Can Someone help me figure out what these lights were in the sky over CO?


New Member
A couple odd lights from astrophotography long exposures that don't seem to be meteors, planes, or satellites. Hoping someone can help me figure out what they might be!

Pictures are in the reddit post and I hope that is okay! I'm new here.

Got this one weird photo with 2 moving lights (and other lights) in the top leftish area caught on a 20 second long exposure that were missing in the photos taken before and after. My buddy and I were out camping. I didn't notice anything in person, but noticed the lights after reviewing the photos.

Very aware that these are just lights, but I thought I'd put this out there to see if anyone has a potential explanation or have run across anything similar. I just haven't run across something like this before in astrophotography.

Satellites, planes, or meteors leave straight streaks. It seems too high to be a drone and only would have been up there for 20ish seconds. It was also a new moon at 12:30am in the middle of nowhere, so maybe a thermal drone? Also considered the tripod getting bumped but that would affect all of the stars in the photo. Not making some grand claim here, just curious!

Just from photography experience, it looks like the lights were a consistent brightness (not flashing) and hovered in the areas where the light is bright and were moving around where the light is less bright.

Time \~12:30am 8/9/23

Location: Colorado overlooking Jones Mountain from the north side.

Reddit Post
First of all, welcome! :)

Which lights are you referring to? I've had a look at the photos that you posted on Reddit and I can only see what looks like to be a cluster (just a formation of stars). I'm not an expert on astronomy but a simple reverse search of the image provided gave me a few results pointing towards it being the cluster known as ' IC 2602', Theta Carinae Cluster.


IC 2602 (also known as the Theta Carinae Cluster, Caldwell 102, and the Southern Pleiades Cluster) is an open cluster in the constellation Carina. It has an apparent visual magnitude of 1.9 and its angular diameter is 50 arc-minutes. IC 2602 lies at an estimated distance of 492 light years. The Equinox 2000 coordinates are 10h 43.2m, -64° 24´ which makes IC 2602 a Southern Hemisphere object that is best seen during the spring. The Caldwell Spring Star Chart shows the position of all Caldwell objects visible during that season. Visit the Caldwell Catalog Photo Gallery to see more objects from this catalog. As one of the more famous objects in the Caldwell Catalog, it is commonly known as Southern Pleiades.

IC 2602 Cluster


Your photo
Pictures are in the reddit post and I hope that is okay!
not really, they dont blow up big enough. can you post the raw photos on flickr or something so we can see that at full resolution? or crop the area you are talking about and post that here directly.

are you talking about this bit here:
i cant tell what im seeing because your pics on reddit are too small.
Just drop the reddit link in to embed the content.
"screenshot of the image" is never great.
"embedding" does not cause metabunk to take a copy of the image, and thus preserve it for posterity, it simply adds an iframe that will hopefully be rendered correctly in the future if reddit (and apparently other sundry hosting providers) keep their API and everything else the same[*]:

<iframe data-s9e-mediaembed="reddit" allowfullscreen="" scrolling="no" data-s9e-mediaembed-src="" style="height:165px;max-width:800px" data-s9e-mediaembed-api="2">&hellip;</iframe>

Reddit has no interest in serving me anything at all now, so I can't even click through to find what the images actually are. (Not strictly true - if I change the URL to rather than, which always used to work - but annoyingly they seem to have changed things[**] - then I do have links that I can follow that get rewritten to an imgur link which contains a picture of lady gaga with a silly headdress, but I'm sure that's not what was intended.)

[* see [**] below]
[** if you insist on this "embedding", don't complain when it breaks for you too]
that will hopefully be rendered correctly in the future if reddit (and apparently other sundry hosting providers) keep their API and everything else the same
well in that case the link is still there, and anyway the forum software should update to keep pace with those unlikely API changes

embedding is better than just linking, and attaching the evidence itself is best
whatever is doing that, make it stop
the images are hosted on

Replacing 'www' with 'old' gives me a page with the "screenshot of the image with the details. upper left" link pointing to:

Clicking on that link redirects me to:
which is blank apart from a boilerplate banner.

Replacing the 'www' in that with 'old' redirects me to:


which contains an imgur link to:


My choices are either looking at the blank pages reddit sends me from 'www.' or having reddit redirect me to lady gaga via 'old.'. Reddit is in full control of both of these behaviours, not me.

If I use 'curl', or 'wget' to fetch the above resources, most yield different behaviours - different from each other too - so reddit is deciding what to send me depending on what user-agent I use. Again, this is some logic that's taking place inside reddit's servers, and makes a travesty of the concept of a "Uniform Resource Locator".