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Thought I saw my first UFO today.

  1. Aug 24, 2011 #1

    Integral

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    Walking my dogs this morning about 1hr before sunrise, the sky was pretty light and there were no obvious stars visible. The only thing I could see was a large bright light about 20deg above the horizon to the due south. My first thought was Venus, but it was way to far from the sun for that. I took my eyes off of it for just a few seconds, when I looked back it had vanished! I was calling it my first UFO, until I checked Stellarium, Jupiter is exactly where I saw this thing.

    I am going to see if I can repeat the observation this morning.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 25, 2011 #2

    Chronos

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    UFO is a good term to use. It assumes nothing aside from being unidentified. I have seen several UFO's over the years. Most became IFO's over time.
     
  4. Aug 25, 2011 #3

    Integral

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    This morning I was out again about the same time ~6:45am, Jupiter and the moon were the only celistial objects visible. Trouble is Jupiter is much higher in the sky then the object I saw yesterday. But yesterday I did not observe Jupiter at all, or is my memory as to the height in the sky that bad????

    I am back to being puzzled??
     
  5. Aug 27, 2011 #4

    tony873004

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    If your UFO was lower than Jupiter, and vanished in the moments you had taken your eyes off it, perhaps you either saw a satellite or an airplane with its landing / headlights on. If either is coming almost directly at you, they appear very stationary.

    I've done lots of volunteer work at the SFSU observatory. We are directly on the flight path for planes landing at SFO. As they approach from a distance for landing (I'm guessing about 20-30 km away), they are coming almost straight at us, and appear about 20 degrees off the horizon. They appear stationary and very bright. They are much brighter than the brightest Venus. Countless times visitors to the observatory have asked what that very bright star is. They don't believe me when I tell them it is an airplane. "It can't be an airplane, it's not moving!" they argue. "It's too bright!" But about 20 seconds later, it become obvious that the object has moved, and it has dimmed considerably as the headlights are no longer pointed directly at us, rather they are pointed over our heads. About a 90 seconds later, the airplane is directly above us, moving at a respectable angular velocity, and blinking like an airplane. They believe me then! But those first few moments, while it is hugging the horizon, fool everybody, including me the first time I saw it.

    In the morning twighlight of your dog walk, perhaps it was only visible while at its brightest, where it appears virtually stationary.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2011
  6. Aug 28, 2011 #5
    Aliens are real
     
  7. Aug 29, 2011 #6

    Drakkith

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    Alien (law), a non-citizen inhabitant of a country

    Yes, they are real.
     
  8. Aug 29, 2011 #7

    russ_watters

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    How long was it visible, are you sure it was stationary.....and have you checked Heavens-Above.com to see if it was an iridium flare?
     
  9. Aug 29, 2011 #8

    Integral

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    I only observed it for a few seconds, not long enough to determine motion. I was thinking it could have been the space station, but, I have seen it, it really clips along, the motion is very obvious. If a plane is flying directly at you the red and green side lights should be visible, I did not notice them.

    I can think of no reason for a flare in the mid Willamette valley.

    Thanks for the input, it remains a UFO in my mind.... Not extraterrestrial... Just unknown.
     
  10. Aug 30, 2011 #9

    Ivan Seeking

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    Yeah, well, I'm keeping an eye on you for awhile.
     
  11. Aug 30, 2011 #10
    the green and reg directional lights on a plane are more difficult to see in the twilight than they are when the sky is completely dark...not to mention that a commercial or military aircraft's landing lights are usually bright enough to wash out its directional lights when viewed head-on.
     
  12. Aug 30, 2011 #11
    Awesome point. So many people say "UFO" and automatically think "little space friends." And I like your "IFO."

    My parents saw a UFO when we were moving from West Texas to D.C. in 1962. My mind was stuck out the back window toward the home we were leaving. A silver object above the highway a few miles up ahead, suddenly tilted and embedded itself in some thunderheads about 90 miles away in the count of ten. At first, my father thought it was merely an aircraft coming in for a landing at the Odessa-Midland airport. He became convinced that it was an alien spacecraft. I wondered about that. Then, remembering the hot West Texas afternoons, I wondered if it was some kind of inversion layer (mirage) which changed in appearance as we approached it.

    Rod Martin, Jr.
    http://www.ancientsuns.com/fwd/ssw/" [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  13. Aug 30, 2011 #12

    tony873004

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    The omni-directional red/green navigation lights on the planes we regularly see from the SFSU observatory are not obvious when the plane is 20 degrees off the horizon and 20-30 km away. The plane's highly-directional landing lights, basically very powerful headlights, are aimed virtually straight at us, and significantly overwhelm the red/green navigation lights, which might not be visible at that distance anyway. Otherwise it would be easy for me to convince the visitors that the "bright star" they see near the horizon is a plane. They never believe me at first. But 90 seconds later, with the plane directly overhead, and the landing lights no longer pointed straight at us, the red/green flashing navigation lights, as well as the anti-collision strobe lights, are obvious, causing everyone to concede that their bright star is indeed an airplane.

    This illusion only happens if you're on the airplane's flight path. Otherwise its motion is obvious, and its directional headlights are not aimed straight at you. Is it possible to determine if the place you were walking your dog is on your airport's landing flight path?

    Not when it is close to the horizon coming towards you, and you are standing in its orbital plane. Then, like airplanes, most of its velocity with respect to you is radial, causing it to appear virtually stationary until it climbs higher in the sky, where its velocity wrt you is now mostly tangential. The only problem with the ISS or other satellite being your UFO is that they are very dim and barely noticable while near the horizon. That's because they're about 1000 km from you, and visible only from reflected light, rather than from high-power directional headlights. When the satellites climb higher in the sky, their angular velocity increases, their distance closes in on 200-300 km, and their brightness significantly increases, assuming it doesn't enter into Earth's shadow.
     
  14. Aug 31, 2011 #13

    russ_watters

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    Since the iridium constellation covers the globe, I was under the impression a flare could happen anywhere. An hour from sunrise/sunset is the peak time for flares.
     
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