A 'Space Serpent' at dawn


As you may recall, I'm a very keen amateur astronomer, and have been since the age of five or six. I'm most interested in planetary astronomy, comets and meteor showers - not surprising, given that I sell meteorites and lecture about them for a living!

At the time or writing (February 2022) three planets are huddled together in the dawn sky: Mercury, Venus and Mars. It's necessary to get out of bed before dawn to catch them above the eastern horizon. A couple of weeks ago (before the current sequence of storms put paid to observing!) I drove up to the top of the Heath, where there's a clear horizon all round and no street or houselights. As dawn began to break the three planets became visible: Venus was incredibly bright and showed an obvious crescent. After taking a few photographs with my tripod-mounted Pentax DSLR / 300mm prime set up, I casually glanced around: to my amazement in the western sky were three enormous glowing objects: they resembled translucent vacuum cleaner hoses! After watching their sinuous movements for half a minute or so, I belatedly swung the camera around and take a single photo before they faded away.

THe strange objects definitely seemed alive: they twisted and turned and moved past each other. Just once one of them emitted an extremely bright pulse of light. To me they seemed to resemble closely a similar object videoed by Shuttle Astronaut Story Musgrave.