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Saw something weird tonight

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#1 Hewhocaves

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 09:47 PM

So I just saw something weird while looking for meteors. It appeared to be a satellite, similar to the Iridium ones but it was flashing. It seemed to disappear and then reappear about magnitude -3 to -4. It was a bright yellowish white light and when I found it in binoculars I noticed that it still was there when it was dim and the light had gone to a sort of metallic green. It Started from behind the handle of the Big Dipper and then proceeded Eastward near Vega and finally deneb before disappearing from view. Could this have been one of those Russian satellites That was supposed to be super bright?

#2 ChicagoStarGazer

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 09:54 PM

I feel like I just saw the same thing it would appear and reappear also going east to west  I thought it was a plane but it had no signal lights. I was also thinking if it might have been the Mayak satellite 


Edited by ChicagoStarGazer, 12 August 2017 - 09:58 PM.

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#3 Hewhocaves

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 10:36 PM

Yeah, definitely not a plane. And not the Mayak satellite - it doesn't fit it's orbit at all. And its in the wrong place. 

 

Looking at Stellarium, its probably not an Iridium sattelite. But it could be one of the COSMOS satellites... dunno if they have the appropriately-sized reflectors. But it's the only satellite that more or less fits the path, the magnitude and the time. 



#4 LFORLEESEE

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 11:40 PM

I feel like I just saw the same thing it would appear and reappear also going east to west  I thought it was a plane but it had no signal lights. I was also thinking if it might have been the Mayak satellite 

l was looking at M16  last night with my EAA setup...Revolution R2 camera and 80mm achro and watched an object pass through M16

 

blinking at an even 6 seconds...Watch it for about a minute and then got the phone to record the last 30 seconds.

 

I'll check my phone and post some images.

 

 

It was 19.02 local east coast Australia so UT 10.02. Edit...12th August..Saturday evening OZ..

 

10.02 AM  DST..GMT


Edited by LFORLEESEE, 13 August 2017 - 01:51 AM.


#5 t_image

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 01:06 AM

So I just saw something weird while looking for meteors. It appeared to be a satellite, similar to the Iridium ones but it was flashing. It seemed to disappear and then reappear about magnitude -3 to -4. It was a bright yellowish white light and when I found it in binoculars I noticed that it still was there when it was dim and the light had gone to a sort of metallic green. It Started from behind the handle of the Big Dipper and then proceeded Eastward near Vega and finally deneb before disappearing from view. Could this have been one of those Russian satellites That was supposed to be super bright?

 

Not weird,

just new to you.

Lots of things up there passing by above your head reflecting sunlight,

you just don't notice.

 

Start by intentionally trying to find ones that will pass (Stellarium has a rewind/FF feature).

heavens-above will give you predicted brightness levels.

You might enjoy this guy (not in Stellarium unless you manually code in its TLEs in the satellite.json file):

http://www.heavens-a...&alt=348&tz=EST

 

also this one:

http://www.heavens-a...&alt=348&tz=EST

 

also try to spot some Iridiums without flares or Globalstar satellites (lots in Stellarium)

 

Also describing an object's pass without giving:

  • time of day
  • date
  • location observed
  • part of sky

(and "last night" isn't really descriptive on an international forum LFORLEESEE with a random timestamp,

since the timestamp of your post could be the same or different day since not everyone in the world is on the same day. Do you mean August 13, August 12, or August 11?????)

Without all four details, it isn't worth much when discussing satellites.


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#6 sg6

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 03:24 AM

Could simply be a tumbling satellite that as it tumbled was catching sunlight and so you see a fairly regular flash. You were in the right place at the right time.

Not sure of Calsky lists them, could be worth checking.

Getting to be so many satellites up there that it is close to impossible not to see a few, or many, and some are going to act a bit odd. One or two have gone up and failed to complete their last stage of achieving a stable or controlled orbit. Some no doubt have worked fine then one attitude rocket fails the other(s) fire and that is the end of it as it is now tumbling and unable to be stabilised.


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#7 cincosauces

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 03:30 AM

I have been observing the sky for a long time. I always get surprised at the large amount of things orbiting Earth. I even get the impression that there is everyday more and more junk out there. As others wrote, what you oberved was most probably a satellite, rocket part, or anything else related.

Also as noted above, it is always usueful and more convenient to specify time (to the nearest minute or better), place where you were, part of the sky, magnitude and its variations, and in which direction the object was apparently moving. With this info you (we) can hopefully track down and identify the object.

Cheers

Edited by cincosauces, 13 August 2017 - 03:33 AM.


#8 LFORLEESEE

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 05:31 AM

No pic no happensmile.gif

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#9 LFORLEESEE

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 05:33 AM

one more...

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#10 ChicagoStarGazer

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 06:40 AM

Yeah, definitely not a plane. And not the Mayak satellite - it doesn't fit it's orbit at all. And its in the wrong place. 

 

Looking at Stellarium, its probably not an Iridium sattelite. But it could be one of the COSMOS satellites... dunno if they have the appropriately-sized reflectors. But it's the only satellite that more or less fits the path, the magnitude and the time. 

I had saw it about 10-15 minutes if not less before I saw your message and like you said I saw it around Ursa Major traveling Eastward I lost it behind some trees but did have a constant dimming and brightening effect. When it flew over my Zenith it shined really bright almost like it took a pic of me haha must have been a  spy satellite( but don't spy satellites,military, and weather all go North to South and are unlisted?) I actually saw another one last night as well traveling north to south somewhere between the Summer Triangle I noticed the satellite gain brightness like Jupiter then fainted back in to a very dim star till the point where my eyes couldn't see it anymore . I broke my binoculars about a month ago so my eyes are all I have right now and it was pretty clear for our skies here in the city.


