PDA

View Full Version : What Did I See This Morning?



Extravoice
2008-Mar-17, 12:29 PM
This morning at about 6:35 AM EDT, I was outside with my dog and an extremely bright object caught my eye. It was pretty-much due north and fairly high in the sky, I'd guess maybe 50 degrees. The color was brilliant white, and I saw no shape to the object other than it's being a bright dot.

The time puts it about a half hour before sunrise, and for all practical purposes my location is Trenton, NJ, USA. I'm not sure if it "blinked on" when it caught my eye or if it had been there before I saw it. I'm pretty sure the object was moving northward, but it dimmed quickly, disappearing within about 3 or 4 seconds.

At first, I thought it was a very bright Irridium flare. I had seen one of those before, but not nearly as bright. I went inside and checked with Heavens-Above, but it didn't list a flare for that timeframe. The ISS wasn't nearby either. I guess it could be a high-altitude aiircraft ot some other satellite that aligned itself just right for my viewing pleassure.

Any guesses?

NEOWatcher
2008-Mar-17, 02:02 PM
... I went inside and checked with Heavens-Above, but it didn't list a flare for that timeframe...
What about other Sat passes?
Even ones that H-A lists as dim have the possibility of a flare. They just might not be predictable.

Extravoice
2008-Mar-17, 03:01 PM
Thanks.

After a little poking around, I figured out how to get data prior to the current time out of H-A. (I didn't realize I could do that.)

It looks like the object that I spotted might be Cosmos 1707.

NEOWatcher
2008-Mar-17, 03:27 PM
It looks like the object that I spotted might be Cosmos 1707.
Yep; space junk can easily be tumbling. It may not be what you saw, but its a guess.

I've only seen these kinds of things flare up to about -3 magnitude, and only on rare occasions. I would assume they can go much brigher, but I haven't seen it.

EvilEye
2008-Mar-17, 04:15 PM
I saw one going from north to south the other morning too.

Just a satellite, but when the morning sun is just below the horizon, shining "up" on them, they can be really bright.