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I observed this when I was playing around with an amateur (crappy) telescope. The picture was taken using a dslr attached to the telescope.

It was taken in San Francisco on 2015-01-20. I don't remember the direction but I would guess it was pointing East-South East - that's the only direction which has a clear visibility from where I took this.

Could anyone identify what I am looking at here?

enter image description here

Note: I'm not discounting the fact that it could have been an aberration in the telescope or the camera.

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  • $\begingroup$ Do you know enough about the characteristics of the telescope and camera to estimate the angular size of the object? Can you estimate more precisely when and where you took the photo, and where in the sky the scope was pointing at the time? $\endgroup$ – Keith Thompson Jan 21 '16 at 22:04
  • $\begingroup$ It was taken in San Francisco. It was taken exactly an year ago (2015-01-20). I don't remember the direction but I would guess it was pointing East-South East - that's the only direction which has a clear visibility from where I took this. $\endgroup$ – sankara Jan 21 '16 at 22:57
  • $\begingroup$ Also, I'm not discounting the fact that it could have been an aberration in the telescope or the camera. $\endgroup$ – sankara Jan 21 '16 at 22:58
  • $\begingroup$ Could be an unsharp image of a lamp, an aeroplane, the Moon, a star, a planet, whatever. I don't think it's iikely that this can ever be identified uniquely. $\endgroup$ – Gerald Jan 26 '16 at 10:35
  • $\begingroup$ 1/20 was wednesday. It was raining down in San Jose that night. Could be a plane coming in through a low cloud layer or a drop of water on the lens distorting some other ordinary light in the sky. $\endgroup$ – Wayfaring Stranger Jan 27 '16 at 5:33
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Most likely it's Jupiter. According to the software I use to run my telescope and plan my observations, Jupiter rose at about 6:40 pm and set the following day at about 8:30 am. It would have been about -2.6 magnitude ,making it the brightest natural object in the sky that night. It, of course, rose in the east and would have traveled in an arc across the sky that dipped a little south.

It could also have been Betelgeuse, or even Sirius (for Sirius, it would probably need to be fairly low in the sky when the picture was taken to account for the color). But my best guess is still Jupiter.

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