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View Full Version : PX or star with atmospheric effects?



JamesofDevonshire
2003-May-13, 02:15 AM
Its 0300 hours 13/05/2003 and my location is 40 miles south east of London, UK (near Maidstone, Kent). The skies are clear and the moon is full.

I just saw what looked like a star that was flashing red and white about 15 degrees above the horizon in an exactly south direction (opposite north star).

It was about 45 degrees left of the moon which was about the same height as this star.

It was positioned between 2 stars left and right of it (3 degrees gap).

The other stars were not red but were white.

I noticed a few other stars in the north direction were a little reddish but not as much as this one.

I don't have any form of magnification so I just used my bare eyes.

Anyone got a program that can identify this as a star?

mbjvx
2003-May-13, 02:17 AM
Not I, but it sure as heck ain't planet X - since it don't exsist.

JamesofDevonshire
2003-May-13, 02:22 AM
BTW I'd like to say hi to everyone on these boards and that I find it's full of interesting and humourous/humorous comments.

My post was 0300 BST (British summertime) of course but you can simply use the time of my post to work it out. If anyone does...

coolguy
2003-May-13, 02:29 AM
Could of been Betelguese which is a giant red star. It also could of had been Aldebaren,or possibly Mars. Anyone else have a take?

WolfKC
2003-May-13, 03:19 AM
Well surprisingly I belive you are seeing Antares. It's actually 61 degress left of the moon at the time you stated, but that's not to bad for a "guestamate" (guess / estimate). Antares is quite bright and any bright star near the horizon will flicker. Also it is unusually red.
Here's a link to the star field you described:
http://www.chipman.org/starhoax/londonstar.jpg

Make sure to view it full screen so you dont loose details.

hey i feel like a real official professional amature astronomer now :D

BTW, I use a program called "The Sky". It's 1996, a bit old, but it still tracks virtually all the known objects. Also the Field Of View I used in this illistration is 120 degress which is quite wide angle, but representative of what you can easily see outside with your eyes.

JamesofDevonshire
2003-May-13, 03:26 AM
I have to agree, it must be Antares!

Thanks very much indeed. :)

EDIT: I shall have to get a copy of "The Sky" myself.

Greenhalgh
2003-May-13, 09:58 AM
Hi! Welcome to the forum. I think the hypothetical PX is meant to be well below the horizon at that time of night, isn't it? :-?

SarahMc
2003-May-13, 11:19 AM
Hi! Welcome to the forum. I think the hypothetical PX is meant to be well below the horizon at that time of night, isn't it? :-?

Yes, but the way the "red light bends" lately, it could be almost anywhere in the night sky. :o)

Most definately Antares.

Charlie in Dayton
2003-May-13, 03:41 PM
Its 0300 hours 13/05/2003 and my location is 40 miles south east of London, UK (near Maidstone, Kent). The skies are clear and the moon is full.

I just saw what looked like a star that was flashing red and white about 15 degrees above the horizon in an exactly south direction (opposite north star).

It was about 45 degrees left of the moon which was about the same height as this star.

It was positioned between 2 stars left and right of it (3 degrees gap).

The other stars were not red but were white.

I noticed a few other stars in the north direction were a little reddish but not as much as this one.

I don't have any form of magnification so I just used my bare eyes.

Anyone got a program that can identify this as a star?

Well, WolfKC gave you the star ID. Here's a little something to help you figure angular distances in the sky.

Handy tips for measuring angles in the sky

Generally speaking, if we hold our little finger out at arm's length, the distance it blocks out is approximately one degree.

When we hold the thumb up at arm's length from the eye, the distance covered is approximately two degrees.

If we use the first three fingers (index and the next two - Boy Sprout salute-style), the distance covered is approximately five degrees.

If we hold our closed fist at arm's length from our eye, the distance covered is about 10 degrees across the knuckles (about 2.5 degrees from knuckle to knuckle).

The distance between the index finger and the little finger when they are spread wide at arm's length is about fifteen degrees.

The distance between the thumb and the little finger spread wide at arm's length from our eye is about 20 degrees (as is two closed fists side-by-side across the knuckles).

These measurements stay constant, as a human's arm will grow in length in proportion to the growth in length/width of hands and digits.

One full moon = degree. Two full moons side-by-side = 1 degree.

So next time someone claims that something is Planet X, you can give 'em a finger... :D

Byrd
2003-May-13, 05:02 PM
That's pretty cool, Charlie!