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Sat? Asteroid? What did I photograph?

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#1 DonnyM

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 03:21 PM

I set my camera up pointing toward Altair on the 8th of June to get a timelapse. The settings were 18mm f3.5 15seconds with 5 seconds between each shot. I produced a timelapse from the images and noticed a slow moving object. It seems to slow down over a period of a hour then gets to dim to see. A Geo would be much slower. A meteor much faster. So what was it? Started in the upper right and moved to center and faded out.
I used MP Checker and found nothing. I used Starry Night pro with all updated data maxed out and found nothing.
Attached are two images with Astrometry data overlayed on them. The video is here on YouTube:
http://youtu.be/k_e1bbJMRpQ
Watch the video at 1080p to see it. Starts at 6 seconds and fades by 23 seconds. This is just over 1 hour of time.
Time and location is:
R.A. = 18 00 29.011, Decl. = +03 41 24.968 (Zeta Serpentis)
My time was 12:09am PST or UTC 7:09 when it passed by Z Ser
Time between the two images I uploaded is 1 minute.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Donny

Attached Files



#2 DonnyM

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 03:22 PM

Here is the other shot. 1 min after the one above.

Attached Files



#3 Starhunter249

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 12:14 PM

I see strange stuff sometimes in the eyepiece. They are slow moving blinking or periodically wane and wax in brightness. Some of them are just big enough to detect a tumbling like rotation as they move. These objects are not low earth orbit and not Geo-Synced satellites. I can only conclude that they must be discarded final rocket stages in orbit around our planet. They move extremely slow across my sky. I enjoy tracking them after one moves across the DSO I am viewing. I find most of the them around 20 degrees plus are minus from the celestial equator.

Looking at your photographs and considering the orientation of the constellations in the sky, it appears to be a more south to north moving object. The ones I described above are generally an west to east motion. That's not to say that it isn't a final stage section because many satellites are polar.

The other possibility is that you photographed Near Earth Asteroid that briefly flew by. Something of that size though would have been detected by our deep space radar systems and would have made the news. Not that professional astronomers are perfect, they are human after all.

One more explanation, high altitude military aircraft. They move slower than satellites, can be a more dull brown in color. They don't use their aircraft identification lights (flying stealth) and often see them in pairs like a wingman formation or if more than two they fly right behind each other like a long string. I often stumble upon them in my binoculars. Not visible to the naked eye. That's what I think they are. I live in Illinois. Scott Airforce Base is 70 miles south of me.

Its a UFO technically, we can't rule out Extra-terrestrial as a possibility either. Just saying.

#4 RedLionNJ

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 08:16 PM

That kind of declination (-3 or -4) is right in line with the main belt of geosynchronous satellites as viewed from the latitude of Idaho. The direction of motion and apparent motion across the sky (due east, relative to the celestial sphere) are also totally consistent with such an object.

On the date/time mentioned above (June 8, around 0709UT), my sources show nothing specific in that immediate area. However, if we're just a couple minutes off the exact time, or exactly one day off (i.e. the UT date was June 9), there are multiple candidates. Exact magnitudes are often unpredictable for such objects, but my best, educated guess would be MAQSAT H (NORAD 25032U), peaking around mag 8.5, one of the brighter geosynchs.

#5 DonnyM

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 12:11 PM

I only see three Geo Sats in that area at that time and they all were a little lower in elevation and moved much much slower.
I finally managed to get 690,000 asteroids to load and nothing showed up in that time and space.

Planes move much faster. Something that bright for space junk should be logged i would think.

Since I don't have a fits image from a ccd and not synced to UTM time is there a place I can submit my images to have them check by a expert. I think it could have been a NEO that maybe was not caught. At least I am hoping.

Donny

#6 BrooksObs

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 10:13 AM

Odds very heavily favor it being a geo satellite, or at least an earth orbiting satellite of some sort. The potential of the unknown being an otherwise yet to be discovered/identified NEO - and this bright - would be virtually zero, as the skies are patrolled professionally quite well for such objects these days.

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#7 RedLionNJ

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 04:09 PM

Actually, I concur with the movement of the geosynchs being much slower. I would only expect about 3.75 arcmin during a 15-second exposure. Your images indicate at least four times that speed.

Of course, all that rules out are geosynchs.

Brooks is right in their assertion regarding the professional (and even some amateur) sky surveys, though. Your object cannot be that bright, be a minor planet and not have been previously picked-up by a survey.

My thoughts are still earthbound in origin, but the odds seem to be swayed toward either a high altitude air force jet, or a weather balloon being pushed along in the jetstream.

Believe me, there's nothing more I'd LIKE it to be than an unannounced NEO - maybe startle govts into a minor budget shake-up to allow for better surveys.

Good luck!

Grant

#8 jeffpkamp

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Posted 06 August 2013 - 09:14 PM

it could be a satellite in a slightly more irregular orbit such as this one

Tundra orbit
http://en.wikipedia....ki/Tundra_orbit

while there are only a couple in this specific orbit, there are a few obits like it that allow for slower moving satellites in comparison to you night sky.

With that being said, I also get weird stuff flying through my pictures quite a bit too. I'm using a 1500mm scope and these will take 30s-min to cross the field of view, never sure what they are.

#9 PhilCo126

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 02:53 AM

Probably a satellite...

#10 GlennLeDrew

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Posted 09 August 2013 - 03:00 AM

No aircraft should have such a small angular velocity at that altitude above the horizon.

#11 obin robinson

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Posted 23 August 2013 - 12:22 PM

You probably caught a Molniya or other highly elliptical satellite in orbit. They move at an apparent rate different from geosynchronous or low earth orbit satellites.

obin :cool:






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