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The “brightest thing in the night sky” is now in orbit

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#1 Ishtim

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 01:07 PM

Not sure how I feel about humans putting shiny objects in orbit for "no scientific purpose", but it happened over the weekend according to theverge.com. 

The article is quoted saying, "Other than serving as nighttime eye candy, the Humanity Star has no scientific purpose. But it also won’t be around forever, either. Rocket Lab expects the Humanity Star to stay in space for about nine months before its orbit decays and the satellite falls back to Earth. So get out and see this thing while you still can. Rocket Lab thinks it may be visible from the US in the next couple of weeks."

 

There is also a website setup (link in article) to help predict visibility (or knowledge of when to avoid it)...
 

https://www.theverge...ron-test-launch


 


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#2 Joshiewowa

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 01:20 PM

Wonder what magnitude it will be... I imagine something on par with Iridium flares at least.  Probably brighter, since it's designed to reflect.  I'll take pictures of it probably, might be cool.  Hopefully it's not a trend for the future though...

 

Hopefully someone smarter than me can come up with a map of where it will be in the sky à la Heaven's Above.  (hint hintgrin.gif )


Edited by Joshiewowa, 24 January 2018 - 01:23 PM.


#3 Joe1950

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 01:26 PM

The tracker says I won't be able to see the satellite from my location for 2087 hours! That's 87 days! Who do I call to complain? 4.gif


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#4 jimr2

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 01:28 PM

As far as Humanity Stars leader said about this thing they put into orbit, "it will be a shared experience for all of humanity" as it's something that everyone can look up and see no matter what's going on in their lives, etc, don't we already have that in all the visible satellites that are in orbit now, including the (highly) visible ISS??

 

Again, hope they're right about it's orbit soon decaying so that it returns to earth w/in just a few short months--and doesn't become a trend....


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#5 airbleeder

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 01:40 PM

   Sarcasm, Joe? I lean toward complaining when it IS visible. I only hope enough people don't see it as treasure and lead to even more needless junk up there. 


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#6 NEOhio

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 01:43 PM

I think it will only be visible right around sunrise or sunset, when the sun is positioned to illuminate it. The website says: "The Humanity Star is visible in the night sky from anywhere on Earth at dawn or dusk as it passes overhead." So, it should not impact dark sky astronomy too much. 

 

But the next stage presumably will be to send up an "artsy" satellite with high-power LED lighting, visible throughout the night. 


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#7 kingjamez

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 01:43 PM

It's more useful than a Roadster, and I think the Roadster is pretty cool.

 

Good for them. It's not like this is going to happen often.... people don't fly rockets to orbit for fun very often. Let them enjoy a cool test launch and show off to the world their achievement of reaching orbit. 


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#8 havasman

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 01:51 PM

What an #@@%@)% !

Hey Peter Beck: JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN DOESN'T MEAN YOU SHOULD.

 

And actually this is already a trend, just one that is having trouble getting funding to implement. With privatized space travel, that should change.


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#9 David Knisely

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 01:55 PM

Well, it hasn't made it onto Heavens-Above yet, so I don't know when it might be visible here.  In any case, from its size, it probably won't be quite as bright as the old Echo balloon satellites (and certainly not as bright as a full Iridium flare, as they get to around -9 or so).  Clear skies to you.


Edited by David Knisely, 24 January 2018 - 01:58 PM.


#10 MEE

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 02:02 PM

Hmmm... I wonder if Peter Beck also made a donation to the International Dark Sky Association...:
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#11 BillP

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 02:05 PM

What the press release says:

 

The goal of the project is to create “a shared experience for all of humanity,” according to Rocket Lab. “No matter where you are in the world, or what is happening in your life, everyone will be able to see the Humanity Star in the night sky,”

 

What it should have said:

 

The goal of the project is to create “a shared experience for all of humanity,” according to Rocket Lab. “No matter where you are in the world, or what is happening in your life, this eye sore will be visible to ruin your evening.”

 

Hopefully this little stunt will be the wake up call for some new international law (at best) or just U.S. law (at worst) that makes it illegal to do things like this without prior approval from all the states and countries affected.


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#12 BillP

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 02:15 PM

Well, it hasn't made it onto Heavens-Above yet, so I don't know when it might be visible here.  In any case, from its size, it probably won't be quite as bright as the old Echo balloon satellites (and certainly not as bright as a full Iridium flare, as they get to around -9 or so).  Clear skies to you.

