Monday, March 28, 2011

A day without the kids and a morning / night session on March 27th

I also woke up Sunday morning around 5am despite taking some Tylenol PM the previous evening. I couldn't get back to sleep and I remembered that one of the satellites I wanted to see was likely going to be out an about. After peeping through the blinds, I determined that it was clear enough to likely see some satellites. I checked my chart, put in my contacts, got suited up and went outside just in time to see the satellite go overhead. I didn't have a list, so I free-styled a few more satellites and then went back inside because it was friggin' cold. I went downstairs and started doing my entries. It was then that I realized that I had forgotten what day it was, so the satellite I saw was actually not what I thought it was... but instead a different satellite that just happened to have the same peak time and altitude and direction. I then noticed that the ISS was going to be REALLY BRIGHT and going overhead in about 10 minutes, so I went back upstairs and got it see it. It was really bright and heading over the house. As I was coming back in, lil N and the wife were just waking up, so I had lil N look out the window to see the ISS. It was a bit confusing to try to explain to her that the really bright moving star was as big as a football field and that 7 people were living inside of it. :P This morning session was very fruitful in first sightings which is always nice to have. Six of the eight satellites I spotted in the morning were new. Wow!

My parents came up on Sunday and allowed the Mrs and I to have a little bit of time together without the kids which we hadn't been able to do for a couple months. We were starting to get a little stir crazy I think, so it was a very welcomed visit. We got to run around to a few stores and buy a few things. We visited the Borders. The wife got a few books. I had a few picked out, but decided that I likely could get most of them cheaper on Amazon (and, after checking when I got back, the prices weren't that bad on a couple, but a few would be MUCH cheaper on the Amazon Marketplace). Then we went to Pei Wei and got some tasty food. The Dan Dan Noodles are the bomb yo! So it was very nice to get some alone time with the Mrs. When we got home, lil N decided that she wanted to stay overnight at Grandma's... so after a little bit of discussion we decided... why not. Granted, in the morning she has to come right back home because of some already planned school stuff, but hey... Grandma was coming right back anyways to watch lil A so it wasn't like she wasn't coming back up this way. After lil N was in the car and off on her way, we put lil A to bed. The sky was a bit hazy but I went out for about 45 minutes and saw a few more satellites. Oddly, I really wasn't in the mood to be sat-spotting but it's hard to pass up a clear evening when there are only 1 or 2 clear skies a week.

Here's the time-line for the morning / evening of:
Date: 27-Mar-2011 Sunday

5:35 AM - Name: Cosmos 2369 - Magnitude: 3.6
Int'l Designator: 2000-006-A
This is my first sighting of Kosmos 2369, a Russian Tselina-2 ELINT satellite. It was launched into orbit in 2000 using a Zenit-2 rocket.

5:41 AM - Name: Resurs 1-3 Rocket - Magnitude: 1.6
Int'l Designator: 1994-074-B
This is my first sighting of this Zenit-2 rocket. This particultar rocket was used to launch two satellites. The main satellite was Resurs O1-3, a Russian earth resources satellite. A secondary payload was Safir-R1, a German communications experiment, though I believe it was permanently fixed to the as there is no int'l designator assigned to Safir-R1.

5:49 AM - Name: SAR Lupe 1 Rocket - Magnitude: 2.8
Int'l Designator: 2006-060-B
This is my first sighting of this Kosmos-3M rocket. This particular rocket was used to launch the first German reconnaissance satellite, SAR-Lupe 1 on December 19 2006. The SAR-Lupe program consists of five satellites and one ground station. The system is SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) based and can provide high-resolution (~1 meter) images day or night, regardless of the weather.

5:55 AM - Name: Cosmos 2221 Rocket - Magnitude: 3.7
Int'l Designator: 1992-080-B
This is my first sighting of this Tsyklon-3 rocket. This particular rocket was used to launch the Russian Tselina-D ELINT satellite Kosmos 2221 in the year 1992.

5:56 AM - Name: XM 5 Tnk aka BREEZE-M DEB - Magnitude: 3.9
Int'l Designator: 2010-053-C
This is my second sighting of this Briz-M tank from a Proton-M rocket. This particular rocket was used to launch XM-5 from the XM Satellite Radio corporation.

5:59 AM - Name: Cosmos 1862 Rocket - Magnitude: 3.5
Int'l Designator: 1987-055-B
This is my first sighting of this Tsyklon-3 rocket. It was used to put the Russian Tselina-D ELINT satellite Kosmos 1862 into orbit in the year 1987.

6:00 AM - Name: Cosmos 2084 - Magnitude: 3.1
Int'l Designator: 1990-055-A
This is my second sighting of Kosmos 2084, a Russian Oko missile defense satellite. It was launched into service using a Molniya-M rocket. The Oko missile defense system was introduced in the 1972 with the launch of Cosmos 520. Oko satellites are still being up into orbit, most recently with Cosmos 2469 which launched September 30 2010.

6:28 AM - Name: ISS - Magnitude: -3.2
Int'l Designator: 1998-067-A
This is my 15th sighting of the International Space Station. This was the third brightest sighting of the ISS which seemed to be THE brightest considering the other two brighter sightings occurred during the dusk hours when the sun had not yet set.

8:50 PM - Name: Shijian6-3Aptr aka CZ-4B DEB - Magnitude: 3.4
Int'l Designator: 2008-053-D
This is my 9th sighting of this piece of debris from a Long March 4B rocket. This rocket was used to launch the Shijian 6E and 6F satellites.

9:01 PM - Name: Cosmos 405 - Magnitude: 3.3
Int'l Designator: 1971-028-A
This is my 4th sighting of Kosmos 405, a Russian Tselina-D ELINT satellite which was launched into orbit using a Vostok-2M rocket in the year 1971.

9:07 PM - Name: Koronas F Rocket - Magnitude: 2.3
Int'l Designator: 2001-032-B
This is my 2nd sighting of this Tsyklon-3 rocket. This particular rocket was used to launch the Russian Koronos-Foton (Coronas-Photon) satellite which contained 10 different instruments to study the sun throughout the electromagnetic spectrum. Coronas stands for "Complex ORbital Observations Near-Earth of Activity of the Sun".

9:09 PM - Name: shooting star - Magnitude: 2.0
Int'l Designator: none
This was a yellow shooting start that was nearly horizontal, shooting from W to NW at about 45 degrees.

9:09 PM - Name: Cosmos 975 Rocket - Magnitude: 3.3
Int'l Designator: 1978-004-B
This is my 2nd sighting of this Vostok-2M rocket. This particular rocket was used to launch the Russian Tselina-D ELINT satellite Kosmos 975 in the year 1978.

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