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    SmilingInside's Avatar
    SmilingInside Posts: 182, Reputation: 3
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    #1

    Aug 19, 2011, 02:24 PM
    I see a star that appears to move...
    I've had my eye on a "star" that appears to move in a jerky, back and forth, sometimes slight circular motion. I even asked a neighbor if he saw it too, to make sure I wasn't seeing things, and he did see it. Also, I've been watching it for a long time now and it still appears to move-so I know I'm not crazy! Once in a while, another object seems to come into it's vicinity and then disappear quickly again.

    Does anyone know what I am seeing? I'm not quite sure how to describe where it is in the sky, but I'll try... It's to my west, slight south west I guess, (it's in the vicinity of the end of the handle of the little dipper), and I live in NY.
    cdad's Avatar
    cdad Posts: 12,687, Reputation: 1438
    Internet Research Expert
     
    #2

    Aug 19, 2011, 03:02 PM
    First off you have to account for atmosphere when looking at stars. That song twinkle twinkle little star.. That is because stars actually do twinkle from the bands of heat in our atmosphere. In doing so they can appear to move in erratic ways sometimes do to the shifts. Now first you have to determine if it is a star. Does it twinkle? If it doesn't and it's a steady light then its not a star. Planets don't twinkle. Also have you looked at it under magnification like binoculars or a telescope ? Inner planets go through phases like our moon and outer planets stay as a disk but as in the case of saturn you can see rings. You don't need high power to enjoy the night sky. Fast moving objects in the night sky can be shooting stars or even satalites.

    The sky is filled with wonder.
    SmilingInside's Avatar
    SmilingInside Posts: 182, Reputation: 3
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    #3

    Aug 19, 2011, 04:28 PM
    I will study it again tonight and make sure, but I do believe it twinkles. OK, correct me if I'm wrong, but the stars will appear to "move" just as the sun does (well, appears to), like from sunrise to sunset... the stars will keep their place but "migrate" across our sky as we rotate... right? But a planet wouldn't "move" in keeping with the stars, correct? This object appears to "move" with the stars, so that's why I thought it was a star to begin with. I might be totally wrong in that assessment! I've been watching it for about a month now, and it always first appears in the same place, and always makes the same jerky motions. Then every so often another lighted object appears, zips in close to it, and then disappears. It's soooo strange!

    I will keep a closer eye on it tonight, the only thing I have is some crappy binoculars so I probably won't be able to see much more of it, but I'll watch it very closely to see if there's anything else I can report about it to aid in identifying it.
    cdad's Avatar
    cdad Posts: 12,687, Reputation: 1438
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    #4

    Aug 19, 2011, 04:43 PM
    Even crappy ones are OK so long as they can focus to infinity. The difference being that your iris can only gather so much light. An aid like binoculars or telescope help your eye gather more light. Its like having a pupil that size. Its amazing what you can see under those conditions.

    Good Luck.
    Stratmando's Avatar
    Stratmando Posts: 11,188, Reputation: 508
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    #5

    Aug 20, 2011, 08:36 AM
    If you are seeing this with handheld binoculars, they can appear to dart around.
    I would try a tripod if possible.
    Stars all rotate together. Planets all are in a band around the celectial equator, and can be ahead or behind the stars from night to night.
    You will never see Venus High in the sky, as it is nearer the Sun(you won't see it in the West before Sunrise, or in the east after Sunset)
    If you have Google Earth, try Sky view and look at the stars near where you are looking.
    ebaines's Avatar
    ebaines Posts: 12,130, Reputation: 1307
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    #6

    Aug 22, 2011, 09:20 AM
    Quote Originally Posted by SmilingInside View Post
    OK, correct me if I'm wrong, but the stars will appear to "move" just as the sun does (well, appears to), like from sunrise to sunset....the stars will keep their place but "migrate" across our sky as we rotate....right?
    Right.

    Quote Originally Posted by SmilingInside View Post
    But a planet wouldn't "move" in keeping with the stars, correct?
    Yes, the planets do move across the sky during the night as the earth rotates, at almost the same rate as the stars. The motion of the planets against the background stars is so slow that you cannot detect it by eye. It's like trying to see the motion of the hour hand on a clock. A planet may move less than 1/2 degree per day against the background stars, and for comparison the moon moves about 15 degrees per day. From day to day you can see that the moon has moved, but trying to see it move "in real time" is basically impossible.

    It would be helful if you could tell us where in the sky this object is. I suggest that you look at a star chart and tell us what constellation this thing is in. For reference here is a handy sky chart: Sky Chart - SkyandTelescope.com
    SmilingInside's Avatar
    SmilingInside Posts: 182, Reputation: 3
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    #7

    Aug 24, 2011, 06:30 AM
    Looking at Google Sky, I think this is the one I am seeing (if it's not this particular exact one, it's close, VERY close):

    Delta Aurigae (δ Aur / δ Aurigae) is a star system in the constellation Auriga. It is approximately 140 light years from Earth.The primary component, δ Aurigae A, is an orange K-type giant with an apparent magnitude of +3.72. It has three companions; δ Aurigae B, with an apparent magnitude of +9.7, is 115.4 arcseconds distant. At 197.1 arcseconds from A, is δ Aurigae C, which also has an apparent magnitude of +9.7. C is itself a binary, and its 11th magnitude companion lies 93.5 arcseconds away from it.
    It looks very bright, big and orange-ish. It's one of, if not The most, noticeable stars in that part of the sky. I usually just look at it with the naked eye. I tried to look at it through binoculars but it has been cloudy at night. It's the only star I've ever looked at and appeared to zip back and forth right before my eyes as it does! If one of you guys can go off my location and try to look to see what I'm seeing, I'd love to see what you think!

    I'd love to get a telescope some day! I'm going to put it on my Christmas list! But alas, I am poor, and I can't just go out and get one on a whim no matter how much I'd like to! Hopefully someone reading this can check it out with their telescope and report back! I'd greatly appreciate it!
    ebaines's Avatar
    ebaines Posts: 12,130, Reputation: 1307
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    #8

    Aug 24, 2011, 07:04 AM
    The brightest star in that part of the sky is Capella. It's the 6th brightest star in the sky, at magnitude 0.1. Another possibility is Mars, which is currently in that area of the sky, but depending on where you are it doesn't rise till around 1 AM. Does your Google Sky app show you where Capella and Mars is?

    As for why it may seem to move - there is a well known phenomenon when looking at a bright point of light against a dark background where the observer may perceive that the light is moving, when in fact it's not. Typically the motion will appear jerky or circular, but never moving far from its true position. I wonder if this is what you're experiencing.
    cdad's Avatar
    cdad Posts: 12,687, Reputation: 1438
    Internet Research Expert
     
    #9

    Aug 24, 2011, 12:48 PM
    Telescopes can be gotten at garage sales for very cheap. These would be the most simple ones. You don't have to have a professional outfit to enjoy the night sky. I usually recommend a good pair on binoculars to start with. You can see all sort of of things with a decent pair. You can look at nebula and clusters and pick out banding on jupiter. The best is discovering what's outside our world and to enjoy yourself and relax.
    ctasteve5's Avatar
    ctasteve5 Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
    New Member
     
    #10

    Sep 4, 2013, 07:51 PM
    I see that all the time!!
    Thought I was nuts tytyty

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