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Busy(er) skies?

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#1 Blue Sky Idiot

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Posted 19 September 2023 - 08:46 AM

Having returned to skygazing after a 20+Year absence, am i correct in thinking that the sky has gotten an awful lot busier in those last 20 years?


Seeing the odd satelite trial 20 years ago was not that common, at least not under general observation, but in my return, i'm astounded by the number of things wizzing around up there now.


I've seen 2's and 3's moving in the same FOV on my recent outings.


Am i lucky or is this the same for all now?

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#2 BlueMoon



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Posted 19 September 2023 - 08:49 AM

Welcome back to the hobby. You'll have to get used to it. Between Musk's Starlink sats whizzing all over, other foreign national satellite programs and more aviation, things have gotten busy sky-wise.


Clear skies.

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#3 Tom Axelsen

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Posted 19 September 2023 - 08:54 AM

Unfortunately it is reality for all of us. The number of satellites has exploded within the last 4 years.

Now it is common for me to see two, three or even four satellites at the same time in the 6.5 degree field of my binoculars.

#4 jcj380



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Posted 19 September 2023 - 09:11 AM

A few years ago, I might see one or two sats crossing my FOV during a session and thought it was sort of cool.  Now I see one or more every 10-15 minutes.  But I'm not an imager, so they really don't bother me. 

Edited by jcj380, 19 September 2023 - 09:11 AM.

#5 Alex65



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Posted 19 September 2023 - 09:11 AM

There are many more up there these days and I can probably see a dozen, if not more, without trying on an average star gazing session, especially in the period just after sunset or before sunrise. I am also almost certain to have one or two moving through the eyepiece view I have looking through my telescope every night. Having said that, all these satellites don't really bother me and sometimes I just sit back and watch them for a while as they all silently pass above me. I do enjoy seeing the long ISS passes and, occasionally, I'll see a Sky - Train low over the southern horizon. 


In contrast, when I first started out star gazing, way back in 1978, there were very few satellites about. In fact, they were so few that every time that I saw one I'd log the event in my early logbook! As for seeing one passing through an eyepiece view in the late 70s / early 80s, I only ever logged a single incident of that happening to me at that time (in 1981). 


I used to look out for the flashes from Iridium satellites, but I believe that these are no longer up there. In the 1980s and 90s I'd also watch out for the Space Shuttle and the MIR going past. But yeah, definitely more of 'em up there these days than twenty years ago. 

#6 Silent_Light


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Posted 19 September 2023 - 09:13 AM

Prior to the new satellite trains our dear friend Elon musk has launched there were about 2500 EVER in orbit, Elon has more than doubled that with an additional 3500....with plans for another 37,000.

Sat night we saw flares at about mag-2 from between 1 and 4 satellites at a time, every 20-30 secs on the northeast horizon for AN HOUR straight.

#7 Sebastian_Sajaroff


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Posted 19 September 2023 - 09:57 AM

Sadly, satellites became a nuisance, like a mosquito cloud.

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#8 Cpk133



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Posted 19 September 2023 - 11:24 AM

I used a 1x night vision scope the other day and I couldn’t believe how many satellites i saw crisscrossing one part of the sky.  It was a real eye opener, no pun intended.  I’m used to them wizzing through a high magnification view once in a while, now I know why.  It was kind of creepy, felt like scifi in real life.

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#9 BlueMoon



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Posted 19 September 2023 - 11:35 AM

When I was a kid in the '60's with my first telescopes, it was really an exciting treat to see a satellite transit in a night. Now, you can't help but see them all night.


Here's something to try. Fire up Stellarium, make sure the Satellite plug-in loads and the satellite database is updated. Turn off "Atmosphere" in the control bar so the display it stays night. Click the Satellite icon in the control bar. Choose somewhere in the sky and advance the elapsed time in the control bar. Satellites are whizzing all over the place. Singles, groups, chains of them on occasion. They are not all Starlink but a quickly increasing percentage of them are.


Clear(er) nights.

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#10 JoeFaz


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Posted 19 September 2023 - 02:34 PM

I saw one of the Starlink trains for the first time a few weeks ago, and was previously unaware of their existence. I had just listened to my favorite UFO podcast earlier that day on a long drive, so needless to say my heart skipped a beat for a minute before I realized I was looking at a line of satellites!

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#11 Keith Rivich

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Posted 19 September 2023 - 03:14 PM

I'm sure it has but I really don't pay attention to them anymore. Except ISS, Hubble and a few brighter satellites. 

#12 rowdy388



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Posted 19 September 2023 - 03:33 PM

When I started the hobby meteors were considered relatively commonplace events, but spotting a satellite was something special.

How times have changed.

#13 star acres

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Posted 19 September 2023 - 11:49 PM

I like man made space objects. They're even better with a telescope. I wish I could track meteors. Busy? You don't have to take a number and wait in line to look at Mars.
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#14 rgk901


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Posted 20 September 2023 - 08:55 AM

just wait till you spot a train of 40 or so musk satellites... not sure what will be going on in the eyepiece (or in cameras) when another 40,000 are up there lol

#15 NDBirdman


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Posted 20 September 2023 - 11:26 AM

Space JUNK.... we could do without all of them.  Good only for countries to spy on other countries or rich guys making more and more $$.  The human race should be ashamed of the way they are polluting space, I know I am.

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#16 star69


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Posted 20 September 2023 - 03:00 PM


I do not like. 


I am a newcomer. It really surprised me, despite what I know about "space junk", to see them cross the FoV so often.

#17 kimcheese


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Posted 20 September 2023 - 03:17 PM

Rare not to see a satellite.  Couple nights ago stepped outside to see if there were any Northern Lights. 5 satellites within a 15 minute span.  That's with eyes that have not accommodated to the dark night sky. 

Guessing everyone has seen a Starlink train. Yes, lots of space "junk".  

#18 frankreed45


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Posted 20 September 2023 - 07:46 PM

I'm now almost 78 y/o , have been an amateur astronomer since 1957. I can remember when the sky was dark and there were NO satellites. I am not in great health as I once was, but what is really making me consider giving up the hobby is the light pollution and the satellites. With respect to the satellite problem - we ain't seen nothing yet !

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#19 Rrgramps


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Posted 22 September 2023 - 12:11 PM

About 4 months ago, this year of 2023, I took up astronomy with binoculars. I’ve done that in the previous decades, at 76, but this time, intend to get serious. Really didn’t expect to visually see so many satellites, even with the unaided eye. We are infested with these things. And yeah, I thought the first satellite train was a UAP. 

Sometimes I track them with my binoculars. Need to make lemonade out of these lemons. 

Edited by Rrgramps, 22 September 2023 - 12:12 PM.

#20 KEEN 1@


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Posted 22 September 2023 - 12:54 PM

 You are correct Frank Reed 45 , "we ain't seen nothing yet". The number of various 'spy satellites will continue to grow and the nighttime military air traffic to Europe has reached its' highest level since WW II. More to follow.  Ralph '42'

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