Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fun day / Five Objs

Lil A and I got to spend all day together when the Mrs and lil N went up to Cinci. Me n lil A basically played around the house all day. We even walked to the McDs way down the street and ate some lunch. Of course, we also watched the Buckeyes put on a decent (not great IMO due to certain lapses in defense) game with Eastern Michigan, who, I have to admit have a pretty good QB.

Later in the evening after lil A had gone to bed, the Mrs and lil N finally returned. Shortly thereafter, lil N (whining and crying) went upstairs to go to bed.

Since I had my list already worked out, I quickly grabbed my pre-made list and headed outside. However, I forgot one thing. I was wearing shorts, a t-shirt and short socks. And it was windy and it was pretty cool outside.

But anyways, since my last session was kerflugled due to a certain satellite not showing up when I thought it should, I was a little anxious since I didn't know where to look when. I decided that I would just keep my eyes peeled in the general direction that I should be looking, even though the first thing on my list was 10 minutes away. So I waited and waited ... and waited. After about ten minutes I was convinced I wasn't going to see anything and then WOOSH! There was a bright flare across the sky. It was either a shooting start or an iridium flare. None of the sites I look at mentioned any possible sightings in my area, but they are a bit tricky to predict and, until recently when software was developed to help more accurately when they would occur, it was pretty much a crap shoot. Here is a cool story about Iridium flares.

About 30 seconds later, Cosmos 1400 showed up, exactly where it should have been at exactly the time it was supposed to be there (8:57pm). My anxiety was not helped due to this being marked as a fairly dim object (3.3 to 4.0 magnitude) but I saw it just fine. This helped to assure me that indeed the clock on the stove was correct. The int'l code for Cosmos 1400 is 1982-079A (thus is was launched in 1982). Just for fun, the launch vehicle for the Cosmos 1400 was a modified R-7 Semyorka which according to Wikipedia was the world's first true intercontinental ballistic missile.

Oh, lest I forget, before going outside I also grabbed my handy dandy $1.99 9-LED pocket flashlight. I took a couple post-it notes, cut them into little squares and taped them over the lens to deaden the light a little bit. This worked great! Later on, I took an orange sharpie and colored over the post-it notes and then added another layer, essentially giving me a very dim and red light... which is perfect since red light doesn't kill night vision (just ask any armed forces veteran).

Next was the Cosmos 2322 rocket booster at 9:09pm. Again, right on schedule. This particular rocket body is that of a Zenit-2. The int'l code for the Cosmos 2322 rocket booster is 1995-058B.

It was getting a bit colder, so I ran inside while there was a brief break and put on a sweatshirt.

Up next was the Cosmos 2428 rocket booster which showed up around 9:19pm. This particular rocket booster is a Zenit-2M. I'm not sure the difference between the Zenit-2 and the Zenit-2M. The 2M is newer, but carries slightly less than the regular 2 to LEO (low earth orbit) and it can't even get into SSO (sun synchronous orbit). It even weighs more. Maybe it's a reliability thing. *shrug* The int'l code for the Cosmos 2428 rocket booster is 2009-029B.

Next was the Cosmos 1833 rocket booster (yeah, there's alot of Cosmos satellites and rocket boosters that put them up there) at 9:21pm. This is also a regular Zenit-2 rocket booster whose int'l code is 1987-027B.

All of the Cosmos satellites or rocket boosters that I saw this evening were for Soviet electronic intelligence (ELINT).

My legs were starting to get a bit chilly, so I went in and put on some jeans and wool socks.

I went back outside since I still had another 7 or so on my list. There were some fairly bright ones that I should have been able to see, however... I didn't spot one. The only thing I spotted was a very brief satellite 9:53pm heading NNW at 50 degrees. It wasn't on my list and checking my satellite sites didn't turn up anything. So, maybe I was just catching the tail end of a departing aircraft (I had been fooled a mere 10 minutes previously by one coming out of the NW and it wasn't until it was in the W that the familiar blinking red and blue lights were noticeable.)

I had about 3 more on my list at that point, but I came inside because I was cold, some low clouds were coming in and obstructing the sky, and I had missed 3 or 4 others since 9:30 and some were very bright... so my game was officially off.

Updated June 21 2011 to put the sightings in my standard template format

Here's the time-line of this evening:
Date: 25-Sep-2010 Saturday

8:57 PM - Name: shooting star - Magnitude: 2.0
Int'l Designator: none

8:57 PM - Name: Cosmos 1400 - Magnitude: 3.3
Int'l Designator: 1982-079-A

9:09 PM - Name: Cosmos 2322 Rocket - Magnitude: 2.2
Int'l Designator: Int'l Designator: 1995-058-B

9:19 PM - Name: Cosmos 2428 Rocket aka SL-16 R/B - Magnitude: 2.5
Int'l Designator: 2007-029-B

9:21 PM - Name: Cosmos 1833 Rocket - Magnitude: 3.0
Int'l Designator: 1987-027-B

9:52 PM - Name: JB-3 - Magnitude: 5.3
Int'l Designator: 2004-044-A

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