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Birmingham Chris

Hello and a question

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Good  morning.

I came to this forum as a complete amateur, aged 63, formerly living in the countryside and used to looking at the sky.  However, I have just seen something that I haven't seen before.

It isn't moving like an aeroplane and it isn't moving more slowly like a satellite.  However, it is wider than a star and very much brighter.  It is like three or four stars side by side.

It is about North East and at an angle of about 50 degrees up.  All the other stars are more dull.  I have tried to take a photograph, but my camera isn't up to it (or perhaps I just can't find it with the camera, so will keep trying).

Does anyone know what this object may be please?

Unfortunately, I don't have binoculars or a telescope, just a camera.

Thank you in anticipation.  The sighting of the object has been there for at least the last 20 minutes.  I may be a planet or just a group of bright stars, but it does seem rather odd to me.

Thanks.

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It sounds as if it might be The Pleiades, an Open Cluster which at 1:00 would have been East and a little below 50 degrees but estimating the angle is not easy.

Below them would be The Hyades, however they have a significant red star in them, or close, that would be obvious and which you do not mention.

Orions belt is or was still below the horizon so suggest that option is discounted.

I would guess you are referring to The Pleiades.

Below this group is there a fainter patch with a fairly bright red star in them, if so the upper and brigher group will be The Pleiades.

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Hi

Sounds like it could be the IS.

International space station.

You say it is moving and faster than a satellite and as bright as 4 stars. But then it was there for 20 minutes which suddenly is not the ISS.

Edited by happy-kat
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Thank you very much indeed, everyone, for replying.  I didn't expect so many replies so quickly.

As the light was bright and flickering slightly, my first thought was that it was an aeroplane's lights as it also appeared wider than a single star.

... Then I realised that it didn't seem to be moving, so that meant that it wasn't either a plane or a satellite.

Yes, the Pleiades does seem to be a candidate, although my eyes could only make out about three or four that seemed to merge into one wide object.

So much for my initial thought of a UFO or a plane or other man-made object.

I presume that the ISS is the International Space Station - and would also assume that it would move across the sky like other satellites I've seen moving (at least until they move out of reach of the Sun's reflection).  Does anyone know if it does move or if it is 'geo-stationary'?

My guess at 50 degrees, by the way, was done by holding my arm up at about 45 degrees and seeing that the light was above that angle.  Also, if anything, it was slightly North of North West - although my estimate of compass points is based entirely on sunrise and sunset directions.

Perhaps I should dig out the old binoculars from the loft .... 

Thank you again everyone, and particularly Brantuk, whose second picture confirmed the likelihood of it being the Pleiades Cluster.

Erokose:  I didn't mention other stars as they were dim and far-between.  I am now in the middle of Birmingham so can no longer see the wide expanse of the Milky way and the number of stars visible is limited.  I look forward, next year, to returning to my old home of rural Herefordshire where the nearest lamppost was about six miles away.

I just hope you don't all feel that I've wasted your time by what is probably such an amateur question !!!!!!!!!!!

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Hello and welcome. We all have to learn and people here like to help if they can.

Peter

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You will know the ISS when it goes over cos it traverses the sky from west to east in something like 6mins at max. It looks like a very bright pinball and it's really shifting across the sky. Usually there's a second pass approx 90 mins later in which time it's been round the whole Earth. Check heavens-above website for when and where the ISS passes.

For the Pleiades I can usually only make out five of the six stars at most - never seen all of them with the naked eye - probably cos my eyes are getting old and knackerd. lol :)

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Welcome to SGL. As Erekose says, the Pleiades is the first thing that springs to mind, the number of visible stars changes as it rises and depending on light pollution. Here's a wide shot of the area:

17071932183_d169443ac2_c.jpg

The bright star on the left is Aldebaran which is noticeably red to the naked eye, so that may help with identification. A software planetarium such as Stellarium may help you find your bearings in the sky, it's a free download. Hope that's some help.

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Hi and welcome to SGL - Glad that you found us and also that your mystery appears to have been solved :)

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