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Satellite Spotting

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Junior Virtual Ranger
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:54 pm
Posts: 228
Location: Wrong Continent
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Fri Feb 06, 2009 3:21 pm Unread post
One of the things I enjoy when in my Marloth Park home is to have a sundowner on our terrace, watching the sky darken and the incredible sight of the milky way come out. Whilst waiting to hear the first lion call, I often spend time lazing back on a lounger and looking for satellites passing overhead.

For a half hour or so after dusk it is possible to spot satellites as they are still in sunshine, so you can see what looks like a small star moving quickly across the sky. Some of these are real satellites, earth sensing, communications etc. Others can be old rocket stages, large amounts of junk, and sometimes you can see the Hubble telescope or the International Space Station. If you know when and where to look you can even see the toolbag dropped by the astronaut on the last Hubble repair mission, although you will need binoculars for that. Most of the time they are steady, but occasionally one will be variable, sometimes disappearing altogether. This is usually because the object is spinning or tumbling in its orbit, with different parts having different reflectivity.

There are several websites that can predict what you can see from your location at a given time and date. I use the following:
http://www.heavens-above.com/
A fascinating site - lots of info about all sorts of things.

Now who is going to start a list of satellites spotted :D

Happy skywatching
Allan
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Re: Satellite Spotting

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Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2005 12:28 am
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Location: Pretoria, RSA
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Fri Feb 06, 2009 3:46 pm Unread post
Interesting site ... thanks Allan! :thumbs_up:


Re: Satellite Spotting

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Fri Feb 06, 2009 8:28 pm Unread post
Could this be a Satellite. Top right.
One of my first attempts at Star Trails.

In East Africa/Equator we spotted Satellites quite often.

Image


Re: Satellite Spotting

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Junior Virtual Ranger
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:54 pm
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Fri Feb 06, 2009 11:25 pm Unread post
Hi Pepperjuice,
It certainly looks like one.

I haven't tried star trail photos yet. If we get clear skies when we are out in SA in just over two weeks time I'll give it a go.

Love your photo by the way :thumbs_up:

Allan


Re: Satellite Spotting

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Senior Virtual Ranger
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Sat Feb 07, 2009 5:30 pm Unread post
hobbit wrote
http://www.heavens-above.com/
A fascinating site - lots of info about all sorts of things.


Thanks for the link hobbit, it's fascinating for sure! :thumbs_up:


Re: Satellite Spotting

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Senior Virtual Ranger
Joined: Mon Dec 05, 2005 1:43 pm
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Fri Feb 20, 2009 11:13 am Unread post
pepperjuice wrote
Could this be a Satellite. Top right.
One of my first attempts at Star Trails.

In East Africa/Equator we spotted Satellites quite often.

Image


Hi pepperjuice. Yes, that looks very much like a satellite. I wouldn't be surprised if it's an Iridium Flare. What was the exact date and location of that photograph?

Awesome pic by the way!
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