Jump to content

548140465_Animationchallenge.jpg.32379dfa6f3bf4bba537689690df680e.jpg

Rogue Satellite?


Rich1980
 Share

Recommended Posts

Low flying birds (Barn Owls, Herring Gulls and the like) can reflect light even in what seems to be a dark sky location at night, and are visible especially if you are totally dark adapted. But this reflected light is more of the diffuse puffball type and not a point like source as you describe. This only applies I would suspect to birds flying lower than a 100ft or so? During early twilight birds like gulls and waders with light bellies and flying in V's can appear like a formation of erratically moving amber coloured orbs, but prolonged observation will often reveal what they actually are. Your sighting took place more or less at the time the sun was at its lowest point below the horizon, so to reflect sunlight the whatever-it-was must have been very high - outside the atmosphere I would guess, but maybe someone could do the trigonometry and give you a minimum height to reflect sunlight at that time and date.

On the wobbling - can you expand on what degree of wobble you saw - fast/slow, how wide was the deviation from the straight line (amplitude), abrupt change of direction or smooth and like a falling leaf or more like a zig-zag?

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Police helicopter following some person of ill repute on a nicked motorbike?  Maybe it's moving rapidly to scene in relatively straight line, then manouvering to follow. Could it be the search light that's doing the movement as they scan around?

Edited by Starwatcher2001
Sorry, didn't think the [removed word] was offensive.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

52 minutes ago, Starwatcher2001 said:

Police helicopter following some person of ill repute

Hi Starwatcher 2001,

Police helicopters tend to stick to 2000ft or lower in transit to an incident and may go much lower when they are engaged on a job - at those heights they are very noisy. The searchlights (called a nitesun) are only effective in the hover (even more noisy) and below 500 - 1000ft and form a very prominent beam reaching from the helicopter down to the ground - bit like a laser but much much wider brilliant white beam. At those heights their navigation and position lights would also be conspicuous.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, Barry Fitz-Gerald said:

Low flying birds (Barn Owls, Herring Gulls and the like) can reflect light even in what seems to be a dark sky location at night, and are visible especially if you are totally dark adapted. But this reflected light is more of the diffuse puffball type and not a point like source as you describe. This only applies I would suspect to birds flying lower than a 100ft or so? During early twilight birds like gulls and waders with light bellies and flying in V's can appear like a formation of erratically moving amber coloured orbs, but prolonged observation will often reveal what they actually are. Your sighting took place more or less at the time the sun was at its lowest point below the horizon, so to reflect sunlight the whatever-it-was must have been very high - outside the atmosphere I would guess, but maybe someone could do the trigonometry and give you a minimum height to reflect sunlight at that time and date.

On the wobbling - can you expand on what degree of wobble you saw - fast/slow, how wide was the deviation from the straight line (amplitude), abrupt change of direction or smooth and like a falling leaf or more like a zig-zag?

 

 

I'll have to draw a diagram, but am currently drowning my sorrows in a pub after s fight with the missus. I'll do this when I get home.

That's if this was directed to me as well as the OP and anyone else.

  • Sad 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 19/08/2021 at 08:45, Barry Fitz-Gerald said:

On the wobbling - can you expand on what degree of wobble you saw - fast/slow, how wide was the deviation from the straight line (amplitude), abrupt change of direction or smooth and like a falling leaf or more like a zig-zag?

A less technical answer than maybe the question deserves but more wave like I would say. Very similar to the ISS link earlier in the thread transit_animation_opt.gif

Although I would say slightly more noticiable than that and slower but very similar in pattern. 

 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Rich, On the basis of everything so far I think the best candidate is a sattelite combined with viewing through some unstable layers of air which caused an apparent deviation to a straight trajectory when viewed from your location. Never seen this behavious myself though, and not sure if it fits 100% with your observations, but it would probably be the least unlikely explanation.  Might have to file it in the 'unresolved' box and keep an open mind! 

Edited by Barry Fitz-Gerald
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This "wobbly" behaviour is a trick our brain plays with us. It is more evident when looking at a fast and (bright) satellite. I see it almost every time while looking at the ISS. It appears to be slightly waving from left to right.

I would have to look up the exact explanation, but it has something to do with the background stars and the movement of the object while speeding through.

 

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Interesting is that, conditions maybe make most sense yes. I'll take notice more in future and see if anything similar happens. As I say I never really sit and watch satellites so much. Will report back if there's a next time and get more info. 

Thanks everyone. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.