Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Valentine's Viewing session and this morning

I got to go out on a fairly clear night on Valentine's Day. No, I didn't use my telescope. With those kinds ofb things, I tend to take my time, RTFM, test it out on a good day when I can see what what I'm doing, etc. For some reason, I did not fair very well (only 7 satellites) despite being outside for an hour.

There was a fairly bright older object that I wanted to see on Tuesday morning, however it's time was late (7:05am or something like that) and the sky was too bleached out to see it. :( There was also a plethora of satellites listed to be seen Tuesday evening, however it was overcast the entire evening.

Then, this morning I woke up early (and everyone else was up as well). I peaked through the blinds and noticed that it was fairly clear. There have been some older satellites that have been visible in the mornings lately, so I went downstairs and figured out if there were going to be any visible. There was one, so I quickly wrote that one down and then wrote down a few others. I quickly took a shower, got dressed and went outside. I managed to see four satellites in about a half hour. But MAN!!! It was COLD outside as there was a pretty decent wind blowing south to north. Alas, I did not see my target object, but that's the way it goes sometimes.

Here's the time-line for the evening of:
Date: 14-Feb-2011 Monday

7:17 pm - Name: Cosmos 2228 Rocket - Magnitude: 3.0
Int'l Designator: 1992-094-B
This is my first sighting of this Tsyklon-3 rocket which was used to launch the Russian Tselina-D ELINT satellite. This was the last successful launch of a Tselina-D satellite. An attempt to launch one last one, Tselina-D #69, a year and a half later in 1994 failed.

7:21 PM - Name: COSMOS-SkyMed 1 - Magnitude: 3.5
Int'l Designator: 2007-023-A
This is my 11th sighting of COSMO-SkyMed 1, an Italian earth observation (likely a reconnaissance) satellite.

7:42 PM - Name: Meteor 3M-1 - Magnitude: 3.0
Int'l Designator: 2001-056-A
This is my second sighting of Meteor 3M-1, a Russian weather satellite. It was launched in 2001 using a Zenit-2 rocket (which I would see 20 minutes later... see below).

7:52 PM - Name: Cosmos 1680 Rocket - Magnitude: 3.9
Int'l Designator: 1985-079-B
This is my third sighting of this Kosmos-3M rocket which was used to launch the Russian Strela-2M military communications satellite, Kosmos 1680 in 1985.

8:00 PM - Name: Cosmos 1242 Rocket - Magnitude: 2.7
Int'l Designator: 1981-008-B
This is my first sighting of this Vostok-2M rocket which was used to launch the Russian Tselina-D ELINT satellite Kosmos 1242 in 1981.

8:05 PM - Name: Meteor 3M-1 Rocket (or SL-16 R/B) - Magnitude: 2.5
Int'l Designator: 2001-056-F
This is my third sighting of this Zenit-2 rocket which launched Meteor-3M, the Russian weather satellite. It's not very often that I see both the satellite and the rocket which launched the satellite in the same evening. The only other case I can think of at the moment was the launch of Shi Jian 6G and 6H that I spotted on Oct 7th, a mere 2 days after they had launched. At that point, the rocket and satellite were only 2 minutes apart (unless you count some of the rocket debris which was 30 second in front of the satellite.

8:07 PM - Name: Cosmos 2406 - Magnitude: 3.2
Int'l Designator: 2004-021-A
This is my second sighting of Cosmos 2406, a Russian Tselina-2 ELINT satellite.

Here's the time-line for the morning of:
Date: 16-Feb-2011 Wednesday

6:25 AM - Name: Yaogan 1 (JB-5 1) - Magnitude: 3.0
Int'l Designator: 2006-015-A
This is my third sighting of Yaogan 1, a Chinese remote sensing satellite. It is rumored that this is is also named JB-5 1 and is actually a SAR reconnaissance satellite. Yaogan was launched using a Long March 4C (CZ-4C) rocket in 2006.

6:28 AM - Name: Cosmos 2322 Rocket - Magnitude: 3.2
Int'l Designator: 1995-058-B
This is my second sighting of this Zenit-2 rocket which was used to launch a Russian Tselina-2 ELINT satellite in 1995.

6:32 AM - Name: Resurs DK-1 - Magnitude: 3.1
Int'l Designator: 2006-021-A
This is my second sighting of Resurs DK-1, a Russian commercial earth observation satellite. It was launched in 2006 using a Soyuz U rocket.

6:50 AM - Name: IGS 1 H2A Rocket - Magnitude: 0.8
Int'l Designator: 2003-009-C
This is my second sighting of this Japanese H2-A rocket. This rocket was used to the Japanese spy satellites IGS (Information Gathering Satellite) 1A and 1B. IGS 1A was an SAR satellite, while IGS 1B was an optical satellite. This particular rocket was a H2A2024 which used 2 SRB-A solid rocket boosters as well 4 additional Castor solid strap-on boosters. It was launched in 2003.

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