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Strange space craft

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#1 timscope

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Posted 15 April 2024 - 11:33 AM

I was observing last night and noticed a bright satellite passing. It appeared slightly strange so I looked at it through a pair of binoculars. It looked two-lobed. One half was white and fairly dim. the other side was bright green like a laser. My brother took a look and confirmed what I saw. It rose in the east and moved west finally setting near Orion. Any idea what satellite this might have been?

 

 

Thank you!!

 

 



#2 Sincos

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Posted 15 April 2024 - 11:51 AM

welcome.gif timscope .  If it moves in the sky and is not an airplane or ballon try the site HeavensAbove . Old rocket boosters from decades  ago and new satellites are all listed . Current times for the ISS and Tiangong , even the Hubble telescope and latest Starlink launches  . Just note the time and location where it was seen and explore this site to find out what it is .

 Good Luck and Clear Skies


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#3 NinePlanets

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Posted 15 April 2024 - 12:48 PM

If it rose in the east and set in the west it probably wasn't a satellite.

 

But then again, ARE there any retrograde satellites?


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#4 Bubbagumps

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Posted 15 April 2024 - 02:11 PM

You sure it was a satellite and not an aircraft ?



#5 NinePlanets

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Posted 15 April 2024 - 02:57 PM

Aircraft have green position marker lights on the right wingtip. If it passed you while you were facing south-ish, and it was heading west, that green wingtip was facing toward you. The white part very well could have been the underside of the fuselage illuminated by a landing light, and it would be much dimmer than the green marker light.

 

Next!  ;)



#6 kathyastro

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Posted 15 April 2024 - 03:09 PM

If it rose in the east and set in the west it probably wasn't a satellite.

 

But then again, ARE there any retrograde satellites?

Retrograde orbits are so fuel-expensive that they are pretty much unheard-of.  So I agree, probably not a satellite.



#7 jhwilmes

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Posted 15 April 2024 - 03:24 PM

There are retrograde satellites, but they are rare, and usually launched for a purpose that requires such an orbit or because the country of launch doesn't have overflight permissions to their east (normal direction of launch). Boosters used to launch them could be sufficiently bright for what you saw - but you mention it having a "green light", so most likely a high-altitude aircraft. I'm not aware of any spacecraft that would have a green area brighter than the normal white color.

#8 Ben the Ignorant

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Posted 15 April 2024 - 04:44 PM

When discussing something unusual, absolutely show a drawing of it, and add any and all info that goes along.



#9 timscope

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Posted 15 April 2024 - 06:55 PM

Thank you! I think you guys are probably correct about it being an aircraft. The green light was not blinking and the object was moving quite slowly.



#10 Ben the Ignorant

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Posted 15 April 2024 - 07:57 PM

If it was only an aircraft you saw 10.000 of them before so what drew you two brothers' special attention to it?

 

First it looked like a satellite to your unaided eyes so it was only one point. But the aircrafts' multiple lights are easily seen with the naked eye from tens of kilometers away, so unless you don't have sharp vision, you should have seen that.

 

And then your brother didn't recognize it as a plane or a chopper, neither with the naked eye, nor with the binoculars, so why?

 

What experience do you have as a stargazer or a plane spotter, and a daytime and nighttime binocular observer?

 

You said it looked "slightly strange"; what made it strange to you and your brother? Yes, I know I am inquisitive but can you post a drawing of that thing? Your "two-lobed" description is intriguing and I would very much like to understand what that was, or at least picture what you saw in my mind.

 

My name forces me to ask unending questions. grin.gif



#11 timscope

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Posted 15 April 2024 - 09:51 PM

I will try to post a drawing tomorrow. Thank you for your questions! I do a fair amount of observing with binoculars and small telescopes as well as naked-eye satellite watching and stargazing. If it was an aircraft it was a very strange one. Planes pass over our location so often that for fun my brother and I watch them "occult stars"lol.gif   The object appeared to the unaided eye as a point of light and did not change its appearance in the several minutes it was visible. Both of us noticed that a faint green tinge was visible without optics. That is why I decided to check it out with binoculars. I attempted to find it on Heavens-Above but could not find any trajectory that was a match.

 

I have heard that some sats have lasers mounted on them and was wondering if that could be what we were seeing.undecided.gif

 

 

The same night a huge satellite train passed over and we saw a flaring sat.


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#12 Ben the Ignorant

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Posted 16 April 2024 - 01:42 AM

Thank you for your cooperation, citizen! Some sats do carry lasers but they scan large areas swiftly, and don't focus on a single spot for long. Besides, what is special in your location that a satellite needs to laze it for a long time? You don't sound like you are a spy.

 

A spy wouldn't report strange things he sees over the US to us, he would report to his foreign overlords. smirk.gif

 

I track random satellites almost each time they cross my viewing field up to 115x, and while I keep hoping I will see their shape, they are always dots. Except for the ISS of course, but its size is far outside the norm. So no way you could see a "two-lobed" sat with a binoc. With two distinct colors, to boot.

 

Only two exceptions occured to this: when moongazing a satellite passed in front of the Moon, and its boxy shape was just barely perceptible: a square body with tiny solar panels. Completely black by contrast of course, but somehow when sunlit their shape can't be noticed. That was many years ago, and by a funny coincidence, a satellite with the same shape did that, too, some years later. Square box with microscopic arms, and solar panels just barely large ebough to be different than dots.

 

It never happened again since, not even against the Sun that I often watch.


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#13 timscope

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Posted 16 April 2024 - 07:41 AM

Two lobed probably gives the wrong impression. Imagine a Really tight double star. So close they appear to touch. Half green half white. no structure visible.



#14 bjkaras

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Posted 17 April 2024 - 08:24 PM

Some satellites that are in very high orbits might appear to be retrograde. In a past job when I was a civilian contractor for the Air Force I worked on a project like that.

If it rose in the east and set in the west it probably wasn't a satellite.

 

But then again, ARE there any retrograde satellites?




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