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Ask RiotACT: Strange object in northern skies at sunset, 18 May

By Matyas - 19 May 2016 14

Light_Canberra_20160518

Did any Canberrans spot an elliptical shaped object, about 1/10 the width of a Full Moon, in the northern sky yesterday afternoon? From Narrabundah it was clearly visible at about 30º above the horizon between 17:00 and 17:30. The shape had two bright patches on either end, and had a dull strip in the centre. It did not move, change shape or brightness the whole time, nor did it have any strobe lights. It had a short protrusion from its base, which is visible in all photos I took.  Could it have been a distant weather balloon?

Light_Canberra_20160518_zoom

What’s Your opinion?


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14 Responses to
Ask RiotACT: Strange object in northern skies at sunset, 18 May
vos 11:26 am 07 Jun 16

that was either the planet Mars, Jupiter or Saturn being close to earth during its orbit during the month of May and into June.

you can download an app that shows you this and the position of stars etc., if you are interested in what’s in the sky and if its friend or foe

http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/visible-planets-tonight-mars-jupiter-venus-saturn-mercury

Bethia 11:33 pm 26 May 16

Wow, I saw this too. I thought it was a plane coming into land at first, then when it didn’t move, I wondered if it were two stars looking like they were touching. Thanks for giving a logical explanation.

HenryBG 2:28 pm 20 May 16

I am a Rabbit™ said :

rosscoact said :

I for one commend our new NASA overlords and will serve them faithfully in the new regime!

Beat me to it, although I was going to go with the more obvious reptoid line. 😉

People still read The Register do they? I thought all the space they gave to Goddard and his ludicrous opinions was enough to convince people to find a better source.

Holden Caulfield 9:31 am 20 May 16

rosscoact said :

I for one commend our new NASA overlords and will serve them faithfully in the new regime!

Beat me to it, although I was going to go with the more obvious reptoid line. 😉

Canfan 8:00 am 20 May 16
Mordd 1:11 am 20 May 16

I for one commend our new NASA overlords and will serve them faithfully in the new regime!

jellyware 9:20 pm 19 May 16

I filmed this guy on sun night

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRpIA2b4yYM

Bellis 7:43 pm 19 May 16

Yep I saw that at 5:15pm yesterday,got a couple of photos on my phone but not as clear as those above. Couldn’t work out what it was and couldn’t see it when I had a second opportunity to look later, about 6:30.

A high altitude balloon-type object is consistent with most of these observations – turning red could be due to the sunset, and of course it would disappear once it got completely dark. It would be nice to have some more information about the proposed explanations.

CaptainSpiff 6:32 pm 19 May 16

Looks a lot like a Google Loon balloon.One of them passed south of Canberra on Friday last week, and looked almost exactly like this.

However, Loon balloons are usually visible on FlightRadar24, and the FR24 playback doesn’t show any balloons on the 18th.

Masquara 6:11 pm 19 May 16

CT16 said :

I overheard someone talking about this earlier today. Apparently it was a NASA high altitude balloon 35km above the surface.

Spoilsport! : ]

Jardeath 5:55 pm 19 May 16

Swamp gas.

Peter Smith 5:03 pm 19 May 16

I overheard someone talking about this earlier today. Apparently it was a NASA high altitude balloon 35km above the surface.

buzzby 4:38 pm 19 May 16

I missed seeing this, but I think the OP has it in one- It’s a NASA weather balloon launched from Auckland and designed to circle the earth for a few months, so hopefully it’ll come back around!

Shouldacoulda 4:14 pm 19 May 16

Yes. We saw it. My partner watched it for half an hour, until it turned into a red light. Interesting.

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