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Strange object in the sky blinking

  1. Apr 28, 2012 #1
    Hello.

    Last night i was stargazing with my skymaster 15x70 binoculars. everything went as usual - i observed star clusters, airplanes and sattelites passing by, etc.

    while watching a little group of stars almost right above my head (85-90 degrees declination) a little "star" suddenly flashed for some part of a second and went down. after 10 seconds it flashed again, ALMOST in the same position. and then again after about 10 seconds it flashed again only a tiny bit away from its previous position. I was lying on my back and holding my binoculars in my hands for a while, so my arms got pretty tired but this blinking 'star', moving so slowly in the sky gave me incentive not to give up watching but after abaut 5 minutes or so i gave up. and even though i marked (mentally) the aproximate point in the sky, when i put binoculars in front of my eyes again, i did not find this blinking object anymore, however patiently and intensively i watched.

    the Field Of View (FOV) of my binoculars is 4.4 degrees and by the time i observed this slowly moving & rarely blinking object (about 5 minutes) it moved only a half of binoculars' FOV!

    what do you guys think about this? it certainly wasn't an airplane (moved too slow; with those binoculars i can discern airliner's windows when they fly 10 km above, and they of course have many more blinking lamps). it certainly wasn't a sattelite (i know that sattelites can flash out under certain circumstances and i observed iridium sattelites many times); and again, sattelites move much faster, even those in higher altitudes than this blinking object.

    my best guess would be... meteorological air balloon. but... i'm not sure. do they fly at nights? it was 3 AM.

    color of this blinking light was more or less white. it wasn't seen with a naked eye. and was pretty faint when observed with 15x70 binoculars (its apparent magnitude through binoculars was about in the range of +3 or +4). trajectory - pretty much straight line. it was difficult to observe - binoculars were held in my hans, so the view was shaky despite my best efforts, plus relatevily long pauses between flashes made it even more difficult to infer exact trajectory.

    my coordinates is 54° 41′ 0″ N, 25° 17′ 0″ E.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 28, 2012 #2
  4. Apr 28, 2012 #3
    thank you Jamie!

    never heard about tumbling sattelites before but now it seems the best explanation for this blinking point which i observed. and judging from the data presented at Heavens Above, it might be Japanese ADEOS sattelite http://www.heavens-above.com/satinfo.aspx?lat=54&lng=25&loc=Unspecified&alt=0&tz=CET&satid=24277 (from my amateurish point of view this sattelite might be very prone to rotate around its axis and flash out periodically). altitude, direction and time seem to correspond with my observations. the only thing which still puzzles me is the (apparent) slowliness of its transition.
     
  5. Apr 28, 2012 #4
    Nice one Kiedis, its quite surprising how bright they can be, and quite sad how much crap is up there, here is another link to a satellite observing site http://www.satobs.org/seesat/seesatindex.html where you can sign up for the emails, they can be interesting sometimes.

    All the best

    Jamie
     
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