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Object in the sky

RohanRohan Registered User regular
edited March 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
Hi everyone,

I took a shot of the walk into Cobh (Ireland) from the bridge outside my apartment on March 1st, at 21:49pm (according to the information the camera stamped on the photograph). While I was taking the shot I thought there was a fairly bright star up in the sky, but when I zoomed in on it a bit I realised it has a curve, and is much too close to be a star, and surely it's not a planet. So, what is it?

Below is the photograph as I saw things on the night - I put in an arrow so you can see what looks like a bright star. Underneath that I've zoomed in to something like x8, using Paint Shop Pro 7, and increased the size by 400% so we can see it more clearly.

DSCF3556.jpg

8xzoom.jpg

Does anyone have any idea what it might be? To me on that night, it was a stationary object in the sky, though I only stayed out for a few minutes. It was only when I got back and had a look at the photograph that I realised it couldn't be a star. It was shot using a Fujifilm S6500fd digital camera.

Rohan on
...and I thought of how all those people died, and what a good death that is. That nobody can blame you for it, because everyone else died along with you, and it is the fault of none, save those who did the killing.

Nothing's forgotten, nothing is ever forgotten

Posts

  • SunDragonSunDragon Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
  • RohanRohan Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    SunDragon wrote: »

    Really? I didn't think I'd be able to get anything but a point of light for Venus with just a digital camera. I suppose it must be - anything else would have been moving, and this wasn't.

    ...and I thought of how all those people died, and what a good death that is. That nobody can blame you for it, because everyone else died along with you, and it is the fault of none, save those who did the killing.

    Nothing's forgotten, nothing is ever forgotten
  • BeltaineBeltaine The End of TimeRegistered User regular
    edited March 2010
    It's a bright star or planet. Especially since I'm assuming you used a fairly long exposure to pick up all the street lights.

    "Zooming in" with photo editing software is not the same as zooming in optically. The computer makes guesses about what pixels go where and by the time you made the enlargements you made it's just a loose semblance of what the actual object was.

    Trepanning is the art of cutting the skull open to let the gods in.
    PSN: Beltaine-77
    Steam: beltane77
    Gamertag:Beltaine
  • RuckusRuckus Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Swamp Gas.
    Spoiler:

    Raneados wrote: »
    so what SPECIFICALLY is the problem with my hole?
  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    What direction does your balcony face?

    Voice actor for hire. My time is free if your project is!
  • UsagiUsagi Feminazgul ~*special snowflake*~Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    It's Pennsylvania and not Ireland, but astronomer Phil Plait talks about this sort of thing here

    Erie UFO sounds familiar to me

    Jormungandr? Damn near killed 'er!
    HEY SATAN | WISH POST
  • DruhimDruhim Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2010
    Not that you're asserting that it's a spaceship, but this is a really good talk by Neil deGrasse Tyson on UFOs. One of the great points he makes is that astronomers (including amateur astronomers) look up at the night sky much more often than the average person, yet UFO reports are much lower among them then among the general population. The reason? They're more familiar with what kind of stuff routinely appears in the night sky! But there's plenty of routine night sky phenomena that the rest of us just don't notice most of the time, and then one night we see something that seems odd and we can't explain it so we start wondering what this odd thing could be.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfAzaDyae-k

    belruelotterav-1.jpg
  • RohanRohan Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    What direction does your balcony face?

    It was actually taken on the rail bridge just outside the apartment, facing directly east. I can't remember what the exposure time was, but I was just aiming at getting a good shot of the popular walk along the quay into town at night, when the fog is incoming.

    Druhim, that's an awesome video. I certainly don't believe it's some kind of craft - it was too stationary. I think the best explanation is that it's Venus.

    ...and I thought of how all those people died, and what a good death that is. That nobody can blame you for it, because everyone else died along with you, and it is the fault of none, save those who did the killing.

    Nothing's forgotten, nothing is ever forgotten
  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    that's no moon.

    (seriously though, I'd say it's just a star)

  • TavataarTavataar Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I just wanted to chip in and say that that is a very nice photograph Rohan!

    -Tavataar
  • RohanRohan Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Well, cheers :)

    ...and I thought of how all those people died, and what a good death that is. That nobody can blame you for it, because everyone else died along with you, and it is the fault of none, save those who did the killing.

