supernova on 9-8-09?

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nimesis

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Last night i was sitting in my parents back yard when my mom and myself saw a huge flash from what looked like a star. This thing was really bright for a half a second was the brightess thing in the sky a few seconds after the flash there was a smaller flash then nothing no more. I by no means do I know that much about space just what i read here on space.com and other space sites.

Using google earth ive kind of pinned down where this star might be. Using the star hop method i would say this flash of light came from the Lyra area or draco area of the sky from my view here in north California.

My question is did anyone else catch this? Was it record somewhere? Was it really a supernova?

I dont know if this is right place to put this question I hope i get a answer. It was the coolest thing ive ever seen star gazing thats for sure!!

James
 
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Shpaget

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Two flashes are, in my not so supernova educated knowledge, not characteristic for a supernova which are visible for extended periods of time (months, even years if close).
I would say it was a meteor, or more precisely two parts of one object traveling one behind another in the same direction that happened to be directly towards you.

Last summer something similar happened to me. Although the meteor wasn't heading straight at me, it did seem to go in my general direction, so I saw it as a slow moving meteor.
Scared the hell out of me... :lol:

Anyway, congratulations on playing chicken with a meteor and being the one that talks about it. :D

BTW, welcome
 
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CalliArcale

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It could also have been an Iridium flare. Where approximately are you located in Northern California? You can get retrospective Iridium flash predictions at Heavens Above Set your location, then go to Iridium Flares (midway down the page) and click "Previous 48 Hours". But you have to set your location fairly precisely; what's visible from San Fransisco may not be visible from Sacramento, for example. (I got nothing from Sacramento, but when I plugged in Redding, I got two pre-dawn flare predictions.)

Other satellites can flare too, but the Iridium satellites possess a unique configuration that makes them particularly good at it. It's basically sunlight glinting off of their huge antenna arrays.
 
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nimesis

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I was hoping you all would not say that but i kindof knew it. I live 30 miles from sacramento i punched in my info on that site and did not find anything as far as flairs go I could be reading it wrong tho too.

I had read somewhere on here that the flash from the supernova would be a second or less as viewed from earth as i know a supernova remnent can last millions of years but from what I read it would of looked like the 1 I saw.

Well im pretty sure you all are right on this question. I was really exicted when I saw it last night never seen anything like it before was hoping oh well I will never forget it. I love stargazing and will keep my eyes open for this to happen again.


As i was looking at the sky from where i live this happened as globe directions go if you were to look at the big dipper it happen to the south of the frist start in the handle and west I know that dose not help i wish i could pin point it a bit better :cry:
 
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MeteorWayne

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nimesis":2hdnw39t said:
I was hoping you all would not say that but i kindof knew it. I live 30 miles from sacramento i punched in my info on that site and did not find anything as far as flairs go I could be reading it wrong tho too.

I had read somewhere on here that the flash from the supernova would be a second or less as viewed from earth as i know a supernova remnent can last millions of years but from what I read it would of looked like the 1 I saw.

Well im pretty sure you all are right on this question. I was really exicted when I saw it last night never seen anything like it before was hoping oh well I will never forget it. I love stargazing and will keep my eyes open for this to happen again.


As i was looking at the sky from where i live this happened as globe directions go if you were to look at the big dipper it happen to the south of the frist start in the handle and west I know that dose not help i wish i could pin point it a bit better :cry:
30 miles is WAY too far off for accurate Iridium flare predictions. Even a few miles makes a huge difference. If you go to the page, plug in Sacramento, then do the "select from map" you can pin down your location quite precisely. After you've done that, THEN bookmark the page and every time you call it up your location will be preloaded.
 
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nimesis

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08 Sep 15:18:46 -1 37° 19° (NNE) 27.1 km (W) -7 Iridium 5


I just did what you said and this is what I got. Im not sure how to read it but that looks like its where I saw on there little map they make.

