplane/jet and is visible driectly below Mars. I have watched it and gauged it off of (2) other stars that were not movein. I have never seen anything like this, not even with the northern lights.
 
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vogon13

Guest
Without a picture or video (where's your cell phone ??) we are all probably going to keep telling you it was an airplane or helicopter till you get bored and go away.<br /><br />BTW, welcome to SDC !!<br /><br /><br /><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#ff0000"><strong>TPTB went to Dallas and all I got was Plucked !!</strong></font></p><p><font color="#339966"><strong>So many people, so few recipes !!</strong></font></p><p><font color="#0000ff"><strong>Let's clean up this stinkhole !!</strong></font> </p> </div>
 
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vogon13

Guest
{I'm the funny one here, get used to it}<br /><br /><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#ff0000"><strong>TPTB went to Dallas and all I got was Plucked !!</strong></font></p><p><font color="#339966"><strong>So many people, so few recipes !!</strong></font></p><p><font color="#0000ff"><strong>Let's clean up this stinkhole !!</strong></font> </p> </div>
 
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nec208

Guest
Well Planets and Stars do not flash or change color .And even satellites do not flash or change color you seen a UFO or some vey strange phenomena.<br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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qso1

Guest
Actually brighter stars such as Sirius do change colors and appear to flash...or get brighter rapidly. That is, they do appear to change colors, particularly low in the sky where atmospheric turbulance cause the light reaching the eye to be distorted. Sirius puts on quite the show low in the sky. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><strong>My borrowed quote for the time being:</strong></p><p><em>There are three kinds of people in life. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen...and those who do not know what happened.</em></p> </div>
 
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usn_skwerl

Guest
oh yes, theres been many times ive seen rigel and sirius appear to change color. <br /><br />aldebaran is fairly near mars, and is reddish. if you can, or when you can, go back outside and check to see if it's part of a constellation shaped like a "V" or an arrow pointing towards the southwest, possibly towards a small group of stars (5 or 6) that somewhat resemble the little dipper. if thats the one, congrats! the star youre asking about is in taurus.<br /><br />if thats not the one, and the one you were looking at is a little further, maybe 3-4 inches (or a little more?) at arms length towards the east, it could have been Bellatrix. it too is a reddish colored star in the constellation Orion. <br /><br />the atmosphere here in southeast PA, and in NJ were turbulent. i dont know if yours was as well, but if it was, that would explain the color change. <br /><br />hope this helps.<br /><br />Skwerl <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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heyscottie

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Could you give us a time when you saw this? It would help us narrow down your description of it being "under" Mars.<br /><br />At various times of the night, bright stars under Mars might be Aldeberan, Rigel, Betelgeuse, Bellatrix, or others.<br /><br />What was the frequency of the pulsing? Were the color transitions gradual, or sudden? Any more verbage you can give us would help.
 
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z28pd

Guest
First off, thank you all for replying. But yes, this desciption as if it was the point of an arrow pointing southwest. We watched it for an hour or more, you could see the blatant green and red flashes of color with a naked eye. I began watching it at 9pm EST
 
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MeteorWayne

Guest
Mars is visible in the east in the early morning.<br /><br />If you were looking in the evening, it could not have been mars.<br /><br />When I thought it was in th east, I suspecyed it was Rigel, since this is what I saw the morning of the elcipse.<br /><br />Notice there is also another report in the the flashing star like object thread.<br /><br />When you've been answering these questions as long as we have, you know this is a common question from folks who study the sky for the first time.<br /><br />When the atmosphere is really roiling, it's just a matter if figuring out the direction, then going down the list of the top 10 brightest stars to see which one is in that direction.<br /><br />The top 10 brightest stars (in the northern Hemisphere are:<br /><br />Star....Magnitude.. constellation <br /><br /><b>Sirius...... -1.5....Canis Major</b><br /><font color="yellow">Arcturus.. -0.0....Bootes</font><br />Vega....... +0.0....Lyra<br />Capella.... +0.1...Auriga<br /><b>Rigel....... +0.1...Orion</b><br /><b>Procyon....+0.4...Canis Minor<br /><font color="orange">Betelgeuse..+0.5...Orion </font></b><br />Altair....+0.8...Aquila<br /><b><font color="orange">Aldebaran.. +0.9....Taurus </font></b><br />Antares ... +1.0....Scorpio <br /><br />The reddish stars are in orange, I put Arcturus as yellow, Capella is also a bit on the yellow side.<br /><br />The stars in Bold are all in that same area of the sky, rising in the east during the early morning hours.<br />Also, this year Mars (red) is in the middle of Taurus at magnitude +0.3<br />so there are even more bright objects out there.<br />Mars should twinkle less than the stars, sice it's light is spread over<br />about 8 asc seconds, rather than a point.<br /><br />Edited once we realized it was an evening object.<br /><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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Mars was not visible at 9PM, as it does not rise (in the east) until after midnight. Most likely you were looking toward Jupiter.<br /><br /><br />The brightest stars (which would exhibit the behavoiur you describe) visible in the SW at that time from the list above woul be Vega, nearly overhead, Altair, and then closer to the horizon Arcturus. <br /><br />Jupiter would be the brightest visible object in the sky (other than the moon), (at magnitude -2.2) very close to the horizon, with Antares (the reddish star in the list above) directly beneath it.<br /><br />the lower the stars are in the sky, the more likely they are so show this extreme twinkling.<br /><br />Where was it in relation to Jupiter?<br /><br />Since you said below, I suspect you were seeing Antares.<br /><br />MW<br /><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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No it's not.<br /><br />When turbulence is real bad, green and red are very common colors from twinkling stars, ecpecially if you start with a red star like Antares. <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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heyscottie

