What were these flying 'stars' I saw yesterday evening?
July 5, 2012 3:19 PM   Subscribe

Yesterday evening I was looking at the sky and noticed a star like object flying across the sky. As I watched I noticed there were 5 or so more... and then a moment later even more, perhaps 9 or 10, moving at the same speed across the sky, South to North, at a rather slow pace, yet I got the impression they were very high up so in actual fact moving at some speed. I called out to the wife to see them and she saw them also. So I guess the question is, what objects flying across the sky may look like stars moving? I thought satellites but never thought they flew in clusters like that.

Here is a link to a crop of one of the objects and here is a link where you can see three of them within the same picture
While I'd love to believe they are visiting aliens I'm sure there's a rather more tangible explanation. Any ideas? Location is Leeds, time was shortly before 8pm. July 4th.
posted by razzman to Grab Bag (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Sky lanterns? I spotted a cluster of them once a few years ago and they were the most UFO-looking thing I'd ever seen, especially since I only found out what they were later on.
posted by theodolite at 3:25 PM on July 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Another shot (even poorer) showing 5 within the same pic

Sky lanterns I guess are a possibility but not really seen those during the daylight - but yeah, they must be responsible for 90% + of all 'UFO' sightings these days so I guess that's the number one contender!
posted by razzman at 3:33 PM on July 5, 2012

My guess would be a bunch of escaped kids balloons. Can you check yesterdays weather for that time to see whether they could have been blown in the direction the wind was going? 4th July + balloons doesn't seem like too much of a leap to me.
posted by merocet at 3:50 PM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

A group like that may well be high-flying aircraft, with sunlight reflecting off their fuselages.
posted by yclipse at 4:07 PM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

What was the wind direction where you were yesterday? I also think the first photo looks exactly like a Chinese lantern.
posted by roofus at 4:28 PM on July 5, 2012

Response by poster: Think we've solved it, looks like it was a southerly wind which matches the direction they were flying!
posted by razzman at 4:37 PM on July 5, 2012

For part of last summer I saw those things (only some of them were red) at least every other day. For the longest time I associated them with sad kids who accidentally let their helium balloons gone.

Ended up, there was a new condo going up a couple of blocks away and the showroom office was right at an express bus stop. The realtors were fond of floating helium balloons to attract attention. Mischievous/bored transit riders waiting for the next bus were fond of releasing those balloons.
posted by porpoise at 7:43 PM on July 5, 2012

Until I saw from the pics that it was still pretty much daylight, I was going to suggest the A Train. Although their orbital configuration doesn't really allow for the illumination that you need for spotting them in the evening.
posted by intermod at 8:37 PM on July 5, 2012

Both the description and the photos suggest lanterns. I live in a tourist area and we get these set off all the time, they can be pretty mystifying the first time you see them without knowing what they.
posted by biffa at 1:17 PM on July 6, 2012

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