Edited by ChicagoStarGazer, 13 August 2017 - 06:47 AM.


#11 ChicagoStarGazer

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 06:42 AM

one more...

Nice catch. I wish I had clear skies like that in Australia here in light polluted Chicago; I'll see so much more 



#12 Hewhocaves

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 09:01 AM

lol.. you put one "offending" word (weird) in the title, and people think you're a complete n00b. Nice. smile.gif 

Anyways, its clearly a tumbling satellite. That was obvious shortly thereafter. I can't think of the last time I saw one tumble in over 20 years of observing, but oh well. Frankly, I probably wouldn't have posted if Mayak hadn't been launched recently. For the record, in case anyone is actually interested, the observation took place around 10:35 local time from my backyard in Morgantown, WV. As mentioned before it's path fairly closely matched one of the COSMOS satellites - particularly COSMOS 1536. Here's the satellite's path based on the notes I took at the time. 

 

Oh, and actually saw some Perseids before the moon came up and joined forces with the city lights to send me inside. For the record - lying in a hammock looking at the stars with Gustav Holst's "The Planets" playing though headphones is a pretty good way to spend an evening grin.gif

 

 

satellite.jpg


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#13 ChicagoStarGazer

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 11:10 AM

lol.. you put one "offending" word (weird) in the title, and people think you're a complete n00b. Nice. smile.gif 

Anyways, its clearly a tumbling satellite. That was obvious shortly thereafter. I can't think of the last time I saw one tumble in over 20 years of observing, but oh well. Frankly, I probably wouldn't have posted if Mayak hadn't been launched recently. For the record, in case anyone is actually interested, the observation took place around 10:35 local time from my backyard in Morgantown, WV. As mentioned before it's path fairly closely matched one of the COSMOS satellites - particularly COSMOS 1536. Here's the satellite's path based on the notes I took at the time. 

 

Oh, and actually saw some Perseids before the moon came up and joined forces with the city lights to send me inside. For the record - lying in a hammock looking at the stars with Gustav Holst's "The Planets" playing though headphones is a pretty good way to spend an evening grin.gif

 

 

attachicon.gifsatellite.jpg

Your right the cosmos 1536 was in my area around the time I was looking up.  I also see that that two other satellites which are rocket body parts from two other Russian cosmos satellites.

EDIT: these images were screenshots  from Celestron's skyportal app using my location here in Chicago IL

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Edited by ChicagoStarGazer, 13 August 2017 - 05:08 PM.


#14 t_image

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 03:16 PM

but don't spy satellites,military, and weather all go North to South and are unlisted?

All=no.
Also, they are happen to get listed somewhere......it's hard to hide an asset when it flies overhead, and they all reflect sunlight at some part of their orbit over some place on the Earth....

 

So the whole "North to South" thing is an over-simplification that quickly gets misinterpreted by observers....

There is a "Polar" orbit, which means the orbit has an inclination towards 90* degrees off the Equator, which puts it flying over the poles....

The problem is, from an observational standpoint,

one could see a polar orbiting satellite traverse across the sky from SOUTH to North if it is in its ascending node,

and the observer around the other side of the Earth (longitudinally)

will observer it then come back from the North and traverse across the sky from North to South in its descending node.
^of course opposite points longitudinally are in different parts of the day/night so this is just theoretical.

Additionally many polar orbiting satellites are also affixed (put in sun synchronous orbit)so their orbital plane drifts about 1 degree East every day,

allowing the orbital path to cross the same place on Earth at the same local mean time each day.

Such designed orbit allows consistent illumination and complete coverage of the sunlit Earth every twelve hours for imaging.
Then, for the most part, such satellites will image during the sunlit ascending node, so the descending node (North to South) can be seen at night....

So imagery satellites (environmental, weather, reconnaissance) will often chose this method.

 

But these are not the only ones you might see traversing North to South or South to North.

Communications satellites like the Iridium network also are in polar orbits.

 

Satellites with non-polar inclinations, due to the Earth rotating under the orbital plane,

will pass in all different directions throughout the year......
Objects orbital inclination (and direction) may often be decided due to needed launch direction

(to drop spent rocket stages into unoccupied locations).
Such determines the ISS inclination of 51.6.

Also explains why Israeli satellites (include their spy ones) are launched into orbits going East to West (opposite most other orbits).....

Additionally military and surveillance satellites may have other types of orbital inclinations

(63 for ocean surveillance, highly elliptical for lots of time over a certain point but launched into a lower orbit, or geostationary, etc)..

*And then thrown in the Earth is not a perfect sphere, so misshapes a spherical orbit, plus gravity, solar wind, etc. and the need to drift East that one degree, , and the cost of launching into a 90 degree orbit and you quickly find non 90 degree polar orbiting satellites......


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#15 t_image

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 03:34 PM

So Stellarium has a limited library,

and the Cosmos ones listed are the defunct ones.....

It would be interesting if the sighting was 1536.

Here's some details:

http://space.skyrock...t/tselina-d.htm

 

Cheers!



#16 russell23

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 03:53 PM

I saw the title of this thread and thought the first post was going to be "Clear skies!"  That would definitely be strange around here,




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