Guest
If the original poster was mistaking Jupiter for Mars, then my money is on Antares, too.<br /><br />I would like to try to exclude non-celestial phenomena, which is why I asked about the frequency and abruptness of the color switches...<br /><br />We'll see what he says!
 
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enigma10

Guest
My money is on Santa Claus. Red and Green? Dead give away.<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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tbm66

Guest
I also live in michigan and have been watching the same object since 8/24.<br /><br />It is in the SW sky just below Jupiter. It is indeed flashing red and green, I mean really green. I looked at it through my telescope on 9/1 at 10 pm. <br /><br />I've been searching the internet trying to figure out what it might be. My best guess based on its location is that its Antares twinkling like mad. Earth and Sky even had a note to look for it twinkling....tho they referred to it being red and white.
 
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MeteorWayne

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If it's below Jupiter, it is indeed Antares. <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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Found this interesting image of the color variation in Sirius when it was twinking.<br />The scope is one that has no chromatic abberation, so all the colors you see are generated by the refraction of the atmosphere from the very white Sirius.<br /><br /> link <br /><br />I'll attch a link to the main site in a few minutes. <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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scouttroop

Guest
My family and I too are seeing a similar anomaly in tthe western sky. It is in the western sky at night as early as 8 and as late as 2 a.m. If you follow off the handle of the big dipper there is an arrow formation if you will that points southwest. The arrow if you include this anomaly or star would form a perfect Y. I saw someone on here say that they would believe the colors and movement if it was near the horizon, but we see it moving when it is 1/4 from the horizon to the center of the sky. We see green and red along with white and have even seen a red orb leave the from the object. We have been observing this since spring. It is usually in the same place every time we see it and is usually making some sort of movements back and forth, up and down or circles. Any explanations would be nice.
 
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heyscottie

Guest
If you follow the curve handle of the Big Dipper, you get to Arcturus, the 4th brightest star in the sky. Arcturus has an orangeish hue.<br /><br />But nothing in the sky will be in the same place since spring, at least not at the same time of night. Over four months, putting you in the middle of May, you would have to change your observing time by eight hours to see something in the same place...
 
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MeteorWayne

Guest
heyscottie is absolutely correct. There's only 1 object that's in the same spot at the same time of the night for 4 months, and that's the north star. Polaris. And it's a rather dim star (follow the stars at the end of the bowl of the big dipper, from the bottom of the bowl to the upper lip. That straight line points to Polaris). <br /><br />Also, nothing stays at the same position in the sky from 8PM until 2AM, except, again, Polaris.<br /><br />Then again, you appear to contridict that part when you say you've seen it from 1/4 of the sky to the Center.<br /><br />All the colors you mention can come from any of the bright stars in my top ten brightest stars list above. Maybe if you go to the library and get a book showing the Constellations, you can learn your way around the sky, which should clear up the mystery.<br /><br />Seems like something a "scouttroop" should want to do <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /><br /><br />Welcome to Space.com!! <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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adrenalynn

