Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Glowing object

  1. Jun 14, 2008 #1

    tgt

    User Avatar

    Saw a glowing object with the colours of yellow and a bit of red that is not moving anywhere in particular on a relatively cloudy night where no stars nor the moon could be seen.

    What is that object? Can't be a plane. It is either some flying man made object or a planet?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 14, 2008 #2
    It's a flying saucer for sure!
     
  4. Jun 14, 2008 #3
    It is a sign from the heavens foreboding great woe.
     
  5. Jun 14, 2008 #4

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Which direction was it? In late evening, Jupiter is rising in the southeast and is very bright.
     
  6. Jun 14, 2008 #5

    Moonbear

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Someone's hot air balloon on a night flight?

    Hmm...if the rain clouds let up, I'll have to venture out this evening and look for Jupiter. (Reminds me of the song they'd stretch to on Romper Room when I was a kid..."Stretch, and bend, and reach for the stars. Here comes Jupiter, there goes Mars.")
     
  7. Jun 14, 2008 #6

    tgt

    User Avatar


    It changed in direction a bit. But it was moving but very slowly. It is extremely bright and brighter than any stars that might be apparent on a non cloudy day. Could it still be Jupiter?
     
  8. Jun 14, 2008 #7

    tgt

    User Avatar

    Can't be a hot air balloon. It was glowing too much and seemed extremely far. The size of it was bigger than any star.
     
  9. Jun 14, 2008 #8

    Moonbear

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    If you see it again tonight in about the same place in the sky, that will make that possibility more viable. Otherwise, we're really just wildly guessing with so little information.
     
  10. Jun 14, 2008 #9

    Astronuc

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    :rofl: I remember that - from way back when my sister and youngest brother were kids, although I think it's "Bend and stretch, . . ."


    Some hot air balloons do night-time flights, but that's ususally restricted, and I think often starting just before sunrise.

    If you've seen a propane flame burn, it glows.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Hot_air_balloon_glow.jpg

    http://www.balloonfiesta.com/images/main/022208/05.jpg [Broken]

    http://gallery.balloonfiesta.com/ [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  11. Jun 14, 2008 #10

    tgt

    User Avatar

    I'll do that. Meanwhile could someone post some pictures of Jupiter as seen by an observer on earth?

    Jupiter is a gas giant so would it emit its own light as well as reflecting off the sun?
     
  12. Jun 14, 2008 #11

    Astronuc

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Jupiter would be a bright spot.

    Jupiter does not emit visible light (with the possible exception of the polar auroras, but they would be overwhelmed by reflected sunlight) - it's too cold, but it and Saturn, reflect sunlight and we can see them because they are large, as opposed to Mars and Venus, which are closer.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2008
  13. Jun 14, 2008 #12

    tgt

    User Avatar

    Brighter than any star as seen from an observer on earth?
     
  14. Jun 14, 2008 #13

    Astronuc

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Yes - and they would not twinkle (fluctuation in apparent brightness) like a star. Sirius is the brighest star in the night sky.

    Look at the apparent magnitude here.
    http://www.astro.wisc.edu/~dolan/constellations/extra/brightest.html

    or a longer list
    http://seds.org/Maps/Stars_en/ [Broken]

    or even longer
    http://www.astro.uiuc.edu/~kaler/sow/bright.html [Broken]

    But "on a relatively cloudy night where no stars nor the moon could be seen", one would likely not see Jupiter either. It would likely be a man-made object.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  15. Jun 14, 2008 #14

    Moonbear

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Ah, that would make more sense. Hey, it was a long time ago; I'm lucky I remember it at all. :biggrin: I used to play along (and sing along) every day when I watched.
     
  16. Jun 14, 2008 #15

    tgt

    User Avatar

    It wasn't twinkling that much, just that the little red bits were twinkling. It is troubling that no other stars could be seen yet this one was so clearly visible and bright. Some pictures of Jupitar as seen by an observer on earth would be really good.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  17. Jun 14, 2008 #16

    Astronuc

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Not too many people take pictures of the night sky showing the points of light. I looked for an example, but what I found was closeups.

