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Bright Green Body in Evening Sky: What is it?

 
 
littlek
 
Reply Tue 17 Feb, 2009 11:49 pm
I know that certain planets glow green to the naked eye during specific and well-documented trips around the sun in relation to Earth. But, so far I can't find out what the object I saw this evening was. I think that Venus is supposed to be visible in the evening now, but it shines white or pinkish.

Tonight, just a little after sunset (maybe 2 hours) a bright and green spot hung in the Western sky. It was there for quite some time (I drove home from the Cape and could see it all along while heading West-ish).

Could it have been the comet Lulin?
 
Starchild
 
  0  
Reply Tue 17 Feb, 2009 11:55 pm
@littlek,
Kryptonite. Sorry I had make a joke. Smile
0 Replies
 
NickFun
 
  0  
Reply Wed 18 Feb, 2009 12:36 am
It could have been aliens. Did you experience any missing time after seeing the object? Were there helicopters? Men in black, etc?
0 Replies
 
wertyiu102
 
  0  
Reply Wed 18 Feb, 2009 12:46 am
Maybe it was a green flash.. Pretty cold, so it couls have been frozen, but probably not.. Also, if it was staying in the right place, it was NOT a comet.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  3  
Reply Wed 18 Feb, 2009 12:49 am
littlek wrote:
Could it have been the comet Lulin?

Well, the direction matches, and the Lulin is supposed to look greenish. Does its color in this picture look about right to you?

http://media.skyandtelescope.com/images/Lulin-Jan-19-Jaeger_400.jpg

Source: SkyAndTelescope.com Here's the full article.
roger
 
  2  
Reply Wed 18 Feb, 2009 02:24 am
@Thomas,
Article says Lulin could be as bright as 5th magnitude. That's not bright at all. I've been seeing something similar to littlek's observation for the past week, or thereabouts, but not greenish, though I'll look again tomorrow night. What I've been seeing is 1st magnitude +.
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Feb, 2009 04:36 am
I cant see it. I think you is makin' it all up.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Feb, 2009 06:19 am
@dadpad,
Maybe you're too far south.
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Feb, 2009 06:30 am
@dadpad,
You're on the wrong side of the planet, dad. Bet you can't see Polaris either.
0 Replies
 
Ticomaya
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Feb, 2009 07:40 am
@littlek,
Possibly the Great Gazoo?
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Wed 18 Feb, 2009 08:55 am
@roger,
Hm. I consulted Sternzeit, an astronomical series in Deutschlandfunk radio. The color and the brightness Roger reports matches Spica, the brightest star in constellation virgo. But the direction is off. Interesting ....
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Wed 18 Feb, 2009 09:08 am
@Thomas,
On reflection, maybe the direction isn't off after all. Skymaps.com says that on February 16, Lulin is 3 degrees from Spica (PDF here). So when littlek observed it on the 17th, Spica and Lulin were probably still pretty close.
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  2  
Reply Wed 18 Feb, 2009 06:05 pm
@littlek,
Almost everyone who sees a bright star in the western sky just after sunset is seeing Venus. Normally it is whitish, but something in the atmosphere could have made it seem greenish. You weren't looking through a tinted windshield were you Smile

0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Feb, 2009 06:09 pm
No, not a tinted windshield - my car is far too low-budget for that.

Well, I'll just go with Venus then.....
NickFun
 
  0  
Reply Wed 18 Feb, 2009 07:35 pm
@littlek,
I still would not rule out a UFO. Jimmy Carter saw a UFO and the military tried to persuade him he saw Venus. Ya just never know.
0 Replies
 
Ticomaya
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Feb, 2009 09:59 pm
http://img3.imageshack.us/img3/6209/greatgazoogd4.gif
NickFun
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Feb, 2009 02:41 pm
@Ticomaya,
Kazoo!
0 Replies
 
High Seas
 
  0  
Reply Thu 19 Feb, 2009 02:57 pm
@littlek,
It's a common enough phenomenon in northern latitudes, called a "green flash". You very often see it from airplanes even at relatively lower latitudes. It's been photographed countless times - very surprised you never heard of it before:

Quote:
Green flashes are real (not illusory) phenomena seen at sunrise and sunset, when some part of the Sun suddenly changes color (at sunset, from red or orange to green or blue). The word “flash” refers to the sudden appearance and brief duration of this green color, which usually lasts only a second or two at moderate latitudes.

http://mintaka.sdsu.edu/GF/
High Seas
 
  0  
Reply Thu 19 Feb, 2009 03:18 pm
@High Seas,
http://yorkregion.blogs.com/sky_wise/images/green_flash_2.jpg
Quote:
PHYSICS OF THE GREEN FLASH

Atmospheric refraction of sunlight is basically the cause of green flashes and green rays. The following diagram illustrates the actual position of the sun at sunset. The upper circle shows where you see the sun’s image at point of contact with the ocean or horizon. The lower circle, outlining the already set sun, shows where it actually is. The displacement
of the sun’s disk is due to atmospheric refraction.

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://yorkregion.blogs.com/sky_wise/images/green_flash_3.jpg&imgrefurl=http://durhamregion.typepad.com/astronomy/2006/06/the_mysterious_.html&usg=__dKBAHu-2qCrcw3yQd6KW4M7FPN4=&h=336&w=375&sz=11&hl=en&start=5&um=1&tbnid=tzsTg93RVqMuyM:&tbnh=109&tbnw=122&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dgreen%2Bflash%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26channel%3Ds%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26sa%3DX
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Thu 19 Feb, 2009 04:27 pm
@High Seas,
The problem is, green flashes last for seconds. What littlek observed lasted for hours.
 

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