It happend between 8 and 9 PM

BTW i live in vacaville :mrgreen:
 
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MeteorWayne

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Well that time doesn't match what you saw, but you must have done something wrong, since it's unlikely a flare would be listed at 3:11 in the afternoon. Armed with your location, let me give it a try and see if it comes out better.

Just for furure reference any time you see something unusual in the sky, it is good to get the most accurate time for an event as you can. Not everyone carries two watches calibrated daily like I do :), but the closer you can come to defining the exact accurate time and precise location in the sky, the better :)

Wayne.
 
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crazyeddie

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nimesis":18f5ily6 said:
I had read somewhere on here that the flash from the supernova would be a second or less as viewed from earth as i know a supernova remnent can last millions of years but from what I read it would of looked like the 1 I saw.
Actually, you may be confusing a supernova with a gamma ray burst. Supernovas typically take 2 to 3 weeks to reach maximum brightness, remain at peak for about a month, then fade slowly over a period of many months. Gamma ray bursts, on the other hand, can last for a fraction of a second to up to an hour. Some might be bright enough to view with the naked eye, but most are so far away they cannot be seen by anything other than special instruments and telescopes.
 
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MeteorWayne

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And if such a GRB had occurred yesterday, it would be front page headline news on every space related wensite in the Universe :)
 
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AlnitakAlnilamMintaka

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nimesis":18i9o9rg said:
Last night i was sitting in my parents back yard when my mom and myself saw a huge flash from what looked like a star. This thing was really bright for a half a second was the brightess thing in the sky a few seconds after the flash there was a smaller flash then nothing no more.
Supernovae last for days, or longer. I used to watch for Iridium Flares (refelctions of the sun's light caused by the orbit of Iridium stallites. The description you gave fits this SO perfecly.
 
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GrdnofEden

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We saw it in Westley Chapel & Tampa also. In Westley Chapel it looked as if it were coming towards them and in Tampa we thought it was a comet or shooting star. It was at more of an angle.
 
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Shpaget

Guest
Punched my location in the Heavens above and got this (among others)
11 Sep 21:13:12 -8 47° 92° (E ) 5.2 km (E) -8 Iridium 81
If I'm interpreting this right tomorrow at 9 PM (my local time) a very strong flash will occur somewhere in my sky. I just need to figure out how to recalculate Alt. and Azimuth so I know where to watch. :lol:

EDIT
After some pondering, I figured out it would be almost exactly towards east, and about halfway up the zenith, am I right?

My window has a looks at east, hope there won't be too much light pollution.
Is it possible to see some illumination of the landscape? I live in a building taller than surrounding ones (aprox 30 meters, while most of others are two stories high)
 
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MeteorWayne

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That's right, almost due east; about halfway up in the sky at 9:13 PM. One that high should last about 15 seconds with the extremenly bright mag -8 part in the middle. Make sure your clock is accurate :)

From inside, I doubt you'd notice any llumination; that's easiest to notice outside in an open area when it's really dark.
 
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nimesis

Guest
I just wanted thank you all for the welcome and all the help you have giving me and for not making me feel like a bigger noob then i am already. thanks all!!! :mrgreen:


while im still not positvie on what i saw (90% sure it was a flare) you all made it easyer for me to find out. you all rock!!


James
 
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CalliArcale

Guest
MeteorWayne":hv8j6rle said:
Well that time doesn't match what you saw, but you must have done something wrong, since it's unlikely a flare would be listed at 3:11 in the afternoon. Armed with your location, let me give it a try and see if it comes out better.
FYI, if you don't register at Heavens Above, I think all times come out in European Time. (The server is in Germany.) If you register and specify a location, it'll adjust for local time. I highly recommend this; they don't send you any spam, and the only purpose of registration is so you can save your settings.
 
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MeteorWayne

Guest
I'd like to point out that you don't HAVE to register. If you do as I suggest, which is to set your location, THEN bookmark the page, your bookmark is for your location. I've been doing it that way ever since H-A began, and it works just fine.

There's probably no downside to registering, all I am pointing out it is not required to have your location be the default.
 
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