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Thread: Strange object in the sky

  1. #1
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    Default Strange object in the sky



    I am a new member of the forum, but I have many years of looking up at the sky. Last night I saw something I have never seen before and I hoping somebody can explain. I live in New York on Long Island. While in the back yard with my dog at around 5:45PM, I noticed in the ENE sky a star that seemed to be twinkling, but in a way that I had not ever seen. It almost seemed white green and red. I grabbed my binoculars and looked and it became somewhat clearer. I could clearly see red, green, and white and it was definitely a star. I looked at the other stars in the sky and did not see this so I am rather certain that it was not an atmospheric effect. I then went to an school event for my daughter and came back home at around 9:30. The star had moved so that is was now more in the ESE sky and still exhibited the same behavior. Given that it was present in the sky for so long and looked very much like a star, I can say with confidence that it was not an airplane or other man made object that was fooling me. Can anyone offer any explanation as to what it may have been? I have seen the twinkling effect of stars caused by the atmosphere and this did not fit that description.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Strange object in the sky

    Big stars do that. Probably Sirius.
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    Default Re: Strange object in the sky

    How did I make it to 49 years old without ever seeing this? I have to say, it made me happy. Cool stuff in the sky is fun. Is it something that the star will always do and that I have just never seen, or is it something that happens on occasion and that maybe I just never looked at the correct time?

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    Default Re: Strange object in the sky

    usually when the sky is turbulent with many temperature layers.
    When my sky is like that, I go and watch TV
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    Default Re: Strange object in the sky

    Bright stars do behave that way when seeing conditions are right. Given the timing, location, and direction, I'd guess Capella was your twinkler.

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    Default Re: Strange object in the sky

    I believe you're correct. I am hoping for clear skies tonight so I can get the telescope on it rather than just binoculars. Thanks! Perhaps this has ignited renewed interest in the stars!

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    Default Re: Strange object in the sky

    A lot of bright stars will do this when the seeing conditions are poor. Sirius, the brightest, is notorious for twinkling in multiple colours. I have seen Arcturus resemble a bunch of cop cars at an accident scene!
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    Default Re: Strange object in the sky

    The term for it is Atmospheric Prismatic Dispersion.
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