I had a few satellites lined up for viewing (written with a big black sharpy on a while piece of paper which makes it much more visible at night... though, if I were REALLY trying to protect my eyesight, i'd do the opposite - black paper with white letters)... anyhoo...
I had a few satellites lined up for viewing, however I went outside and it was mostly a big blanket of clouds. I could see a couple of stars, but for the most part there were no big openings in the clouds... so nothing was observed last night.
So why post about that?
Well, I was kind excited about one of the candidates that I had:
It was a rocket booster for Cosmos 44. You might say "Well, so? You saw Cosmos 1674 the other day. And?" Well, need I remind you that most rockets and whatnot pretty much number their things numerically. So 1643 was launched before 2043... and so on. And you might say "So?" Well, I'll remind you that Cosmos 1643 was launched in 1985. The one I was excited about was Cosmos 44. FORTY FOUR!
Cosmos 44 was launched on August 28 1964!
And the rocket which launched this satellite is still up there (and so is the satellite itself). Going round and round and round the earth. If I were a complete math geek, I'd go find out how often it orbits the earth per day and then calc out how many times since August 28 1964 (and whatever time it was) it has gone around the earth.
But I'm not that big of a math geek. But I truly understand now all the hub-bub in the space community about space trash / Space debris. It just sits up there. And occasionally things get REALLY close to each other or just plain smack into each other. And possibly more often than people know since we only know about it when active satellites get hit. What about when two expended rocket boosters bump into each other and then possibly split or obliterate each other and create more debris?
Here's a quick 30 second clip which shows the satellites deployed and debris created (much of which is still in orbit) between the years 1957 and 2000. (Note: this is only to 2000, not 2010).
Note: The int'l code for the Cosmos 44 R/B is 1964-053B