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Raphael91324
2012-Dec-18, 06:30 PM
Hi there, I am new here and joined because I saw a strange explosion in space about two weeks ago with unaided vision. It occurred at about 5:15 PM MST in the western sky, at dusk just a few minutes before any stars were appearing at the 10,000 foot elevation in Colorado. It was a bright flash, that quickly expanded into a yellow ball about 1/2 to a full moon size diameter. It then collapsed and completely vanished leaving no trace. The entire sequence occurring in about 1 second. There was no sound. I'm guessing maybe a Nova event into a blue dwarf somewhere. Did anyone else see this or have you ever seen a similar thing.

Thanks
Raphael

Jim
2012-Dec-18, 07:32 PM
Welcome to the Board, Raphael91324!

I've moved your post here to see if it won't attract more attention and discussion.

antoniseb
2012-Dec-18, 08:22 PM
If it expanded to a diameter of 15 arcminutes and then faded in about one second, it was not a nova (which lasts months), and always looks like a point to the unaided eye. It could have been a bright meteor coming straight at you (always an interesting sight!). Or it could have been something manmade.

Hornblower
2012-Dec-18, 08:25 PM
My educated guess is a head-on meteor. Novae are much slower, taking days, weeks or months to run their course.

R.A.F.
2012-Dec-18, 08:42 PM
I agree with antoniseb, and Hornblower...what you have discribed sounds just like what you would see if a meteor were heading pretty much straight at you. Exploding high up in the atmosphere would also explain why there was no sound associated with the event.


edit to add...and welcome to the board Raphael91324. :)

spjung
2012-Dec-18, 09:34 PM
If you're interested, you can check the American Meteor Society's Fireball logs (http://www.amsmeteors.org/fireballs/fireball-report/) to see if there was one that matches your description.

Rhaedas
2012-Dec-18, 09:39 PM
Two weeks ago would be right before the Geminid shower, but it could have been a related meteor. Wiki says "The meteors in this shower appear to come from a radiant in the constellation Gemini (hence the shower's name). However, they can appear almost anywhere in the night sky, and often appear yellowish in hue. Well north of the equator, the radiant rises about sunset, reaching a usable elevation from the local evening hours onwards"

Given the time you gave, I think the Earth at your point would have been turning into that path, so you could have gotten a direct hit from your viewpoint. Since the source of these are rocky, and not cometary, they do last longer. I know the few I saw last week were nice long ones that slowly broke apart.

Raphael91324
2012-Dec-19, 12:15 AM
A wee bit more as it is etched in my mind. This object appeared to collapse back upon itself to nothing while maintaining full brightness of it's brilliant yellow phase as did so. It did not fade as it collapsed.

toolazytotypemyname
2012-Dec-19, 02:32 AM
I saw something similar back in August in Baxter State Park Maine. It was around 10:30 and was very dark out as BSP is wilderness. A bunch of us were looking for meteors and satellites and whatnot. I saw a satellite moving across the sky, roughly SW to NE. After a few seconds, it flashed just like described then continued into the terminator.

Probably not the same thing, but felt it was worth mentioning though I'm certainly no expert in this.

schlaugh
2012-Dec-19, 03:31 AM
Sounds like they could have been Iridium satellites - they flare briefly along their path then fade.

JustAFriend
2012-Dec-19, 03:43 AM
You mean like this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PFUP5LPyuA

R.A.F.
2012-Dec-19, 03:50 AM
p
You mean like this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PFUP5LPyuA


This video of an Iridium Flare certainly "fits" the discription as worded in the OP.

NoChoice
2012-Dec-19, 10:16 AM
This video of an Iridium Flare certainly "fits" the discription as worded in the OP.

What??
Not even close.
The event in the video took a lot longer than 1 sec. Also, the "flash" in the video didn't vanish into nothing.
The moving object got bigger at about 15 sec into the vid, it then expanded until about 23 sec to reach max size and then shrunk or faded until about 35 sec when it reached original size.
Also, the event in the vid faded and the OP made clear that what (s)he saw did not (post #8).
It was also clearly associated with the same moving object, which did not vanish.

This video certainly does not fit the description worded in the OP.

