Sunday, July 31, 2011

July Sightings

The summer has not been as kind to satellite spotting as I had hoped. The sun sets late and the bugs are out. :( The bugs are what I don't like honestly. I can deal with the heat and humidity. But bugs getting into your eyes sucks.

Anyhoo... only two sessions in July.

The July 4th session occurred because the Mrs and I went out to watch the M'ville fireworks. She even spotted a satellite on her own just by looking into the sky. No chart or anything. I was so proud.

The July 31st sessions happened because I noticed that the moon wasn't out and the sky was clear. I went outside and looked until I saw a satellite... and it just happens that there was another satellite passing by in the exact same spot, so it was a two for one special. I sort of found a match for the N to S satellite, but the magnitude makes me doubt that this was the object, but I'm fairly certain that it wasn't an airplane, so I'll just accept the sighting as it is.


Here's the time-line for the evening of:
Date: 04-July-2011 Monday

10:00 PM - Name: Resurs DK-1 - Magnitude: 2.5
Int'l Designator: 2006-021-A
This is my fourth sighting of Resurs DK-1, a Russian commercial earth observation satellite launched via a Soyuz-U (more specifically a Soyuz-FG. Resurs DK-1 was launched in June 2006 and was designed to last no less than 3 year and is expected to last 5 year. Which means, it could quite possibly already be space junk.

10:01 PM - Name: Orbcomm FM38 Rocket aka SL-8 R/B - Magnitude: 3.7
Int'l Designator: 2008-031-G
This is my first sighting of this Kosmos-3M rocket. This rocket was used to launch six satellites for Orbcomm, an American company which provides M2M (machine-to-machine) messaging and monitoring services.

10:30 PM - Name: Cosmos 1726 - Magnitude: 2.2
Int'l Designator: 1986-006-A
This is my first sighting of Kosmos 1726, a Russian Tselina-D ELINT satellite launched into orbit in 1986 using a Tsyklon-3 rocket. This is the satellite that my wife spotted before I did. I was so proud of her.

Here's the time-line for the evening of:
Date: 31-July-2011 Wednessay

11:12 PM - Name: ERS-2 - Magnitude: 3.1
Int'l Designator: 1995-021-A
This is my first sighting of ERS-2, a European remote sensing satellite. I thought I had seen this one before, but obviously I was wrong. The satellite was put into orbit using an Ariane 40 rocket in 1995. Thsi satellite contains instruments for measuring sea-surface and cloud-top temperatures, checking surface levels at sub-millimeter levels, wind speed and direction, ozone monitoring, and chlorophyll and vegetation levels. It blow my mind that something sitting in sun-synchronus orbit at around 780 km above earth can get SUB-MILLIMETER readings. Dang. The successor to ERS-2 is Envisat, which I have seen. ERS-2 has been operating without gyroscops since 2001 which has caused some data degradation. Additionally, it's tape drive died in 2003, so now the satellite can only communicate when it is in range of a ground station. ERS-2 was scheduled to operate through July 2011, when a few burns are set to lower the orbit of the satellite. The satellite should deorbit within the next 25 years.

11:15 PM - Name: 97051XP - Magnitude: 5.9
Int'l Designator: 1197-051-XP
This is my first sighting of this piece of space debris. This particular piece of debris came from the collision of Iridium 33 (and American communications satellite) and Kosmos 2251 (a retirned Russian Strela military communications satellite). The collision in 2009 caused a great deal of space debris (over 2000 pieces are currently being tracked) and, with the satellites travelling at a combined speed of 11.7 kilometer per SECOND (that's 26,170 mph), was the first accidental hypervelocity collision between two intact artificial satellites. Iridium 33 was operational, but Kosmos 2251 had been retired. The Russian government has not commented on if the satellite was out of control or not. Iridium spoke to the face that they do have a hard time keepgin track fo all of the near-collsion warnings as they get somewhere in the area of 400 near-collision messages a week.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I'm still here

I haven't fallen off the face of the earth... yet. :P

Not much in the way of satellite spotting. I think I have one session from July 4th that I have yet to catalog and post. It's hard going outside in the summer cause the bugs are relentless. I could burn a candle, but candles are brighter than you'd think... plus... who wants to go to bed with someoen who smells like citronella???

Ben folds is releasing a retrospective collection. Bad Ass!!!!
Ace Frehley's auto biography is coming out soon, I think. That should be awesome as well, unless of course he mumbles in type as well.

Florence Henderson has a bio coming out as well.
Go Flo!!!!

I forgot that Pink floyd was releasing Dark Side of the Moon for the 14th time. At least this time it contains SIX discs. Holy Poooooo!
Welcome to the dark side.

The latest thing to catch my interest is seeing how many license plates from different states I can spot. However, I must spot them in Ohio. If that weren't the rules, I'd probably have nearly all of them since I took a trip around the US many moons ago. It all started when I was riding with my wife in the car and I spotted a license plate from Delaware (the first state!). Yeah. I know. I'm a big dork. And it's continued from there (both my dorkdom and my wanting to spot license plates). Twice this week as I was getting off the highway on my way to work, I've spotted license plates that I didn't recognize out of the corner of my eye. So far, I've resisted the urge to yank the car back onto the highway to follow them so I could get a better look. I spotted three new ones today, I believe: Pennsylvania, Washington, and Utah. I'm so goofy.

Hope everyone out there is doing well. I prolly check my email about once a week, blogs about every two week and hit facebook like once a month. I'm a bit disconnected from the rest of the world at the moment.

I've no more words.

Bye! :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

RIP Sherwood

Sherwood Schwartz, the creator of one of my favorite shows - The Brady Bunch, died yesterday at the age of 94.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Quick update - July 1st 2011

Discovered this game called "canvas Rider" the other day where you pedal a bicycle along a trail. Except the trail is someones drawing. Just go look at it and check it out. It's addicting and I suck terribly at it.

Purchased a big old Little Tikes playhouse for the kids a week or so ago. I put it together 2 days ago and basically the kids have been inseparable for it. The Mrs even spent two and a half hours outside with the kids which is basically unheard of since typically they would just run off. So, everyone is happy (well, most are, the Mrs is starting to get a bit pinkish from being outside so much).

Managed to get a very quick satellite spot in the other day. Went outside, saw the ISS for about 5 seconds and then came back in.

Speaking of the ISS (and also the space shuttle), space shuttle Atlantis is launching for the last time July 8th. This is also the very last space shuttle launch ever. Wish I was down there to see it. My hopes was to see it either orbiting or attached to the ISS. I've missed the other last shuttle launches as well, unfortunately. Well, I looked at the satellite spotting schedule and the outlook is just as bad. Basically the entire time the shuttle is attached to the ISS, it will not be visible in the evening sky. In fact it won't be visible at ALL (day or night). So that's a bit of a drag. I'm going to have to go back through my old ISS sightings and see if maybe, just maybe, the shuttle was attached during one of those sightings. I'm not holding my breath since there have only been a few shuttle launches since I started satellite spotting.

Work is going well. No complaints there, except that I'm disliking WebTables at the moment. Trying to pull info otu of these things via QTP is a bear (if not impossible at times). Grrrrrrrrrr.

Hope everyone has a great July 4th. Maybe I'll see you a a BBQ.

Peace out!

Here's the time-line for the evening of:
Date: 29-June-2011 Wednesday

10:13 PM - Name: ISS aka International Space Station - Magnitude: -2.9
Int'l Designator: 1998-067-A
This is my 20th sighting of the ISS. It was also the 650th object I've seen. W00t!