I have very little astronomy background; so apologies in advance with elementary terminology with this question. I am located in Northeast Pennsylvania and no matter what time of night 7pm, 1am, 5am there is a very large and bright star/planet that is always in the same spot, it does not move. Some nights there is not a star in the sky except this one. I was confused by this because I thought the stars moved, or seemed to move with us moving? It's always in the same spot and and is much larger and brighter then the rest. Almost looks like there is sections or compartments to the star? The few people that I know that has any astrology background said it's probably a satellite but when I showed them they were stumped too. I used the star app and it said it was the star that you can sometimes witness go dim to bright, which I was lucky enough to witness. However the star moved later on in the app but was still in the same spot in the sky? If anyone has any thoughts or have seen the same thing.... Please Help. Thanks guys

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    $\begingroup$ What is the exact direction of the star (a mobile phone map can help you work out which way is north and you can draw the direction and measure the bearing with a protractor. Also what is the elevation. A good way to estimate is too measure how many hand-widths it is above the horizon, with your arm outstretched. $\endgroup$
    – James K
    Aug 23, 2021 at 21:13
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    $\begingroup$ You may need to specify the position of star above horizon (like how high is the 'star' is visible above horizon) for a clear analysis $\endgroup$ Aug 25, 2021 at 17:09

1 Answer 1


One of the brightest celestial object in these nights is Jupiter, brighter than any star. But it moves a lot during the night, moving from east to west, like any other star and planet.

The only exception are the stars near the celestial pole, like Polaris. But there is no exceptionally bright star, like you describe, in the polar region.

Satellites have to be excluded too, because they are even faster. A satellite can cross the whole sky in a matter of minutes. It has to move very fast in order to stain in orbit.

There are satellites which orbit at the same speed as the Earth rotates, so that they don't appear to be moving. They are called geostationary. They are not a match for your observation, though, because they orbit very far away and therefore cannot be seen with naked eye.

That said, I am afraid that your bright object might be something a lot more earthly than celestial, like a tower, or some kind of balloon anchored to the ground.

To verify this conjecture, use the compass of your smartphone to annotate the direction of the object. Next time you are away from home during the night, look if you can see the object and measure its direction with the compass. If the direction is different, then you are sure it must be close. Knowing the distance from your home and the new direction of the object, you could also calculate how far it is.


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