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Or pick-up our hosts' application, StarryNight? <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>.</p><p><font size="3">bipartisan</font>  (<span style="color:blue" class="pointer"><span class="pron"><font face="Lucida Sans Unicode" size="2">bī-pär'tĭ-zən, -sən</font></span></span>) [Adj.]  Maintaining the ability to blame republications when your stimulus plan proves to be a devastating failure.</p><p><strong><font color="#ff0000"><font color="#ff0000">IMPE</font><font color="#c0c0c0">ACH</font> <font color="#0000ff"><font color="#c0c0c0">O</font>BAMA</font>!</font></strong></p> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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Or SKy Map Pro, that I use <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /><br /><br />Or get Astronomy or Sky and Telescope magazines, available in bookstores and librarys near you <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /> <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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adrenalynn

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I believe you'll find that it's Vega. And it's one of the strangest sights I've seen in 30 years of observing.<br /><br />When stars are closer to the horizon, they'll appear to twinkle more, due to atmospheric disturbance, and a lensing effect. <br /><br />But this is downright beautiful.<br /><br />The moon had pretty much the whole sky blown out tonight. So much for observing, I took the puppy for a walk. This phenomena immediately caught my eye. The only thing bright enough in that sky to over power the moon glow, it appeared to be twinkling from ~ 1 to -1.5 magnitude. From greenish to pinkish to blue to white and back. Dimmest in the pinkish (as one might expect), exceptionally bright in the white. And Vega is the only thing in that sky that could even come close.<br /><br />Very close to the horizon, sure. And I've seen other stars twinkle there. But this really needs to be observed to be believed. Before poo-poo'ing the OP here, I challenge you all to get out in the wee hours and have a look at this spectacle. It's well worth it. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>.</p><p><font size="3">bipartisan</font>  (<span style="color:blue" class="pointer"><span class="pron"><font face="Lucida Sans Unicode" size="2">bī-pär'tĭ-zən, -sən</font></span></span>) [Adj.]  Maintaining the ability to blame republications when your stimulus plan proves to be a devastating failure.</p><p><strong><font color="#ff0000"><font color="#ff0000">IMPE</font><font color="#c0c0c0">ACH</font> <font color="#0000ff"><font color="#c0c0c0">O</font>BAMA</font>!</font></strong></p> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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Here in NJ, over the last two weeks of meteor observing I've been up in the early morning hours as Betelgeuse, Rigel, then Sirius and Procyon rise above the eastern horizon.<br /><br />When they first appear low on the horizon it's very difficult to concentrate on meteors with the spectacular light show they put on, particularly, of course, Sirius. It's amazing how many colors (and brightness variations)can come out of what is really an unvarying bluish white point of light.<br />I love this portion of the "winter" sky with so many spectacular bright stars.<br /><br />And this month, I've had the added treat of watching Mars move eastward through Taurus, and having to don my sunglasses for Venus.<br />As I'm packing up in morning twilight, I notice that one of the stars in Leo was not twinkling; of course it is Saturn, about to join the morning party.<br /><br />I love watching the sky <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /> <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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ashish27

Guest
if so many people have seen it, its an UFO <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /> <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /> (kidding)<br /><br />nobody mentioned that it could be the Int Space Station. But why would it be stationary?
 
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adrenalynn

Guest
Because it's not the ISS? The color changes are random. The intensity is random. And at least in MW and my cases, the stars themselves are positively identified. I think I can speak for MW here, in my limited experience, as well as for myself when I say that we wouldn't have any trouble identifying any Mag 0 star in the northern hemisphere. In atleast my own case, ditto that for the southern hemisphere. Knock me unconscious for six months, drop me in a boat in the middle of an unknown ocean, and point at Vega. I promise I'll ID it... <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /><br /><br />There is a wonderful lensing effect going on right now. Given the aspect of some of the brightest stars in the sky, it's amazingly noticeable (and beautiful). The amazing thing is that Altair was putting on a great show [from my location] last night at even 30deg above the horizon. There were several like that. But nothing coming close to Vega. So of the flashes were so sharp at blue and white that I almost needed sunglasses.<br /><br />When I'm back from my trip in 7 days, I have a complicated plan for getting good video of the spectacle. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>.</p><p><font size="3">bipartisan</font>  (<span style="color:blue" class="pointer"><span class="pron"><font face="Lucida Sans Unicode" size="2">bī-pär'tĭ-zən, -sən</font></span></span>) [Adj.]  Maintaining the ability to blame republications when your stimulus plan proves to be a devastating failure.</p><p><strong><font color="#ff0000"><font color="#ff0000">IMPE</font><font color="#c0c0c0">ACH</font> <font color="#0000ff"><font color="#c0c0c0">O</font>BAMA</font>!</font></strong></p> </div>
 
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