January 31, 2012

A Funny Line and and Extra Dot

A first.

This was the first picture I ever tried to take of the night sky on January 20th, 2008. Although the full moon made some weird effects on in the photo, all the weird pink and green areas, I think I actually did capture something pretty cool. There is a bright line just to the right of center, about two thirds of the way up. If you look at it closely you will see that it looks very much like a satellite. I tried to figure out what satellite it was, but that proved somewhat difficult.

It was a 15 second exposure, so that is about the right distance for a satellite to move in that time. It is markedly brighter at the end of the trail though, so It could be part of an Iridium Flare, which I described in the post "Our Friend Orion". It could also be a meteorite, or just a weird distortion, or a cat hair or, well anything really. I think a satellite is the most likely though.

Another interesting thing about this shot is that if you look closely to this photo, and any others I have posted of this part of the sky, there will be an extra "star" in the sky. If you look just above the little streak, there are two bright dots, the bottom, orangey one is in fact a little planet we call Mars. The same little planet is currently rising here at about 8:30 pm. I have tried to go out and catch the God of War, but the clouds have really not been too co-operative.

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