    Nothing's forgotten, nothing is ever forgotten
  • John MatrixJohn Matrix Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    http://www.xkcd.com/

    Today's xkcd is remarkably on time and on target today.

  • masc.boxmasc.box Registered User
    edited March 2010
    28m1rgw.png

    Here is a virtual picture of the eastern night sky at 01 March 2010, in Cobh at 21:55 GMT.

    Venus is not there, Saturn is but it's too far south for your picture otherwise the moon would be in the field of view also.

    I don't think it's a star or planet. Are we positive on time, date and bearing of the picture?

  • AwkAwk Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    No one thought it being an artificial satellite?

  • travathiantravathian Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    edit: Bleh, should have read the thread, xkcd already linked.

    I would find it highly unlikely to be a star. It is low on the horizon and it appears to be pretty foggy there at the time the picture was taken, so the chances of a star shining through that are slim.

    It could be a moving object. Remember there are two directions the object could be moving and you wouldn't be able to tell from your perspective.

  • UrQuanLord88UrQuanLord88 Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    ISS or a satellite?

    Here's NASA's skywatch app that runs through the 366? orbiting things we can see
    http://spaceflight1.nasa.gov/realdata/sightings/SSapplications/Post/JavaSSOP/JavaSSOP.html

    Its about 2% complete since I started running on March 1st, 21:00 -> 23:00 and there's already one sighting identified. I'm sure other people can have fun plotting where the ISS would turn up and watch for it.

  • vaultdweller0013vaultdweller0013 Registered User
    edited March 2010
    Airplane landing lights, maybe? You appear to be relatively close to an international airport. They point forward on the plane, so a turn by the plane could make them appear or disappear quickly.

  • RohanRohan Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Airplane landing lights, maybe? You appear to be relatively close to an international airport. They point forward on the plane, so a turn by the plane could make them appear or disappear quickly.

    Definitely not. Planes do fly relatively close over Cobh, but I've always seen them more to the south, just outside the harbour. Besides, this object was definitely stationary in the sky for the time I was out snapping photographs, which was ten minutes or so (can't remember for sure).
    masc.box wrote:
    Here is a virtual picture of the eastern night sky at 01 March 2010, in Cobh at 21:55 GMT.

    Venus is not there, Saturn is but it's too far south for your picture otherwise the moon would be in the field of view also.

    I don't think it's a star or planet. Are we positive on time, date and bearing of the picture?

    What software is that? And yeah, it was March 1st, 21:49pm when it was taken. The moon was seen to the south, in this photograph here, taken a few minutes earlier -

    DSCF3540.JPG

    If I was staring straight at the object, I would turn directly right and see this view. The moon is slightly off-centre at SSE or so. The fog was coming in quite thick and heavy that night, as it often does in Cobh.

    ...and I thought of how all those people died, and what a good death that is. That nobody can blame you for it, because everyone else died along with you, and it is the fault of none, save those who did the killing.

    Nothing's forgotten, nothing is ever forgotten
  • GothicLargoGothicLargo Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Rohan wrote: »
    8xzoom.jpg

    Does anyone have any idea what it might be? To me on that night, it was a stationary object in the sky, though I only stayed out for a few minutes. It was only when I got back and had a look at the photograph that I realised it couldn't be a star. It was shot using a Fujifilm S6500fd digital camera.

    Well, based on how long you said it was up I'm fairly confident it wasn't an Iridium or anything else in LEO; they just move too fast. It could however have been something higher up in GEO, but I doubt it since it's bright.

    atfc.jpg
  • RohanRohan Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Decided to upload the original photograph, so you can examine it for yourselves -
    Spoiler:

    Edit - must remember the spoiler tags in future

    ...and I thought of how all those people died, and what a good death that is. That nobody can blame you for it, because everyone else died along with you, and it is the fault of none, save those who did the killing.

    Nothing's forgotten, nothing is ever forgotten
  • ObsidianiObsidiani __BANNED USERS regular
    edited March 2010
    satellite

    EliteLamer wrote: »
    The only con that seems to concern me is the blacks but how bad could it be?
  • GothicLargoGothicLargo Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Obsidiani wrote: »
    satellite

    It would have to be in GEO (geosynchronous earth orbit) to stay in sight that long. If it was in LEO it would be visibly moving. You can easily see Iridium sats moving for example.

