Lights in the sky

  • Thread starter bong890
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  • #1
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Hi. I've searched this forum before for answers and it has never failed me before. I've seen threads on similar if not the same topic as this on here but they are either from years ago or the threads have been closed.

So heres the story, so tonight my brother in-law is at work and during his break he hangs out in a parking lot by his car with his co-workers. He has been noticing lights in the sky that appear to be blinking brightly in the past few nights. Finally tonight he gets everyone to see what he has been noticing. These are 4 normal tradesmen on their break. So anyways what they see and what is explained to me is they see a bright light that illuminates brightly and then appears to go away. It illuminates so bright that they claim it lit up the sky. My brother in-law also said that not only was there one bright light but there were fainter blinking lights around that one blinking light. He also said that these lights come and go. I dont know if the lights were moving. I'll have to ask him tomorrow as he is sleeping now. Anyways he comes home and gets me to look at the sky with him. After looking for about 10 minutes i see a faint light dart across the sky where the big dipper is. It traveled in between one star of the big dipper to the other. Now i know that is probably a sattelite because it traveled in a straight line and dissapeared. I go inside and he stays outside with my tennant just looking at the sky. Maybe around 25 minutes later they both start making a bunch of comotion and they say that they saw the flashing light in the sky agian. And even my tennant who did not beleive the story before said she saw the flashing light illuminate the sky. About maybe 15 minutes later i join them outside again and after looking at the sky for another 25 minutes on the corner of my eye i saw a very bright light flash in the sky. This light was overhead above us and just flashed and went away. It looked like a bright star in the sky, flashed like a camara and then went away. After 20 more minutes of seeing nothing else i started searching on the internet and here i am. Oh and they claim to have seen a fainter light zig zagging in the sky as well but you really have to look for that. I did not see that myself today but i do remember about a year ago i saw the exact zig zagging light in the sky in the same back yard. I decided back then that it was unexplainable and forgot about it. But since they saw it today there must be something there. All these lights that we saw are comparable to stars. The zig zagging light looked like a faint star moving irratically around the sky. The flashing or blinking light looked like a bright star that appeared out of no where flashed brightly and then dissapeared. Im trying to give the best description of what i saw and what was explained to me but if you guys have any questions on any details just ask. Oh and i live in a major city on the west coast of canada so we do see some of the brighter stars but not very many. Any ideas on what these could be? Thanks in advance!
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
did it look like this?



more than likely they are flares off of satellites.
When near a point in their pass where flaring would occur they CAN give a set of very short (less than 0.25 second) flashes to negative magnitudes. This is caused by tumbling of the satellite.

here is a little historical information on the very real phenomenon.

http://www.assa.org.au/observing/iridium/
 
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  • #3
russ_watters
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It's tough with lights in the sky - there are so many possibilities and the descriptions are often not detailed enough to know what you're actually seeing. A few notes, though:

-Tumbling satellites can blink, which can also make them appear to zigzag.
-Tumbling/rotating satellites can become extremely bright (not as bright as the moon, but much brighter than the brightest stars or planets) for up to 30 seconds. Google: Iridium Flare. If you can pinpoint a time and location, there are applications and websites that can tell you if you saw one. A given location will see 1 or 2 iridium flares a night.

[edit] Oops, sorry chis - shoulda read your post first!
 
  • #4
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I would have to agree with the other two. If you are seeing it every night, then chances are it is just a satellite. They can look very odd if you are not sure what you are looking at.

The video Chris posted is a good example of what you can expect to see. Therefore, if it looked similar to that, then you got yourself a satellite.
 
  • #5
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I am not sure, but if alot of people are reporting it, maybe it a meteor shower or something?

I've seen a meteor fly through the sky once. It's like the apocalyse. The entire sky will light up like a flare, like it is a bright daylight flickering, not so much like a camera flash. We could see the actual "thing", or at least it seemed like we could, maybe it was dark patches in the clouds or something.

Maybe you are seeing several meteors over the course of a long meteor shower? Perhaps a little farther away or perhaps they are bursting in the atmosphere?

Maybe different materials for different meteors burst in some ways that makes it look like it has flashed, and then disappeared?

The zig zagging, sounds like something completely different, and perhaps the satellite descriptions are a good bet. I wouldn't count on any single light in the sky somehow automatically being related to one another. There are so many lights in the sky, perhaps the items jumping out as abnormal are unrelated.
 
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