Tonight (10:00 PM EST Middlesex County, Mass.) when looking at a mostly clear sky I observed what I at first believed was a meteor. This point of light was moving east to northeast, and that would be in the vicinity of the Lyrid meteor shower.

In the app Star Walk for iOS it says that the "n-Lyrids" meteor shower peaks on May 9th. However, information I found online about this meteor shower says it already peaked back in April. (I did see a bright meteor a couple weeks ago.)

Can anyone offer insight on possible meteors right now? I highly doubt that this was a meteor though, because it lasted way too long, probably two minutes.

My next guess was the International Space Station but NASA's Spot The Station did not show any viewing times for my area today. The Star Walk app also showed the ISS well below the horizon.

This leads me to conclude the object was a plane, however there were no blinking lights and the only time its light changed was when it passed behind a thin cloud.

It could also have been a satellite glint such as an Iridium flare. I did not see the beginning of the light's appearance, so it is possible I missed the flare. However flares do not last for minutes, but glint from solar panels or other satellites may last this long.

What did I see?

  • $\begingroup$ A meteor would appear as a streak of light moving very quickly. Satellites, including the ISS, generally appear as slowly moving point sources of light. Assuming you saw a point source, your description, particularly the 2-minute duration, is consistent with a satellite -- but probably not with a glint from a solar panel. Someone can probably determine what would have been visible at your location at that time; the ISS trackers I've found so far don't show past events. $\endgroup$ – Keith Thompson May 8 '15 at 22:24
  • $\begingroup$ amsmeteors.org/members/imo_view/event/2015/1111 or amsmeteors.org/members/imo_view/report?report_id=67580 perhaps? (these might be the same thing) $\endgroup$ – barrycarter May 13 '15 at 3:03
  • $\begingroup$ calsky.com can show satellite passes for an arbitrary location at an arbitrary time. I didn't see anything super bright for that point, but the difference between 10:00:00 and 5 minutes either side might be significant. $\endgroup$ – BowlOfRed Aug 4 '16 at 18:32

This sounds like a satelite to me. Satelites can also "dissapear" right above you, since the sun no longer reaches them and they fade into darkness.

Also 2 minutes is very well possible for a satelites to be visible that is in earths orbit.

You should also know, that there are hunderds of other satelites that can be as bright when observed from earth as the ISS is.


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