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Pulsing star, supernova,ufo?

Ceti Alpha V

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Bit unsure about something we saw while out with the scope earlier.

Time - about 7:10 (1-1-2012). 3-5 degrees north north west of Dubhe. Around approx position of HIP 54064. A large star faded into view and appeared around mag 0 to -1. It rapidly faded to almost nothing then grew in intensity again to similar for about 1-2 seconds then fade to no trace. Pure white in colour. :icon_salut:

Looked with binos (scope was on Castor at the time) and could see nothing. No lights moving. No aircraft. No Chinese lantern (had a few of them in recent days). And not a meteor. :p

Figured it may be a satellite but can't find one on Stellarium that passed at that time and the 'pulsing star' did not appear to be moving in any direction. Don't want to turn this report into a UFO hunt - just wondered if anyone had any ideas - highlight of the evening, if nothing else.

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It could have been a spy satellite, there's usually three of them in a sort of traingle fomation but not always at the same hight. I don't know if they briefly dip down and then go back up or something else. I once seen the three satellites in a traingle formation a couple of years ago and they done what you described.

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Could have been either I suppose - but I didn't notice it moving - if it was, it was moving slowly at best. It was over very quickly.

However, figuring it could not be an astronomical object, it probably was a satellite or iridium flare - but, as said, it did not appear to be moving - just pulsed in, faded out, back in again and fade to nothing.

Still, like I said, it was interesting to see - even if it was just a satellite.

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