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I know planes usually fly with red lights which seem small in the sky, but last night i saw a bright orange blinking light traveling through the sky; it was bigger then a star but was orange. I thought it might be a helicopter, although I read it could have been a comet or a meteor.

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    $\begingroup$ How fast was the blinking? Continuous? $\endgroup$
    – Pheric
    Apr 30 '19 at 3:32
  • $\begingroup$ If you can include your latitude & longitude, and the approximate time you saw it then it might be possible to pinpoint what you saw (eg, might have been the ISS - which is trackable) $\endgroup$
    – Jamiec
    Apr 30 '19 at 7:42
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    $\begingroup$ I'm sorry but it seems inconceivable that you would not be able to distinguish a comet, from a meteor, from something else. This not a well-researched question. Maybe start by asking a question of Astronomy Stack Exchange. Anyway, was the blinking regular or irregular? $\endgroup$ Oct 8 '19 at 14:23
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While normally red in colour, anti collision lights can often appear more or less orange, depending on the background and atmospheric conditions. It is impossible to determine the aircraft type just based on the fact that it has a orange light on it, since almost all aircraft have reddish orange anti collision lights.

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ Needs the one frame when the light is on and reflecting off the bottom of the plane and looking very orange... $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Apr 30 '19 at 15:08
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Others have mentioned red anti-collision beacons that might look orange in certain environmental conditions, but there's only one kind of aircraft that shows an intermittent orange light: balloons. The flame used to heat the balloon is orange, and most balloons are translucent enough that the whole balloon can appear orange when the flame is lit.

There wouldn't be a blinking orange light, but the flame is often used in short bursts to keep the balloon inflated, so it would be intermittent. Balloons don't move very fast, so if it was really "travelling across the sky" as you describe, perhaps this isn't the answer.

A meteor (which you've already guessed at) moves a lot faster, but tends to glow orange or white for a few seconds and then disappear: I don't think I've ever seen a blinking one.

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    $\begingroup$ Hot air balloons don't really fly at night, though. $\endgroup$ Apr 30 '19 at 9:49
  • $\begingroup$ @J.Hougaard It's rare but permitted. Dawn and dusk flights are a lot more common and the glow is still very visible then. $\endgroup$
    – Dan Hulme
    Apr 30 '19 at 13:35
  • $\begingroup$ Not saying it doesn't happen, but I imagine most people try to avoid ending up in a situation where they have to land a hot air balloon in the dark (since you can't really control where you're going...) $\endgroup$ Apr 30 '19 at 13:43
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Orange isn't a standard color for aircraft lighting. Best guess would be reflected sunlight on a metallic aircraft, although any number of other explanations are at least possible.

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  • $\begingroup$ Would the sun still reflect on an aircraft at midnight? $\endgroup$
    – user1871
    Apr 30 '19 at 3:43
  • $\begingroup$ Don't believe the OP mentioned a time. Near sunset, such a reflection is possible; after the End of Evening Nautical Twilight, not so much. $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Apr 30 '19 at 3:57
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    $\begingroup$ @user1871 Also depends on your latitude (It can be daylight at midnight), and the altitude of the object supposedly reflecting the sun. $\endgroup$
    – Jamiec
    Apr 30 '19 at 7:41
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In this new era of widespread droning, anything is possible. People can and do put all kinds of non-authorized lighting on drones. Maybe you saw a drone, possibly flown by an amateur hobbyist in a manner non-compliant with regulations.

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