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I saw what I can only describe as a fixed point of light, as bright as a shooting star, near Alpheratz for a second or two before disappearing. I am positive it wasn't a satellite nor a plane. There were no clouds in this part of the sky.

I saw this phenomenon on the 9th of September 2021 (yesterday night) at around 19.05 UTC time from near Toulon, south of France.

How can I go about finding out whether others saw it as well, and what it was?

Picture included for reference: enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ Did it disappear suddenly, or fade out? In the latter case, I thought of "Iridium Flare", but I see that they are no longer happening: heavens-above.com/IridiumDemise.aspx , but there are others: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satellite_flare $\endgroup$ Sep 10 at 3:37
  • $\begingroup$ @KeithMcClary It disappeared suddenly $\endgroup$
    – Erken
    Sep 10 at 3:50
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    $\begingroup$ A meteor, perhaps? It's possible for a meteor to have very small angular motion, if it's coming almost straight towards you. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiant_(meteor_shower) $\endgroup$
    – PM 2Ring
    Sep 10 at 4:10
  • $\begingroup$ @PM2Ring I was wondering if that was a thing. It's definitely a possibility $\endgroup$
    – Erken
    Sep 10 at 5:28
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    $\begingroup$ "I am positive it wasn't a satellite" - how can you be sure? A satellite or orbiting rocket stage can rotate, reflecting sunlight for a brief period of time, and appear to flash or disappear. There's a lot of stuff in space that it could have been. $\endgroup$
    – Aaron F
    Sep 10 at 15:39
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I think that it was most likely the satellite "LEO Vantage 1".

From https://space.skyrocket.de/doc_sdat/leo-vantage-1.htm :

Telesat ordered in April 2016 two prototype Ka-band HTS (High Throughput Satellite) communication satellites, yet unnamed, as part of a test and validation phase for an advanced, global LEO satellite constellation that Telesat is developing.

Telesat will test and demonstrate two distinct spacecraft in LEO, a key step in optimizing the design and performance of Telesat’s contemplated LEO constellation. One of the satellite will be built by Space Systems Loral (SSL) of Palo Alto, California, and the other by Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL).

The satellite was launched in January 2018 as a copassenger on a PSLV rocket.

Here's a screenshot from Stellarium, set to location Toulon and time 19:05:15 UTC:

Screenshot from Stellarium

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    $\begingroup$ There's a handy tool, thank you! The location matches. All the satellites I've seen have been nowhere near the same level of brightness and were smaller in size, hence why I dismissed the satellite possibility initially. $\endgroup$
    – Erken
    Sep 10 at 16:46
  • $\begingroup$ @Erken you're welcome! :-) You can try again tonight - in a little under two hours from now, at 19:13:52 UTC, the same satellite will be in more-or-less the same place. It's close enough in time and position to last night that it's possible you'll see the same flash of light. $\endgroup$
    – Aaron F
    Sep 10 at 17:27
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    $\begingroup$ I was unable to check again whether the light was back, nonetheless given that: - There were no other sightings on Vigie-Ciel for that time - The location and time matched this satellite I am accepting your answer as the most likely. Thank you! $\endgroup$
    – Erken
    Sep 13 at 19:32
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How can I go about finding out whether others saw it as well, and what it was?

I can't say for the "what was it?" part, but there is actually a way to answer the first part of your question. There is a citizen science project called Vigie-Ciel (part of the much larger Fripon project), where anyone who has witnessed a fireball can contribute with his observations. The goal being to define the meteor trajectory, and ultimately to recover the meteorite. You can browse the events on their platform. Unfortunately, there was nothing witnessed above France the 9th of September...

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    $\begingroup$ This is useful to know, thank you Jean-Marie. This is the sort of website I had in mind but couldn't find with my search engine. Unfortunately as you mentioned, no one else seems to have observed this phenomenon. I'll file a report nonetheless, you never know. $\endgroup$
    – Erken
    Sep 10 at 13:07
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I had a similar sighting about 50 years ago. Staring idly into the sky at night, a star near my center of vision suddenly blew a small smoke-ring and disappeared in the middle of it. I was startled. Never have figured that out. Afterwards, I had no way to reference that event to others. So I admire the skymap presented with this question. Finding other witnesses, assume it is a locally visible phenomenon, so put your pic in your town's Neighbors social platform. Best try I can think of.

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  • $\begingroup$ What a beautiful memory. Thank you for sharing it :) $\endgroup$
    – Erken
    Sep 10 at 13:05

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