What is this object in the night sky?

Strange night sky object mkme.org

Last night I took out my Canon 70D to get a few night photos of the sky above Goderich Ontario and caught a bit of a strange object. Being in town there is a tonne of light pollution but I wanted to test out the higher ISO of this camera (far better than my old Pentax).

I took a few shots at ISO 3200, 15 second exposure at F3.5 at 18mm on the kit lens. It was a few hours after sunset and the results were not too bad for the situation. Only a few of these stars were actually visible with the naked eye due to the bright sky in town.

Goderich Night Sky mkme.org

After I did the post processing on the raw files in Adobe Lightroom 3 I posted one to Twitter. Just as I was closing the image I noticed a strange line in it:

Strange night sky object mkme.org

Zooming in tight:

Strange object or satellite mkme.org

So I checked other images shot in the same direction and found I indeed caught it a second time:

Goderich Night Sky Object mkme.org

Sky Object mkme.org

At first I thought this object might simply be an aircraft strobe due to the regularity of the flashes but it seems awfully faint for that.  The frequency does seem to line up though for the 15 second exposure. I did catch an aircraft in another image which shows the strobes, beacon and markers clearly (and much brighter):

plane strobes mkme.org

What do you think it was?  I’m not sure if it could have been an extremely high distant aircraft, some type of satellite with a strobe or ? The time of evening was just right for reflections from satellites and I have heard of some small cubestats etc with small LED strobes on them but I cannot find any mention of specifics online right now.  It sure doesn’t seem likely to be that many stars in a perfect line though.

Let me know what you think it is!

Overall I’m pretty happy with the performance of the Canon 70D. I’m able to make far better YouTube videos as well as get back to taking some nice still images which I haven’t done in awhile. I really miss my 2.8 lens but I’ll get one again soon.

I can’t wait to get out of town and try some shots of the Milky Way this summer. Should be fun. night photography mkme.org