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I'm fairly new and on one of my daily stargazing sessions I viewed, with the naked eye, a huge passing light going SE, from my perspective it was brighter and bigger than any stars, planets or meteors that I've seen before. It was roughly the size of a baseball.
If this was a star -> .
this is roughly how big it looked -> O
It had a trail of similar size, seemingly dusty. It also passed and disappeared between Corona Borealis and one of Hercules' legs.
Viewed on May 16th, 22:00- 23:40
I assumed, based on recent headlines, that it was Comet Swan, but upon further investigation, that was far from true.
Comet Swan should not be visible with the naked eye, and definitely not to the degree I saw. Additionally, based on my coordinates* it wouldn't even cross the sky I saw, it would be below the horizon.
(*roughly 15 °N, 120 °E, PH)
Considering again the magnitude of the object amd the fact that I viewed it with the naked eye discounts it from being an asteroid or meteor*.
(*More possible but still hard to believe with its size, you wouldn't even see something like that during meteor showers)
So I then researched if it could be space debris. I thought that something as big as that should be covered by a news article somewhere.
*The only results were of the 18 ton Chinese Rocket but it couldn't be that because:
A. It passed over Los Angeles and New York then fell into the Atlantic Ocean, with some pieces landing in Africa. Meaning it wouldn't pass over my country.
B. That happened 5 days before my viewing, on May 11 at 11:33 AM ET (08:33 PDT)
It's still possible but it just seems unlikely, and with how big it was I'd assume that it would attract some media attention but I cant find anything else.
Does anyone have any idea what it could have been? I have to know. If it was debris then all I need is confirmation.
At long last I have managed to image Caliban, also known as Uranus XVI. It is a small (circa 72km) outer satellite of Uranus which was discovered in September 1997 using the Hale 5m telescope at Palomar. Incidentally, Sycorax (U-XVII)was discovered in the same observing session. That satellite is around 1.7 magnitude brighter and so much easier to observe.
Although a three hours exposure, unfiltered for maximum sensitivity, was used the signal to noise ratio is barely 3 and serious image processing was needed to produce a relatively clear image. Even so, it is not especially obvious. The reason is that the MPOC ephemeris predicts that the satellite has a magnitude of 22.2 at the time of observation. More information is available at http://www.astropalma.com/Projects/Satellites/caliban.html
Last night I randomly woke at 3:15 and when ever I get up in the night i can't help but have a quick peek at the stars as the street lights are still off.
I noticed Mars in the south but more bright than I've ever seen it, it really stood out. I'm wondering if this extra bright appearance might have anything to do with the colossal dust storm playing out at the moment and the particulate reflecting more light in the atmosphere?
I was out most of last night under a lovely clear sky and did a spot of basic imaging of a few Messiers. On looking at the images today there were plenty of satellite trails as always, and Stellarium helps me identify them mostly, but I'm having trouble identifying one, so any help or useful sources I can try would be appreciated.
The area I was looking at was around M90 and in taking 20 or so one minute exposures I spotted a couple of trails. The first moving slowly took around 10 minutes to cross the width of the imaged area so appears on ten images and I can't find a match for this. The image below was taken at approx. 2.14am.
The second trail moves fairly swiftly taking about 1.5 minutes to travel the length of the frame, so moving much faster and appears to be Cosmos 2476, taken at 2.23am.
Any ideas welcome.
I've assumed its a satellite and not an asteroid or another one of those Teslas