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While lying on the garden couch looking straight up I noticed a point light directly above me, similar to a star. This surprised me as it was about an hour before sunset and the sky was still bright. What surprised me more was that it seemed mostly stationary. I've seen satellites pass overhead before, but at night not that stationary. I suppose one reason could be that at night these slower moving satellites would easily be confused with stars.

I focused on the object for about 30 seconds, then looked away and then back and I could no longer find it. Instead I did immediately something of roughly the same brightness move across the sky for only a few seconds, but that was moving very fast. Once it went out of view I tried to look for the at the stationary position for a while but I couldn't see it.

This puzzled me a bit because it was similar in brightness to aircraft that regularly pass overhead here, but it was much smaller and had no defined shape. Though if it were an aircraft it would have flown very high and then exceedingly fast :)

I checked stellarium and there were two possible candidates for satellites. At about that time Globalstar M001 was directly overhead moving slowly, with Iridium 911 passing close by. Are both of these satellites visible? I remember reading somewhere that the new Iridium satellites were not supposed to flare. Though daytime satellite viewing conditions were basically ideal, with a low sun and clear skies.

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  • $\begingroup$ A satellite on a circular orbit should not behave as observed. But what about a satellite on an elliptic orbit with high eccentricity? $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    May 7 at 21:00
  • $\begingroup$ I'd have imagined those to be a bit far out to be visible at daylight. It would explain the change in velocity. There aleobwasn't any such satellite in the databases Stellarium uses. $\endgroup$ May 8 at 0:31
  • $\begingroup$ Can you be certain that the two light sources you saw are the same light source? $\endgroup$ May 8 at 1:14
  • $\begingroup$ It's possible that coincidentally the first slow moving satellite stopped reflecting as a second faster satellite started reflecting. If both of the satellites I mentioned can reflect light like this, that's my best guess atm. $\endgroup$ May 8 at 6:39

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From my experience, which is limited and amateur, the stationary one was probably a weather balloon. They tend to appear stationary on the sky, flicker, and appear/disappear unexpectedly, depending on the direction of sunlight that they reflect. I would assume that the fast moving one was actually a second, separate object, that just happened to appear in the visual proximity of the first one. The second one was probably a high-altitude aircraft, but I am not excluding the possibility of it being in fact one of those satellites mentioned in your question.

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    $\begingroup$ The light point was very stable, to the point where I first thought it could've been a planet. I am positive that the second part would have been a satellite, perhaps different from the first. It was moving way too fast for a high altitude aircraft, I'm talking 20-30 times the speed of the airbusses that usually fly overhead. $\endgroup$ May 8 at 0:33

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