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  1. #21
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    Plane on approach (mentioned above, but discounted for good reason)?
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  2. #22
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    A geosynchronous satellite would seem reasonable to me. What part of the sky did you see it in?

    For instance, I added Galaxy 19 to Stellarium and it would appear stationary in the sky above Dallas. Depending on where the sun is and the angle of it's panels, I don't see why you couldn't have a reflection that lasts a bit and then goes away.
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  4. #23
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    Discounted because there is no possible way this could be an aircraft. I've seen many times where aircraft were on approach at night headed straight toward me with its landing lights on which does make it appear to be stationary, and then the lights suddenly disappear when it makes its turn toward the airport. However, aircraft on approach are low in the sky. This was very high, the first night almost directly overhead.

    I've also, many a time, seen aircraft up at cruise altitude fly by, and they, like satellites, are obviously moving. This wasn't.

    As I've said before, I'm a pilot. I'm very used to observing aircraft just like you guys are used to observing the skies. This was no aircraft.

    @Joe, I'm hoping its IS a geosync sat. This is still my primary theory, unless you're saying it's not? Maybe it becomes illuminated briefly as the Sun hits it just right and then as the Sun continues to set, it stops illuminating it? If so, though, I just don't understand why a little while later the ISS passed overhead still lit at a lower altitude, and the moon is higher and remains lit?

    Btw, last night I downloaded an app on my phone called "Flybys" that tells when satellites will be passing by and I observed 2 of them, so I see what a normal sat should look like when passing by -- its movement is evident.

  5. #24
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    DaveW, thanks for that. That's the only thing that makes sense to me.. I saw it on the first night almost directly overhead, maybe about 80 degrees up from the Southern horizon. The 2nd night, it appeared a bit farther South, maybe about 40 degrees up from the Southern horizon, almost even with the moon (on Monday night).

  6. #25
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    As noted, the ISS is moving pretty quickly across the sky and is huge compared to any other sattelite. Not even very hard to photo (but hard to photo well)
    A geosynch would be much further out and would not have a precession Southwards daily as it appears to have. It wold appear inthe same place every night (if there was a handy reflective surface to illuminate).
    So I think it is just a survey sattelite that is either drifting ( which means it is now a defunct one) or has a set drift to allow it to survey sequential areas.
    I would guess a geo survey would move like that - mass spectrometry may need slow movement to get better definition (not that I'm in the least educated about these things) rather than speeding like a bullet across the sky just taking photos.
    One other thing occurs to me - if it is precessing like most of these geosynch sats things do, it will follow a sine wave rising to a specific lattitude each side of the equator(?) perhaps you caught it on each side of max- so you won't see it again for a while - until it precesses all the way round the Earth. This could make it a oceanography temperature and weather survey sat.
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  8. #26
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    Thanks Jennifer, I appreciate the reply. This sounds reasonable enough. I'd definitely be interested finding out what kind of satellite it was, if that's even possible.. I'll be out tonight again to try and spot it.

  9. #27
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    I'm really intrigued by this and I'm not sure we'll ever get it truly figured. . .

    I'm satisfied that it is not an Iridium flare, it is not the ISS, it is not a heavier-than-air aircraft, etc.

    Frankly, I doubt it is a geosynchronous satellite. I doubt that they would be so bright that they would be clearly visible even though the stars would be blotted out by light pollution.

    I'm still interested in the idea of a lighter-than-air aircraft but I'm betting that a pilot would likely be aware that something of the sort was stationed in the area since it would likely be an issue for flight paths.

    I'd consider the possibility that the light is/was much closer to the observer than perceived. A very small but intense light makes it very difficult for even a skilled observer to correctly judge distance. But I'm betting that Aeroman08 would have noted an even fairly small shift in apparent position due to his own movements.

    But still, it is barely conceivable that a fairly lofty (and hovering) helicopter with a small but powerful light could conceivably cause a puzzling sight. But I can't think of any good reason for a helicopter to hover like that at a height which would be sufficient to fool a skilled observer - and likely in the middle of flight paths.

    I've also considered the possibility of very high-flying military surveillance aircraft or maybe an experimental aircraft like Solar Impulse is being exercised in the area. It seems to me, however, that it would likely be closer to busy airspace than desirable - and military aircraft are typically designed not to reflect much light.

    As I said, I'm intrigued and I hope Aeroman08 can come up with an insight that makes it all clear.

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  11. #28
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    probably an alien, as noted there are many amateur astronomers in that area that we should have multiple accounts of this "object" if it was something out of the ordinary.
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  12. #29
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    I'd guess that it is out of the ordinary since an intelligent and careful observer is seeing it. However, you may have to be looking from the right place to the right place to see it.

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  13. #30
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    If it is brighter than Vega, the brightest star in the sky right now, I would that would increase the amount of sightings.
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