 

What the company said:  Accounting for a lower orbit and larger mirrors, the Humanity Star could be brighter than most stars in the sky, though not as bright as the planets.  It will orbit every 90 minutes and be visible at night from +46 to -46 latitude.  Later this will change and it will be visible at dusk or dawn planet-wide.

 

Go here if you want to track where it is in orbit currently.  http://www.thehumanitystar.com/



#13 Ishtim

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 02:17 PM

Have a look...

Peter-Beck_Humanity-Star.jpg
 


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#14 wrnchhead

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 02:18 PM

I am not going into a frothing rage here, but this is an awful thing. Why do we need to add stuff to the sky for all humanity, when the ENTIRE UNIVERSE is out there, and tons we could see if we weren't burning electricity to pollute the sky from land! 


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#15 Joshiewowa

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 02:21 PM

Well, it hasn't made it onto Heavens-Above yet, so I don't know when it might be visible here.  In any case, from its size, it probably won't be quite as bright as the old Echo balloon satellites (and certainly not as bright as a full Iridium flare, as they get to around -9 or so).  Clear skies to you.

I think it might be brighter than flares, considering the orbiting altitude, and the fact that it's designed to be reflective.



#16 treadmarks

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 02:25 PM

 

“No matter where you are in the world, or what is happening in your life, everyone will be able to see this advertisement for our company in the night sky,” Beck said in a statement.

I fixed his quote so that it is truthful.


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#17 BrooksObs

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 02:29 PM

Just as brothers Bill and David indicate above, this satellite being “brightest thing in the night sky” is just so much Tommy Rot! The small physical dimensions of the individual reflective panels prevents the specular flashes they will create to something like a small fraction of those produced by Iridium satellites. PLUS, these flashes will be visible only from select narrow ground tracks on the Earth during any one pass. In addition, depending of the object's rotation rate, each flash might last no more than a  fraction of a second , or be seen as a series of such very brief flashes, as the satellite passes by. All and all, this is nothing but yet another much ado about nothing from the hobbyist's standpoint.

 

BrooksObs


Edited by BrooksObs, 24 January 2018 - 02:47 PM.

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#18 Ishtim

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 02:43 PM

...depending of the object's rotation rate, each flash might last no more than a  fraction of a second , or be seen as a series of such very brief flashes, as the satellite passes by.

IMO with a high enough "spin rate" the "flashes" would appear more as a steady source.

 

 

the Humanity Star is a geodesic sphere made from carbon fibre with 65 highly reflective panels. It spins rapidly, reflecting the sun’s rays back to Earth, creating a flashing light that can be seen against a backdrop of stars.

Edited by Ishtim, 24 January 2018 - 02:43 PM.


#19 Ishtim

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 02:47 PM

I just read the "Mission Statement" confused1.gif

 

"For millennia, humans have focused on their terrestrial lives and issues. Seldom do we as a species stop, look to the stars and realize our position in the universe as an achingly tiny speck of dust in the grandness of it all.

... The Humanity Star is to remind us of this.

... My hope is that everyone looking up at the Humanity Star will look past it to the expanse of the universe, feel a connection to our place in it and think a little differently about their lives, actions and what is important.

Wait for when the Humanity Star is overhead and take your loved ones outside to look up and reflect. You may just feel a connection to the more than seven billion other people on this planet we share this ride with." Peter Beck

 


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#20 t_image

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 02:58 PM

So the six objects in orbit as a result of the RocketLab launch (quite impressive cheap launching tech) for the U.S. company,

are yet to be identified.

2018-010 A,B,C,D,E,F

However, their TLE's are available, and a quick look at their locations in orbit show:

 

All have a ~83 degree inclination (to be expected as such was the target).....

Moving almost polar Over the North pole and then back to pass over the South pole and then back North.......

^
C-538x495 82.92 43165  /497.5x541.2
(tiny separation)
B-537x496 82.93 43164 /499.4x539.7

(distance)
self and moving
E-538x505 82.92
{lots of distance}
by self
D-530x296  82.93   43166  /299.4x532.5

(distance)

F-534 295 82.92   43168   /296.7x533.8

A-535 295 82.91   43163   /298.2x537.5
 

 

So the Pioneer Dove (Planet) was placed into a ~500x300 orbit by a Rocket Lab Maxwell Deployer....

