Astronomy

Travelling, flashing Star?

Travelling, flashing Star?


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I have recently gotten into observing the night skies and learning about the stars/ star systems that are visible to me using an app on my phone. For the last month or so Venus and Mars appear in the early evening followed by some of the regular constellations (Orion, the two Canis'… ) and later in the night skies Jupiter followed closely by the moon with Saturn peering out before daybreak. Yesterday night at around 20:15hrs I was looking up at the clear skies as I happened to be outside. I took a peek at the bright stars Sirius, Canopus and Rigel before concentrating on the Pleiades. As I was looking at that, one of the stars seemed to disappear in front my eyes. I thought it an illusion and carried on looking and about 6-7secs later a star appeared to the right of where I thought I saw one disappear initially. The light stayed for about 2secs and off it went again. I felt like someone was flashing a torch or even space station personnel having a call and response (baffled). One thing I was sure of was that it wasn't a plane as I am an Aeronautics man by profession and am familiar with all aircraft strobes. Another 6-7secs later it reappeared even further to the right than the second time round. For the next 11mins or so it came on and off at those regular intervals and yet still traveling to the right until it was out of my sight. tried to record a video of it with my phone but it wouldn't pick it up nor could it the other brighter stars. I was almost convinced by the end that it was some celestial matter but for the flashing light at exact intervals. Is it one of satellites in orbit? If so, is it normal for it to be equipped with flashing light/ strobe?


It is highly likely that what you have seen is an Iridium communications satellite. Because of the material covered, it can reflect sun light and appear very bright and sometimes flashing.


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