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Philip Benson

Strange object transit

18 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

Hi,

Long shot here but was anyone observing or imaging the Moon tonight from SE England area (I'm in Hullbridge, Essex) at 8.45pm BST this evening (April 9th) and saw a strange object transit across the Moons disk?  It wasn't the ISS as that passed over a couple of minutes afterwards along a path that did not take it across the Moon.  I checkec CalSky and there are no predicted satellite Moon crossings for this area today.  It definitely wasn't a plane or apparently a bird.   I managed to get a very quick piece of movie which shows the object travelling across the Moons disk along a path which took it just below Copernicus and then on towards Aristarchus.

I have included a still of the movie which I have enlarged and sharpened as far as I can.  The object was moving from lower right to upper left as you see it here.

If anyone thinks they know what this was please let me know.

UFO close up.jpg

Edited by Philip Benson
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My guess is a pair of helium-filled balloons from Southend or Burnham - I've captured one in front of the moon once from my garden in London.  Would this tally with the wind direction?

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That's one thing I considered as well as I have seen those before as well of course.  On this occasion though it or they was/were travelling in the opposite direction to the drift of con trails that I have noticed today.  This object would have been moving SE to NW whereas the wind has been coming more from the north.  Also in the last few frames of the movie the object seems to suddenly speed up as it moves out of the FOV.  However that could have just been a camera effect.

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Wind direction can vary significantly by altitude.  I had something very similar in a solar image a few months ago, and looking at the scale of object vs. Moon it's 99.99% a couple of helium balloons, not LGM.

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I agree that helium balloons remains the most likely explanation and yes I know it wasn't LGM.  If I had been after a reply suggesting that I would have posted on Yahoo Answers!

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I saw something a bit strange around the same time (one hour later because of the time zone) I thought it was a bat. It was probably a bat and unconnected but funny you should mention it. Not sure when exactly but must've been close because that's when the moon came round the side of my building but before Jupiter made it.

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I can see what you mean but this was definitely not a bat.  I am going to edit the video I took and then enlarge and enhance it before posting on YouTube.  The still frame above doesn't really show it properly other than giving a basic idea of the shape.  

Yes I understand why most people I have asked are mentioning helium balloons but I have seen these often crossing both the Moon and Suns disk in the past.  This was different. My immediate react was a satellite but there were no Sun or Moon transits predicted on CalSky for my location on that date. It has even been suggested that it might be something in orbit around the Moon rather than the Earth that this is some kind of shadow.

It remains though yet to be positively identified.

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Cn you show a few frames from start and end of the video? - A pair of balloons would change their orientation relative to each other, two orbiting bodies would keep the same relationship.

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Posted (edited)

2 hours ago, Philip Benson said:

My immediate react was a satellite but there were no Sun or Moon transits predicted on CalSky for my location on that date. It has even been suggested that it might be something in orbit around the Moon rather than the Earth that this is some kind of shadow.

Take a look at the image below (Credit: Public domain–Dylan O’Donnell).  The crater in your image is quite obviously Copernicus, which is the large crater bottom centre of the image below.  Upper right is the ISS which has pretty much the same angular diameter as Copernicus in most lunar transit images I've seen including this one.  Obviously it will vary somewhat depending on relative distance from the observer, etc.

Your mystery object has an angular diameter slightly less than Copernicus, but let's err on the side of generosity and say it has the same apparent angular diameter as the ISS, and that is is in very low Earth orbit at 200KM high vs. 400KM for the ISS.  The geometric relationship is simple, half the distance = double the angular diameter.  So for your object to be in orbit it would have to be roughly half the size of the ISS at minimum.  There simply isn't anything up there that is big enough to appear that size in your image.  As for something orbiting or transiting near to the moon to create a transit image or shadow that size, it would have to be 90 kilometers in diameter, which is plainly not possible as any asteroid that size and that close would be known about.  Doesn't look like an asteroid either, more like a couple of balloons tied together with string.

 

imageissmoon.jpg

Edited by IanL
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My money is on a couple of Helium balloons as well. I video one "transiting" Jupiter a couple of years ago.

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Here is the video that I captured. To my mind the fact that the two apparently separate objects do maintain orientation lessens the likelihood that these were balloons.

On 4/18/2017 at 10:38, Stub Mandrel said:

Cn you show a few frames from start and end of the video? - A pair of balloons would change their orientation relative to each other, two orbiting bodies would keep the same relationship.

 

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Philip Benson said:

Here is the video that I captured. To my mind the fact that the two apparently separate objects do maintain orientation lessens the likelihood that these were balloons.

Basic physics says otherwise.  Two objects moving in a smooth flow (non-turbulent air moving in a single direction as is typical at altitude) would maintain the same orientation if there is no reaction base (e.g. a bit of string tethering them to the ground), and no other force acting on them (e.g. an engine driving a propeller or a rocket/jet).  It's a common misconception to think otherwise, but from the object's perspective the two balloons and the air surrounding them would appear stationary and the ground would appear to be moving below them, so there is no net difference in the forces acting on either of the pair of balloons.

Here's the one I captured of a balloon crossing the Sun:

http://www.blackwaterskies.co.uk/2016/05/solar-ufo-or-maybe-just-a-balloon/

 

Edited by IanL

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Furher to my comment above, relative motion would indicate they are balloons, lack of it doesn't prove they aren't.

But they look like mutant star goat eggs to me - or a bowl of petunias.

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It looks like something with a shadow - could it have been on a lens or something flying past the mirror like an insect

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On April 19, 2017 at 07:04, Stub Mandrel said:

or a bowl of petunias.

Tee he.

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Obviously it's a baby's arm clutching an apple.

 

I'll run away now.....

Dave

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I remember reading an account from the late Sir patrick where he is observing and there was pollen in the air, as the pollen grains floated past the aperture of the scope because they were out of focus they appeared enlarged, he honestly thought it to be alien ships 

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Right I've taken the liberty to do some more processing of the images. It's a special technique of mine...

etposterbigmoonoriginal1982-tsr21.jpg

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