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Ever spot anything moving while looking through a scope?

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#1 Borodog

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Posted 02 November 2020 - 12:47 PM

I've never before spotted something moving while looking through a telescope, and then it happened 3 times over the course of 2 days a couple of weeks ago. One of them was an airplane, which I won't really count. But the other two were very, very high and clearly not airplanes. Each was maybe about the brightness of a 12th magnitude star (give or take; just a guess) and moving very, very slowly. The first was actually spotted by my 8 year old son while we were looking at the Andromeda galaxy in the 10" Dobsonian (1200 mm focal length, 15 mm 100° AFOV eyepiece with 0.5X focal reducer, so 1.25° FOV). He likes to tell stories so at first I didn't believe him, but I looked and sure enough there it was. I tracked it for almost 5 minutes before losing it behind the trees over something like 5 or 10 degrees; I'm not sure exactly. About the length of Cygnus, nose star to tail star, however much that is. It was moving directly for Polaris, so I presume it was a satellite in a high polar orbit.

 

The second time was a couple days later, through the camera. I had shot Jupiter and Saturn and was playing around with the settings to see how faint I could observe untracked. Scope was pointed basically straight up at a patch with no bright stars, magnification about 240X. I was twiddling settings in SharpCap to where I could just barely see faint stars drifting across the screen when I saw another faint "star", about the same brightness, drifting across the screen at a somewhat acute angle to the background stars. Since the background stars are drifting in right ascension, I presume this was another very high polar orbit satellite, although I have no way of knowing.

 

Finding 2 very high, faint moving objects in 2 days with a telescope seemed like it might be a once-in-a-lifetime event to me. Anybody else ever spot something moving in a scope?


Edited by Borodog, 02 November 2020 - 12:58 PM.


#2 Astroman007

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Posted 02 November 2020 - 12:55 PM

Satellites, possibly. Though most move quite fast, some do appear to move much slower, perhaps due to distance. Satellites or other space junk crossing the FOV is a very common sighting here, especially in the warmer months. How long have you been into the hobby?


Edited by Astroman007, 02 November 2020 - 12:56 PM.

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#3 epee

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Posted 02 November 2020 - 12:56 PM

I've had rather bright streaks of light, slow enough to seem like trickles of rain down a pane of glass pass through my field of view. I assume they were satellites.

 

I once saw something dark, moving slowly with a tumbling look to it; have no idea what that was.

 

I've seen birds, bats and bugs numerous times.


Edited by epee, 02 November 2020 - 12:57 PM.

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#4 Chris Johnson

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Posted 02 November 2020 - 12:57 PM

If you have an app like sky safari etc turn on satellites and asteroids.


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#5 Borodog

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Posted 02 November 2020 - 01:01 PM

Satellites, possibly. Though most move quite fast, some do appear to move much slower, perhaps due to distance. Satellites or other space junk crossing the FOV is a very common sighting here, especially in the warmer months. How long have you been into the hobby?

I've just gotten back into it recently. My first astrophotograph was a month ago today. But 25 years ago I taught astronomy labs at the university level and looked through many a scope for many an hour and never saw a satellite or other moving object through them.


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#6 Borodog

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Posted 02 November 2020 - 01:03 PM

I've had rather bright streaks of light, slow enough to seem like trickles of rain down a pane of glass pass through my field of view. I assume they were satellites.

 

I once saw something dark, moving slowly with a tumbling look to it; have no idea what that was.

 

I've seen birds, bats and bugs numerous times.

The black thing may have been the so-called "black knight" bit of space debris, which is a tumbling bit of black fabric from some mission or other if I recall correctly.

 

I wasn't counting bugs; I've seen those multiple times, especially in front of the moon.


Edited by Borodog, 02 November 2020 - 01:06 PM.


#7 spereira

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Posted 02 November 2020 - 01:05 PM

Take a look here at stuffin.space and you can get a feel for how crowded with satellites the sky you are looking through is these days.  :lol:

 

smp


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#8 Borodog

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Posted 02 November 2020 - 01:08 PM

Take a look here at stuffin.space and you can get a feel for how crowded with satellites the sky you are looking through is these days.  lol.gif

 

smp

Wow that's an awesome site.


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#9 Astroman007

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Posted 02 November 2020 - 01:12 PM

I've just gotten back into it recently. My first astrophotograph was a month ago today. But 25 years ago I taught astronomy labs at the university level and looked through many a scope for many an hour and never saw a satellite or other moving object through them.

