Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Shooting star in the Big Dipper April 2, 2013

What is THIS? While I was shooting at Slippery Elm Trail last night, I set up my point and shoot to take some photos to stack into star trails later. I had 83 frames total, and I didn't see this object until I got home to upload my photos.

At first I thought it was an iridium flare, but it's not listed in the predictions for my area. Plus, it looks like there are a total of 3 streaks of light simultaneously. My guess would be it's a meteor split into one big chunk and two little ones!

Update 4/8/2013: After further analysis, and some expert eyes over at Reddit, it has been determined that the 3 lights in the sky were, in fact, a trio of Naval Ocean Surveillance System (NOSS) satellites. I had no idea satellites flew in formation, and flew this close together! It still looks odd though - still more like an iridium flare than the slow crawl of the NOSS formation.

shooting star meteor in big dipper april 2
9:10pm facing NE, ISO 800, 15 sec, taken with Canon Powershot A3100IS
star trail with meteor
83 frames stacked in StarStaX, the odd angle of the shooting star stands out
Help from Redditors to identify the NOSS formation

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