    Neither Jupiter or star would show red. Aircraft do have red navigation lights.

    It's possible they were aircraft navigation lights - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navigation_light. Do you live near an airport? Or you could be on a flight path?
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2008
  18. Jun 14, 2008 #17
    the Moon?


    the Sun?
     
  19. Jun 14, 2008 #18

    Moonbear

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Yeah, I'm thinking something a bit closer to earth than a planet if the moon and stars were clouded over and this was still visible. The moon isn't exactly small right now. The cloud cover may have distorted anything you did see so you didn't recognize something that would have otherwise been obvious to identify (like a plane's lights).
     
  20. Jun 14, 2008 #19

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Well, these days it takes about six hours to traverse the sky, so you tell me: what was the direction change like?
     
  21. Jun 14, 2008 #20

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    These things are very difficult to photograph in a way that makes them look similar to how they look to the naked eye. However:
    http://www.russsscope.net/images/Russ-Jupiter.jpg
     
  22. Jun 14, 2008 #21

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    It is roughly 6x brighter than the brightest star in the sky.

    And it is bright enough to see it as red/orange.
     
  23. Jun 15, 2008 #22
    Not to go too off topic, but this sounds a lot like an experience I had...

    While attending a car show in Knoxville TN back in 2000, a few friends and myself were spending the night in a cabin out in the country. Around 1AM EST a couple of people on the back deck started yelling saying that they see a UFO in the sky. I was inside at the time and decided to grab someones video camera to get it on film. I didn't think to look for navigational stars at the time, but I believe the object was approx E in the sky at approximately a 45 degree angle to the horizon. It's been so long that I can't remember the exact date, but it was either the April 17-19 or Sept 11-14 event... most likely in Sept.

    The camera was a HI-8mm mile this one...
    http://www.photographyreview.com/channels/photographyreview/images/products/product_333851.jpg

    With the naked eye the object had a red and yellowish flickering color to it. When you zoomed in ~75-80% the object would change from a flickering blot to a flicker ring such as this...
    http://www.bro.lsu.edu/images/m57_ring_color_thumb.jpg

    The object was obviously distorted due to the lack of resolution on the cameras part. It would stay ring-shaped for a second then shift back to a disc-shaped blot, then back again over and over. The object slowly drifted across the sky somewhat like how the moon does when you view it through a telescope. I had the camera propped up on an empty pack of cigarettes so that the camera wouldn't shake. The object moved slowly but about every 15sec or so I would have to shift the camera a bit to bring the object back into view. This continued until the tape ran out... all auto adjusting features were also turned off during filming. When I woke back up in the morning with the sun starting to rise, the object was still there and was the brightest 'star' in the sky... an attention grabber if anyone was to casually look up. It was pretty much in the same area of the sky, though overall it moved just a tad higher and more to the south... total movement of ~1' to 1-1/2' at arms length. When I checked again around 9-10AM it was either gone or undetectable.

    Every person that we showed the video to would suddenly say "UFO!", but a friend and myself always remained skeptical. If Jupiter or any other planet is zoomed in on with a cam corder, could the planet appear to change shapes?
     
  24. Jun 15, 2008 #23

    tgt

    User Avatar

    That spot is Jupitar? It is only white colour. Was it the camera or was it just that way at the time?
     
  25. Jun 15, 2008 #24

    tgt

    User Avatar

    I don't live near an airport. It moved too slowly for it to be an aircraft. Probably too slow even to be a ballon as it moved a noticable amount in 2 hours. However it was still visible from the exact spot I was standing 2 hours ago.
     
  26. Jun 15, 2008 #25

    tgt

    User Avatar

    What do you mean by traverse the sky? Does it mean to rise from the horizon and then dissapear again to the new horizon.
     
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook