Re: Transit of satellite over Sun for me??

From: via Seesat-l <>
Date: 21 Sep 2014 13:20:37 -0700
You wrote:
"It appeared as a small black dot and was not a plane as no contrail or any disruption of the solar disk as I observed. Not a bird, went too straight and did not waver."

While there's a possibility of a satellite, I think that's unlikely given the slow speed you're describing, an angular diameter sufficient to pass for a small sunspot, and also the low angular altitude of the Sun (if I've understood your observation correctly). There are other simple terrestrial explanations you might consider. How about a balloon? Common party balloons can yield wonderful "ufo" sightings. A balloon carried along by a strong breeze at a thousand feet altitude at a distance of a mile or two could easily appear as a small dot drifting across the face of the Sun. And of course, bigger than party balloons and therefore appearing at the same angular size at much greater distances, there are various types of weather balloons.

The biggest reason that I can see for favoring a terrestrial explanation of your observation is the low altitude. The Sun would have been about 8 degrees high, right? At that low altitude, you're looking through over fifty miles of troposphere where all sorts of things fly. I'm not convinced that you can rule out an airplane. A small business jet in the right relative orientation might appear like a dot, and if its altitude is, let's say, ten thousand feet, it could easily show no contrail and no hint of disturbance behind it. At the other extreme, maybe you should even consider a large insect. A bumblebee at 300 feet distance could look like a small dot transiting the Sun, too!

Frank Reed
Conanicut Island USA

PS: Some years ago, in Chicago, I saw a terrific "flying saucer". It looked like a metallic oval, with shifting patterns of light, and seemingly abrupt motions up and down, and my instinctual feeling about its distance was that it must have been ten miles away from me or more. It was uncanny how much it looked like a traditional "flying saucer". Fortunately I had binoculars in my car and when I looked, it became clear that I was looking at a cluster of about a dozen silvery mylar balloons, probably set adrift from a neightborhood birthday party, and, as is always the case, my feeling about its distance was way off. It was less than a quarter of a mile away. Its seemingly abrupt motions made much more sense. It was simply drifting in light breezes and updrafts, and my erroneous feeling about the object's distance had magnified the scale of the motions, making them seem strange. This inability to determine distance is the biggest problem in identifying anything in the sky, and!
  that applies to your object crossing the face of the Sun, too. 
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Received on Sun Sep 21 2014 - 15:22:29 UTC

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