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A satellite through Orion Nebula???

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#1 AlexxxAA


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Posted 02 January 2014 - 12:20 AM

Hi everyone! Its been a few months since i took out my scopes. So on Monday night i decided to check out the obvious objects. First observed Europa emerge from behind Jupiter. That was pretty sweet!

After that i pointed my refractor to the always great Orion Nebula. First observed a nice wide view of 30X and 41X.
Then i decided to crank up the power to have a look at the Trapezium which i almost never do. Quite a view at 197X !

However, after observing for several minutes i noticed a small light moving from north to south through the view. Usually when i catch a satellite in the view (has happened a hand-full of times) they are quite bright, but this one was very dim. It was close to the limit of visibility for my 6" refractor. So most likely somewhere around 12th or 13th magnitude. Since my mount is not automatic, i readjusted the view to make sure that i was not seeing some kind reflection on my eyepiece. It was still there and moving slowly.

Did anyone else notice anything similar?
Or does anyone have the knowledge to look up satellite trajectories?
To be precise, this happened the night of Monday night at almost exactly 9pm PST, which translates to 05:00 UT of 12/31.

I realize that there are probably hundreds of satellites out there and maybe i saw one that is not monitered by public resources, or maybe one really far away. Or was it something else?!?!?! hahaha

#2 MikeBOKC


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Posted 02 January 2014 - 08:44 AM

I was out new years eve for a few hours and saw about five satellites cruise through the field of view while observing various targets. There is so much stuff orbiting up there that I count it an odd night when I don't see at least one. I know there are several resources for identifying satellite and space junk objects . . . hopefully someone will chime in shortly with a link.

#3 Doug Culbertson

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 09:19 AM

Heavens Above is my go to source for visible satellite information.

The link above is to the satellite database, but you can go to their home page for more stuff.

#4 raptor1956


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Posted 03 January 2014 - 06:40 PM

Well, since Orion is pretty near the ecliptic at -5 dec when viewing it from the northern hemisphere you should see geostationary satellites cruising through. I have images from not quite a week ago that show several parallel streaks through M42 and interestingly they are darkish streaks extending about 15 arcmin (give or take) across some of my 60 second exposures.

I would think that because of its position at -5 degree dec many in the northern hemisphere would be looking right through the orbital plane for geostationary satellites when looking at Orion.


#5 nytecam


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Posted 07 January 2014 - 04:21 AM

Nice one Alex - here one I did earlier :)

#6 bandhunter


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Posted 11 January 2014 - 09:37 PM

I have seen a geo stationary satellite while observing the Orion Nebula. Not for long however, place a non tracking scope on a geo stationary satellite and the stars and other objects "move through" the field of view while the satellite stays in place. Pretty cool. Always fun to see something different, thanks for sharing.

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