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What the heck did I see?

  1. Jun 20, 2004 #1
    Last night at around 11:00pm EST, I was outside doing some backyard astronomy. After looking at Jupiter for a little bit through my telescope I decided to do some ‘shooting star’ watching. I set up a lawn chair and looked up at the nice, clear sky. I saw a couple of faint meteors and a few satellites pass overhead. At around 11:30, after shifting position, now looking to the East, I saw a bright flash in the corner of my eye. I thought it had been a bright meteor that I had just missed so I turned to where I had seen it and just looked in that direction (in Cygnus). About 2 minutes later I saw, at least I THINK I saw, a faint star in Cygnus flare up very quickly in brightness and then die down. It only lasted about a second or two at the very most but it was bright enough for me to stand up and just stare in that direction out of disbelief for about 5 minutes. To me, it looked like it had gotten as bright as Jupiter was, which was on the opposite side of the sky. Anyway, after that, I went inside and got a pair of binoculars and looked at the star where I had seen it. But nothing seemed odd about it. I observed it for about 10 or 15 minutes, but it just looked normal.

    Attached is a chart where I saw the flash.

    Anyway, what the heck was it? Am I crazy? I do notice that I am prone to phosphenes [A sensation of light caused by excitation of the retina by mechanical or electrical means rather than by light, as when the eyeballs are pressed through closed lids. –Dictionary.com], but all the ones I’ve had didn’t at all look like what I experienced and didn’t last nearly as long.

    Any help would be great, thanks!

    :confused: :confused: :confused:
     

    Attached Files:

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 20, 2004 #2

    chroot

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  4. Jun 20, 2004 #3
    Thanks chroot! I guess that would make sense. I remember hearing about those things before, but I totally forgot.

    Has anyone else seen one of those?
    :smile:
     
  5. Jun 20, 2004 #4

    chroot

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    I've seen a few, mostly by accident. A few people I know love them and use forecasting programs so that they can go out specifically looking for them.

    - Warren
     
  6. Jun 20, 2004 #5
    Wow! I just saw another one. I went to http://www.heavens-above.com and they have online forcasters for them. The one I just saw about 5 minutes ago was about a mag. -8. I think I found a new hobby. LoL
     
  7. Jun 20, 2004 #6

    chroot

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    You might also want to consider watching for ISS passes -- they're pretty cool too!

    - Warren
     
  8. Jun 20, 2004 #7
    I've seen a couple of ISS passes. One with the shuttle docked, it was really neat. With binoculars you can see 2 bright points side by side. I'm assuming it was the 2 main solar panels.
     
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