    GEO objects tend to be smaller on top of being much further away. It's not impossible though.

    atfc.jpg
  • AwkAwk Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Obsidiani wrote: »
    satellite

    It would have to be in GEO (geosynchronous earth orbit) to stay in sight that long. If it was in LEO it would be visibly moving. You can easily see Iridium sats moving for example.

    GEO objects tend to be smaller on top of being much further away. It's not impossible though.

    The OP stated he only looked at it for a few minutes. We have no reason to believe it was stationary.

  • vaultdweller0013vaultdweller0013 Registered User
    edited March 2010
    Rohan wrote: »
    Airplane landing lights, maybe? You appear to be relatively close to an international airport. They point forward on the plane, so a turn by the plane could make them appear or disappear quickly.

    Definitely not. Planes do fly relatively close over Cobh, but I've always seen them more to the south, just outside the harbour. Besides, this object was definitely stationary in the sky for the time I was out snapping photographs, which was ten minutes or so (can't remember for sure).
    travathian wrote:
    It could be a moving object. Remember there are two directions the object could be moving and you wouldn't be able to tell from your perspective.

    Landing lights are directed forward, so if you see them, the plane will almost certainly be moving in one of those two directions. Plus, even when a plane is relatively close, the lights don't appear to move much at all. They really do just appear to hover stationary for a lot longer than you would expect.

    Is it a plane? I can't really say, but given that you are east of an airport with a runway that is oriented NNE, I would suggest that lights in the sky being an airplane on approach for landing is a definite possibility.

  • oldsakoldsak Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    It's probably just swamp gas from a weather balloon that was trapped in a thermal pocket and reflected the light from Venus.

  • Al_watAl_wat Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Streetlight.









    Seriously I was thinking man-made satellite.

  • RohanRohan Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Awk wrote: »
    Obsidiani wrote: »
    satellite

    It would have to be in GEO (geosynchronous earth orbit) to stay in sight that long. If it was in LEO it would be visibly moving. You can easily see Iridium sats moving for example.

    GEO objects tend to be smaller on top of being much further away. It's not impossible though.

    The OP stated he only looked at it for a few minutes. We have no reason to believe it was stationary.

    I was out taking photographs for about ten minutes, and it was present and stationary throughout. I asked the same question on Irish boards.ie, in the astronomy section, and they have deducted that it is in fact, Arcturus. It does seem to fit based on the image masc.box posted earlier, and if you look close at the full image you can see dots of light that represent the stars Izar and Muphrid to it's left and right. With this image below, it even represents the same shot of the sky we saw in masc.box's software -

    image2bv.png

    Mystery solved! Why is it showing up as anything other than a point of light, though? I know Arcturus is big, is it because of the distortion of the atmosphere? I'm also very surprised that my digital camera was able to pick it up in such detail.

    ...and I thought of how all those people died, and what a good death that is. That nobody can blame you for it, because everyone else died along with you, and it is the fault of none, save those who did the killing.

    Nothing's forgotten, nothing is ever forgotten
  • DruhimDruhim Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2010
    that's cool rohan!

    as far as why it's not showing up as just a point, I'm no expert on the matter but stars appear to twinkle to the naked eye because the light gets bent slightly by air currents in the upper atmosphere
    so perhaps what you're seeing is simply a result of that distortion

    belruelotterav-1.jpg
  • BeltaineBeltaine The End of TimeRegistered User regular
    edited March 2010
    It's appearing as more than just a point of light because, to the sensor in your camera, it's actually brighter light than those street lights and it's blowing out the exposure.

    The same thing happens with the moon, and your second shot is a good example of that. The moon reflects light from the sun, and the sun is a star.

    With a film camera using a really low ISO, it WOULD be just a tiny point. Digital sensors are good and getting better, but they still do funny things sometimes.

    Trepanning is the art of cutting the skull open to let the gods in.
    PSN: Beltaine-77
    Steam: beltane77
    Gamertag:Beltaine
  • RohanRohan Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Awesome, thanks guys. It was fun trying to find out what it was. On the few cloudless nights we get here during the year we get an amazing view of the stars, and all this has inspired me to point my camera up the next time, and see what I can see :)

    ...and I thought of how all those people died, and what a good death that is. That nobody can blame you for it, because everyone else died along with you, and it is the fault of none, save those who did the killing.

    Nothing's forgotten, nothing is ever forgotten
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