Raphael91324
2012-Dec-19, 07:41 PM
Definitely not like the youtube post which is a long fade-in to bright and then long fade-out to dim. What I saw resembled a video or cgi bit in a movie I've seen somewhere of a deep underwater detonation, where there is the flash of explosion, then a bubble of gases expands outward and then immediately implodes back inward with the crush of the water weight. About the only difference being the fireball was a bright yellow, and the initial flash was extremely intense like a strobe flash. It's dynamic to immediately implode back upon itself is what made me think that it could be a star exploding suddenly with a very dense core collapsing, that would immediately pull back all the ejected material. Ergo, it being curious enough or maybe important enough to ask the astro-physics community at large.

The comments of a meteor coming in on a direct ray have merit as well, except I would expect that "observer in the crosshairs muzzle blast effect" to be irregular and have an aspect of fade to it. This fireball was perfectly round (to my eye) with a hard edge easily discerned in the blue to violet dusk sky contrasting with the golden yellow fireball. That hard circular edge as well as the saturation of the yellow remained even as it collpased back in. And yes I have seen an exploding rocket (presumedly) off the California coast before (if it wasn't actually a nuke detonation in near space) back in the mid 70's. That was a glowing multi-colored cloud that expanded to cover 10 degrees or more of the sky and lasted for hours. I still have a photo somewhere.

At that time of this event earlier this month, I just thought, "Wow that was really cool, the Universe is indeed an amazing place. Thanks to the Creator for showing that. Then someone (where I am here,) brought up this Mayan calender thing being hyped (which I don't subscribe to) and it made me wonder.

So just for a mental exercise and eclectic topic of discussion, now I've done a hypothetical calculation. Let's just say some rare event occurs far away from us such as a star exploding, that we might liken to a cosmic cannon blowing out in all directions, or maybe only in one or two directions, by some means much as a Quasar is theorized to only beam out on two opposite rays. I don't recall the exact day but it was in the 1st week of this month, might even have been Dec. 1. Now let's say that this Mayan event were a cosmic cannonball coming in for impact or a near miss. Using December 21 as the Mayan predicted impact date, I then did the math:

Detonation flash Dec. 1, ejecta arriving Dec 21, a light year =~ 6,000,000,000,000 miles distant / 17.33 {52weeks/3weeks}=~346,220,427,005 {miles to source point} / 21{days} / 24 {hours} = incoming ejecta velocity of >687 million miles an hour. {from beyond Jupiter to Earth in 1 hour}

So here's the hypothetical question. What quantity of mass ejected from the core of an iron cored star, travelling at the above velocity, would it take by it's kinectic force to shatter the Earth on a direct impact? The size of a pea, a golfball, a basketball, Volkswagen or what? What if a Neutron star or even Black Hole exploded and ejected some of it's hyper dense core directly at us. The size of a gnat, or a matchead? Things that make you go Hmmmm.... I sure hope the Creator hasn't gotten fed up with our negligent stewardship here.

"letting the days go by...........Same as it ever was" -David Byrne

Rhaedas
2012-Dec-19, 10:06 PM
To answer your nova/star explosion idea, even if the nearest star did such a thing, imagine the speed that the material would have to travel to go from a point source apparent to us to say half the Moon's diameter in one second. It would be thousands of times the speed of light. So whatever it was, it was much closer than a star.

R.A.F.
2012-Dec-19, 10:44 PM
What??
Not even close.
The event in the video took a lot longer than 1 sec. Also, the "flash" in the video didn't vanish into nothing.
The moving object got bigger at about 15 sec into the vid, it then expanded until about 23 sec to reach max size and then shrunk or faded until about 35 sec when it reached original size.
Also, the event in the vid faded and the OP made clear that what (s)he saw did not (post #8).
It was also clearly associated with the same moving object, which did not vanish.

This video certainly does not fit the description worded in the OP.


So what do you think it was???

toolazytotypemyname
2012-Dec-20, 12:47 AM
You mean like this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PFUP5LPyuA


Maybe not for the OP, but that's pretty much what I saw. Thanks for confirming what I suspected, I never thought of looking on youtube. Duh. No one else in my group saw it or had even heard of Iridium flares before so they weren't much help.

Jens
2012-Dec-20, 12:57 AM
Definitely not like the youtube post which is a long fade-in to bright and then long fade-out to dim. What I saw resembled a video or cgi bit in a movie I've seen somewhere of a deep underwater detonation, where there is the flash of explosion, then a bubble of gases expands outward and then immediately implodes back inward with the crush of the water weight.

