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Strange cloud close to Jupiter last night between 1am and 3am


AstroVic1
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Hi All,

I'm a newcomer here and was hoping to find out if anyone saw what I saw last night around Jupiter. After the clouds cleared at around 1am I was looking at Jupiter with my small scope and saw a bright cloud like object beside it and initially thought it was passing the line of sight of a nebulae or something, but this cloud moved with Jupiter until it eventually faded out at around 3.30am. The cloud was about 6 times the area of Jupiter and was visible even through my binoculars.

Does anyone have any ideas as to what this might have been? Or did anyone else see the same thing? I've been watching Jupiter for a while now and have not seen anything like this before.

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  • 2 months later...
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Hi, yeah i saw the same thing last night! Thought it may have been somerthing wrong with my scope but after a few checks and lengthy observation it was definately moving across Jupiter and changing shape as it moved! Some sort of dust cloud? It was well illuminated by the reflected light of Jupiter methinks and very eerie, great viewing though. Can anyone can enlighten us on this phenomenon?

Edited by Brasil1970
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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi,

Just joined for this post. I also observed the same thing tonight. I was confused at first, and thought it was either a smudge on the lens or a cloud, but as I looked on, as you said, it followed Jupiter and changed shape. I emailed my astrophysics teacher and he had similar thoughts to me; it could be a comet that strayed too close and got destroyed my the gravity of Jupiter. It does look like some form of collision debris, but I could easily be wrong. If anyone else has other thoughts please post them.

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it could be a comet that strayed too close and got destroyed my the gravity of Jupiter.

Very very unlikely!

Sounds like the exhaust from an orbital circularization burn from a satellite headed for geostationary orbit, which just happened to be in the same line of sight as Jupiter.

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Very very unlikely!

Sounds like the exhaust from an orbital circularization burn from a satellite headed for geostationary orbit, which just happened to be in the same line of sight as Jupiter.

You say geostationary in order for the altidude to be high enough for Jupiter and the cloud to track across the sky at similar speeds?

I saw a rocket fuel dump last year and was utterly astounded but it crossed a quarter of the sky in a couple of minutes. Much lower, of course.

Olly

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You say geostationary in order for the altidude to be high enough for Jupiter and the cloud to track across the sky at similar speeds?

Yes.

I saw a rocket fuel dump last year and was utterly astounded but it crossed a quarter of the sky in a couple of minutes.
A satellite in low earth orbit "crosses a quarter of the sky in a couple of minutes" ... the sighting I remember is of a mid course correction burn from Apollo 8 on its way to the moon; easily visible to the naked eye as a bright slowly spreading "nebula" apparently moving essentially with the stars, gradually fading over an hour or two as the cloud dispersed.

Satellites heading for geostationary orbit have to make a large burn to change from the initial highly eccentric orbit with apogee at geocentric altitude to a circular one. Geostationary sats are often several tonnes these days so the exhaust cloud would be considerable.

Edited by brianb
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Good ideas. Problem is that if has been visible for almost a month now, if it was from a satellite surely it would have dispersed by now. If the one from Apollo 8 disappeared over a few hours, it would be quite extraordinary for this one to stay visible for a whole month.

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Could be a phenomena called Gegenschein where backscatter from dust in the plane of the ecliptic causes an 'afterglow' and occurs in opposition to the sun.

It appears to be fuzzy and cloud like just like has been described.

See these examples.

The Gegenschein

http://astrobob.areavoices.com/2008/11/24/warning-dark-sky-required/

Dave...

Edited by Dave S
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Definitely not a comet (exceedingly rare and would be well documented) or Gegenschein (too faint), and couldn't be rocket exhaust to explain 3 reports from 3 different months. I'd suggest 2 explanations:

1. High, thin cloud above Earth (causing an effect like the halos etc often seen around the Moon in an apparently clear sky).

2. Dewed optics (or other imperfection, e.g. internal reflection).

Both would produce an effect that would appear to move with the planet.

I would suggest 1 as explanation for the first sighting (since it was seen with both scope and binoculars), either 1 or 2 for the others.

Edited by acey
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  • 2 weeks later...

I am with acey: if the observations were from a single evening, I might think otherwise, but I and many others have been imaging Jupiter a lot, and none of the imagers mention this. This may be because we select very clear or only very slightly hazy skies for imaging. Any thin layer of cloud disturbs the image quality.

Can any of those who observed this feature remember what the weather was like? Did they point their scopes at other bright objects (stars like Arcturus or Sirius would be suitable)?

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Wake up people, methinks you've been had...

AstroVic1 joined on 25 Sept, initiated this thread, and hasn't been heard from since.

Brazil1970 joined on 26 Nov, said they saw the same thing, and hasn't been heard from since.

Foz660 joined on 17 Dec, said they saw the same thing, and hasn't been heard from since their second post the following day, also in this thread.

Takes all kinds, i guess. :)

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Nice spot :) aren't people weird! One of the mods could check posting ips? Or at least confirm they are from the same ISP range?

It's a gift. :D Actually, it's experience... trolls are quite recognizable after you've seen enough of them. I've been moderating/owning astro groups for over a decade, and was a Mod here in SGL till resigning last April. Noticing things like this is second-nature, and i knew this thread was bogus as soon as it was exhumed by Brazil1970.

BTW, might this be the same person with three user accounts, connecting via wi-fi from different locations? Not sure, but that might account for the varying IPs.

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I can assure you all that I am legit. Through reading the different comments, I feel that it was probably a high atmospheric cloud, that would not have been visible with the naked eye. I re-observed on Christmas day in similar conditions (clear sky) and did not view the same thing again. I think it was the nature of the cloud that made it a puzzling observation, but if anyone has any other ideas on what it could have been, other than a cloud, it would be interesting to hear them.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi this is my first post. I saw and photographed a strange object in the sky early this morning between 4am and 6am 18-01-11. My mother rang me at 4am and said there was a strange light in the sky. I saw what i have now discovered that is 'sirius' but the green object that i captured was not seen by me till i took the pics, i could not see the green object with the naked eye very well at all only on the camera. I decided to do a search to see if i could find out any info on this subject and i found this old thread and thought that maybe some one can give me an idea as to what it is....i am a professional photographer and i have thought about lens refractions and reflections but the object moved in a strange way. i took 50 images of this. i am at the moment creating a composite image of the pics that i took and numbering them in the orders in which they were taken and the movement is very strange indeed.

I have joined this site in the hope that someone can tell me what this is.

thanks heaps Kat

post-23781-133877519265_thumb.jpg

post-23781-133877519273_thumb.jpg

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Kat, could you put up one or 2 of the original files without crop?

If it's visible in the same place then it's definitely strange but i'm thinking there's some weird reflection issue going on ...until we know for sure its a UCLGBO (Un-identified, Cool Looking Glowing Blue Object)

:)

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ok no worries i will upload an original......i thought about reflection but its the strange movement that this UCLGBO.(lol) had. it was all over the shop. As a photographer i have never seen a reflection that moves when the camera is in the one place and on a tripod...if it was reflection or refraction then it should be in the same place all of the time. interesting!

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