|Occurred : 10/14/2010 21:25 (Entered as : 101410 21:25)
Reported: 10/16/2010 7:50:44 PM 19:50
Location: Livermore, CA
|I observed a bright object in the sky traveling erratically. 90 seconds
Details. On the night of 14 October 2010 I observed an unusual object in the sky. I have been an amateur astronomer for over 40 years and had setup my 8-inch Newtonian reflector telescope for viewing the night sky. After aligning my telescope with the polar axis, I started to observe the night sky (it was a clear night for viewing). I had already observed the planet Jupiter and the first quarter moon when I decided to train my telescope on the celestial object M-31 (the galaxy in the constellation Andromeda).
As I moved my telescope toward the area of M-31 I noticed a brief flash of light near the star Beta Andromedae. At first, I thought I had caught a glimpse of a meteor, however, a few seconds later the object reappeared near the northeast corner of the “Great Square” of Pegasus. When it reappeared it was moving in a southern direction. I was going to change my assessment that this bright object was probably a satellite, but I then noticed it had a reddish-copper like halo around it. I then noted the time on my watch as 21:25.
Location and Description of Object. At this time of year in northern California, the constellations Andromeda and Pegasus are approximately 45 to 50 degrees above the northeastern horizon. The object itself appeared to be a white star in appearance. The halo was about the same brightness and was the size of a dime (if you held a dime in your hand and fully extended your arm). As I will mention later this object varied in brightness. In astronomical terms it changed from between a magnitude 1.5 down to a magnitude of 4.0. The object also faded away (or disappeared) a total of three times.
Movement and Behavior of Object. As this object moved south, it appeared to be behaving like a satellite. However, the object made a “loop” in the sky. The best way to describe objects movement is imaging drawing a straight line then writing a small letter “L” and then continuing the line for a short distance. The loop would be the size of my thumb when held at arm’s length.
After the object looped it dimmed briefly for a few seconds but then got brighter again. This is when it made sudden move south through Pegasus at high speed and made a another “loop” before stopping and fading from view near the ecliptic just east of Jupiter (this rapid movement occurred in just two to three seconds). After another few seconds, the object reappeared and continued south at the pace of a satellite. But once again, as it neared the star Fomalhaut in the southern hemisphere, it made another loop and dimmed again from view. It would reappear one more time and head south and I would lose the object in the sky glow near the southern horizon. I looked at my watch and it flipped from 21:26 to 21:27. So the length of the event I estimate to be between 60 to 90 seconds.
Conclusion. The only way I can relate the object to anything else is it looked like a moving “ring-type” nebula. As I mentioned before I have an amateur astronomer for over 40 years and have never see anything like this. I you have an explanation to what I saw I would enjoy hearing it. I hope this information helps.