Monday, September 13, 2010

W00t! Three SATs in one

Just got done seeing three satellites in one sitting. Armed with a list of 6 satellites / objects, I went outside around 8:12pm

I first went out looking for the X37-B Experimental 'Top Secret' Aircraft, but at 8:14pm, it was still rather bright outside and it's a fairly dim object (and my aim is still subject in the backyard, meaning, I'm not exactly sure where N/S/E/W are.

Next up was the International Space Station (ISS) at 8:36pm. I got to see the full 3 minute pass of the ISS and attempted to take a few pics since it was so bright. It was around a -2.9 magnitude... remember lower number = brighter. The moon is something like -11 magnitude. Anyway, I was hoping for some time lapse, but I have no idea how to work my camera (yet) so I only have two stills where you can see the object moving. But that's better than no photos. (I'll attach those later in the post). The Int'l Designator for the IIS is 1998-067A.

Next I saw "Unknown object B" (that's what the database called it) at 8:40. I wasn't sure I would be able to see it with only a magnitude of 3.0, but I saw it. Since my eyes had really adjusted by that point, it seemed as bright as the ISS earlier. I probably saw most of the 8 minute pass for this one. The Int'l Designator for Unknown Obj B is 2004-012C. Based on the n2y0 site, this is a rocket booster for CZ-2C rocket body. On April 18 2004 in China, this rocket launched two satellites: Tansuo 1 (Shiyan 1) which is for stereographic land resource mapping and Naxing 1 which was China's first nano-satellite which did 'high tech experiments' and weighed only 25 kg.

There was supposedly a pass of the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) at 8:43, but I missed that because I had no idea how dim it was (5.2 magnitude... REALLY dim). The Int'l Designator for IRAS is 1983-004A.

Next, at 8:56pm, was the launch vehicle (read: rocket body) for the Lacrosse 4 National Reconnaissance Office terrestrial radar imaging reconnaissance satellite. Yeah.. big words. Anyways, that one heading N to S. I probably saw most of the 6 minute pass for that one. Based on Wikipedia, this would be the body of a Titan IV rocket. The Int'l Desginator for this Lacrosse 4 R/B is 2000-047B.

The last one on the list was the actual Lacrosse 4 satellite. I went out and starting looking for it. I called out the wife (who was finally downstairs) and called her out. However, that turned out to be a plane. I should have known that it wasn't it since it was heading the wrong direction. At first it was just a bright light, but by the time the Mrs got outside, it was closer to being overhead and the blinky-blinkies were visible. Never did see that one. The Int'l Desginator for the Lacrosse 4 satellite is 2000-047A.

Oh well, 3 out of 6 on my first real attempt isn't too bad I don't think.

And now, the blurry (and heavily adjusted) photos. I've put a red square around the same part of the picture so you can see the 'motion' of the ISS. Enjoy (or not). You'll have to click on the to make them bigger to have any chance of seeing the red box, btw. Not sure how it'll come out on them fancy-shmancy LCD monitors either. Good luck!

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

Here's the time-line of this evening:
Date: 13-Sep-2010 Monday

8:38 PM - Name: ISS - Magnitude: -3.6
Int'l Designator: 1998-067-A

8:44 PM - Name: Tansuo 1 LM2r - Magnitude: 3.0
Int'l Designator: 2004-012-C

9:00 PM - Name: Lacrosse 4 Rocket - Magnitude: 1.3
Int'l Designator: 2000-047-B

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