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I Saw Very bright Star Dissapear

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I Saw Very bright Star Dissapear

Postby Ian74 » Mon Mar 12, 2012 12:31 am

Tonight 11/03/2012 at around 21:00 GMT in South East London, UK I was looking up at the stars, when I saw a very bright star. I had already been out looking at the sky for a bit and thought thats strange I did n't notice that star there before. It was in the South West direction about 70 degrees off the horizon . While I looked at it for about 3 seconds it was getting brighter and brighter and became the brightest thing in the sky and then over about 5 seconds I saw it getting dimmer and dimmer and then was gone. Did anyone else see that tonight? Is there an expert who could shed some light on what that phenomenon is? Could it be a star exploding? I would love to hear your ideas.

Ian
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Re: I Saw Very bright Star Dissapear

Postby KimB1 » Wed Mar 14, 2012 8:51 pm

Hello Ian,

You could have seen an Iridium Flare. That sun light reflected from solar panels of an Iridium Satellite.

If you register with http://www.heavens-above.com and put your location details in, you can get listings of times they occur. You can also get the previous 48h then click prev. to get back to the 11th.

Kim
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Re: I Saw Very bright Star Dissapear

Postby Alexandria » Tue Mar 27, 2012 12:36 am

Ian,
I saw something very similar on Mar 14, 2012 at around 8:33PM PST between Canis Major and Gemini.
It was a very bright star-like object that dimmed to nothing. The Iridium explanation is a possibility except the object did not move or streak into any flare, at least not while I was watching. It stayed in the same spot for about 10 seconds until it dimmed and winked out.
I, too, had been gazing at the stars: Venus & Jupiter, then on to Orion, then more east to Mars, then back southward when I noticed this very bright star. I was wondering what star it was (being so bright) when I watched it dim and wink out.
You're not alone,
Alexandria
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Re: I Saw Very bright Star Dissapear

Postby andrewken » Mon Apr 02, 2012 7:20 am

Ian74 wrote:Could it be a star exploding?


It's highly unlikely as if it were, we'd have to update all the science of supernovae. The peak luminosity from a supernova would last at least hours, if not days.
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Re: I Saw Very bright Star Dissapear

Postby andrewken » Mon Apr 02, 2012 7:39 am

Alexandria wrote:The Iridium explanation is a possibility except the object did not move or streak into any flare, at least not while I was watching.


It is possible for satellites and meteors to appear not to move when you look at then due to their motion of travel relative to you.
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Re: I Saw Very bright Star Dissapear

Postby uea74 » Sun Apr 08, 2012 9:39 am

While I looked at it for about 3 seconds it was getting brighter and brighter and became the brightest thing in the sky and then over about 5 seconds I saw it getting dimmer and dimmer and then was gone.


What you have described prefectly and exactly as they appear is an Iridium Flare. :D :D
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Re: I Saw Very bright Star Dissapear

Postby ngp » Wed Apr 25, 2012 6:53 am

So can Iridium flares appear stationary for quite a few seconds. like if its moving head on. The way a plane does. I would have thought you would still see some movement. Because ive seen satellites going virtuly overhead, and the moition is actually fairly obviouse, Im interested as i thought flares being satellites slowly moved across the sky. Not completely stationary. If they can appear completely stationary. For how long can they appear to do this before movement would betray itself ? if anyone knows
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Re: I Saw Very bright Star Dissapear

Postby David Webb » Fri Apr 27, 2012 3:46 pm

Yes I too logged this white ball in the South West sky on same night, I was looking at Alphard with my Celestron 114lcm scope and while I was looking this white ball flew by my lens going from the east to west of my viewing area right in front of Alphard, it was so bright the first thing I thought it was is lightning, it left no trail at all, just pure white and perfectly round just like a small football lit up.
I have spoken on other forums about it, and many people see that too on same night.
One person told me it was called a Light Ball, not sure what they mean but they said if it had been anything else it would have had a tail behind it which it had not.
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Re: I Saw Very bright Star Dissapear

Postby Mr Q » Tue Jun 19, 2012 9:30 pm

Since the "light" stayed stationary (more or less), it was probably a large jet or other aircraft that was slowly turning towards your direction, then could have turned off the landing lights as it entered a departure course from a nearby airport? The landing lights are very bright when aimed at you at a great distance - often obscuring the normal white strobe, red and green navigation lights.

I may be wrong but never heard of an iridium flare satellite remaining or appear to be stationary. But if the "star" was seen high in the sky (70 degrees above the horizon), probably not an aircraft. Near the horizon, probably was. In any case, definately not an exploding star (nova).
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Re: I Saw Very bright Star Dissapear

Postby Alexandria » Sat Jun 30, 2012 10:44 pm

Thanks for all the replies. Most likely either a iridium flare/ satelite that perhaps appeared stationary then turned...who knows, but it was too high in the sky for an airplane and I've seen many of those situations. However, I'm enjoying all the interest and explanations. Never bored looking at the stars.
Alexandria
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