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Here's a Chart to Help You Identify That Strange Light in the Sky

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With ever-brighter skies reducing our ability to stargaze, and ever more bright objects soaring over-head, it's increasingly complicated to identify just what is that awesome thing you're looking at. The League of Lost Causes understands your pain. To solve it, they've produced this handy identification flowchart.

Image credit: HK/The League of Lost Causes

Although I suppose I should warn you that actually testing "Are your retinas burning?" by staring at the sun will damage your eyes, the flowchart is actually a pretty good guide distinguishing between planes and satellites, stars and planets, and even the more obscure differential between bolides and fireballs. As for how can you tell if an astronaut is waving at you... well, with this particular batch, I'd just check Twitter.


The League of Lost Causes is actually more of a "her" than a "them," but it sounds so much more formal to list her as a plural that I'm sticking with my original pronoun-choice. Why yes, you can purchase this design on any number of physical objects via the League's webstore.

Do you have any corrections or additions for the lights you see in the sky? Given that my city just had some midnight Northern Lights, I'd add on a branch for, "Is it a distinct light?" with the NO-branch leading to aurora. I also feel like we need a good question to split off fireflies, as "Does it zoom around in a crazy trajectory like a drunken sailor?" is inelegantly long.


via Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD)