Considering all the crappy weather we had on Friday, amazingly enough it was quite a clear evening. Now, if I could just get my neighbors to let their dogs take a piss in the dark, the world would be great. All in all it was a pretty good session. I had a good run from 7:30pm to 8pm. I was really REALLY hoping to catch a glimpse of NanoSail-D2. Yes, it's NanoSail-D2 despite what most websites, including NASA's own NanoSail-D website, and news articles say. The truth is that in August 2008 the original NanoSail-D was on the third flight of Space X's Falcon 1 but there were issues with the launch and the payload was destroyed. So they launched the replacement NanoSail (NanoSail-D2) in it's place in 2 years later in November 2010. Anyhoo... Between Feb 25th (techically earlier) and March 7th NanoSail-D2 should be fairly visible in the sky. Friday even was the first really strong evening to see it... and like f'ing clockwork, literally 1 minute before it would start showing over the horizon, one of my neighbors turned on their stupid halogen backyard lights so f'ing fluffy can see to take a massive dump. I tried blocking it out with my hand but it was just too damn close and too damn bright. So I retreated to stand between my house and the other neighbors, using the grill on the deck to block the light. Alas, I did not see it. There were a number of factors: 1) the stupid f'ing halogen light, 2) it was in the SW... and things in the W this late in the evening are fairly hard to see regardless of what the magnitude is. Oh well... I have about a week left and it should be getting brighter for a few more days. Saturday would have been bright as all get out, but it was complete overcast. Maybe I'll get a clearing this evening, long enough to see it and the head back in to watch the Oscars with the Mrs.
Anyhoo... enough of my jabbering... on with the show... errmmm... blog...
Here's the time-line for the evening of:
Date: 23-Feb-2011 Wednesday
7:05 PM - Name: Resurs 1-4 Rocket - Magnitude: 2.1
Int’l Designator: 1998-043-G
This is my 25th sighting of this Zenit-2 rocket body, aka ye olde bright and faithful. The last time I saw this object was on Jan 2nd! For a while this was an object that nearly always saw as long as I was out at the right time. I honestly thought that I'd be homing in on 50 by now... but I'll take 25 regardless. :-D
7:17 PM - Name: Cosmos 1743 - Magnitude: 2.7
Int’l Designator: 1986-034-A
This is my first sighting of Kosmos 1743, a Russian Tselina-D ELINT satellite. It was launched using a Tsyklon-3 rocket in 1986.
7:19 PM - Name: ISS - Magnitude: -1.0
Int’l Designator: 1998-067-A
This is my thirteenth sighting of the International Space Station. The Space Shuttle Discovery (as part of STS-133) had not docked yet (it docked on Feb 26th), so I'm not sure where it was in the sky this evening. I was hoping to spot them within minutes of each other like I did with ATV 2. Oh well, maybe I'll be able to see the Space Shuttle Discovery when it undocks from the ISS.
7:23 PM - Name: USA 198 Rocket aka ATLAS 5 CENTAUR R/B - Magnitude: 0.4
Int’l Designator: 2007-060-B
This is my first sighting of this Atlas V Centaur upper stage. This particular rocket was used to launch a classified National Reconnaissance Organization satellite, code-named USA 198 or NRO L-24. Due to its orbit, known as a Molniya orbit which allows a satellite to mainly stay staged over a designated area, it is believe to be a military communications/data relay satellite which would make it part of the Satellite Data System 3 program.
7:27 PM - Name: Cosmos 2263 Rocket - Magnitude: 2.2
Int’l Designator: 1993-059-B
This is my third sighting of this Zenit-2 rocket body which was used to launch the Russian Tselina-2 ELINT satellite Kosmos 2263.
7:28 PM - Name: DMSP 5D-2 F8 DEB - Magnitude: 5.6
Int’l Designator: 1987-053-G
This is debris from the launch for the DMSP (Defense Meteorological Satellite Program) 5D meteorological satellite system. The satellite launched was the first to carry SSM/I microwave imaging sensor to see through clouds. DMSP 5D-2 was launched into orbit using an Atlas E rocket.
