Unusual Sightings

October 4, 2009

An unusually bright stationary star faded from view over a period of several seconds.

Filed under: Unusual Lights in the Sky — admin @ 8:07 pm

10/1/09 approximately 9:28 PM CDT.

Bright star faded completely away.  i.e. I watched as a star disappeared.

Viewing From Amarillo Texas, Latitude 35 N, Longitude 102 W, Elevation 3300′
Moon nearly full Azimuth 129, Altitude 34.

In the constellation Cassiopeia, Azimuth 30, Altitude 34, I saw a very bright, completely stationary light about the size and brightness of Jupiter (at its largest). There was no flickering or pulsating. After a few seconds, I realized that it was gradually getting dimmer.  In less than a minute it faded completely away and did not reappear.

Apparently a geostationary (geosynchronous) satellite flare?  I couldn’t find much on the web about it and so assume that it’s a fairly rare occurrence.

Please post a comment if you can help identify or if you’ve seen similar…


  1. I believe that your description of the bright and then fading object describes what is known as an Iridium Flare. There’s quite a lot of info available on the web if you’ll Google those particular terms.

    http://www.heavens-above.com can predict iridium flares based on where you’re at. i.e. You have to register so that you can indicate your geographical location and time zone.

    Comment by mathman — October 13, 2009 @ 4:47 pm

  2. I saw a similar thing a few months ago over Australia and I haven’t yet found a satisfactory explanation.

    As far as I am aware, Iridium satellites are not geosynchronous and geosynchronous satellites are not bright.

    The one I observed was about mag 0 (constant) and was stationary for at least 5 minutes before it blinked out in an instant.

    I’m confident it wasn’t any of the usual suspects: weather balloons, Chinese lanterns, aircraft.

    Any clues or links to positional data on bright geosynchronous satellites would be appreciated.

    Comment by Roy — October 20, 2009 @ 4:14 pm

  3. Hey, I just saw the same thing but it was here and gone in a matter of a few seconds. I’ve seen plenty of iridium flares but this was stationary and in Cassiopia (sp) or jest to the left of it. It was very bright and white, not orange-ish. I figured it must be a geosat flare which I had never heard of but sounds reasonable. It was in NC about 7:35-7:45pm EST Tuesday Oct. 29 2013. I was talking on the phone outside and it caught my attention…so I hear that geosats are not bright though.? My email is carrborojoe at gmail dot com is anyone has info. thanks. Joe

    Comment by Joe — October 29, 2013 @ 7:29 pm

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