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Intermittent flashing light

Intermittent flashing light

I was awoken at 1.30am by some of our cattle in our house yard, so I got up to chase them out. The night was clear and without cloud or moon, so I took a moment to take in the stars. We live in the Gold Coast hinterland so there is little light pollution although there was some sheet lighting in the distance.
I saw a flash of light, about the intensity and size of the brightest star, in the east/southeast about 20-30 degrees above horizon. At first I thought it was an aircraft, as it was on the flight path and we see aircraft often.
But then I noticed that the flashes – which I can only describe as similar to a sharpness of a signalling mirror, and much sharper than the stars or aircraft lights – were not regular. Counting one-mississippi etc, they varied from five seconds to eight seconds duration. Then i noticed that immediately after and just to the right of each flash, two less bright simultaneous flashes. Each of these lesser flashes disippated to very faint stars that then disappeared, only to reappear after each subsequent flash.
What was most noticeable about the brighter flash was that – apart from the irregularity of the bursts – was that it kept changing position. I did not see it actually move, the flash was always stationary, but at each flash I took note of the surrounding stars to keep my eye fixed on the position. That’s when I realised it was changing position. I watched this for about 15 minutes as it kept to a roughly triangular field in the sky.
I have celestial binoculars, and so went inside to set them up. But I could not get a fix as each time the light flashed it would be in a slightly different position, sometimes higher in the sky, sometimes lower. By this time the two siimultaneous flashes had ended.
I went in to get my phone and screen shot a star map of that part of the sky for later reference but when I got back the flashes had ended. I managed a couple of screen shots of the star map but then the star app and the compass in my phone started playing up and would not point north, instead giving east as north, and then south as north. It’s fine today.
Our animals also were agitated but that may have been from me getting them out of the yard.
All up I observed this light for 20 minutes, and stayed ourside looking for the next hour until past 2.30am with no further sighting.


Springbrook Gold Coast Australia


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