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View Full Version : I've seen a UFO. Please help me debunk it.



bozothedeathmachine
2008-Aug-04, 07:43 AM
And I mean "UFO" in the strictest sense: I couldn't identify it.

I was at my in-laws summer house in South Bohemia last week. It's in a tiny village with about 10 houses, and for some reason 3 street lights. Even with the street lights, the night sky is incredible; the Milky Way can easily be seen. We saw a few satellites, which I pointed out to my in-laws. One night we saw something I couldn't explain. It was bright object moving quite slowly in the sky. It was solid white and had about the same luminosity as Jupiter, which was by far the brightest object in the sky. As I said, it was solid, not blinking, so it wasn't a plane. It also didn't make any noise as a plane and was a lot brighter than a plane would be. So, it passed just under Jupiter, then it kind of faded and disappeared. I'm the card carrying skeptic in the family, so they wanted me to explain what it was and why it disappeared.

At first, I thought it went into some clouds that we couldn't see. Using some cheap binoculars, I did see some clouds, but they were very thin as I could see stars through them; they would not have obscured something as bright as the object we saw.

After wracking my brain, the only thing I thought it could be is a low earth orbit satellite. It was about 10:30 at night, and sunset that far north is between 9:00 - 9:30. So if it were a LEO satellite it would have been high enough to still reflect the sun, which would explain the luminosity, and its disappearance would have been when it entered Earth's shadow.

I have a screenshot from Starry Night to show the relative position and path of the object. The circle is around the area it dissapeared.

Any ideas? Does my theory make sense?

http://i218.photobucket.com/albums/cc264/bozothedeathmachine/CzechSky.jpg

schlaugh
2008-Aug-04, 07:50 AM
Possibly an Iridium satellite. they tend to start dim, grow very bright, and then fade, all in a matter of tens of seconds.

Check out the Heavens-Above site, register your location and then you can see other Iridium transits for comparison.

Heavens-Above (http://www.heavens-above.com)

slang
2008-Aug-04, 08:35 AM
My first thought was "ISS". The space station can be incredibly bright, and if it's visible, it's usually not very long after sunset. Check Heavens-Above to see if ISS is visible from that location on that day. It will give you the time, orbit, and some maps to help find it.

jt-3d
2008-Aug-04, 09:00 AM
Yeah, it sounds like the ISS. I've never seen an iridium flare so I don't know what they look like.What you see is sun light reflecting off of whatever it was. Once it gets into the shadow there's no more light reflecting off of it and seems to disappear. You should be able to find out what it is at heavens-above though.

bozothedeathmachine
2008-Aug-04, 09:05 AM
Thanks. Accoriding to Heavens Above, ISS matches almost perfectly. Same time, same-ish path, and even when it passes into shadow. I could have sworn it was below Jupiter, though.

http://i218.photobucket.com/albums/cc264/bozothedeathmachine/iss.jpg

Thanks..

slang
2008-Aug-04, 09:44 AM
I've never seen an iridium flare so I don't know what they look like.

Do try to catch a bright one sometime.. it's tough to describe how great it is to see one. It's a bit like a prolonged flash, almost a slow motion meteorite. You see it appear, then start to get brighter... and brighter... and brighter.. and when you think it can't possibly get any more bright, it does. And again. And then it quickly disappears. Awesome. :)

A great way to impress a small crowd but I always forget to check the website before I go. So for now I can only imagine how much fun it will be to claim to know when an alien UFO will appear in the sky :lol:

NEOWatcher
2008-Aug-04, 01:21 PM
...So for now I can only imagine how much fun it will be to claim to know when an alien UFO will appear in the sky :lol:
Even when they know what it is, they still get impressed when you point it out, especially if you can catch a -8,

It only lasts for a few seconds, so make sure you have a very accurate watch.

jt-3d
2008-Aug-05, 12:15 AM
Do try to catch a bright one sometime..

It's on my to do list. There's one due the morning of the 6th. Mag -6 :eek:

OmahaWx
2008-Aug-05, 05:41 AM
yeah its gotta be the ISS, it can get almost as bright as venus. check spaceweather.com/flybys for exact times, I just saw it the last few nights. heres a picture I took thursday night...

http://img171.imageshack.us/img171/1511/dsc1579bg6.jpg

Jeff Root
2008-Aug-06, 06:58 PM
OmahaWx,

That's a nice picture. Whatever it is a picture of, I know it isn't a photo
of the ISS against the background stars!

Was the object that made the streak headed toward the slow fade-out
end or away from the slow fade-in end?

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

NEOWatcher
2008-Aug-06, 07:09 PM
... I know it isn't a photo of the ISS against the background stars!
Why not?
I checked Omaha (I assume it's the one in Nebraska) and here's what I got for ISS that Thursday (http://www.heavens-above.com/PassDetails.asp?lat=41.259&lng=-95.938&loc=Omaha&alt=314&tz=CST&satid=25544&date=39661.1711970602).

Right through the bowl of the dipper, and fading off as it went up/right. Just a bit off due to not knowing the precise location, but you can almost lay the detail map right on top of the picture.

Jeff Root
2008-Aug-07, 08:35 PM
Sorry, my mistake! I interpreted the track as heading almost straight
north, since it was aimed right for Polaris. But since the dipper was to
the west of Polaris, the track was west-to-east, not south-to-north.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Neverfly
2008-Aug-11, 09:43 AM
pomple to sombady else

What?

N1stein
2008-Aug-11, 11:38 AM
What?

OOps ,sorry Iwas explaining dutch to someone, and lost both ends apparantly, dont know how the jibs slipt throuhgh ,very random indeed .sorry

Jerry
2008-Aug-20, 05:22 AM
Possibly an Iridium satellite. they tend to start dim, grow very bright, and then fade, all in a matter of tens of seconds.

Check out the Heavens-Above site, register your location and then you can see other Iridium transits for comparison.

Heavens-Above (http://www.heavens-above.com)
Actually, it is the arrival schedule for alien vehicles - they are virtually always on time; because otherwise they would be identified as ufo's