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Robsco

Need help explaining what I saw

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Robsco    0

Hi All,

Last night I was out with the wife watching the Persieds shower in the UK, North of England.

Clear skies, moon tucked behind the tree-line, couldn't be better really.

Saw plenty of meteors.

Saw plenty of satellites.

Saw a few planes.

Then at around 01:20 - 01:25 BST, very close to 0-And of the Andromeda constellation...

I saw 3 separate white flashes.  About twice as bright as 0-And.

The flashes were about 5 seconds apart, and lasted maybe 200ms each.

The source didn't appear to move between flashes, but with such a delay between them it was hard to be 100% sure.

After the 3 flashes, nothing.

It was definitely not a plane, and it wasn't as-if it went behind the clouds.

The only thing I can possibly think of would be a spinning satellite, but I've been stargazing for 30 years, and never seen anything like it.

I would love to find a high-def video of last night if anyone knows of a good source?

Thanks,

Rob

 

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Dave In Vermont    4,375

Could be a swarm of satellites in a line following each other. There are some that travel together for various reason. While only about 40% of satellites up there can be identified by using satellite-tracking software, that's where I'd start looking.

The one I like best is Previsat. And it's free. Here's a link. It comes with instructions:

https://sourceforge.net/projects/previsat/

Hope it helps!

Dave

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Robsco    0

Thanks Dave, that's a start.

I've not seen a satellite "flash" like that tho, and whatever it was, it didn't seem move between flashes.

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Ouroboros    784

The lights on an aircraft advancing towards you or receding can appear to remain stationary. If it's turning at the same its flashes may be visible for a few flashes and then appear to stop. 

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Robsco    0

Closer, but it was very nearly directly overhead.

There was also absolutely no lights after those 3, usually planes have greens and reds, etc.  There were no flashed before it either.

Does anyone know of a good place to find a video of that night (since it was the Persieds), I tried YouTube but no luck.

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Red Dwarfer    96

Given the region of sky I think it might be Perseid meteor related , maybe the end phase of a meteor or a small one that fizzled out and didn`t quite make it into the Earth`s atmosphere .

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Robsco    0

If it was one coming straight at me that would nearly make sense :)   not sure that ever happens tho?

But it was 3 flashes, all the same duration, all ~5 seconds apart, and didn't really move between flashes.

This has really got me stumped.  Off to Jodrell Bank on Thursday, gonna try and find me an expert...

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Merlin    72

I had a similar experience years ago, when a tumbling/cartwheeling part of what was possibly a Japanese rocket crept across the face of the Dumbbell Nebula.

The silvery object flashed on and off every three seconds or so, then disappeared among the stars.

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rockystar    1,202

my guess would be satellites. They can turn their solar panels towards the sun causing them to flare; I've seen it a couple of times with the ISS.

could be 3 in a line turning at the same location, or 1 tumbeling as suggested above.

 

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Robsco    0

I've seen plenty of satellites and flares from them, this was definitely a static flash, on/off, not a gradual build-up.

Would love to find a video if someone was filming the Persieds, since I know the exact time and location.  :-/

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bejay1957    1,274

Might be impossible to find now, but a good few years back I recall someone getting video of a head-on meteor - pretty sure it was a Leonid

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theropod    9

I have seen similar flashes, but all the ones I see are in pairs. I think what I am seeing is maneuvering thrusters firing. One for course correction and one to stop the course correction.

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jam1e1    159

hi there was a post a while back on here about certain satellites used for specific applications that fired lasers towards earth for some sort of measurement - there was a link to questionnaire as someone was collecting data about observing satellites and doing a risk assessment - if ive interpreted correctly what you described, thats my nearest guess of possible cause...believe something to do with NASA though i may be wrong

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Robsco    0

Yeah that would definitely make sense, but I'm sure whatever it was hardly moved, if at all, so maybe a geostationary one doing something like a laser could explain it.  

That being said, it would then be pretty regular/common in the exact same position?

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jam1e1    159

Complete guess here, but if there were 3 satellites and were doing some sort of sync at given a position then that could be one explanation. There are a load more nano satellites up there too now - not saying any of this explains it though could be some sort of test

its hard to say and can only propose ideas / guesses as to possible causes.

Seen couple of hard to explain sights myself too over a few years, different stuff from what you saw but equally hard to explain - adds to the enjoyment in my opinion 

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