7:31 PM - Name: Cosmos 1818 - Magnitude: 3.5
Int’l Designator: 1987-011-A
This is my second sighting of Kosmos 1818, a Russian radar ocean reconnaissance satellite (RORSAT) launched on February 1 1987 aboard a Tsyklon-2 rocket. It was powered by a nuclear reactor and contained a Plazma-2 SPT electric motor (aka a Hall effect ion thruster). According to Wikipedia, this particular satellite fragmented into 30 pieces on July 4 2008, so this must be one of the larger pieces or basically what is remaining of the main 'core' of the satellite.
7:32 PM - Name: Cosmos 1500 - Magnitude: 3.2
Int’l Designator: 1983-099-A
This is my third sighting of Kosmos 1500, a Russian Okean-OE oceanography satellite. It was launched using a Tsyklon-3 rocket.
7:35 PM - Name: Cosmos 1340 - Magnitude: 2.7
Int’l Designator: 1982-013-A
This is my second sighting of Kosmos 1340, a Russian Tselina-D ELINT satellite. It was launched using a Vostok-2M rocket.
7:36 PM - Name: Iridium 38 tum - Magnitude: 5.8
Int’l Designator: 1997-069-E
This is my second sighting of the tumbling Iridium 38 satellite.
7:38 PM - Name: Helios 1B - Magnitude: 2.8
Int’l Designator: 1999-064-A
This is my tenth sighting of Helios 1B, a French photo-reconnaissance satellite.
7:41 PM - Name: shooting star - Magnitude: 2.0
Int’l Designator: 0
This was a white shooting star @ 50 degrees E heading ESE.
7:41 PM - Name: Meteor 1-31 Rocket - Magnitude: 2.7
Int’l Designator: 1981-065-B
This is my eighth sighting of this Vostok-2M rocket which put the Russian meteorological satellite Meteor 1-31 into orbit in 1981.
7:42 PM - Name: Lacrosse 5 Rocket aka TITAN 4B R/B - Magnitude: 1.6
Int’l Designator: 2005-016-B
This is my fifth sighting of this Titan IV-B rocket. This rocket was used to put National Reconnaissance Organization's Lacrosse 5 satellite into orbit.
7:47 PM - Name: Cosmos 1842 - Magnitude: 3.3
Int’l Designator: 1987-038-A
This is my first sighting of Kosmos 1842, a Russian Tselina-D ELINT satellite. It was put into orbit using a Tsyklon-3 rocket in 1987.
7:51 PM - Name: Cosmos 2242 Rocket - Magnitude: 3.7
Int’l Designator: 1993-024-B
This is my second sighting of this Tsyklon-3 rocket which was used put Kosmos 2242, a Russian Tselina-R ELINT satellite, into orbit.
7:58 PM - Name: IRAS - Magnitude: 5.3
Int’l Designator: 1983-004-A
This is my fourth sighting of the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS). It was put into orbit using a Delta 3910 rocket.
8:06 PM - Name: Cosmos 1610 Rocket - Magnitude: 4.5
Int’l Designator: 1984-118-B
This is my first sighting of this Kosmos-3M rocket which was used to launch the Russian Parus communication and navigation satellite, Kosmos 1610 in 1984.
8:12 PM - Name: Lacrosse 4 - Magnitude: 2.8
Int’l Designator: 2000-047-A
Amazingly, this is only my third sighting of the Lacrosse 4 NRO recon satellite. It was launched into orbit in 2000 using a Titan IV-B rocket. Actually, I just looked and I've only Lacrosse 2 and 3 only three times as well. I've seen Lacrosse 5 six times. I've only spotted the Lacrosse 4 rocket once, Lacrosse 5 rocket five times and have never spotted the Lacrosse 2 or 3 rockets ever. Interesting. I need to add Lacrosse 2 / 3 rockets to my 'need to see list'.
8:18 PM - Name: shooting star - Magnitude: 2.0
Int’l Designator: 0
This was an orange shooting star heading NW
8:18 PM - Name: Cosmos 2278 Rocket - Magnitude: 2.1
Int’l Designator: 1994-023-B
This is my 2nd sighting sighting of this Zenit-2 rocket which was used to launch the Russian Tselina-2 ELINT satellite, Kosmos 2278.
8:26 PM - Name: Meteor 2-5 Rocket - Magnitude: 3.6
Int’l Designator: 1979-095-B
This is my second sighting of this Vostok-2M rocket, which was used to launch the Russian Meteor 2-5 meteorological satellite into orbit.
8:37 PM - Name: shooting star - Magnitude: 2.0
Int’l Designator: 0
This was a white shooting start heading SW.