During the super-moon total lunar eclipse on September 27th a meteor-like streak passed very close within view of the event. It appeared to happen at the very middle, the maximum eclipse.

supermoon [CafferyPhoto][1]

At the time, I thought it must have been some organization shedding an unused satellite. This would be a pretty epic time to do so as so many eyes around the world are looking at the same thing. Maybe even NASA marking the halftime of the event. Can anyone confirm or shed any amount of light on what this was?

[1][https://www.facebook.com/cafferyphoto/photos/a.279223605465113.81307.120967987957343/915070541880413/?type=3&theater] note - photo for proof only - shutter cut off leading edge


People on the Caffery's Facebook page seem to have seen in in California and other locations as well, I happened to be in St Thomas, Virgin Island at the time of the event. CafferyPhoto quotes. "I was only exposing for half a second so the shutter cut off the latter half of the trail, darn it!" - Seems in was taken in the NorthWestern US sometime around 7:30pm.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It doesn't look to me like a shooting star/meteor - the line looks a little too even in thickness, though it's possible. It might be a satellite passing overhead, though you'd need to know the latitude/longitude and exact date/time when the photograph was taken. $\endgroup$
    – Andy
    Nov 3, 2015 at 8:23
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    $\begingroup$ I saw it, and a half dozen facebook friends said they saw it when asked. I am in the far southwest of Canada. For me it appeared about a moon width to the right of the moon, and the trail visible by eye was a little over a moon width. I didn't check the time, but I estimate it at about 8:30 PST. $\endgroup$
    – Ruben
    Jan 23, 2019 at 2:46
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    $\begingroup$ @Ruben, to clarify, this refers to the eclipse in 2015. Not the eclipse in 2019. $\endgroup$
    – James K
    Jan 23, 2019 at 9:33

2 Answers 2


There are about 5 sporadic meteors visible per hour most nights, and since thousands of people were taking photographs of the moon that night, it is not impossible that someone captured a meteor in the same shot as the moon.

A couple of things it was not

  • It was not an unused satellite. When they re-enter you see a fireball as it breaks up, not a single streak, as here.
  • It was not "Nasa marking half-time". The object would have been visible from quite wide area (but not world wide, not even countrywide) But the association with the eclipsed moon would only have been visible from a particular location. Nasa isn't going to be interested in entertaining the good folks of Yakima, at the expense of everyone else.

What it could be:

  • It might be a meteor. Normally you would see a brighter head as the meteor changes brightness as it falls, but if this was a 1/2 second exposure, that could have been cut off.
  • It could be a satellite, which appear to be a steadily moving star, and would look like a streak in a timed exposure. However, looking at Heavens above doesn't show any satellites near the moon at that time.
  • It could be a deliberate forgery.

I reserve judgement. One would need exact locations and timings.

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    $\begingroup$ If that's a half second exposure, then it moved about six degrees in that time. That's too fast to be a satellite. $\endgroup$
    – Dave
    Nov 24, 2015 at 20:48

Most likely candidate is a meteor with the brightest part cut off by the shutter. You can see that it is increasing in brightness. Forgery can be eliminated due to various sightings, and it shouldn't a satellite due to the distance covered in half a second, not to mention that it would be illuminated by the sun in that portion of the sky.


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