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C.M. Tam

Two objects hitting the sun and bounced back into space

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On 7 October 2018 at around 0938 GMT (1738 Local) and at a location in Hong Kong, I was photographing the sunset using two cameras.  Both cameras caught 2 bright objects approaching and hitting the surface of the sun on its left side causing explosions on the sun's surface and then bounced back and disappeared into space.  The whole event lasted for about 15 seconds.

What could these objects be?

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We'd like to add that other solar satellites didn't see anything happening on the Sun; plus all ground stations that also watch the Sun do not have anything particular during that timeframe. We can conclude it's not solar related. 

We like to close and conclude that it's an airplane passing through and the reflection on the airplane causes the "flare".

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32 minutes ago, Sunfrog said:

From the images it looks consistent with the points moving on a straight line grazing the Sun edge so not actually "bouncing" off. My best guess would be that this is a distant airplane (from scale about 100+ km off which also typical when the Sun is low on horizon so distant planes at cruising altitude will appear at a similar angle). Also the apparent "upward" movement would indicate a plane moving towards you.

At such distance the tiny plane is lost in haze and glare since is mostly dark and lit from behind whereas bright glints of sunlight reflecting off plane geometry would show. However in this case it could also be refraction from the hot jet exhaust which would explain the shape for a two engine plane. This is a very small bending effect and would show up only as the plane is very close to the edge.

Thanks for injecting your views Sunfrog.  First of all, when I reviewed the photo sequence I posted earlier, I realized that the first photo of the sequence was placed at the very end by mistake. 

By zooming-in on the photos, disturbances on the sun's surface could be seen near the fireballs impact points which took a few seconds of time to smooth out.

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From the images it looks consistent with the points moving on a straight line grazing the Sun edge so not actually "bouncing" off. My best guess would be that this is a distant airplane (from scale about 100+ km off which also typical when the Sun is low on horizon so distant planes at cruising altitude will appear at a similar angle). Also the apparent "upward" movement would indicate a plane moving towards you.

At such distance the tiny plane is lost in haze and glare since is mostly dark and lit from behind whereas bright glints of sunlight reflecting off plane geometry would show. However in this case it could also be refraction from the hot jet exhaust which would explain the shape for a two engine plane. This is a very small bending effect and would show up only as the plane is very close to the edge.

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Reviewing the SDO imagery, the satellite that continuously watches the Sun, there where no events on the Sun during that time. We can conclude nothing has plunged into the Sun. 

in the past we did have some comets that plunged into the Sun but caused nothing much, most debris is already burned before it touches the solar surface because the corona of the Sun is way hotter than the surface. And those events don't cause a major flash and wouldn't be visible from Earth. 

i do agree with @Sunfrog that a reflection can be the cause. The images where also not taken using the proper solar filters which can also cause lens flares (camera related) and other optical side-effects. Plus if the lens has no image stabilization, a small bright object can be smeared out in the image. 

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I have prepared a gif file from 12 consecutive photos taken at 1 sec intervals.  Please take a look.

Fireballs hit Sun.gif

Also, a second camera located about 5 metres away from the one above and taking photographs every 5 seconds revealed the following:

Interesting...

Thanks very much for looking up the SDO records and for your comments, Sander Vancanneyt.

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Interesting .. but if it is really something hit the sun it would be very very fast because from the GIF animated photo in 12 seconds it manages to travel a distance equal to one diameter of the sun. I don't think there is a comet or object can travel like that fast.

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