As Rhaedas said, it's really impossible that what you saw was very far away, because stars can't expand that quickly. Another thing also to consider, is that there are many people looking at the night sky at any one time. If a star did what you thought, then basically anyone looking at the sky on that side of the earth, so certainly many thousands of people, would all see it. By contrast, if you saw an atmospheric phenomenon, then only those in a small area would see it, so it would be natural for it not to be in newspaper headlines. Plus, there are actually observatories (I'm not sure of the specifics) that are designed to detect those sorts of stellar events, so if a nearby supernova happened, I think it's almost certain it would be detected. So what you saw was almost certainly a meteor. Sorry if this somehow sounds less exciting than what you were expecting.

Raphael91324
2012-Dec-20, 03:50 AM
Extrapolating on Rhaedas' reply, we don't know if the "fireball" was actual matter or just an expanding ball of light viewed from afar downgrading in frequency from the Gamma--> X-ray-> Ultra violet-> visible white-> blue filtered out by our own local ozone so the mid visible spectrum then appears as yellow. Much as our own sun casts more a yellow than white light in heavily ozonated LA. (ergo indoor vs outdoor film emulsions) In which case the light sphere (heretofore inaccurately "fireball") would expand at the speed of light. So therefore assuming it was a light front being viewed and not material ejecta. The distance of expanse perceived here (1/2 to 1/1 moon diameter) in the 1/2 second of expansion phase would say that the ball at diameter in it's local vicinity of c/2 = 150 Megameters ~93,000 miles. So assuming it was somewhere in space, we now know that ~15 arcseconds subtended ~93,000 miles, which should then give us a distance to the source (using a trig calculator) of ~1.332 billion miles. As the object was in the same general zodiac sector as the Sun it would therefore be beyond the Sun from us, which would place it ~ 1.25 billion miles from the Sun. That being distance between Saturn and Uranus' orbits (Regardless of where they were in their orbits). We then take the Event / Earth distance of 1.332 billion {miles} / 21 {days} / 24 {hours} = a now corrected ejected material velocity of ~2.64 million miles per hour. Earth to Moon in ~6 minutes. So the question then becomes, what size object at the mass of Iron travelling at 2.64 million miles an hour could then reek havoc at impact. HumVee size, Cruise Ship size, Beringer impact object size, Chixulub impact object size, and given that size travelling at that velocity when would be the earliest we could optically detect it. A day before impact, an hour, 2 minutes? Let's hope a "double or multiple Suns" phenomena doesn't suddenly appear in the next few days.

Granted millions of other people might have seen it, but it was just above the horizon in Colorado's dusk, that meaning it being below the horizon east of Colorado, and still overglared by daylight west of Colorado. Not unlike Venus suddenly brightly appearing at dusk over the space of 2 or 3 minutes. This event occured in one second. Besides, who looks at the sky anymore. Everyone is spending 90% of their waking hours looking at their I-phone. Of the maybe 100 or 1000 (being liberal here) others that might have seen it, could I be the only one with enough of an interest in the Universe to even puzzle about it, and take this time to sign up and post about it. But then again something coming that fast, it either hits or misses. Nothing we could do about it either way. Except maybe be with your loved ones. Even if the government or astro community knew, they'd say nothing to avoid panic. Guess we'll know soon.

"letting the days go by...........Same as it ever was" -David Byrne

Jens
2012-Dec-20, 04:26 AM
It's dynamic to immediately implode back upon itself is what made me think that it could be a star exploding suddenly with a very dense core collapsing, that would immediately pull back all the ejected material. Ergo, it being curious enough or maybe important enough to ask the astro-physics community at large.

Also, just as a clarification, physics doesn't work that way. Whether the core collapses or not has nothing to do with the material being pulled back, because the mass in the core will be the same whether it has collapsed or not. In the same way that if the sun suddenly became a black hole, it wouldn't affect us on earth (in term of orbit, I mean), because the mass would remain the same, just it would be much smaller. The material being ejected might eventually return, but it would do so on a parabolic path the same way that a ball falls back to earth when you throw it up.

Shaula
2012-Dec-20, 07:04 AM
In a type II supernova the 'bang' is largely due to the material in the outer layers recoiling from the collapsed core very, very violently. Nothing is going to make it fall back any time soon.