 

The Lemur-2 (Spire) satellites are most probably C and B, with E being the delivery vehicle, as Lemur sats run around at ~490kmx500km

 

So D,A,F are left as Humanity Star candidates....

 

Looking at their website, it is obvious that Humanity star is either A or F, meaning D is probably the Dove sat.

http://www.thehumani...ar.com/#tracker

 

Meaning  A is probably Humanity star.

So Norad 43163 is Humanity Star if you want to find it on Heavens-Above or other tracking programs before it is officially identified.

2018-010A              
1 43163U 18010A   18024.06623769  .00000324 -10216-5  00000+0 0  9995
2 43163  82.9148 136.5167 0176181 211.1439 148.3582 15.52059739   462

 

Note that it will be currently traveling with the Maxwell Launcher (F) or maybe it is the R/B and E is the Maxwell launcher....

 

So you should see two objects before they drift apart as F at lower orbit by a few km will speed ahead in the coming days......


Edited by t_image, 24 January 2018 - 03:22 PM.

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#21 kingjamez

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 03:00 PM

 

I just read the "Mission Statement" confused1.gif

 

"For millennia, humans have focused on their terrestrial lives and issues. Seldom do we as a species stop, look to the stars and realize our position in the universe as an achingly tiny speck of dust in the grandness of it all.

... The Humanity Star is to remind us of this.

... My hope is that everyone looking up at the Humanity Star will look past it to the expanse of the universe, feel a connection to our place in it and think a little differently about their lives, actions and what is important.

Wait for when the Humanity Star is overhead and take your loved ones outside to look up and reflect. You may just feel a connection to the more than seven billion other people on this planet we share this ride with." Peter Beck

 

I can get behind that.



#22 t_image

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 03:11 PM

No need for the speculation any more:

The tracker says I won't be able to see the satellite from my location for 2087 hours! That's 87 days! Who do I call to complain?

 

I think it will only be visible right around sunrise or sunset, when the sun is positioned to illuminate it. The website says: "The Humanity Star is visible in the night sky from anywhere on Earth at dawn or dusk as it passes overhead." So, it should not impact dark sky astronomy too much.

 

Well, it hasn't made it onto Heavens-Above yet, so I don't know when it might be visible here.  In any case, from its size, it probably won't be quite as bright as the old Echo balloon satellites (and certainly not as bright as a full Iridium flare, as they get to around -9 or so).  Clear skies to you.

 

What the company said:  Accounting for a lower orbit and larger mirrors, the Humanity Star could be brighter than most stars in the sky, though not as bright as the planets.  It will orbit every 90 minutes and be visible at night from +46 to -46 latitude.  Later this will change and it will be visible at dusk or dawn planet-wide.

 

It can be seen on H-A as 43163 in the satellite database lookup.

Also known as 2018-010A in Stellarium.

In Stellarium, you can fast forward and watch it pass over your programmed location and see where the Sun in during an over-the-horizon pass to understand whether or not it will be visible to you in the near future.


Edited by t_image, 24 January 2018 - 03:31 PM.

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#23 t_image

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 03:19 PM

 

...depending of the object's rotation rate, each flash might last no more than a  fraction of a second , or be seen as a series of such very brief flashes, as the satellite passes by.

IMO with a high enough "spin rate" the "flashes" would appear more as a steady source.

 

 

the Humanity Star is a geodesic sphere made from carbon fibre with 65 highly reflective panels. It spins rapidly, reflecting the sun’s rays back to Earth, creating a flashing light that can be seen against a backdrop of stars.

As to speculation on flashes,

there is already an orbiting disco ball that can be seen as an example:

 

https://www.cloudyni...-flash-example/

^I included a video I took of the Japanese satellite link in the thread.....



#24 rzep8

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 03:23 PM

Perhaps he can launch himself into orbit the next time? That would make a fascinating re-entry.


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#25 gfamily

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 03:27 PM

They have tweeted about their 'Humanity Star' (sic)

https://twitter.com/...210833335431169

 

I have responded

 

What a self centred idea; there's plenty up there already, like stars and planets that can help us consider our place. A meaningless ball is  just being a movable source of light pollution, unlike the ISS that is actually doing something of value.


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