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What was this thing?

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#1 penguinx64

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 03:55 AM

Last night I tried to see the meteor shower, but not much luck.  I only saw 2 faint ones that lasted about 1/2 second.  So I looked at the moon while I was waiting around.  By 1am local time, I wasn't seeing any meteors and the moon was getting boring, so I put my scope away in the garage.  I took one last look in the sky before calling it a night and saw what appeared to be a satellite.  I see satellites all the time over Holland.  Most of them appear as small dots barely visible to the naked eye.  But this one was bigger, very bright and easily visible to the naked eye.  Instead of a single small dot, I saw one large dot with a smaller dot in the front of it, traveling North at 11pm GMT on 8/13/2014.  I watched it for about 15 seconds before it went behind the clouds.  See the picture I drew on my computer.  I didn;t have enough time to get the binoculars out of the garage for a closer look.  Could this have been the ISS?  If not, then what the heck was it?

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Edited by penguinx64, 14 August 2014 - 04:04 AM.


#2 Mark9473

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 04:36 AM

The ISS flies west to east, so if this was going north then it must have been something else.

#3 cpper

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 05:50 AM

Maybe two satellites flying close to each other  :shrug: ? Maybe the smaller one was previously docked to the bigger one or something alike ?


Edited by cpper, 14 August 2014 - 05:51 AM.


#4 penguinx64

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 06:12 AM

I looked on Heavens-Above.com, and it appears this could have been a Russian satellite called Cosmos-2242.  The brighness, time, position, and direction seem about right.  It's the closest match to what I saw anyway.

 

http://www.heavens-a...6882.9417155093

 

I looked up more information about this satellite and found this link.

 

http://www.n2yo.com/?s=22626

 

If the drawing of the satellite is correct, it could explain why I saw a big thing with a smaller thing on the front of it.



#5 cpper

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 06:38 AM

What do you mean by 'the drawing of the satellite' ? This thing ?


Edited by cpper, 14 August 2014 - 06:38 AM.


#6 tigerroach

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 06:55 AM

Sounds more like an aircraft to me (the in-the-atmosphere kind). Especially in the middle of the night like that.



#7 penguinx64

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 06:55 AM

What do you mean by 'the drawing of the satellite' ? This thing ?

Yes, that's what I meant.  Not sure if that's really a drawing of the actual satellite or a generic clipart picture.

 

I found a picture of what the real satellite should look like.  It could have been one of these.

 

http://www.russiansp...ges/sich1_2.jpg


Edited by penguinx64, 14 August 2014 - 07:17 AM.


#8 cpper

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 07:44 AM

I checked and many satellites have the same picture on n2yo...

One interesting thought...wikipedia states the human eye has 0.07° angular resolution, which translates into 1.2 meters at 1 km distance. This means that at 1 km distance, we can discern detail 1.2 meters across(I think). At its perigee, the satellite you've stated(Cosmos-2242), is 605 km above the earth. At that distance, the human eye could discern detail 756 meters across. That means that your satellite has to be 756 meters long, in order that  the second dot you've saw to be part of it. 



#9 BrooksObs

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 08:00 AM

I would definitely second the conclusion that this was an aircraft of some sort with its landing and navigation lights on, particularly if the major point sourse was truly bright looking (+1 or greater). It is exceedingly rare to see actual bright satellites with close companions using only the naked eye (the ISS with the Shuttle near docking was one of the few that comes to mind). The time of the appearance would also seem to limit the likelihood of this being a brightly lit satellite.

 

BrooksObs



#10 Don Taylor

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 07:47 AM

I checked and many satellites have the same picture on n2yo...
One interesting thought...wikipedia states the human eye has 0.07° angular resolution, which translates into 1.2 meters at 1 km distance. This means that at 1 km distance, we can discern detail 1.2 meters across(I think). At its perigee, the satellite you've stated(Cosmos-2242), is 605 km above the earth. At that distance, the human eye could discern detail 756 meters across. That means that your satellite has to be 756 meters long, in order that the second dot you've saw to be part of it.


I think Wikipedia may not be telling the complete story - or perhaps it depends on how you define detail. I notice I can see wire ropes of construction cranes at distances of up to 2-3 km. the specific cranes use 28 - - 32mm diameter cables. Perhaps certain lighting conditions or very high contrast make such things visible. While there is no detail as such the cables (wire ropes are quite visible).

As far as separating adjacent objects - like a optical resolution test then maybe that is a different thing altogether

#11 csrlice12

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Posted 21 August 2014 - 09:17 AM

That replacement Earth that was ordered a long time ago.......it's on its way?   On the plus side, it got here before you sprang for an AstroPhysics scope..... :lol:








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