Friday, November 12, 2010

9 more on 11-12

Got to go out for another hour this evening. At first, I could have sworn that I just had the wrong sheet. I was seeing absolutely nothing on my list and seeing all kinds of vbright stuff that WASN'T on my list. When there was a break, I went back inside to look at the sites, just to make sure that maybe I hadn't used the site with the wrong location or maybe the wrong month... but nope, my list jived with what was on the website. So I went back out and then started seeing the crap I thought I should have been seeing. Weird. There were two really bright objects chasing each other at 6:58pm, but neither site had anything remotely close to the altitude or time. It was weird. Maybe it was something that launched in the past couple of days the sites aren't tracking yet. It's possible. Who knows. I also got to see my 250th object this evening. Read on to see what it was.

Here's the time-line for evening of:
Date: 12-Nov-2010 Friday

6:52 PM - SkyMed 3 - 4.4 Magnitude
Int'l Designator: 2008-054-A
This is my third sighting of COSMO-SkyMed 3, an Italian earth observation satellite.

6:56:00 PM - ??? - 2.0 Magnitude
Int'l Designator: none
6:56:20 PM - ??? - 2.0 Magnitude
Int'l Designator: none
These two objects with the same magnitude (I estimate at a magnitude of 2) were basically following the same path as SkyMed 3, about 20 seconds apart, but neither site I look at had anything close timewise for these. I'm stumped. The only thing I can think of is that they were recently launched and the sites aren't tracking them yet.

Updated May 6th 2011
6:56:00 PM - Picard r DbE - 2.0 Magnitude
Int'l Designator: 2010-028-E

This is my first sighting of this Dnepr-1 rocket (which itself is a converted ICBM). This rocket was used to launch the French PICARD satellite. According to Wikipedia, Picard was "dedicated to the simultaneous measurement of the absolute total and spectral solar irradiance, the diameter and solar shape, and to the Sun's interior probing by the helioseismology method." If you know what that means, let me know. :-) Three other satellites were deployed as well. PRISMA, a pair of Swedish satellite, is designed to fly in formation and do all kinds of other things (read Gunter's page for details). The two satellites had the cute names of Mango and Tango. BPA 1 was a Ukraine payload of aviation experiments which was mounted to the Dnepr-1's third stage.

6:56:20 PM - SMOS - 2.0 Magnitude
Int'l Designator: 2009-059-A

This is my first sighting of the European SMOS (Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity) satellite. It does what it sounds like it does, as well as help with weather predictions as well as track snow and ice accumulations. It was launched into orbit using a Russian Rokot-KM rocket in 2009.

7:01 PM - Terra SAR X Db - 6.0 Magnitude
Int'l Designator: 2007-026-C
This is my first observation of this object, which is some debris from the launch of TerraSAR-X, a German earth observation satellite. It's not the rocket (that would be 2007-026-B) so I'm guessing that this would possibly be the protective cover for the satellite that is ejected when the satellite is put into orbit.

7:20 PM - Gravity ProbeB - 3.0 Magnitude
Int'l Designator: 2004-014-A
This is my second sighting of the Gravity Probe B.

7:22 PM - Geosat - 3.9 Magnitude
Int'l Designator: 1985-021-A
This is my first sighting of Geosat (short for GEOdetic SATellite), a US Navy earth observation satellite which was launched in 1985. The satellite carried a radar altimeter capable of measuring the distance from the satellite to sea surface with a relative precision of about 5 cm (!!!). There's other good information on this sat on the wiki page.

7:25 PM - Helios 1B - 2.9 Magnitude
Int'l Designator: 1999-064-A
Hello, frenchies! Look at me! This is my eighth sighting of this French photo-recon satellite.

7:28 PM - ??? - 4.0 Magnitude
Int'l Designator: none
This was an orange shooting start coming out of the E heading west at about 45 degrees in the sky. Possibly a Leonid meteor.

7:57 PM - Resurs 1-4 Rocket - 2.7 Magnitude
Int'l Designator: 1998-043-G
NUMBER 250!!!! That's right, the ol faithful got to be number 250. I was hoping it would be! This my eighteen sighting of this object. One of these evenings, I'm going to have to attempt to see this twice in one night. There have been many nights were it could have been possible but usually I miss the early pass. D'oh!

Sorry for not going into detail on these... but the wife is hungry for some popcorn and I'm the f'ing popcorn master!

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