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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.
By Joel Camunias
The bug started back in the early 2000's with my first department store 3 inch Newtonian. It was nearly unuseable. I could see the moon but poorly. This was before I learned about collimation. Later l purchased a better one on an equatorial mount which confounded me to no end but it got me learning about the night sky. Then got annoyed with reflectors and got an achromatic refractor with a goto. It worked most of the time and I got a glimpse of some of the wonders in a dark sky.
Fast forward to the present with a high end refractor on an undriven GEM mount. These days we are confined to backyard (urban visual )astronomy. Light pollution is ever present. With a UHC filter, I am limited to viewing planets when available and and double stars. It has been a very cold and cloudy spring so it has been a poor period for astronomy. With longer day lights approaching, "grab and go" is more the norm. On those tired nights, that is when the second hobby kicks in!
I would be happy to hear from other visual urbanites out there and their favourite celestial objects and how they adapt this hobby.
I have been gifted a pair of Arena Observation 25x100 binoculars and a Slik Pro 700DX tripod. I have trawled the internet, but have been unable to find any information on the binoculars. Could someone kindly provide me with any info on them, they seem pretty damn good.
Dawn Session 12-30-17 JST
Clear Skies at Last!
AFTER NEARLY 2 weeks of cloudy to mostly cloudy skies, the weather forecasts and weather apps indicated clearing for several hours before / after sunrise. So, today being a Saturday, I could afford to climb out of bed at 4:30am and do some comparative viewing with my Celestron Skymaster 15x70 and recently- purchased Vixen Ascot ZR10x50 WP. I live in a suburban area halfway between Osaka and Wakayama, Japan and my balcony affords a view of the skies from the southeast to the southwest.
I started out gazing up at Jupiter and Mars which were in close proximity. Just above Jupiter was a clear, bright dot seen in both pairs of binos. This turned out to be a combination of Ganymede and Europa. In my sleepy state I had forgotten to bring out my tripod and didn’t feel like going back inside to get it.
At the 7 o’clock position just below Jupiter was Callisto. This was more clearly evident in the 15x70’s when I managed to hold them still for a few seconds at a time. Io was too close into the glare of Jupiter to make out in either pair of binoculars. Between Jupiter and Mars, Zubenelgenubi. The separation between Alpha 1 and Alpha 2 Librae was clearly evident in both 10x50 and 15x70. Just to the upper left of Zubenelgenubi was an arrow-head-like semi-circle consisting of 6 stars, only 5 of which were evident in the Vixens, though there was a hint of the 6th with averted vision. The 6th, which the Celestrons plainly showed is 8th magnitude HD131009 — 1,700 ly away (that sort of thing always blows me away). So, there are times when the extra 5x of the 15x70’s IS noticeable.
Welcome to the Breakfast Show
The main event of this session was catching a glimpse of almost simultaneously-rising Antares and Mercury. It was 4 degrees C when I began viewing but as dawn approached the temperature dropped another degree. It may or not be my imagination but the skies to the east and south seemed to sharpen. Just after 5:30am, my favorite star, Antares, peeked up over the hills to the southeast, sparkling red and blue. Soon after, slightly eastward came Mercury, at first, similarly sparkling with alternating colors before turning into a clear, whitish orb. What was particularly satisfying about this Mercury-rise, besides the fact that it’s been about 9 or 10 months since I last saw it, was the fact that the sky was still dark and I recently read that, “because Mercury is always close to the sun, it is usually only seen in the lighter skies of dawn or dusk and only rarely is it seen in darkness.” Cool - - a rarity!
Around Antares, even as the sky continued to lighten, some of the main Scorpio stars were holding their own. Tau Scorpii to the south, sigma Scorpii to the northeast and i Scorpii to the northwest. Of course, higher up, Acrab, Dschubba and Pi Scorpii.
To the left / east of Mercury, Sabik was easily seen in both pairs of binoculars. Then, I noticed that further eastward from Sabik, 4th magnitude Nu Serpentis had pushed beyond the roof of the house next door and was noticeable in both binoculars despite the creamy color of the sky. Antares and Mercury were still naked eye sights but beginning to fade. I continued to scan this section of the sky for a time until I noted that Nu Serpentis had disappeared while using the Vixen 10x50s. Shifting back to the Celestron 15x70s it was still there.
It was nearly 6:30AM and quite light now. The crows that come to town from the nearby mountains every morning were cawing their approach. I directed the 10x50s at them and tracked a flock of five heading my way — and then, white planet Mercury appeared behind the 5 black birds in the otherwise silent surroundings. Pretty mystical ambiance but I had to get inside as my toes were aching from the cold. As you are aware, shoes are not worn indoors in Jap an but sandal-like slippers are used on balconies for such tasks as hanging laundry. So I was only wearing sandals for 2 hours in the cold. My arms and back were aching from holding the binoculars for the same time period (tripod you fool!) but it was worth it, IMHO.
Hi I'm new here.
Briefly looking through this site, it would seem this site is geared towards discussion regarding instruments. So in advance, I apologize if this is not the appropriate forum/website for my question. And. If at all possible, might anyone link me to a website that might be better suited for me. I looked on youtube, and a few other websites and nothing concrete came up as to where the appropriate place to post might be or what it was I was observing regarding moon activity on this early morning of 11/28/2017. So here I am and once again I apologize if this is the wrong forum for my question.
I'll be brief. My knowledge of astronomy is very limited. Though I've always had a passion for astronomy.
My question. What exactly was I observing in regard to the moon's orbit/position/speed in which it changed?
Now, allow me to set the stage. It was roughly 12:30AM here in North East Texas on this day of 11/28/2017. On my way to the store I stopped to take a look at the night sky as I always do. The moon was roughly at a 50 degree angle above the southern tree line. Forgive my ignorance but this is the best way I can describe what I was observing. In less than one hour the moon had radically relocated to just above the western treeline. Once I got home the moon was obviously no longer visible from this viewing point.
I am very curious as to why the moons position changed so quickly. I've never seen this before.
Is this a common occurrence within the moon's cycles and or time of year?
I look forward to hearing your responses. To hopefully shed light on what is seemingly a strange phenomenon to me.
Thank you in advance!