What did I see? Astronomy Question

At four o’clock this morning I looked out my bedroom window and saw something bigger and brighter than a star in the eastern sky. It was so bright that I could actually see it flickering. It seemed to change from blue to red to blue to red, and a few times it almost seemed to fade out completely. I’m in the northern hemisphere. Does anyone have any idea of what it was? Was it Venus?

Probably Mars. During its close approach to the Earth it outshines everything in the sky save the Sun and the Moon. The color shift can be explained by atmospheric refraction, which is especially noticeable in objects near the horizon.

Almost certainly, yes. Venus is always in the direction of the sun (so east in the morning), it’s the first “star” you see at night and the last in the morning.

The flickering is most likely because some high thin clouds were passing between you and it.

Oh, and Venus is an evening object this month.

Venus isn’t up in the early morning just now. Your star might have been Sirius, Mars, or possibly even a reflection off the International space station.
You can type in the location and time here, and see what was up.

I didn’t think it was Mars because, if I’m not mistaken, we see that as early as eight in the evening.

What does it mean that Venus is an evening object this month? Can you tell I know nothing about astronomy? :slight_smile:

Ack, you DID say in the east, so the object was rising. Anywho, Venus can only be seen in the evening this month. In the morning, it doesn’t rise until after the Sun does, and so is not visible.

Could it have been an airplane seen from head-on/tail-on?

This is a very interesting site. It does indeed appear that Sirius was in that general area at the right time.

I watched it for a good ten minutes and it didn’t seem to be moving, but I was tired and having a hard time focusing on it. I even looked at it through binoculars, but that didn’t make anything clearer.

God, don’t I love that interactive sky chart!

Sirius can have some fantastic refractions when low in the sky.

Mmmmm. Dog stars…

Well, I’m satisfied. Thanks everyone for your help. :slight_smile:

Did it have any strobes or move at angles…and do you have any sense of missing time? :smiley:
Mmmmm. Dog stars… I hear ya M&M Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, Benji…

No, and no unusual marks on my body. My cats haven’t been mutilated either…:wink:

Almost certainly Sirius; I saw it myself this morning;
fairly low in the sky, the old Dogstar twinkles famously in shades of blue green and red.
Also visible in the morning sky at the moment are Saturn (high up near the Twins Castor and Pollux) and Orion, the stars of the belt pointing straight at Sirius.

SF worldbuilding at