Zig Zag stars

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Guest82
Few years ago while travelling to Bosnia, my cousin and I looked at the sky. We were in a very small village where almost no lights disrupted the visibility of the stars.

While looking we noticed that there were two stars which were a bit brighter, almost like the north star, except that the north star was not even close to them. What intrigued us even more was that those two stars were very close to each other, one above the other, in almost perfect 45 degree angle and they seemed to have the same brightness. I know usually stars can be very close to each other but different brightness due to different distances, but this wasn't the case.

After a few seconds, one of the stars started woblling/vibrating, could have been from straining my eyes in order to focus on it, but than it started moving pretty fast in zig zag pattern and disappeared. After a few seconds the other star did the same thing.

Another interesting thing was that the speed and what looked like perfect zig zag movement was in no way possible for any sattelite or airplane, especially since it didn't flicker in slight redish colors but perfectly white light.

My cousin and I were happy but also confused that night of what we saw. But it got morbid a few days ago when i talked to my cousin and mentioned of that night, he just couldn't remember it. He is a forgetful person so I'm not paranoid :) but than the sighting of that night boggled my mind and I had to find an explanation for it.

What could cause two stars, which are extremely close to each other, with same brightness to move zig zag and disappear?
 

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  • #2
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Are you certain they were stars, and not something else? Fireflies perhaps? Also, why do you say they look like the north star? Why the north star in particular? Also, if this was a rather bright star, why would you need to strain your eyes to focus on it?

I'm a bit confused with your description.
 
  • #3
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What could cause two stars, which are extremely close to each other, with same brightness to move zig zag and disappear?
It could be they weren't stars at all, but a Marfa lights type phenomenon. As far as I know this isn't scientifically sorted out yet, but it's believed to be a variant of the "Fata Morgana" type of mirage.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fata_Morgana_(mirage)

There's a phenomenon like this that occurs regularly somewhere in Australia and a guy who I believe had a background in engineering investigated it on his own for a while and determined that they seemed to be lights from cars on a distant highway that were being reflected off of some layers of air of different temperature in the sky to a remote point on the ground. So, you may have been looking at reflections of some remote man made lights, probably vehicles.
 
  • #4
chemisttree
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It could be they weren't stars at all, but a Marfa lights type phenomenon.

.....and determined that they seemed to be lights from cars on a distant highway that were being reflected off of some layers of air of different temperature in the sky to a remote point on the ground.
A couple of buddies of mine were once near Marfa, just off the highway between Alpine and Marfa, looking at the Marfa Lights. We were parked illegally on someone's land (oops!) and eventually a Park Service Ranger came by to move us out. After telling him we were there to see the lights, he loaned us his binoculars. He said, "Just look through these before you make up your mind about what those lights are."

Every darned on of 'em were a pair of distant headlights.
 
  • #5
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A couple of buddies of mine were once near Marfa, just off the highway between Alpine and Marfa, looking at the Marfa Lights. We were parked illegally on someone's land (oops!) and eventually a Park Service Ranger came by to move us out. After telling him we were there to see the lights, he loaned us his binoculars. He said, "Just look through these before you make up your mind about what those lights are."

Every darned on of 'em were a pair of distant headlights.
Indeed, the wikipedia article on the Marfa lights has a section about a formal investigation:

In May 2004, a group from The Society of Physics Students at the University of Texas at Dallas spent four days investigating and recording lights observed southwest of the view park using traffic volume monitoring equipment, video cameras, binoculars, and chase cars. Their report made the following conclusions:[4]

U.S. Highway 67 is visible from the Marfa lights viewing location.
The frequency of lights southwest of the view park correlates with the frequency of vehicle traffic on U.S. 67.
The motion of the observed lights was in a straight line, corresponding to U.S. 67.
When the group parked a vehicle on U.S. 67 and flashed its headlights, this was visible at the view park and appeared to be a Marfa light.
A car passing the parked vehicle appeared as one Marfa light passing another at the view park.
They came to the conclusion that all of the lights observed over a four night period southwest of the view park could be reliably attributed to automobile headlights traveling along U.S. 67 between Marfa and Presidio, Texas.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marfa_lights
 

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