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A busy and interesting night sky in Mackinaw City!


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Hello there, first let me say I hope this is the right section for this topic, and if not please feel free to move it! 

So a couple days ago I took a trip up to Mackinaw City, Michigan, and saw a few interesting and intriguing things (luckily!!) in the sky that night, and was just hoping maybe somebody could help explain and identify what it possibly was that I saw.

So the first one, (https://www.facebook.com/groups/335089127201936/permalink/972332093477633/?app=fbl which oddly enough turns out I wasn't the only one who saw it, and people hundreds of miles away I saw later on Facebook reported seeing something similar around the same time[/url]) was right as I was arriving and getting ready to get off the highway exit. I looked out my window and saw what looked like maybe I initially assumed was just possibly a small plane flying a banner behind it, but something about it just felt and appeared different, so I stopped to look better, and it definitely wasn't an airplane 1. Because it was dark and late at night and it was too feint to even read the banner if it was one, and it looked more like a solid color not like there was any writing or anything like on a banner, 2. It really didn't move like an airplane, path or velocity-wise, 3. It had no lights and just looked like a feint banner (or rectangularish) shaped object (again with nothing visibly in front of it like an airplane) that just felt like it's movement was a little.... off to be an airplane, and 4. It made no noise, and if it was an airplane close enough for the banner to be that visible it would've been at least somewhat faintly audible. I only observed it for maybe 20-25 seconds or so until it was considerably far away and just decided to continue driving. 

The second one I'm sure maybe wasn't really what I thought I saw or hoped since it happened so fast, but when I was at the Dark Sky Park nearby, I was looking not completely above me but like maybe halfway between the horizon and directly above me, and I saw a very bright, isolated flash of light a little above the tree line. Like I said it happened so fast, and it was sort of more out of my peripheral vision, so I definitely didn't get a good look at it, but it didn't move like a shooting star, and just appeared like a very bright stationary shooting star I guess.

I edited up and made a very rough image of just what I can remember seeing for both of these, but it's pretty much the rough idea of about what it looked like. The first one is of course the object in the top of the image, and the second is the 3 lights above the tree line, which shows the development of the flash in about maybe 1 second (Ignore the airplane contrail going towards the moon):

https://i.ibb.co/bmRd4Pr/IMG-20220422-043929098-2-2-2.png

And the other interesting observation I saw that night, was as I was looking up at the stars, I noticed out of the blue what looked like a shooting star appear for the first like split-second, but it had another one moving along with it. It sort of had the characteristics/feel of how a shooting star would be, except like I said it was almost like it was paired with another, it started straight for the first couple seconds or so then followed a somewhat curved path, or like they were attached and orbiting around a common barrycenter, and it lasted for maybe roughly 7~10 seconds before disappearing. There were also no clouds, so there were no clouds for it to appear out of and go behind, it was all clear sky and it appeared and disappeared similar to a shooting star, only a little slower/longer lasting. 

Again, here is a rough illustration of what I remember it looking like. The dipper/other stars were from an actual original picture that night, I just used it as a reference for what it looked like from my POV and compared with the other stars. The feint yellowish lines are about what I remember the trajectory looking like, and again that was maybe for 7 or so seconds.

https://i.ibb.co/P5Z1pGP/IMG-20220421-225159576.png

Hopefully my explanations and (poor, I know!) edited illustrations are accurate for what I saw, unfortunately I can't really 100% recall visually mainly what the first one looked like, but they are pretty close.

IMG_20220422_043929098 (2) (2) (2).png

IMG_20220421_225159576.png

Edited by Apolileo
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  • Apolileo changed the title to A busy and interesting night sky in Mackinaw City!

The first object is likely to have been the latest SpaceX starlink launch in the evening of Thursday. I saw an odd light with “illuminated haze” ahead of it, the sky was perfectly clear though!
 

You probably caught it a few orbits later as the satellites started to spread out into a line. SpaceX have got good at making the satellites darker and so we don’t get to see them obviously apart from shortly after launch.

Peter

5C6F4400-A0D3-4C1C-9930-CAA564F6E937.jpeg

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5 hours ago, PeterW said:

The first object is likely to have been the latest SpaceX starlink launch in the evening of Thursday. I saw an odd light with “illuminated haze” ahead of it, the sky was perfectly clear though!
 

You probably caught it a few orbits later as the satellites started to spread out into a line. SpaceX have got good at making the satellites darker and so we don’t get to see them obviously apart from shortly after launch.

Peter

5C6F4400-A0D3-4C1C-9930-CAA564F6E937.jpeg

That's what most people were saying what they saw in the Facebook post probably was too so I figured that's probably what I saw too 🙂 Which is still awesome and I'm happy/honored to have seen it, especially first thing as I was arriving there to the city 😁

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Interesting observations, while you were there did you visit the Headlands International Dark Sky Park? it is an amazing place, beautiful facility with observatory and resident professional astronomer who gives great night sky tours. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Omg I've googled a hundred times what I have seen and continue to see every night and it blows my mind there's nothing!!! I'm always stargazing but since taking a trip to Colorado and the great sand dunes, I see them EVERYWHERE. these are not planes, not satellites, not shooting stars. It's almost Star like but if you look long enough you see random erratic movements. I live in Missouri. I can see at least 20 each night. Some are brighter than others but they all move. It may just be a slight movement or one may cross the sky as if it was an aircraft but no marker lights or sound. Only to disappear completely in a few seconds. This is the closest I can describe. Most people just glance up and see stars. I watch and see countless movements by unnamed objects.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I saw the very first Starlink train in 2019. I was not expecting to see it as I didn't realise I was right under the trajectory but immediately it was clear what it was.

Since then they are a regular occurrence and cause me no more concern. Processing them takes them out my images.

Since Cov 19 normal commercial aircraft contrails are a rarer sight!

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