What was it that I saw?

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lyner

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What was it that I saw?
« on: 22/04/2009 12:58:45 »
Last night (Tues 21 April) at 22:55, I was in the garden (in Brighton UK). I looked up and saw a bright light moving in the sky. The object was a bright orange colour and appeared 'on fire' (not a constant colour but sparkling in places).
The object was not making any noise, its angular size was about a quarter moon-size and it moved at a brisk speed from near the northern horizon and took about a minute or so to get over the southern horizon. It could, possibly, have been getting fainter (burning out) as it moved further away - but that could have just been haze.

Its progress was not unlike that of a satellite but it was nearly midnight and no satellite would be illuminated by the sun (wrong colour in any case). I thought it could have been a plane on fire but there were no reports of an accident and no engine noise. Unlike meteorites I have seen, it was not white / blue hot, but orange; a 'fireball'.

Unfortunately, no one but I seems to have reported it. The Police were helpful but had heard nothing and there has been nothing about it on the News sites yet.

My wife saw it too so I am not a loony!!
What could it have been?

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Offline dentstudent

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What was it that I saw?
« Reply #1 on: 22/04/2009 13:14:26 »
Maybe you saw this? The launch of Zenit 3sl.

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Offline lightarrow

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What was it that I saw?
« Reply #2 on: 22/04/2009 13:40:28 »
Last night (Tues 21 April) at 22:55, I was in the garden (in Brighton UK). I looked up and saw a bright light moving in the sky. The object was a bright orange colour and appeared 'on fire' (not a constant colour but sparkling in places).
The object was not making any noise, its angular size was about a quarter moon-size and it moved at a brisk speed from near the northern horizon and took about a minute or so to get over the southern horizon. It could, possibly, have been getting fainter (burning out) as it moved further away - but that could have just been haze.

Its progress was not unlike that of a satellite but it was nearly midnight and no satellite would be illuminated by the sun (wrong colour in any case). I thought it could have been a plane on fire but there were no reports of an accident and no engine noise. Unlike meteorites I have seen, it was not white / blue hot, but orange; a 'fireball'.

Unfortunately, no one but I seems to have reported it. The Police were helpful but had heard nothing and there has been nothing about it on the News sites yet.

My wife saw it too so I am not a loony!!
What could it have been?
Sorry, I didn't have your number, so I couldn't inform you about my rocket's launch   [;D] [;D]

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lyner

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What was it that I saw?
« Reply #3 on: 22/04/2009 13:48:27 »
Maybe you saw this? The launch of Zenit 3sl.
My sighting around 23:00 GMT and the location  make it unlikely .  It would be nice, tho.

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lyner

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What was it that I saw?
« Reply #4 on: 22/04/2009 13:50:52 »
lightarrow
I would be REALLY impressed if you could produce a show like the one I saw!

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Offline Chemistry4me

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What was it that I saw?
« Reply #5 on: 22/04/2009 14:08:22 »
You and your wife didn't take anything did you?!

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Offline Don_1

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What was it that I saw?
« Reply #6 on: 22/04/2009 14:12:21 »
I will ask my in laws who live in Seaford if they saw anything.
If brains were made of dynamite, I wouldn't have enough to blow my nose.

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Offline Mazurka

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What was it that I saw?
« Reply #7 on: 22/04/2009 15:18:31 »
It could well have been a fireball - which is a bright meteor
http://www.amsmeteors.org/fireball/faqf.html

I saw one on a late night (mountain rescue) search in the Lake District.  It suprised everyone in the gang I was with, with some people thinking it was an emergency flare and no one quite agreeing about the colour or whether some fragments came off it or not.

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lyner

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What was it that I saw?
« Reply #8 on: 22/04/2009 15:48:34 »
Sounds like the same sort of thing.
The amazing thing is that there are a million people in this area and I appear to be the only one who said they've seen anything. They ring up in droves when some kids let some balloon - born Chinese lanterns out over the sea. This bugger was REALLY impressive.
But sooooo yellow - a really low temperature, apparently, compared with shooting stars and pictures of spacecraft re-entering.

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Offline BenV

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What was it that I saw?
« Reply #9 on: 22/04/2009 17:55:14 »
Could have been part of the Lyrid Meteor shower:

From http://www.jodrellbank.manchester.ac.uk/astronomy/nightsky/

The Lyrid Meteor Shower - so called as the radiant (from where the meteor trails seem to radiate from) lies in the constellation Lyra. It peaks in the early morning of the 22nd April and is a reliable, though not spectacular, shower with perhaps up to 15 meteors seen per hour.  Observations of the Lyrid meteors have been made for at least 2,600 years!   This year the peak of activity is just before new-moon, so the thin crescent waning Moon should not interfere with our observations.   Observations made after midnight are expected to be more productive.   The dust particles that cause the shower have been released by the comet Thatcher, discovered in 1861. Occasionally we pass through a dense clump of particles as happened in 1982 when over 90 meteors were seen per hour.   So its worth waking up to have a look if clear around 1-2 am.  Look to the East as shown in the chart.

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Offline Soul Surfer

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What was it that I saw?
« Reply #10 on: 22/04/2009 18:13:05 »
What you saw was most probably an aircraft but under conditions where no noise was audible.  This can be a bit unnerving.
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evolution rules in all things
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lyner

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What was it that I saw?
« Reply #11 on: 22/04/2009 18:25:33 »
What you saw was most probably an aircraft but under conditions where no noise was audible.  This can be a bit unnerving.
It would have had to have been on fire(!), from what I saw and Shoreham Airport had heard of nothing like that, last night.  It was far too big and too bright - and there were no flashing nav lights either.

I'd go for the Lyrid shower as an explanation - but it weren't no pretty little shooting star - it was a big mean thing.
« Last Edit: 22/04/2009 18:49:32 by sophiecentaur »

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Offline LeeE

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What was it that I saw?
« Reply #12 on: 22/04/2009 22:49:42 »
It sounds a lot like the one fireball I've seen, apart from moving much more slowly.  The fireball I saw appeared to move more slowly than a shooting star but burnt out well before crossing the horizon, and had it done so, would have crossed the sky in less than 10 seconds - nowhere near a minute.

The weird thing is that for it to take a minute to cross the sky, it must have been either very high or very slow.  If it was very slow it wouldn't have burned at all, but neither would it have burned if it was very high  [:-\]
...And its claws are as big as cups, and for some reason it's got a tremendous fear of stamps! And Mrs Doyle was telling me it's got magnets on its tail, so if you're made out of metal it can attach itself to you! And instead of a mouth it's got four arses!

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Offline Soul Surfer

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What was it that I saw?
« Reply #13 on: 22/04/2009 23:36:21 »
Aircraft that are flying with their landing lights and tail illumination lights still on together with a bit of mist can look very weird.  The flashing bits were probably the normal navigation lights.  Flying with landing lights on is geeting more frequent nowadays.  I used to live not very far from heathrow for many years and you frequently saw airctaft flying fully illuminated.
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lyner

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What was it that I saw?
« Reply #14 on: 24/04/2009 01:09:33 »
We get lots of aircraft over Brighton (in and out of Gatwick) and the viz was far too good to make the sharp nav / head lights of an aircraft blur into a disc.  It seriously looked as if it was on fire and there's been no news of any aircraft fires.