Also light speed is about 670 million mph. So your ejecta doing 687 million mph would be breaking the laws of physics. The same laws of physics used to describe what is going on in a supernova. Sorry your idea has nothing to do with the 21st, was not a nova/supernova anyway.

grapes
2012-Dec-20, 10:24 AM
It occurred at about 5:15 PM MST in the western sky, at dusk just a few minutes before any stars were appearing at the 10,000 foot elevation in ColoradoYou may not be able to remember the date, but surely you remember the place? Where were you when you saw this?

mantiss
2012-Dec-20, 02:39 PM
Besides, who looks at the sky anymore. Pretty much everyone on this board :) Those who look at the sky and actually KNOW what they are looking at spend a fair amount of time doing it. The thing is that since this was witnessed with the sun low on the horizon, it could be a million things, distant plane glare through ice crystals, it would produce a significant flash and halo that would last 1-2 seconds and "seem" to implode as the geometry of the reflection changes with the motion of the object. Not to make a bad pun but sky's the limit when speculation enters the fray. I'd bet an inconsiderate amount of cash that it was something either like satellite flare, reflection or some other object just in the atmosphere or slightly over it, definitely within the general vicinity and not farther out.

Swift
2012-Dec-20, 03:32 PM
Extrapolating on Rhaedas' reply, we don't know if the "fireball" was actual matter or just an expanding ball of light viewed from afar downgrading in frequency from the Gamma--> X-ray-> Ultra violet-> visible white-> blue filtered out by our own local ozone so the mid visible spectrum then appears as yellow. Much as our own sun casts more a yellow than white light in heavily ozonated LA. (ergo indoor vs outdoor film emulsions) In which case the light sphere (heretofore inaccurately "fireball") would expand at the speed of light. So therefore assuming it was a light front being viewed and not material ejecta. The distance of expanse perceived here (1/2 to 1/1 moon diameter) in the 1/2 second of expansion phase would say that the ball at diameter in it's local vicinity of c/2 = 150 Megameters ~93,000 miles. So assuming it was somewhere in space, we now know that ~15 arcseconds subtended ~93,000 miles, which should then give us a distance to the source (using a trig calculator) of ~1.332 billion miles. As the object was in the same general zodiac sector as the Sun it would therefore be beyond the Sun from us, which would place it ~ 1.25 billion miles from the Sun. That being distance between Saturn and Uranus' orbits (Regardless of where they were in their orbits). We then take the Event / Earth distance of 1.332 billion {miles} / 21 {days} / 24 {hours} = a now corrected ejected material velocity of ~2.64 million miles per hour. Earth to Moon in ~6 minutes. So the question then becomes, what size object at the mass of Iron travelling at 2.64 million miles an hour could then reek havoc at impact. HumVee size, Cruise Ship size, Beringer impact object size, Chixulub impact object size, and given that size travelling at that velocity when would be the earliest we could optically detect it. A day before impact, an hour, 2 minutes? Let's hope a "double or multiple Suns" phenomena doesn't suddenly appear in the next few days.

Granted millions of other people might have seen it, but it was just above the horizon in Colorado's dusk, that meaning it being below the horizon east of Colorado, and still overglared by daylight west of Colorado. Not unlike Venus suddenly brightly appearing at dusk over the space of 2 or 3 minutes. This event occured in one second. Besides, who looks at the sky anymore. Everyone is spending 90% of their waking hours looking at their I-phone. Of the maybe 100 or 1000 (being liberal here) others that might have seen it, could I be the only one with enough of an interest in the Universe to even puzzle about it, and take this time to sign up and post about it. But then again something coming that fast, it either hits or misses. Nothing we could do about it either way. Except maybe be with your loved ones. Even if the government or astro community knew, they'd say nothing to avoid panic. Guess we'll know soon.

"letting the days go by...........Same as it ever was" -David Byrne
Raphael91324

Your first couple of posts were great, the "what did I see in the sky" questions that we love to answer.

But your last couple of posts were the kind of wild, unscientific, non-mainstream speculations that we do not allow in the mainstream science parts of this forum.

I would strongly suggest you review the rules of this forum (http://cosmoquest.org/forum/showthread.php/32864-**-Rules-For-Posting-To-This-Board-**), particularly rule 13.

If you wish to continue to discuss your original sighting, and get mainstream answers to your questions, please continue your discussion here. If you are going to continue your wild speculations, your thread will be moved to a more appropriate section of CQ (ATM).

Raphael91324
2012-Dec-21, 01:33 AM
Question for Jens? Am I wrong in understanding that it is the density of matter, not it's total mass that determines the slope of depression it makes to form a gravitational well in the space- time fabric. If that is the case, then an explosive event at the bottom of that well would spew forth EM radiation in at light speed on straight rays, and then draw back that radiation also at light speed on extremely tight focused parabola (i.e. quill shape instead of quasi-ellipse shape due to extreme intensity gravity focused from a very small object. In other words an extremely dense object.) in almost the same time as the expansion. The slightly slower time of retraction being due to the added null state of outward motion at the point of trajectory reversal.