There are far more artificial satellites clogging up the space immediately surrounding our planet than there were just a few decades ago. A truly unfortunate state of affairs. So much of that is completely unnecessary. And they wish to add even more...


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#10 REC

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Posted 02 November 2020 - 01:47 PM

Wow that's an awesome site.

Yikes!



#11 REC

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Posted 02 November 2020 - 01:48 PM

I see them all the time. They are a PITA!


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#12 river-z

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Posted 02 November 2020 - 01:51 PM

I’ve seen satellites pass through my view on several occasions. One time an airplane passed through and scared the crap out of me with its magnified, blinking lights. We get a lot of low flying planes and helicopters here in LA.

#13 spkerer

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Posted 02 November 2020 - 01:54 PM

It’s uncommon for me to spend an evening or night observing and NOT see something moving through the field of view at some point(s).
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#14 Mr Dobson

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Posted 02 November 2020 - 01:57 PM

I see satellites during most viewing sessions. It is so common that I am surprised when I do not see them.


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#15 rathbaster

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Posted 02 November 2020 - 05:58 PM

I've seen Satellites and shooting stars through the eyepiece on many occasions over the years.



#16 bigdob24

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Posted 02 November 2020 - 07:46 PM

One can see movement in real time while watching our day star.

On several occasions I’ve seen erupting flares , it’s not fast in the eyepiece but in the grand scheme of things it’s a large fast movement.

‘The spicules are always jumping around and easy to see change in a short time if seeing allows.

The sun is always changing and interesting to observe.


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#17 havasman

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Posted 02 November 2020 - 08:26 PM

I don't remember a session where I haven't seen some meteorite, meteor or satellite move through the FOV. I don't think one CAN look at the M42 area in wide field and not see satellites creeping around.

 

Of course everything we can see, the planet we're standing on and we are all moving through space. But that's different.


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#18 MellonLake

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Posted 02 November 2020 - 08:31 PM

It is rare that I don't see a couple of satellites in a viewing session.

#19 Rapidray

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Posted 02 November 2020 - 09:06 PM

All the time smile.gif



#20 Tony Flanders

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Posted 03 November 2020 - 05:36 AM

The title seems odd to me. I might ask:

 

Have you ever spent an evening looking through a scope without spotting anything moving?

 

Probably yes, long ago. But with today's vastly increased satellite fleet, I can't remember the last time that I spent more than a half hour at the eyepiece without seeing a satellite.

 

And I see plenty of airplanes and meteors, too.


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#21 Supergiant

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Posted 03 November 2020 - 11:20 AM

Not a new topic--my 1964 Field Guide to the Stars mentions observing artificial satellites.  I see these every session--



#22 Tyson M

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Posted 03 November 2020 - 03:23 PM

I see satellites all the time. 



#23 astrohamp

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Posted 03 November 2020 - 03:50 PM

Airplanes, satellites, meteors, and just once the International Space Station... the glint from the solar panels.



#24 BillP

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Posted 03 November 2020 - 04:47 PM

I've just gotten back into it recently. My first astrophotograph was a month ago today. But 25 years ago I taught astronomy labs at the university level and looked through many a scope for many an hour and never saw a satellite or other moving object through them.

I've seen lots of things moving thru the FOV while observing, like birds and aircraft passing in front of the Moon or thru a star field, weather balloons lazily traversing the FOV, satellites, meteors.

 

As far as unidentifiable stuff, once a weird black shape over the Moon, could not tell if it was in our atmosphere or traversing the surface of the Moon although it looked like the latter.  Caught a few quite bright flashes, some very bright so unlikely a satellite glint, almost like if a meteor burnt up coming straight at me.  In the atmosphere have seen a strange triangle formation of red lights come from just above the horizon to overhead with no sounds to be heard -- no idea what it/they could have been.  Anyway, not a stranger to seeing things that defy explanation by me given the limited data I had observing them.  None of them though gave me pause to think they came from some other planet.  Just stuff I saw that I have no explanation for....but then again I do not know of everything in existence on Earth, either man made or natural.  None of us do.


Edited by BillP, 03 November 2020 - 05:57 PM.

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#25 John Carlini

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Posted 03 November 2020 - 08:09 PM

I have seen satellites move through my FOV quite a lot. I've also seen meteors but they have been very infrequent.




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