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Tiny flash of light


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At the moment I'm down in Dorset on holiday enjoying the clearer skies compared to home.

The other night I was looking for the Messiers as usual and whilst I'd got one in the view, I saw a tiny flash of light.  I'm sorry I didn't think to note what I was looking at or even the magnification, but it could have been M58 with a 10m ep (750mm d=150 telescope).  What I saw looked like a camera flash when viewed from miles away, that sort of duration and brightness, although I understand that's subjective and meaningless :)

It was as if one of the stars that made up the field suddenly blinked.  If it had carried on staying bright I would have paid more attention of course, but any ideas on what I saw please?

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I did wonder about a satellite, but I'm used to those and generally see movement, especially at that mag.

 

I like the idea of the head on meteor though, I hadn't considered that

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Another possibility is the flash was internal in your eye. It happens. Astronauts have reported similar flashes when in space.

I've even experienced it myself (not that I've been to space).

Edited by LukeSkywatcher
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I have experienced this too - generally not looking through a telescope though. I’ve always assumed it was one of the several possibilities mentioned above.  Obviously in darkness our eyes are far more sensitive than during the day.  

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If flashing continues, you've got a detached vitreous humor; and you should have it checked by an eye doctor.

Edited by Louis D
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3 hours ago, Louis D said:

If flashing continues, you've got a detached vitreous humor; and you should have it checked by an eye doctor.

The vitreous humour is the fluid that fills the eye , it cannot become detatched ... :happy8:

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12 hours ago, LukeSkywatcher said:

Another possibility is the flash was internal in your eye. It happens. Astronauts have reported similar flashes when in space.

I've even experienced it myself (not that I've been to space).

Yes, I've heard of that.  Apparently caused by cosmic rays, always a chance of course.

I find it very difficult to describe accurately what I saw, but if I was looking at this, say (M80) I'd be seeing it as a fuzzy grey blur with maybe a few discernible faint stars around it...

 

A Swarm of Ancient Stars - GPN-2000-000930.jpg

 

Now imagine a  blue-white star at about a 1/4 diameter of the frame popping into the sort of brightness represented in that photo, for a fraction of a second, and you're somewhere close.

 

It may remain a mystery, but I'll look out for it in future..

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7 hours ago, Louis D said:

If flashing continues, you've got a detached vitreous humor; and you should have it checked by an eye doctor.

Yes if keep seeing flashes in your eyes get it checked out. The viscous layer covering the retina can dry out and when it peels off there is a chance the retina can get detached (which you definitely don't want). I saw flashes and a floater in my eye about 3 years ago, and the advice from the NHS phone line was to go straight to A&E.

 

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9 hours ago, Steve Ward said:

The vitreous humour is the fluid that fills the eye , it cannot become detatched ... :happy8:

Believe that if you want, but you might go blind someday as a result.  I've had it happen, and it's scary to think of the possible consequences.

For the rest of us believers, read up on this:

Vitreous Detachment

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11 minutes ago, Louis D said:

Believe that if you want, but you might go blind someday as a result.  I've had it happen, and it's scary to think of the possible consequences.

For the rest of us believers, read up on this:

Vitreous Detachment

I was told by my optician that the problems occur when it detaches incorrectly.  Mine has totally detached now, which is normal for my age.  There was a  problem a few years ago when it was still attached at one point, which was causing a strange effect of a tiny 'area of confusion' in my vision.  Once it let go completely, that went away.

I've never seen or had any flashes at any time, and as i described above, this wasn't what i would call a flash in my eye.  It was so tiny that I could easily have missed it and although I can't tell you why I'm sure, I AM sure it was something coming through the optics of the scope.

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8 hours ago, Capt Slog said:

I was told by my optician that the problems occur when it detaches incorrectly.  Mine has totally detached now, which is normal for my age.  There was a  problem a few years ago when it was still attached at one point, which was causing a strange effect of a tiny 'area of confusion' in my vision.  Once it let go completely, that went away.

I've never seen or had any flashes at any time, and as i described above, this wasn't what i would call a flash in my eye.  It was so tiny that I could easily have missed it and although I can't tell you why I'm sure, I AM sure it was something coming through the optics of the scope.

No problem.  I just wanted to make sure you weren't overlooking a possible medical condition.  What I see looks like a lightning bolt inside my eye.  My optometrist said it's how the eye expresses pain since there are no pain sensors in there.

On 24/06/2022 at 04:37, Capt Slog said:

What I saw looked like a camera flash when viewed from miles away, that sort of duration and brightness

A field flash could have come from a passing airplane just outside the field of view if there was a significant amount of haze in the air.  I've seen a similar effect, and it can be startling.  I'll then look up from the eyepiece and confirm a plane just went close by my object of study.

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9 hours ago, Louis D said:

Believe that if you want, but you might go blind someday as a result.  I've had it happen, and it's scary to think of the possible consequences.

For the rest of us believers, read up on this:

Vitreous Detachment

I stand corrected , you learn somethng new every day ... 🙂

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On 24/06/2022 at 19:41, LukeSkywatcher said:

Another possibility is the flash was internal in your eye. It happens. Astronauts have reported similar flashes when in space.

I've even experienced it myself (not that I've been to space).

The flashes seen whilst in space (even with eyes closed) are caused by tiny charged particles hitting your retina. The atmosphere filters them from bothering us land dwellers.

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I had slightly curved flashes a year or so back. Definitely worth a visit to optician to check the cause. My detachment has settled down and no flashes for quite a while now.

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