Which is exactly the profile observed. The light ball expanded outward, then reached a stop point, and in a bit more time than the expansion phase retracted back below the threshold of observation.

Hi there Shaula. I made my mph calculation from the "Light Year wiki article here quoted to say:

"Light-year
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Light year (disambiguation).
Look up light year in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.


A light-year, also light year or lightyear (symbol: ly), is a unit of length equal to just under 10 trillion kilometres (or about 6 trillion miles). (emphasis my own)

6,000,000,000,000 {miles per year} / 365.25 {days in a year} = 1,6427,104,722.8 {miles per day} / 24 {hours per day} = 684,462,696 miles per hour.

Hi there Grapes.
I was within 10 miles of 39.69 N, 105.64 W, at an elevation of about 10,000 feet, with a 1,000 foot higher ridge rising west of me about one mile distant. The event appeared a bit South westerly, about 2 moon diameters above the ridge very near to the Ecliptic.

Hello Swift,
I certainly do not believe the Mayan calendar hoodoo. I am merely picking the minds of those that I presume to be more highly educated and likely have observed far more phenomena in the Universe than my lowly self. The comments that have returned for the most part appear sound, with some members correcting others. As I do not consider that anyone has seen all there is to see, I chose to share what I saw as accurately as my feeble intellect recalls it. Clearly stating that this was a mental exercise, and that I was not disregarding any other members far more esteemed thoughts, I "did the math" as best that my decrepitating synapses and faulty calculator, and erroneous wikipedia references would allow me to. This inspired further comment, which caused me to "go back to the drawing board", and thereby arrive at an adjusted potential theory, which I though is exactly what scintific method and peer review are all about. Postulating NEW potentialities, receiving input from others with vastly more open minds, adjusting postulation and then re-submitting. In this 3rd round of dialogue with the most exalted board, I make direct reply to direct "scientific" comment. I am sorry if I have broken any rules in my quest to better scientifically understand the cosmos, and hope if you delete or move this thread as I am deemed to be "wildly speculating", that you will inform the participants here where this thread went for those that may have found it at leastways entertaining if not stimulating.

Thank you for your warning. I truly deserve it. Raphael91324

"Let the beatings begin" -Bill Cosby

Jens
2012-Dec-21, 06:46 AM
Question for Jens? Am I wrong in understanding that it is the density of matter, not it's total mass that determines the slope of depression it makes to form a gravitational well in the space- time fabric.

I think that as a good approximation (i.e. classically) the force of gravity is calculated as the sum of masses of two objects divided by the square of the distance, and then multiplied by a constant. So density doesn't come into it as far as I can see. It is true that if you are on the surface of a planet, the density will make a difference because it changes the distance. But for example, if you are 100 km from a 10-kilogram object with density A and and 100 km from a 10-kilogram object with density 2A, I think the gravitational pull will be the same.

Shaula
2012-Dec-21, 08:33 AM
Hi there Shaula. I made my mph calculation from the "Light Year wiki article here quoted to say:
It would be better to use the actual speed of light than to try to work it out from very approximate figures. The Speed of light is 299,792,458 metres per second. A mile is 1.609344 kilometres or 1609.344 metres. So light speed is 186282397.05 miles per second. Or 670,616,629,384 miles per hour. The precision on those figures is probably higher than is justified by their accuracy but it is still far short of the 684 figure you got.

Edit: and if it did throw photons out then drag them back like that then you would never see them. Light travels at one speed and one speed only. If the light were confined to the parabolic paths you described then how would you see any of it? It would be like standing beside someone, seeing them throw a tennis ball thrown up in the air and catching it, and being shocked that you were not hit by a tennis ball.

publiusr
2012-Dec-21, 10:28 PM
I was startled by an airplane wing flashing late one evening. The plane itself was lost to me. I don't think it was an Iridium. Now folks used to launch sounding rockets that burst at high altitudes.

Raphael91324
2012-Dec-22, 07:55 PM
Hi again Jens:
I once worked for a small private company with a few Cal Tech, Stanford, MIT, and even ex Los Alamos people on staff. One in partucular pointed out to me that Newtonian physics do not apply in the center of a Nuclear Blast, nor on the sub-Hadron level of matter. It is as if such domains are a distinct Universe from our own "macro" level of comprehension. I'm sure exactly where I cross the line of speculation vs proven fact or not, which might get me moved or even expelled, but I'll continue with more thought.

