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Old 04-27-2012, 10:11 PM
 
33 posts, read 29,205 times
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Default For those amateur astronomers....

This forum has been a wealth of information. Moved here 9 months ago from the midwest, and look to this forum almost daily, and am still learning so much about this area!

Anyway, I live in the San Tan Valley area. For the past week, every night in the western sky, an object shines brightly, and "flashes." Its stationary, and I can make out blue, red and sometimes a faint yellow. Its 9:00pm now, and there it is......flashing away! Very high up and distant. I know its not a plane. Stays in the same spot way too long.

A satallite? Not sure, so I thought I'd turn to you fine folks.....

Inquiring minds want to know!
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Old 04-28-2012, 04:08 AM
 
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A bit more help on elevation and North to South would help.

Right at 21:00 now when looking West, you have 4 pretty good choices. So looking from your left to right, starting look towards the SouthWest.

The one that is Soutwest/West and at about 15 degree elevation would be Sirius.

Looking almost due West and just a few degrees higher would be Betelgeuse.

Continuing moving to your right to West/NW and just a couple of degrees would be Venus.

Continuing moving to your right to almost NW and at an elevation of about 30 degrees would be Capella.

Looking from left to right they almost form a gentle upward raising arc. Starting at 15 degrees and ending at only 30 degrees.

Hope this helps, or in the least, keeps you looking towards the stars.
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Old 04-28-2012, 08:07 AM
 
Location: Arizona!
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Assuming it's not manmade, then using a smartphone app like google sky map can help identify the planets, stars, and constellations. Just aim it at whatever you're looking at and it will tell you what it is.

If you can't identify it with that then possibly it could be a plane or helicopter. Even if it appears stationary for a long time it could be a plane coming straight at you. Where we live we are on a direct line for inbound flights from the northeast and when they come in over the mountains it will look like it is just hovering there or slowly drifting a bit, sometimes for 10 minutes or more before they get close and veer off towards red mountain.

Or, it's visitors from Epsilon 3.
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Old 04-28-2012, 08:16 AM
 
Location: South Tempe, AZ
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While Venus has been particularly bright lately (peaking last Tuesday) planets don't flash or twinkle. I think Zathras is probably right. I've seen that same scenario here at my house.
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Old 04-28-2012, 11:06 AM
 
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Wish I knew more about the degrees of elevation, but I don't, so I can't help out there.

This object has been in the same position every night for the past week or so.

Tonight, after an exhausted day of housecleaning, I am going to sit my self down and watch this object so see if it moves. Zathras explanation makes sense, as the lights are very "twink-ly" and bright.

I live southeast of the Mesa-Gateway Airport, and am used to seeing planes at night, but they don't look like this. I know its not a planet, because of the colors.

Thanks all for your input.....knew I could turn to you!

Will keep you posted!
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Old 04-29-2012, 01:43 PM
 
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Not sure how this will look...but here is 9pm looking due West from Phoenix from the star tracking software that I use for my telescope. You can see the slow upward to the right arc I described earlier. Colors that the eye sees while observing celestial bodies has a lot to do with airborne contaminants...dust, pollution....etc....and even humidity.
Attached Thumbnails
For those amateur astronomers....-phoenix.bmp.jpg  
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Old 04-29-2012, 02:10 PM
 
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madmmc - thanks for the info. I am starting to believe the colors I am seeing are because of pollution, gases, my old eyes, ect.

Sat outside last night, beginning at 8:09pm. Sure enough, there was the object. If looking at the setting sun, it would be located to the left, so more of a southwest direction.

When it became dark, the object is very high up in the sky. It disappeared below the horizon at 9:39pm. It was as "twinkley" and flashy as ever, and again I saw reds and blues. However, I really do believe now that the colors are some type of a reflection from things that are in the atmosphere.
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Old 04-29-2012, 02:21 PM
 
273 posts, read 265,911 times
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To the left and above the setting Sun....the winner is Jupiter. About 20 minutes before sunset.
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For those amateur astronomers....-jup-sunjpg.jpg  
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Old 04-29-2012, 02:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by madmmac View Post
To the left and above the setting Sun....the winner is Jupiter.
Last month, Jupiter and Venus were near one another in the evening sky. Now, Jupiter appears closer to the sun.
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Old 04-29-2012, 05:09 PM
 
Location: South Tempe, AZ
13,501 posts, read 15,566,348 times
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Planets don't twinkle or flash, nor would there be any indication of color from Jupiter (or Venus).
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