Monday, February 13, 2017


As observers around the planet were capturing images of Friday's penumbral eclipse, one photographer saw something unusual: a round object crossing in front of the Moon. "I was using a 125mm telescope to capture the eclipse when the small black disk appeared," says Luis G. Verdiales from Loiza, Puerto Rico. "It was moving too slow to be a satellite, so slow that I was able to capture it with my camera four times. It got my attention because it was round!"

Verdiales contacted the Caribbean Island's largest astronomy organization to find out what it was. Eddie Irizarry of the Sociedad de Astronomía del Caribe explains what happened next:

"After analysing magnified images, we suspected it might be a stratosphere balloon from Google Loon, a project that is testing internet coverage from the stratosphere," says Irizarry. "We checked and indeed found a balloon at 64,400 ft identified as HBAL176. Further analysis showed the balloon was right between the observer and the Moon."

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