Let's imagine a Black Hole, themselves theoretical as no one has ever been there, and observation is only empirical. At some point there is a threshold where light and presumably higher frequency EM does not escape the intense gravitaional pull. The name Black Hole itself a misnomer, as at it's core is the most dense form of matter we can conceive off. The center of gravity of an entire galaxy. The "hole" part seeming to refer to an extremely acute and deep well when x-y "time-space" diagramed. Now imagine some unknown circumstance causes the black hole to "burp". Suddenly EM and light waves emerge near instantaneously. Then the black hole recovers it's composure, and again EM and light waves disappear from external observation. I imagine that such would look like just what I saw. An intense high energy event, that quickly de-escalated into the Visible EM spectrum, then reached a point of retraction back to non visibility. Not unlike a "wet burp" that we all have experienced. Can you explain to me please why this could not occur, remembering that Newtonian physics need not be in force? Thanks

"Shut up or we will shut you up" -- Papal Inquisition to Gallileo

Raphael91324
2012-Dec-22, 07:58 PM
oops "I'm sure" in previous post should be "I'm not sure"

eburacum45
2012-Dec-23, 11:37 AM
Your sighting cannot have occured at an interstellar distance, since it expanded and contracted within a second. You say the fireball was about the size of the full moon; if this explosion occured at the distance of the nearest star it would have had a radius of about 1200 AU. At the speed of light an explosion would take nearly seven days to reach this size. Whatever you saw was much closer than the stars.

Shaula
2012-Dec-23, 12:07 PM
Let's imagine a Black Hole, themselves theoretical as no one has ever been there, and observation is only empirical. At some point there is a threshold where light and presumably higher frequency EM does not escape the intense gravitaional pull. The name Black Hole itself a misnomer, as at it's core is the most dense form of matter we can conceive off. The center of gravity of an entire galaxy. The "hole" part seeming to refer to an extremely acute and deep well when x-y "time-space" diagramed. Now imagine some unknown circumstance causes the black hole to "burp". Suddenly EM and light waves emerge near instantaneously. Then the black hole recovers it's composure, and again EM and light waves disappear from external observation. I imagine that such would look like just what I saw. An intense high energy event, that quickly de-escalated into the Visible EM spectrum, then reached a point of retraction back to non visibility. Not unlike a "wet burp" that we all have experienced. Can you explain to me please why this could not occur, remembering that Newtonian physics need not be in force? Thanks
So rather than accept that it was a meteor you want to propose that
a) Black holes can do this strange super-luminal expulsion and consumption of matter
b) There is a black hole no one has noticed, possibly in the solar system

Black holes can and do flare but it is done from the accretion disk, not the hole itself. A BH with accretion disk is pretty hard to miss. So your idea breaks down there. In GR the interior of a BH cannot really affect the outside world in the way you describe. The matter inside cannot just be expelled like that and cannot then be pulled back in like that. It would also not look like what you are describing because as it fell in it would heat up due to the friction and you would see it brighten. So you can really drop this idea, it doesn't work on any level. If you are proposing that it was light flying back and forth then it still doesn't work. Why would you see anything if the photons were confined to parabolic paths? Photons don't emit photons generally, so how do you think you could see them?

Odds are you saw something burn up. It wasn't anything happening in deep space.

Edit: Or a flare or one of the other fairly mundane explanations.

chrlzs
2012-Dec-23, 12:43 PM
Raphael, may I ask a few questions:
- in what way, if any, have you taken into account the flaws in human perception and recall?
- were you with anyone? did they see it?
- did you make any enquiries with local authorities/news agencies/astronomers etc? if so, who? if not, why not?
- do you/were you wearing glasses? if so, how clean would they have been?
- if it was as bright as you say, how could you be sure that the size you estimated was not simply the natural 'blooming' effect of your overloaded photo-receptors? how did you take the nearness to horizon effect into account?
- have you ever actually *seen* an Iridium flare (I have seen five so far, and their appearance and rapidity vary significantly depending on the various angles involved)
- given that roughly half the world would have been able to see a distant astronomical event and nothing was reported or captured on telescopes or webcams (afaics), do you accept that it must have been 'close to home'?

I agree with RAF and others - an Iridium flare does indeed fit the original description, and it was around dusk.. Frankly, I'm having a bit of trouble with the later additions.