|Occurred : 9/6/2005 00:48 (Entered as : 09/06/2005 0:48)
Reported: 9/13/2005 5:26:10 AM 05:26
Location: Morgan Hill, CA
Duration:Approx. 60 sec.
|A white bright star like object moving slowly in the 15 degrees above the horizen from Henry Co State Park!
While photographing celestial objects with my telescope and astro-photography gear atop on Henry Co State Park at about over 3400 elevations, I noted this consistant bright white star like object, approximately -3 in magnitute, traveling slowly from East to North-East covering about about 15 degrees of the sky in about 45 second, very low in the horizen just about 10-20 degrees above the horizen and barely above the distant mountains as visible in the photograph.
Earlier that night before I head up there, I checked for any possible Irridium flashes or ISS (International Space Station) passes as well as other bright and visible satellites which could have been photographed throughout the night (Sep. 5-6, 2005). There were no passes over California of the ISS or any other other known objects that night.
The brightest I have ever seen ISS was about -1 magnitute at the most and at it's highest in the sky! This object was not ISS or any other known satelite for sure as it's orbit indicted that clearly, not to mention it was too bright to be ISS or any other Earth orbiting Satelites!
So the only thing I suspected was an aircraft flying towards me head on since there were no flashes and the lights were extremly bright! However, after observing it's flight path for about 45 second, I realizing that it was not flying towards me. Therefore eliminating to be a normal aircraft as well! No aircrafts has a bright white spot light on it's side as far as I know!
I have been doing astro-photography since 1986 and I am pretty much familiar with all known flying objects, aircrafs and space crafts in the sky. I can quickly identify what sort of objects it is when I see one!
In this case, I was puzzled as it did not make any sense! Luckily, I had my digital camera mounted as piggy-back on my telescope's counterweight bar and was ready to take sequences of tracked 30 seconds wide angle shots to be stacked later. So I snapped a shot of the object. The duration of the snapshot is 30 seconds so the star like object streaked a bright white light through it's flight path right below the constellation Auriga! Note the brightness of thte star Capella (Alpha Aur.) is about 0.1 magnitute! In the photo, the stars are being tracked for 30 seconds so the light from them has been accumilated for 30 seconds.
In contrast, the object was moving so the brightness of it is not accu milated like stars. Meaning it is much brighter than it appears in the photograph! It was so bright that I was confused for a second there as it was the planet Venus (-4 mag.)