Was just relaxing in my hot tub, looking up in the sky with my wife. I swear I saw what I imagine a supernova would look like. This looked like a star getting rapidly large and bright- and then 'went out.' In all my years of observing with and with/out scopes/binoculars, I have never seen anything like this with my naked eye, or otherwise.....anyone else?
We have seen a series of things like this. Normally to the north and left of Polaris but sometimes it was to the east. What we have seen is a sudden flash, that was brighter than any satellite or anything that I have seen. It will flash once and usually for no more than a second or two. Then it disappears. Normally it shows once, but I have seen it repeat hours later. The odd thing is that a satellite will normally flash longer or if it is tumbling it would show many times as it goes across the sky. Not sure this is what you saw, but for the last 3 years I have seen this many times.
Could it possibly be a meteor, that was entering the atmosphere, heading straight at you? If there were a meteor, small maybe the size of a grain of sand, that entered the atmosphere not tangentially to you, it would just burn out, brightening quickly and then fading immediately.
I've spent (thousands of?) hours staring at the sky while my scope is doing long exposures and have seen most of the unusual yet explicable stuff. "Point" meteors can indeed do that but would last only a couple seconds. the Iridium (and non-Iridium) satellite flares can be astoundingly impressive. I've recorded lots of those with my all-night all-sky "roof cam" that uses a high-end FLI camera and good lens. Even geosync (and therefore "stationary") can flare but would be close to the celestial equator. An experienced friend and I saw one "next to" the moon at dusk and SO bright and stationaryish that even we were tempted to imagine it as some magnificent celestial event. Nowadays the professional all-sky survey cameras (astro and mil) are SO complete...that a true celestial event of that magnitude would near certainly not go unnoticed (software would flag it and we would find it in the news). I believe some monk witnessed and recorded a giant flare on the moon long ago...and now we know a large "fresh" crater is in that location! Tom Dey